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Europe on Screen decides 'the show must go on', in spite of COVID-19 fears

Josa Lukman
Josa Lukman

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Mon, March 9, 2020  /  04:22 pm
Europe on Screen decides 'the show must go on', in spite of COVID-19 fears

A deep stare: "Loreak" (2016) is one of the highlights of the Road to Europe on Screen mini-festival this March. The mini-festival is a pre-event for the main Europe on Screen festival in April. (Europeonscreen.org/-)

Even as events around the world are being cancelled or postponed left and right, Europhiles and cinephiles need not worry: the Europe on Screen (EoS) annual film festival is still set to go ahead in April.

While its website might still be under construction when this article is published, its social media accounts on the Twitterverse (@EuropeonScreen), Instagram (europeonscreen, #20EOS20) and Facebook (@europeonscreen) are alive and kicking with nearly daily updates on the "Road to Europe on Screen 2020".

Slated to run from April 9 to 19, the 20th iteration of the EoS will be showcasing approximately 100 films for movie aficionados in nine cities across Indonesia – and it's still free!

While the lineup is to be revealed at a press conference at the end of the month, viewers should keep an open mind for what's coming up, says festival co-director Nauval Yazid.

"I always say to cinemagoers, just come with an open mind about the movies. You may research the movie on your own, but don't be easily swayed by reviews, as sometimes they could be misleading," he said, noting that the reviewer's experience can differ from their own.

Fellow co-director Meninaputri Wismurti added that the film selection would be relatively recent, with the "oldest" releases from 2018.

While the two directors were both tight-lipped about the lineup, Meninaputri noted that the festival never carried a central theme and only aimed to screen the latest, diverse movies on offer from the European film industry.

To relieve potential festivalgoers from holding their collective breath until April, the organizers have launched the Road to Europe on Screen 2020 pre-festival event, so they can watch (or re-watch) the offerings from EoS 2019.

The event will screen nine movies at five venues over the first three weekends in March, with one "surprise" fare to be screened on March 13 at the Austrian Embassy in Jakarta.

Highlights from last year's lineup include Loreak (2016) on March 7, the official 2016 submission from Spain to the Academy Award's Best Foreign Language Feature category (renamed just last year to Best International Feature Film, just in case any Oscars fans are out there policing the web).

Another nominee in this category was Norway's Kon-Tiki (2013), which will be screened on March 14 at the Institut Français d'Indonésie (IFI) Jakarta.

Still, in light of the current global health emergency, the venues have taken additional precautions, with Istituto Italiano di Cultura (IIC) Jakarta scanning the body temperature of attendees before admitting them entry to the March 6 double-billed screening of The Charmer and This Must Be The Place. Those with temperatures above 37 degrees Celsius, understandably, were denied entry.

Meanwhile, the seats inside the venue were placed farther apart, which potentially reduced the number of attendees.

Nauval said that the EoS only found out on the day of the screening that the IIC management had taken special measures. He also noted that the other venues of the pre-festival event had yet to notify them of any prevention procedures, if any.

"We're monitoring the situation each day, but [...] all EoS plans are still set to go ahead. The festival will still go ahead, including the open-air screenings," he said, adding that none of the venues had cancelled so far.

As for the number of tickets, Meninaputri said that EoS had not limited the number of tickets, and still planned to print tickets according to a venue's capacity.

"However, if the venues do decide to limit the number of attendees, then we will adjust accordingly. We cannot force them to stick to our plans, as they have their own policies that we must respect as [their] partners," she said. "So far, it's business as usual."

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