The 18th Annual Vail Film Festival returns in virtual format this weekend. Until Sunday 11:45 p.m., the 80 films included in the festival will be shown online on the Vail Film Festival website.
Virtual festival-goers can choose to purchase an all-access pass for $ 40 which will give unlimited access to the full online catalog of shorts, documentaries, feature films, panels and question-and-answer sessions for filmmakers for the duration. of the festival. Individual screening tickets are also available for $ 10 each and can be purchased by selecting any movie on the site.
For nearly two decades, the Vail Film Festival has brought together some of the world’s foremost independent filmmakers to show their work in the valley. It has been the site of many world premieres and has earned a prominent reputation in the film industry.
This is the second year that the festival has taken place virtually due to the coronavirus. While it’s impossible to fully recreate the atmosphere of a festival in person online, festival director Corinne Hara and her team have strived to create an immersive experience through the screen.
“When you’re in person there’s the energy and buzz of everyone going from movie to movie, meeting up in the lobby and chatting, and online it’s more of a relaxed atmosphere. “Hara said. “You can stream where you want, when you want, so it gives you time to digest the film before moving on to the next one. You can go watch the Q + A, go get something to eat, and then come back and watch another one.
Typical attributes of an in-person festival, such as a red carpet and opportunities to meet filmmakers, are reproduced on the Vail Film Festival’s social media platforms. Visitors can watch 60-second clips of the filmmakers describing their work on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and can watch pre-recorded question-and-answer sessions on the films as they go.
“We tried to replicate the pieces from the film festival online as best we could,” Hara said. “It won’t replace it, but you still have social media, you can see the filmmakers talking to each other and sharing their excitement.”
Support female directors
Starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, the festival will broadcast live a panel of directors that will feature four female directors whose work is showcased this weekend. Following the #metoo movement, the Vail Film Festival has made the decision to only accept films that have at least one director, screenwriter or producer on their team. Supporting female directors around the world has now become a central part of the festival’s mission.
“We thought, when we first did it, it was just a bold move on our part, but we were really supported by the industry, the filmmakers and our sponsors,” Hara said. “It helped us see what happens when you change teams. When you see something headed by a man or by a woman, there are always differences in the way the product comes out. It gives the audience a different perspective on how to approach a story. “
Queens of pain, a film about three New York women fighting to keep their place on the world’s top roller derby team, is one of 35 documentaries included in the festival. It is directed by Cassie Hay and Amy Winston, and is a powerful example of how telling stories of women from a woman’s perspective can bring new depth and understanding to the female experience onscreen. .
“We see women in movies through men’s eyes all the time,” Winston said. “Frankly, it’s easy to reduce women to on-screen stereotypes – the mother, the aging woman, etc. But we hate it! And we’re fed up with it. So it was our top priority to show our subjects as the multifaceted women that they are – and that we all are. These shades of gray are what interests us the most.
Hay and Winston have already seen the impact their film has on audiences in previous screenings. Winston remembers a moment after a screening at the Brooklyn Film Festival when a man came to her to tell her how much he enjoyed the film.
“He started telling me how much it meant to him that his daughter grew up seeing movies like ours and seeing strong women chasing their dreams, even if they failed,” said Winston. “And he started choking, and I choked, and it was just an amazing moment to share with a complete stranger through this movie.”
Sharing real female stories like the ones from “Queens of Pain” is a major focus of the Vail Film Festival, and there are many more in the full movie guide.
“I hope viewers see women’s stories are good stories, period,” said Hay.
Tackling 2020 Themes Through The Film
With so many films designed and produced in 2020, the topics we all struggled so strongly with last year – such as social isolation, racial injustice, and polarization – are often explored as central themes. in the movies.
Chris Gero, 12-time Emmy Award-winner and Grammy-nominated record producer, had been in quarantine with his family for months when he started working on his documentary “The Sound of Us.” Watching the Black Lives Matter protests and COVID-19 losses unfold all around him, he turned to film and music to help him reconnect with a common sense of humanity.
“I was just stuck in the tornado with the rest of us, watching people lose their jobs, seeing us degrade in humanity, and I kind of got really mad,” Gero said. “When I first started working on this movie, the outpouring of creativity was pretty severe, and that was something that helped me therapeutically deal with it.”
“The Sound of Us” is made up of nine stories that demonstrate the power of music as a universal language that allows us to connect, empathize and understand each other. A longtime musician himself, Gero wanted to remind viewers that even though we sometimes feel distant and isolated from each other, music still unites us.
“I’ve lived a lifetime of seeing what good music brings to the world and to others, and how it breaks down all the awkward things,” Gero said. “I wanted to remind humanity, through music, that we are inherently good people and we are good to each other. What’s inside of you just genetically is that thing we’re all connected to, and you can’t really explain it, but we know we’re better people because of it. The whole intention of the movie is to celebrate that right now, and I’ve built it hoping people will walk away thinking ‘everything will be fine’.
At the end of the weekend, the Vail Film Festival will host an awards ceremony that will recognize jury favorites and an audience vote. Viewers are invited to vote for their favorite films, and the awards will be presented at an event broadcast live at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
All 80 films can be viewed until Sunday evening at 11:45 p.m. To purchase tickets and view the films, visit vailfilmfestival.eventive.org.