With theatres around the world closed due to the, international film festivals have joined together virtually, with We Are One: A Global Film Festival, kicking off May 29 on YouTube.
Thewill screen more than 100 films — for free — including world and North American premieres. The lineup ranges from narrative features, documentaries and short films, to recorded panel discussions with leading filmmakers, and virtual reality presentations.
Films will be streamed at youtube.com/WeAreOne.
The festival was conceived last month when the Tribeca Film Festival (which was to have kicked off in April) and other festivals around the world started cancelling their plans. Tribeca co-founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal said Thursday, “To put on a film festival and do this and collaborate with our colleagues globally, that wasn’t a challenge. It was an opportunity for us to do something that is bringing us all together, and also raise funds for these organizations that are helping the world fight this virus.”
The slate of offerings has been co-curated by 21 leading international festivals, including Berlin, Cannes, London, Mumbai, New York, Sundance, Tokyo, Toronto, Tribeca and Venice.
Though films will be available to stream for free, donations are requested for COVID-19 relief efforts, to support a collection of organizations, including Save the Children, UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, World Health Organization, and others.
Tribeca co-founder Robert De Niro said Thursday that when the idea was first broached, “There was a little bit of inertia, because of, who really knew where we were [with the pandemic] and where we’d be and how serious the whole outcome would eventually be? But once people started seeing what was going to happen, this was a great thing to do.”
The films being featured characterize the flavor of each contributing festival. One of the Indian features presented by the Mumbai Film Festival, Arun Karthick’s “Nasir,” was originally supposed to have its North American premiere at the New Directors/New Films Festival in New York this spring, until that festival was canceled.
The action film “Crazy World” was featured at the Toronto International Film Festival’s “Midnight Madness” section last year. Its filmmakers will do live social media as they present the film in We Are One.
Cameron Bailey, Toronto’s artistic director, spoke of the energy and humor of “Crazy World,” an example of Uganda’s “Wakaliwood” genre films: “These remarkable young people who are making films with whatever they have at hand, they’re influenced by Hollywood action movies, by Bollywood, by Asian action movies, and they make their own versions for essentially sometimes hundreds of dollars!”
Festival directors — who might ordinarily compete with one another for premieres and events on the festival circuit — were hopeful that We Are One would represent a complementary venue for filmmakers and film lovers alongside traditional, “real world” festival screenings. Smriti Kiran, artistic director of the Mumbai Film Festival, said, “This is something we should explore going forward as an annual event.”
In terms of what the future of film festivals may be, Rosenthal said, “We’ve found this in-between stage for us to gather together and be able to help inspire and instigate imaginations. Hopefully film festivals will go on again — what date, who knows? But doing something in a virtual world and the real world, one doesn’t preclude the other. They can happen in unison.”
“Who know where it will go in the future with things like this?” said De Niro. “I don’t know if it’s the new normal, but it possibly could be. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.”
Feature film lineup
- “Late Marriage” (France/Israel: 2001) — A handsome Ph.D. student is marketed by his family as an eligible bachelor, while he hides his affair with a Moroccan divorcée (May 30).
- “Eeb Allay Ooo” (India: 2019) — In New Delhi a young migrant gets a job shooing away monkeys, despite being terrified of them (May 30).
- “Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy” (Thailand: 2013) — A fantasy about the peripatetic imaginary life of a Thai teenager (June 3).
- “Tremble All You Want” (Japan: 2017) — A young woman with an “imaginary” boyfriend suddenly finds herself with a real-life one (June 5).
- “Adela Has Not Had Supper Yet” (1978) — A Czech fantasy-detective story featuring a man-eating plant. Animations by Jan Švankmajer (June 6).
- “Crazy World” (2014) — From the Ugandan film studio Wakaliwood, specialists in exploitation fare, comes this martial arts extravaganza about child-kidnappers coming up against diminutive kung fu experts (May 29).
- “Electric Swan” (Argentina/France/Greece: 2019) — A dream-like vision of a Buenos Aires in which a moving apartment building sickens the populace (Mary 29).
- “Ticket of No Return” (Germany: 1979) — Tabea Blumenschein stars in Ulrike Ottinger’s flamboyant tale of a woman who travels to Berlin with one purpose: to drink (June 1).
- “Beyond The Mountain” (Mexico: 2018) – A young man whose mother is found dead searches for the father who abandoned them both (June 2).
- “Shiraz: A Romance of India” (1928, restored 2018) – A landmark silent epic about the love story that inspired the building of the Taj Mahal (June 2).
- “Sisterhood” (Macau: 2016) – A story of friendship and secrets uncovered decades later (June 2).
- “Volubilis” (France/Morocco/Qatar: 2017) – A young married couple’s life is turned upside-down by an act of violence (June 3).
- “Wrath of Silence” (China: 2017) — A father, mute, enters an underworld of corruption when his son goes missing in this thriller from Xin Yukun (June 4).
- “Ice Cream and the Sound of Raindrops” (Japan: 2017) — “The show must go on,” as a theater troupe rehearses even after opening night is canceled, and real life and fiction begins to blur (June 4).
- “Amreeka” (Canada/Kuwait: 2009) — A Palestinian single mother and her teenage son encounter racism after emigrating to a small town in Illinois (June 5).
- “SEE Factory Sarajevo mon amour” (2019) — An anthology of stories about motherhood set in Sarajevo (June 5).
- “Air Conditioner” (Angola: 2020) — In this surreal tale a security guard investigator the mystery of falling air conditioners (June 6).
- “A City Called Macau” (China: 2019) — High-stakes melodrama involving a casino broker and VIP clients in Macau’s gambling underworld (June 6).
- “Nasir” (India/Netherlands: 2020) — An observational tale of a Muslim salesman in a majority-Hindu city in southern India (June 6).
- “Mystery Road” (Australia: 2013) — A cowboy-detective hunts down a teenage girl’s murders in the Outback (June 7).
- “Dantza” (2018) — A Basque musical that evokes the history, culture and myths of northern Spain (June 4).
- “The Epic of Everest” (1924, restored 2013) — Shot in 1924, documenting a British expedition’s attempt to summit Mount Everest, during which George Mallory and Andrew “Sandy” Irvine died (June 4).
- “Rudeboy: The Story of Trojan Records” (2018) — Director Nicolas Jack Davies looks at the influence of reggae and ska in Briain in the late 1960s and early ’70s (May 29).
- “Mugaritz B.S.O.” (2011) — San Sebastian chef Andoni Luis Aduriz and musician Felipe Ugarte embark on a multimedia project, turning a restaurant menu into a musical experience (May 30).
- “Love Chapter 2” — This record of choreographer Sharon Eyal’s award-winning 2017 presentation explores the concepts of social isolation and solitude in today’s world (that is, a world before pandemic). Music by DJ Ori Lichtik (May 30).
- “Ricky Powell: The Individualist” (2020) — The street photographer captured the downtown New York scene in the 1980s and ’90s (May 30). “Kmêdeus” (2020) — A mystical exploration of Cape Verde, featuring dancer António Tavares (June 3).
- “Los Pasos Dobles” (2011) — Isaki Lacuesta reimagines the life of painter François Augiéras (June 5).
- “Bridges of Sarajevo” (2014) — Thirteen directors (including Jean-Luc Godard, Ursula Meier, Leonardo Di Costanzo and Vladimir Perisic) contributed to this anthology film marking the centenary of the start of World War I: the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo (May 31).
- “45 Days in Harvar” — Artist César Aréchiga enters a Mexican maximum security prison, where he recreates his home and teaches 15 inmates about sculpture, modeling and painting (June 1).
- “Beautiful Things” (Italy: 2017) — How workers throughout the industrial process — from oil rig to freighter to lab — contribute to rampant consumerism (June 3).
- “Grab” (2012) — Follows three families participating in an annual festive tradition of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe (June 4).
- “Wake Up: Stories From the Frontlines of Suicide Prevention” — Four stories of veterans, students, gun owners and the LGBT community confronting the violence of self-harm (June 4).
- “The Iron Hammer” (2020) — Joan Chen directs this documentary of Chinese Olympian “Jenny” Lang Ping (June 7).
Archived talks with filmmakers are featured, including Steven Soderbergh’s entertaining interview of Francis Ford Coppola about his career, and the making and restoration of “Apocalypse Now,” from the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival (June 2). Also: Sundance panels with Jackie Chan (May 29) and Jane Campion (May 31); Guillermo del Toro, from the Marrakech International Film Festival (May 31); Diego Luna, from the Guadalajara International Film Festival (June 1); Ang Lee and Kore-eda Hirokazu, from the Berlin International Film Festival (June 5); Viggo Mortensen & David Cronenberg, from the Toronto International Film Festival (June 6); and John Waters from the Locarno Film Festival (June 7).
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