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Up and running: Europe on Screen gets virtual revamp

Josa Lukman

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, November 21, 2020  /  11:25 am
Up and running: Europe on Screen gets virtual revamp

Love and flair: 'Swoon', the opening film of Europe on Screen 2020, tells the story of Ninni and John, heirs to rival amusement parks who fall in forbidden love. (Courtesy of Nordisk Film/epost-robot)

After having been postponed because of the pandemic, the 20th annual Europe on Screen (EoS) film festival is up and running – albeit virtually.

Originally set to run from April 9 to April 19 in nine cities in Indonesia, the in-person festival had to be canceled as the pandemic shuttered venues and forced the suspension of many events.

About half a year later, the film festival is opening its doors online from Nov. 16 to Nov. 30 through online film festival platform Festival Scope.

Vincent Piket, European Union Ambassador to Indonesia, said in a virtual press conference that out of the festival’s 30-year history, this year would be special because every screening would be digital, rather than the usual cinema or open-air screenings.

“I don’t need to explain the reason why, but we simply have to adapt to the circumstances. Of course, this is a disadvantage in some respects. We’ve all missed the silver screen, the bustle as everybody is entering the movie halls,” he said.

“But we’ve tried to compensate in a positive way, namely with a selection of the very best and some of the very latest films that Europe has to offer.”

EoS 2020 opened with a screening of the award-winning romantic musical drama Swoon (2019) from Sweden.

Starring Frida Gustavsson and Albin Grenholm, the movie tells the story of Ninni and John, two heirs to rivaling amusement parks who fall in forbidden love despite their feuding families and the political turmoil of the 1940s.

The closing movie, 2018 German comedy How About Adolf, lampoons the country’s contemporary attitudes about its past as a middle class family is thrown into chaos and intrigue after the black sheep of the family Thomas (Florian David Fitz) announces that he intends to give his son a first name made infamous by Hitler.

Fresh twist: German comedy 'How About Adolf' lampoons the country’s contemporary attitudes about its past.Fresh twist: German comedy 'How About Adolf' lampoons the country’s contemporary attitudes about its past. (Courtesy of Constantin Film Produktion/epost-robot)

For everything else in between, the list of movies is split into three categories: festivities, featuring feature-length films; realities, showcasing documentaries; and the world premieres of the EoS 2019 Short Film Pitching Project winners.

Spiritual fervor: 'Corpus Christi', Poland's entry for Best International Feature at the 92nd Academy Awards, is about a released criminal who poses as a village priest out of his own wish to become one.  Spiritual fervor: 'Corpus Christi', Poland's entry for Best International Feature at the 92nd Academy Awards, is about a released criminal who poses as a village priest out of his own wish to become one. (Courtesy of Kino Świat/epost-robot)

Notable films include Corpus Christi (2019), a Polish religious drama that was the country’s official entry in the Best International Feature category of the 92nd Academy Awards. 

Also of note is award-winning 2019 documentary For Sama, which profiles Syrian journalist and activist Waad Al-Kateab and her journey from an 18-year-old marketing student during the 2011 uprising to raising her daughter Sama Al-Kateab in war-torn Syria with her husband Hamza Al-Kateab, one of the last remaining doctors in Aleppo.

Survivor: The 2019 documentary 'For Sama' profiles Syrian journalist and activist Waad Al-Kateab, following her journey raising her daughter Sama Al-Kateab in war-torn Syria. Survivor: The 2019 documentary 'For Sama' profiles Syrian journalist and activist Waad Al-Kateab, following her journey raising her daughter Sama Al-Kateab in war-torn Syria. (Courtesy of PBS Distribution/epost-robot)

While the movies are still free of charge, viewers will have to register for a Festival Scope account, after which they can select the EoS festival on the website.

The movies run on a schedule, and tickets can only be reserved on the day of the screening.

As at the regular festival, only a limited number of tickets are available on a first-come-first-served basis, although the movies are available on the account for the next five days and for 30 hours after clicking play.

However, some compromises had to be made for the festival’s online format.

While the initial lineup of EoS 2020 was to include some 100 movies, the online edition’s repertoire is less than half of that, with 40 feature-length films and one short movie compilation.

Festival codirector Nauval Yazid said that while the team had tried to retain the original lineup from April, the change of format required the organizers to ask permission from the films’ rights holders to screen them online.

“As it turned out, not all the films could be screened online, so we had to look for replacements. The percentage is about 50-50 [of newly selected films and those from the original lineup],” he said.

Codirector Meninaputri Wismurti noted that the organizers needed to clear the film rights for screening, as some titles were not available for distribution in Indonesia.

“One of the biggest challenges in holding an online festival is just that, clearing the rights, as Indonesia is one of the countries where copyright infringement is still widespread. We appreciate the film distributors who have trusted us to screen the films in Indonesia with a limitation on the number of tickets.” (ste)

 

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