Volume 22, Issue 8 / August 2018

Film Festival Reports: FNC, Karlovy Vary, Hot Docs

In this issue Offscreen focuses its attention on some local (to Montreal) and international film festivals. Our ability to cover the latter is not due to a travel budget (trust me, we don’t have one) but the good fortune of having some great correspondents (if I can call them that) across the world who provide us with a continuous sampling of what is happening festival wise around our globe. Distinguished scholar of Turkish and Middle Eastern cinema Gönül Dönmez-Colin provides us with our single non-Canadian festival coverage this issue, with her report on the 53rd Karlovy Vary International Film, from the Czech Republic. Jordan Adler spent most of his waking hours during April 26 to May 6, 2018 at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival (Hot Docs for short), and felt the pulse of a festival whose programming is being impacted by the changes brought on by the #MeToo movement. Jordan appreciates the diversity and increased presence of female filmmakers, but notes that the films themselves are not necessarily advancing the documentary from a formal standpoint. The next two reports, by Frédéric St-Hilaire and Donato Totaro, dissect the Festival of New Cinema (Festival du nouveau cinéma, or FNC for locals). (Coverage of the 2018 festival is forthcoming.) The final article shifts the focus from one type of festival to perhaps the future of festivals, the online world of web cinema, with its multitude of streaming venues, archives, and download platforms. Paul Salmon surveys the then (he wrote the article in 2017) constantly evolving world of digital film screening, and sees a ray of light for cinephiles, especially those living off the theatrical grid of major cities. Of course in the digital world things move fast. And at the time of this issue, Criterion announced that the streaming service that offered their whole collection, Filmstruck, was being shut down by Turner and Warner Bros. Digital Networks. An indication of how ephemeral film collecting is on the web. It stems from the same frustration consumers feel with companies such as Google Play, Youtube, Amazon Prime, and itunes, that ‘sell’ you a product (for an expensive price) but then make it difficult if not impossible for you to actually ‘own’ that product (i.e. download it onto your computer so you can convert it to another format or burn it onto a disc), and bear the right to make that product disappear from your online space. (Donato Totaro, ed.)

PS: Feature image from the film Crystal Swan

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