Such cooperation is sure to continue. Hernandez moved by it. “There was a great attraction among this unique world of people who had already gone to film festivals,” he said. “But as someone who’s been going for almost 30 years now, I’ve never felt it as close to heart as I did last year.” Hernandez discussed the ideas with Toronto co-heads, Cameron Bailey and Joanna Vicente, whose festival took a different turn last year. (Bailey and Vicente could not speak at press time due to family vacation.)
The informal support group made the road less intimidating, but were still surprised, some who had not fully played. Berlin, Celebrating its 71st edition, Opted for a two-part structure, sharing its virtual screening with the press and distributors in February, but saving the in-person audience screening for June. Berlin artistic director Carlo Chatterian is still waiting to understand how his program will be played with a crowd. “On Twitter, the comments are always overwhelmingly positive, which is good,” he jokes. “But at the same time, you ask: what is the truth?”
A Sundance series of Los Angeles-based drive-in screenings had to be abandoned at the last minute (with untold hours of labor), an unexpected coronovirus accident in transit. “That was a time when I could almost shake my fist at the gods,” Jackson said. And even when drive-ins occurred, such as New York’s sublime Queens Evening with Wong Kar-wai’s “In the Mood in Love,” the flat parking lot was unconditional to read the subtitles.
“It was a beautiful experience,” Hernández confirmed. “That said, I had to move my car twice to change. There was a little slope, a hill behind. We started calling it a balcony. If you were standing on that hill, you would get even better.” . “
Nevertheless, after surviving their anniversaries, film festivals transform for good. “Being in the Bronx and Queens and Brooklyn last year was the beginning of something, not an interim solution,” Hernandez said. “If the biggest result of 2020 was that, in 2021, we came back the way things were, it would feel like a failure to me. Now we have a little more confidence because we have done it once. We also have fight marks.
“Things evolve,” Pierson says. “Things don’t go back. Every year, we approach our work: what makes sense now? What I liked best personally was that we would do it all in South-West-South-West. We were able to. Somehow, we were able to deliver it on a screen, through a portal. “