The Brooklyn Film Festival starts this week. Running from the 3rd to the 12th it is one of New York City's hidden treasures. Its a festival that always has a lot of gems you might never see otherwise. It is a delight from top to bottom.
I've been playing catch up with a bunch of recent films so expect reviews between now and the festival.
This is going to be more of interest to fellow film writers but at the same time some of you may find this interesting:
I'm wondering how much longer we are going to be able to sustain virtual festival coverage. I'm not talking about a steady diet of screeners (which is how many films are seen now) rather I'm talking about the big festivals dumping their whole festival on line for members of the press and saying have at it.
It has become a thing since covid when that was the only way to see a fest. But , as we try to go back to normal, some fests are still doing it and the question is is it helping or hurting the films?
I ask because there when you have several dozen films set out before you you tend to be picky. This film doesn't work fifteen minutes in move to the next one. If we are in a theater we'd give it longer, especially when you know you can't try several other things instantly. I say this having done this at a couple of recent festivals only to see the film again at a less crowded festival and realize I made a big mistake, I should have stayed to the end. And then there is the desire to jump to the end and go back to earlier in the film because you want to see if the film is worth finishing, thus ruining the narrative flow the director intended.
The other problem is that film going is a social event, and being social adds to the enjoyment and processing of a film. Yea, it's nice to be home in your bunny suit watching films for a week at a time, but at the same time the social interaction suffers. Not being able to talk about a film you've just seen alters how a film is received. Seriously you watch five films in a day and write them up alone and then do it with friends and colleagues , pausing to argue over food and drinks and you'll realize your view point is different. Even if you watch films at about the same time and talk on line the fact everyone is time shifted means some of the people talking are actually thinking of other things, like another movie.
This was never a real problem up until recently because even when I was doing a big fest via screeners more often then not they would give me the films way in advance I had lots of extra time to wander through the titles at my leisure. But now some fests are opening the libraries only for the festival so it's crunch time and pick and choose in a wholly unnatural way. Doing it now and again, when you know thats the deal going in is okay, but more and more festivals are doing it, and frankly it's not helping the films or filmmakers since we can't give the films our best if we are going to be covering more than a couple of films.
I mean think about it, you're home for a week watching films and because you can stop and start films you're getting up and getting food, taking calls, doing work, going on line, going for walks, watching with friends and family who may want you to replay scenes because they didn't catch something. The carefully designed cinematic experience is gone- more so because the cat keeps hitting the remote and messing up the picture..
Are we as film writers really doing the film justice by not seeing it under optimal conditions?
Frankly anyone writing on a virtual festival should apologize to the filmmakers because they aren't doing the right thing.
This isn't a film festival experience but a bullshit one.
Again this is in regard to full festival drops with a limited time frame to see the films.
And it doesn't apply to being a civilian and buying a virtual festival pass, as I will do for the VICA Fine Arts Fest, where you aren't expecting nor expected to see everything, to write on everything and can graze at your will purely for your enjoyment.