A fascinating debate is taking place among the organizers of major film festivals on whether to resume operations as exclusive in-person events, or instead to broaden them to also accommodate remote attendees and screenings. Sundance announced that its 2022 edition would continue to offer a mix of in-person and virtual screenings, as it did earlier this year. Sundance 2021 attracted over twice the number of attendees than the in-person festival had in prior years. This hybrid in-person and virtual format was also followed at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, where it also expanded audience numbers and engagement. TIFF has also announced its plans to continue this format for 2021.
However, not all festivals are following the virtual course. The Venice Film Festival was the only major festival in 2020 to be held as a fully in-person event, and their organizers plan to continue that tradition this year and in the future. The intent behind holding all screenings as exclusive in-person events will create a bigger “buzz” for the screened titles. Venice officials have cited the example of Nomadland, which won the Oscar for Best Picture after premiering at Venice 2020 where it also won the “Golden Lion” as the festival’s best picture.
See also: Sundance Film Festival Sets Dates For Hybrid 2022 Edition (Deadline)