Given the continuing uncertainty related to physical cinema spaces and large gatherings which will likely continue through the remainder of the calendar year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival has announced their decision to mount its highly-anticipated 2020 edition as a cutting edge virtual fest in August.
To deliver this, the acclaimed genre film event will be working with Festival Scope and Shift72 via their newly-launched online festival platform, most recently utilized for CPH:DOX and Visions du réel’s celebrated virtual editions. This platform offers studio-grade DRM and will be MPAA compliant, operating according to Motion Picture Association of America security standards.
A number of Fantasia 2020’s screenings will be presented with real-time access, offering heightened security to the digital programming with attention to recreating the energy and sense of shared experience that make festivals so vital and beloved. This unique opportunity allows Fantasia the opportunity to program top-tier genre films that may not have otherwise considered online launches or premieres.
“While we’re saddened not to be able to put on the larger-than-life physical event that we’d been planning for this year, we’re extremely excited to be working with Festival Scope and Shift72 on an unconventional virtual edition,” said Fantasia co-director Mitch Davis. “They’ve enthusiastically embraced every challenge we’ve thrown their way, particularly when it comes to making so many of our screenings be real-time, live events instead of the usual streaming approach. It’s going to make things so much more exciting and will go a long way towards keeping the intensity and engagement of the in-person experience vibrant in an online realm.”
Using the Festival Scope / Shift72 platform, Fantasia will bring much of the live event experience directly into peoples’ homes, offering filmmaker intros and audience-involved Q&A’s, live panels, and workshops. In addition, the festival’s flagship short film showcases, juried competitions, and audience awards will remain in place.
Says Festival Scope CEO and Co-Founder Alessandro Raja, "We’re thrilled to add Fantasia to our growing list of virtual festivals and we’re excited about their inventive new ideas for the platform. This year’s online edition will be engaging and exciting for attendees as the festival has planned premieres to replicate the physical event, adding a sense of exclusivity and familiarity.”
Fantasia’s virtual lineup will include an array of World and International feature film premieres, including anticipated titles from the cancelled SXSW and Tribeca editions, whose original selections will be given credit.
All film screenings will be geo-blocked to Canadian audiences and only accessible from within the country, vastly expanding the number of viewers Fantasia can engage with outside of Quebec.
Fantasia’s virtual edition will take place August 20 through September 2, 2020 while the Frontières Co-Production Market, which typically runs in conjunction with the festival, will take place from July 23rd through 26th. The first wave of Fantasia titles will be revealed in late May.