NEWS

2020 Fantasia Film Festival to Be Held Online

Brendan Frye  X  May 1, 2020 

With in-person gatherings still a long way off, festivals planning to take place this summer have had to look to alternative concepts. The major genre event the Fantasia Festival is one such event, now moving to an online-only format for 2020. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the new event, now taking place Aug 20 to Sep 2, will be a virtual event.

Festival organizers will adopt the Festival Scope and Shift72’s virtual screening platform, which will allow for an online DRM that will be up to the Motion Picture Association of America’s security standards. The same system was recently used for the CPH:DOX and Visions du Reel online festivals.

“While we’re saddened not to be able to put on the larger-than-life physical event that we’d been planning for this year, we’re extremely excited to be working with Festival Scope and Shift72 on an unconventional virtual edition,” Fantasia co-director Mitch Davis in a recent statment.

This years edition was previously set to run from July 16 to Aug. 5 in Montreal, with public screenings and Q&A's with the filmmakers, but due to the recent pandemic, this had to be changed, and with Montreal public health authorities advertisements in place, this new online-only format that puts the safety of the public and filmmakers at the forefront of this year's festival.

“They’ve enthusiastically embraced every challenge we’ve thrown their way, particularly when it comes to making so many of our screenings be real-time, live events instead of the usual streaming approach,” Davis added. “It’s going to make things so much more exciting and will go a long way toward keeping the intensity and engagement of the in-person experience vibrant in an online realm.”

For this year's digital event, each film with have firm start times, will have limited seating, and will be geo-locked to Canada. Each screening will also have a limited number of tickets that will vary by film and filmmaker and will range from 600 to 1,200 tickets and will be sold only to those with Canadian IP Addresses.

Digital screenings, much like during the physical event, will offer a Q&A with filmmakers for the Fantasia’s at-home audience to enjoy and participate in. The competitions will continue, with the jury members viewing and voting on films remotely, and with deliberations to happen online to choose winners. Fantasia is just the latest festival to move to an online-only format for 2020, others include South by Southwest, Tribeca, Hot Docs and the Banff World Media Festival.