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Göteborg Film Festival commits to distancing with one-person screenings

The 2021 edition of Sweden’s Göteborg Film Festival will sell one ticket for each of its in-person screenings and will send one fan to ‘The Isolated Cinema’ on a lighthouse island to experience the festival in total isolation.

The experiment on Pater Noster island, a secluded spot out at sea, has been developed as part of the festival’s theme of social distances to examine the “new world that has emerged in the wake of the pandemic, and the role of film in this new world,” according to Jonas Holmberg, artistic director of Göteborg Film Festival.

The successful applicant will stay for a week in a converted lighthouse, which will have a screening room where the visitor can screen up to 60 films, all from the official 2021 Göteborg line-up. The cinema fan, who will be selected following an application and interview process, will be required to make a video diary each day they are on the island.

The festival, which will be held online between January 29 and February 8, will also offer isolated, one-person film screenings at the 707-capacity Draken cinema in Göteborg and at the Scandinavium arena, the city’s 12,000-capacity ice hockey stadium. Several of the Draken screenings will include in-person introductions from the films’ directors and cast members.

Holmberg said: “The creation of isolated film experiences for single-person audiences at iconic sites is a way of ensuring entirely safe festival screenings, but it is also an attempt to process how the pandemic has changed people’s relationships with film. On Pater Noster it’s all about the total isolation experienced by so many people the world over this past year.

“The sensation of being utterly alone in the Scandinavium arena or Draken cinema ties in with the altered relationship people now have to all those places that normally buzz with activity but are now deserted.”

Tickets for the festival’s isolated film screenings at Scandinavium and Draken will be raffled among visitors who register via the festival website from today (Monday).

As part of the festival’s theme of social distances, Göteborg will feature films that examine the impact the pandemic has had on the world and the viewers’ perspective of it, such as Andrea Segre’s new documentary Molecules, which was shot in Venice before and during the first lockdown period.

In normal times, the festival sells around 130,000 tickets every year to more than 1,000 film screenings.

Image: Göteborg Film Festival / Karl Svedung