Virtual film festivals providing lockdown lifeline

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© Cameron James

Amateur filmmakers have welcomed the emergence of online film festivals in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With much of the film industry on hold, Cameron James, 25, explained that a lot of his work and collaborating with other creatives has to be done virtually.

The up and coming Liverpool-based filmmaker has produced two short films through lockdown with his most recent, “Liverpool in Limbo”, shortlisted at the Lift Off Sessions Festival.

“Lockdown has definitely inspired me to showcase my work in a different way,” said James.

“I think short film festivals have been really important during lockdown because they’ve had to adapt and change their format and put all of their films online. They’ve made it more accessible for everyone.

“They’ve been great for people like me who’ve been able to get films in those festivals and have an audience that probably wouldn’t have seen it if it was just on in a cinema somewhere.”

Callum Pauttres, 21, a postgraduate media student from Liverpool said: “Online film festivals have really been a lifeline for independent filmmakers during lockdown. After hearing about productions shutting down and film events being cancelled, it just seemed like the entire industry was put on hold.

© Cameron James

“I don’t think online film festivals will ever be a threat to the film industry itself because people love Hollywood. But I think for us amateurs, and any other independent creatives, it’s a great step in the right direction.”

Pauttres agrees that the accessibility of online platforms has provided the opportunity to showcase work to a much wider audience.

“I still want to be able to attend film festivals because I love being in that environment, but looking at the future, continuing to host them online alongside the traditional festivals, will benefit a lot of us.

“Everything is online now so it would be stupid not to carry on, especially now that we’ve had a taste as to what film festivals can be, and there’s money to be made. I even know a few people who have thought about starting their own festivals and competitions online.

“It will allow for more of us to compete in this already really competitive industry and help us work our way up in this new online environment.”



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