What to expect at international film festivals in 2022

As Europe faces a new wave of COVID-19 infections and soaring cases of the Omicron variant, prospects for a strong comeback for the international film festival circuit are dim every day.

The Netherlands and Denmark have taken the strictest measures so far, while France and Germany have closed their borders to British travellers. Other countries should follow suit. The current scenario puts pressure on European festivals scheduled in the first months of the year, including the Rotterdam festival (IFFR) and the Berlinale, which could be the most impacted. Cannes and Venice, meanwhile, could be spared as they were in 2021. Here’s what we know so far about what to expect at major international festivals in 2022:

Rotterdam International Film Festival (IFFR)
26 Jan-Feb 6

With the Netherlands enforcing a strict pre-Christmas lockdown, the Rotterdam International Film Festival‘s plans for a 51st edition there could be mission impossible, but they haven’t called it off yet. The restrictions will remain in place until at least mid-January, while the festival is due to open on January 26. Reacting to Friday’s lockdown announcement, organizers said Variety that they were currently “assessing the impact and what is realistically feasible” and will announce their decision later this week. IFFR’s popular events, CineMart and Rotterdam Lab, will take place online. The Dutch documentary festival IDFA, which ended on November 28, narrowly missed the new restrictions.

Berlin Film Festival
Feb. 10-Feb. 20

After going live in 2021, the Berlin Film Festival has pledged to return with an in-person edition as long as cinemas remain open, said Berlinale executive director Mariette Rissenbeek and artistic director Carlo Chatrian. Variety Monday. Although very little information about the selection has been released so far, Chatrian is in the process of assembling its jury (led by M. Night Shyamalan) and its lineup, which it hopes will be broader and more accessible than its first two editions, according to industry sources. Several French films are expected to have their world premiere at the 72nd edition of the festival, including “Fire” by Claire Denis with Juliette Binoche and Vincent Lindon; “Peter von Kant” by François Ozon with Isabelle Adjani; “Passengers of the Night” by Mikhaël Hers with Charlotte Gainsbourg and Emmanuelle Béart; and “Nobody’s Hero” by Alain Guiraudie with Doria Tillier and Noémie Lvovsky. The European Film Market is also on track for an in-person edition and around 2,000 have registered so far. Due to the pandemic, the festival – which is the first to take place under the new German political leadership – and the market will not hold cocktail parties or parties, and screenings will have to be booked online. Given the travel restrictions, it will be difficult to organize a truly international festival with Asian, American and British delegates likely to be absent from this edition.

Cannes film festival
May 17-28

After a bullish 2021 edition which saw Julia Ducournau’s “Titanium” win the Palme d’Or from a jury chaired by Spike Lee, Cannes is preparing for another great year in 2022 to mark the 75th anniversary of the festival. Cannes chief Thierry Fremaux is already scouting for top US titles and talent, and also still hopes to bring Netflix back to the festival, which could happen if the streamer agrees to world premiere its films outside of the slate. competition. As a sign of their friendly relationship, Netflix recently teamed up with the Institut Lumière de Fremaux in Lyon to organize a week of gala previews. In 2021, the festival selection was oversized with, among other things, a Cannes Premiere section (which may not be back in 2022, according to an insider). What could remain for 2022 are the screenings on the beach organized as part of the Cinéma de la Plage programming. Cannes has also changed its main media sponsors for the first time in 28 years and will work with France Télévisions and the Brut platform instead of Canal Plus Group from 2022. For the moment, the festival has not put in place any Contingency plan in the summer or fall and prepare for a May edition as usual, about three weeks after the French presidential election.

Venice Film Festival
August 31-Sept. ten

Like Cannes, Venice had a glorious 2021 edition packed with stars and expected films, from ‘Dune’ to ‘Spencer’ and also Paolo Sorrentino’s Netflix original ‘The Hand of God’, which is Italy’s international Oscar nominee. . Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera, who is closely following the evolution of the pandemic and its potential impact on winter festivals, has already started the selection process for next year’s edition. Due to its position as the kingmaker of awards season in recent years, Netflix has had a large presence on the lido which has become the main launching pad for the streamer’s awards race, starting with “Roma” d ‘Alfonso Cuaron, who won three Oscars in 2019. Venice in 2022 is set to continue that trend, making Netflix’s upcoming modern Jane Austen adaptation “Persuasion,” starring Dakota Johnson and Henry Golding, a potential Lido title at the sides of more esoteric fares.

London BFI Film Festival
October 2022 to be confirmed

The 2021 edition of the London Film Film Festival, managed by the British Film Institute, developed its 2020 hybrid model and was a huge success. Operating in London and 10 partner venues across the UK, the festival presented mostly sold-out screenings, which attracted 139,400 physical spectators and 152,300 virtual attendees. The festival screened 161 feature films and physically hosted a galaxy of talent, including Jay Z, Beyoncé, Idris Elba, Regina King, George Clooney, Todd Haynes, Dakota Johnson, Kenneth Branagh and Bill Murray, among others. The 2022 edition hopes to build on that and return to the heady days of 2019, but COVID-19 will remain a factor. After this year’s closing film, ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’, it emerged that two guests had tested positive. Next year will benefit immensely from the presence of Jason Wood, who joins the BFI in the newly created role of Director of Public Programs and Audiences. In her previous roles, Wood led London’s HOME, Manchester and Curzon cinemas to become cultural centers of excellence and is expected to bring this to her tenure, which includes the London festival, by strengthening the festival director’s team. Tricia Tuttle.

Busan International Film Festival
October 2022 to be confirmed

Busan, Asia’s biggest and most prestigious film festival, seems to have left behind most of its political, financial and management problems. But, due to COVID conditions, it barely got a chance to shine under new festival director Huh Moonyoung. The 2020 and 2021 editions played out as hybrid editions that emphasized public health measures and operated as largely local affairs with only a handful of foreign visitors of all kinds (filmmakers, executives or press). The latest edition expanded the number of in-person screenings and allowed the festival to relaunch its role of discovery, showing 223 films to 76,000 viewers over 10 days. The capacity of each of the 29 sites was limited to 50%. The Associated Film Rights Marketplace (also under new management) took place entirely online except for a solitary, in-person IP presentation leg. For next year, organizers hope the coronavirus has been banned, borders have reopened and travel to Asia can resume.

Nick Vivarelli, Naman Ramachandran and Patrick Frater contributed to this story.

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