Neuchâtel 2021: Festival Outlines Its New Hybrid Ecosystem

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas (@peteramartin)
Neuchâtel 2021: Festival Outlines Its New Hybrid Ecosystem

As the global pandemic continues to persist in varying degrees this year, film festivals around the world are also faced with a daunting challenge: how do you plan an event that will be able to cope with limitations that are impossible to predict?

Our own Andrew Mack, himself a festival programmer, reached out to a number of festivals worldwide that are renowned for their genre programming, and his fascinating research can be read (again) here. Another festival we love, Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) in Switzerland, has been making plans for their 20th edition, scheduled to be held July 2-10. Let me just quote from their most recent announcement:

"The festival will once again take place in its most well-known locations, all the while offering parts of its programme online by leveraging the fully digital experience from last year. This modular programming will allow as many people as possible to enjoy the proceedings, with the hope that many can celebrate this anniversary edition in person."

The organizers have prepared a retrospective publication in advance of the event, and are also planning "a synergetic collaboration with the Neuchâtel Natural History Museum (MHNN), through which the NIFFF will set up a series of immersive installations in relation to the 'SAUVAGE' exhibition." What does that involve?

"The relationship between humans and the animal world in the light of the climate crisis will echo through these two dimensions of the programme. Throughout the festival, conferences with experts and the early screening (June 15th) of the cult movie Roar will introduce and explore this topic."

Noel Marshall's Roar is a great film, one of those that you need to see for yourself, because describing it makes it all sound impossible, as I discovered when I wrote about it last year. Tippi Hedren and her daughter, young Melanie Griffith, star.

Let me finish by quoting again from the official announcement, because I think this is a good approach to the very daunting challenge for all festivals: "The NIFFF team wants to be prepared for any eventuality, hence the hybrid and modular system that can adapt to restrictions and will allow for the main competitions to take place.

"The festival will be physically present in the city with an Open Air (Place des Halles), cinema screenings, an exhibition, and immersive installations at the Neuchâtel Natural History Museum, but parts of the programme will also be available online. The NIFFF Extended symposiums will include both remote and on-site guests during its conferences, which will be open to the public and streamed online."

More information is available at the official festival site. Roar will be screened on June 15th at 8 p.m. at the MHNN.

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