The Sydney Film Festival will go ahead in a smaller and all-digital format next month, organizers announced on Monday. They had previously announced that this year’s event would be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, and that the next edition would be held in 2021.
The virtual festival will run June 10-21. The program will include: world premieres of compelling true stories from some of Australian documentary filmmakers; a program of shorts from rising stars of the Australian film industry; and films from European female directors.
It will also host a series of prize events: the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary; the Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films; and Europe! Voices of Women in Film.
“This year’s special 67th Sydney Film Festival: Virtual Edition and Awards is all about bringing audiences across the nation together at a particularly challenging time in celebration of filmmakers and particularly the Australian film industry,” said Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley in a prepared statement.
Organizers describe the virtual edition of the SFF as a national event. But they did not explain whether all components would be ticketed and require payment. Nor did they say whether events and screenings could be accessed from outside the country. The technology provider was also not identified.
Details of the line-up and ticket sales procedures will be unveiled on May 27.
Australia has recorded 6,801 coronavirus infections and 95 deaths from the disease. The country has been in a strict lockdown since late March, but authorities are now sufficiently confident that they have the disease under control that they are discussing a phased reduction of restrictions. De-escalation measures could include opening Australia’s borders to travelers from New Zealand, another Asia-Pacific country which has largely tamed the outbreak.