What to expect at international film festivals in 2022


As Europe faces a new wave of COVID-19 infections and the skyrocketing Omicron variant cases, the prospects of a full-fledged return to the international film festival circuit seem every. less likely day.

The Netherlands and Denmark have taken the toughest measures so far, while France and Germany have closed their borders to British travelers. Other countries are expected to follow suit. The current scenario puts pressure on the European festivals scheduled in the first months of the year, including the Rotterdam Fest (IFFR) and the Berlinale, which could be the most impacted. Cannes and Venice, meanwhile, could be spared as they were in 2021. Here’s what we know so far about what to expect at major international festivals in 2022:

Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR)
January 26-Feb. 6

With the Netherlands enforcing a strict lockdown before Christmas, the Rotterdam International Film Festival‘s plans for a 51st on-site event could be a mission impossible, but they have yet to cancel it. The restrictions will remain in place at least until mid-January, while the festival is scheduled to open on January 26. Reacting to the lockdown announcement on Friday, organizers said Variety that they were currently “assessing the impact and what is realistically feasible” and will announce their decision later this week. Popular industrial events of IFFR, CineMart and Rotterdam Lab, meanwhile, will take place online. The Dutch documentary festival IDFA, which ended on November 28, narrowly missed the new restrictions.

Berlin Film Festival
10 Feb-Feb 20

After going live in 2021, the Berlin Film Festival has pledged to return with an in-person edition as long as theaters remain open, said Berlinale executive director Mariette Rissenbeek and artistic director Carlo Chatrian. Variety Monday. Although very little information about the selection has leaked so far, Chatrian is in the process of building his jury (led by M. Night Shyamalan) and lineup, which he hopes will be larger and more accessible than his two. first editions, according to industry sources. Many French films are expected to world premieres during the 72nd edition of the festival, including “Fire” by Claire Denis with Juliette Binoche and Vincent Lindon; “Peter von Kant” by François Ozon with Isabelle Adjani; “The passengers of the night” by Mikhaël Hers with Charlotte Gainsbourg and Emmanuelle Béart; and “Nobody’s Hero” by Alain Guiraudie with Doria Tillier and Noémie Lvovsky. The European Film Market is also on track for in-person editing and around 2,000 people have already signed up. Due to the pandemic, the festival – which is the first to take place under Germany’s new political leadership – and the market will not host cocktails or parties, and screenings will need to be booked online. Considering the travel restrictions, it will be difficult to organize a truly international festival with Asian, American and British delegates who are likely to be absent from this edition.

cannes film festival
May 17-28

After a bullish 2021 edition that saw Julia Ducournau’s “Titanium” win the Palme d’Or from a jury chaired by Spike Lee, Cannes is gearing up for another big year in 2022 to mark the festival’s 75th anniversary. Cannes chef Thierry Fremaux is already chasing some top American titles and talent, and also still hopes to bring Netflix back to the festival, which could happen if the streamer agrees to premiere his films outside of the roster. of the competition. As a sign of their friendship, Netflix recently joined forces with the Institut Lumière de Fremaux in Lyon to organize a week of gala premieres. In 2021, the festival selection was oversized with, among other things, a Cannes Premiere section (which might not be back in 2022, according to an insider). What could remain for 2022 are the screenings on the beach organized as part of the Cinema de la Plage program. Cannes has also changed its main media sponsors for the first time in 28 years and will work with France Télévisions and the Brut platform instead of Canal Plus Group from 2022. So far, the festival has not set up contingency plan in the summer or fall and is preparing as usual for a May edition, about three weeks after the French presidential election.

Venice Film Festival
31 Aug-Sep ten

Like Cannes, Venice has had a glorious 2021 edition filled with stars and expected films, from “Dune” to “Spencer” and also Paolo Sorrentino’s Netflix original “The Hand of God”, who is the Italian international Oscar nominee. . Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera, who is closely monitoring the evolution of the pandemic and its potential impact on winter festivals, has already started the selection process for next year’s edition. Due to its position as the kingsmaker of awards season in recent years, Netflix has had a strong presence on the lido which has become the main launching pad for the streamer’s awards race, starting with “Roma “from Alfonso Cuaron, who won three Oscars in 2019. Venice in 2022 is set to continue this trend, making Netflix’s Jane Austen’s next modern adaptation” Persuasion, “starring Dakota Johnson and Henry Golding, a potential Lido title at the sides of a more esoteric fare.

BFI London Film Festival
October 2022 to be confirmed

The 2021 edition of the London Film Film Festival, run by the British Film Institute, expanded its 2020 hybrid model and was a huge success. Operating in London and 10 partner venues across the UK, the festival boasted sold-out screenings, which drew 139,400 physical spectators and 152,300 virtual participants. The festival has screened 161 feature films and has physically hosted a galaxy of talent, including Jay Z, Beyoncé, Idris Elba, Regina King, George Clooney, Todd Haynes, Dakota Johnson, Kenneth Branagh and Bill Murray, among others. The 2022 edition hopes to build on that and return to the heyday of 2019, but COVID-19 will remain a factor. After this year’s closing film, “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” it emerged that two guests had tested positive. Next year will benefit immensely from the presence of Jason Wood, who joins the BFI in the newly created role of Director of Public Programs and Hearings. In his previous roles, Wood has led HOME, Manchester and Curzon Cinemas in London to become cultural centers of excellence and is expected to bring that to us in his tenure, which includes the London Festival, enhancing the Festival Director‘s team. Tricia Tuttle.

Pusan ​​International Film Festival
October 2022 to be confirmed

Busan, Asia’s biggest and most prestigious film festival, appears to have put most of its political, financial and managerial issues behind it. But, due to the COVID conditions, he hardly had a chance to shine under the guidance of new festival director Huh Moonyoung. The 2020 and 2021 editions were held as hybrid editions that emphasized public health measures and functioned primarily as local affairs with only a handful of foreign visitors of any kind (filmmakers, executives or the press). The last edition increased the number of face-to-face screenings and allowed the festival to resume its role of discovery by showing 223 films in front of 76,000 spectators over 10 days. The number of seats at each of the 29 sites was limited to 50%. The associated film rights market (also under new management) has been held entirely online, with the exception of a solitary and in-person IP pitching component. For next year, organizers hope the coronavirus has been banned, borders have reopened, and travel to Asia can resume.

Nick Vivarelli, Naman Ramachandran and Patrick Frater contributed to this story.


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