Cinema vs COVID-19: Why Exhibitors Will Always Come Out Fighting

Digital Innovation during unprecedented times

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Cinema vs COVID-19: Why Exhibitors Will Always Come Out Fighting
Digital Innovation during Coronavirus

This past month hasn’t been easy.

It’s been said before and it will certainly be said again, that these are unprecedented times we find ourselves in. Many of us have been left wondering about the future and resilience of the film industry, with much-loved cinemas closing their doors, festivals forced into cancellation and filmmakers left in a seemingly unending limbo. 

COVID-19 has disrupted moviegoing as a collective experience — but there’s one thing that’s certain; we will eventually return to sitting together in the dark, united by the very thing that led us here in the first place. 

Despite the title being appropriated by ad agencies and Mad Men enthusiasts, we are, after all, ‘creatives’. In the weeks that followed the upending of our industry, complacency became a dirty word. Innovation became the new normal. 

For us at Together Films, the response to the COVID chaos highlights not only the strength of our community but the opportunity we have to support each other. Long established (and often exaggerated) rivalries between streaming services and the traditional cinematic experience are being put to one side, inspiring partnerships being forged – could it mean the beginning of the end of the fabled Streaming Wars? Globally, Film Festivals are signing pledges that will make it possible for their programmes to screen online; a once taboo prospect is quickly becoming commonplace.

Enter Kino Lorber; arthouse distributors who we spoke with at length on last week’s webinar, about the necessary move to digital, and how best to do it. With the introduction of their new initiative Kino Marquee, Kino Lorber are allowing cinemas to generate revenue and safely provide content to their audiences – all through a ‘virtual theatrical exhibition initiative’. You can find out more about their bold, creative response to the crisis here.

Over in Copenhagen, CPH:DOX, one of Europe’s largest, most established documentary film festivals, responded to government restrictions with swift plans to prepare a parallel digital version of their programme. Structural changes that make conferences, meetings and workshops available to their audiences online mimic the creativity and innovation that is seen in the films & documentaries they champion. Their official statement read: “This year we will talk together at home based on the films. And then we will be back again next year. Take care – we hope to see you online.” 
We can say for certain that we’ll be logging on. 

While this is by no means an exhaustive account of the drastic measures the film world’s taking to move things online, it’s like so many other things right now: a starting point. 

For support and guidance in taking your content online, get a Digital Perspective with Together Films at our weekly webinar, or drop us a line to find out more about our services and availability digitalresources@togetherfilms.org

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