Does locking yourself up somewhere all alone for a week and just watching movies sound like your idea of bliss? Then have we got a film festival for you.
The Gothenburg Film Festival is conducting a “pandemic cinema experiment” in the form of a contest. One candidate chosen from applicants around the globe will be treated to a week’s stay at the site of the historic Pater Noster Lighthhouse located on the craggy island of Hamneskär off the west coast of Sweden.
While there, the winning cinephile will get free room and board along with unlimited access to this year’s festival roster of films. “They are totally isolated. They are not allowed to bring anyone, of course, but also no phone and not even a book,” artistic director Jonas Holmberg, told CBC’s As It Happens. “…It will be only this person and the sea, the waves, the sky and the 60 different premieres that we are screening at the festival.”
Inspired by the pandemic, Holmberg says the experiment aims to examine how social distancing has transformed the movie-watching experience. The most obvious change is the shift from in-person to online and at-home movie viewership.
While traditionally, going to the movies has been something of a communal experience shared with other members of an audience, the trend now is to view films either alone or in small groups. Where once people went to the movies for company, more and more, the films themselves are what provide communal connection.
According to the festival website, “Göteborg Film Festival 2021 will be anything but conventional. No crowds, no parties, no sold-out cinemas. This year’s festival focus, Social Distances, explores the new world that has emerged in the wake of the pandemic. What does film mean to us when we are isolated from everything else? To investigate, we are opening a brand-new cinema. In the middle of the ocean.
“No phone, no family, no friends. Just you, the sea and the festival’s film program with 60 film premieres. For seven days.”
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Requisites for the winner, according to Holmberg, are number one: the person must be a true film fan; number two: he or she must either enjoy or tolerate solitude well; number three: since they’ll be expected to document the experience with a video diary, it’s crucial for them to be an adept communicator.
“They will talk about how life is on the island and how these special conditions have affected the relationship to the films that they have seen,” Holmberg says.
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The immersive solo movie experience takes place from January 30 through February 6. The winner will live in the lighthouse keeper’s home but all movies will be air in a purpose-built, one-person cinema inside the lighthouse. Interested film lovers should apply at the festival website ASAP.
We’re not sure if popcorn is included.
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