The 23rd Shanghai International Film Festival has a different flavor this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, as most entries will be shown online instead of in a theater, while the opening and closing ceremonies are canceled.
Max Yang, film producer and former director of the Marketing Department of the Shanghai International Film Festival, said that the film festival this year is implementing strict social distancing regulations.
"We see limited screenings and controlled seating, and the festival requires manpower and extra money to operate compared to the previous year," said Yang, who added that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to innovate.
He said the film market is shifting online since cinemas are running at minimal capacity. Also, lots of activities such as outdoor screenings, film forums and film master classes are opening up for people who are interested in the film industry.
"All cinemas are running at minimal capacity … so we see the market is shifting to online, and projects can be viewed on the internet. Also there are outdoor screenings every night in Shanghai which make the movie going experience more accessible," Yang said.
Oriental Pearl Group's subsidiary BesTV has been a main partner of both the Shanghai International Film Festival and Shanghai TV Festival over the past few years. The company has set up an online movie exhibition section this year to provide movie screenings, news about the festivals, and public events. Subscribers will be able to watch all content at no extra charge, including the films "Ana" from Albania and "Motherland" from Lithuania.
"People will be able to watch the movies that normally wouldn't be screened in theaters, and also learn all the news about each festival. Everyone in China will be able to take part in the festival from their home," said Yu Chunlei from Oriental Pearl Group BesTV.
Cinemas had been closed for half a year and have only recently reopened. Under the current situation, the Shanghai International Film Festival is the first in China and the world's first festival this year since the COVID-19 pandemic set to light up film fans' passion.
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