YouTube announces Free Virtual Film Festival ‘We Are One’

As COVID-19 continues to upset the cinematic calendar, film festivals have been forced to cancel or postpone en masse. In the wake of such disruption, YouTube and Tribeca Enterprises (the organisation behind New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival) have partnered to bring us an entirely virtual film festival named “We Are One: A Global Film Festival”.

Taking place over ten days from 29 May to 7 June, the festival will be free and accessible to all on the ‘We Are One’ YouTube channel. Viewers can also choose to donate, with proceeds going to the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund as well as local relief partners across the world.

Although a full lineup has yet to be released, organisers have promised it will feature films, shorts, documentaries, music, comedy and conversations. According to Deadline, the press release from the festivals’ organisers indicates there will be “new and classic” movies, but on the whole any features are expected to be titles which have already been released but had little exposure at the time. Cannes Film Festival for example has apparently not submitted any movies but will be sending some “masterclass content”. One notable exception from the participating festivals however will be SXSW, which has partnered with Amazon to stream 39 films, shorts and series which were originally meant to be shown when SXSW was scheduled to take place in March. Instead, SXSW has also chosen to host a free, virtual event which will start later this week.

Although organisers from the individual film festivals have stressed that this virtual event by YouTube is in no way a replacement for physical events, in this current situation brought on by COVID-19 it seems that digital is the best way forward to continue celebrating the best of cinema in 2020.

A full list of the participating film festivals is as follows:

  • Annecy International Animation Film Festival
  • Berlin International Film Festival
  • BFI London Film Festival
  • Cannes Film Festival
  • Guadalajara International Film Festival
  • International Film Festival & Awards Macao (IFFAM)
  • Jerusalem Film Festival
  • Mumbai Film Festival (MAMI)
  • Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
  • Locarno Film Festival
  • Marrakech International Film Festival
  • New York Film Festival
  • San Sebastian International Film Festival
  • Sarajevo Film Festival
  • Sundance Film Festival
  • Sydney Film Festival
  • Tokyo International Film Festival
  • Toronto International Film Festival
  • Tribeca Film Festival
  • Venice Film Festival

Words by Yasmin Bye

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