14-07-2020

FESTIVALS: Motovun Film Festival Moves Amid COVID-19 Concerns

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MOTOVUN: The Motovun Film Festival decided to move their screenings from the old city of Motovun, which has hosted the festival since 1999, following the recommendation by the Istrian County Civil Protection Department.

“The pandemic that the world currently finds itself embroiled in has decimated over half a million lives worldwide. So it is not surprising, that our small film event has been challenged with survival this year, in a way that has never before been the case, even in our darkest political or financial days”, said Mike Downey, Chairman of the European Film Academy and the President of the Council of Advisors of the Motovun Film Festival, exclusively for FNE.

The festival was scheduled to take place between 30 July and 1 August 2020 in a three-day format that was previously announced as a safer alternative to a full-week festival. The shortened programme included a feature film competition, a tribute to this year’s winner of the Maverick of Motovun award Radu Jude, and the EFA-nominated short film competition. Due to the deterioration of the epidemiological situation caused by the Covid-19 outbreak in Croatia, the concept had to be adjusted even further.

Motovun fest“When we decided that the festival would take place, there were zero Covid-19 patients in Croatia and optimism was on the rise, but even back then we knew that we should be prepared for a trend reversal. We made this decision because of the responsibility that we feel for the people and visitors of Motovun and for more than a hundred members of the festival crew. Our responsible behaviour is our contribution to the general cause,” said festival director Igor Mirković.

Buzz@teen, a festival programme of children’s and youth films, will be taking place as scheduled, 23-26 July, in a nearby town of Buzet. The festival did not have to cancel because the programme’s format does not include any high-risk side events. For the same reason, screenings across Istrian County are also being prepared. The screenings in Zagreb’s Tuškanac Summer Stage (31 July – 3 August) and summer screenings along the Adriatic coast, and an extensive programme in Zagreb’s Lauba venue (27 August – 6 September) were also announced. If the situation further deteriorates, parts of these programmes could be presented online.

“Many of you cinema lovers I know are also lovers of the ‘beautiful game’ and will be familiar with the legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankley’s, tersely iconic statement: ‘Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don't like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.’ Jokes apart (and Shankley wasn’t joking), cinema, as we all are very much aware of in the European Film Academy, is important, very important.  But it is not more important than a deep understanding of the sanctity of human life,” Mike Downey concluded.