Small Film Festivals Surviving the COVID-19 Pandemic
The “Virtual Showcase” of Cine Las Americas International Film Festival 2020
Keywords:Latino film festivals, Austin, Texas, COVID-19, Community-based film festivals, Virtual film festivals
The COVID-19 pandemic was a major challenge for film festival organizers, who had to resort to online platforms to showcase films they had selected. While virtual film festivals did not offer the same experience, being deprived of the opportunity to gather people in a festive atmosphere, they provided a fairly accessible solution that enabled audiences to watch films they would have missed otherwise. Even major and economically stable festivals, such as South by Southwest (SXSW), decided to cancel; and not all film festivals embraced the opportunities provided by online platforms. Responses to the pandemic were as diverse as the six thousand film festivals organized on average each year. Small nonprofit film festivals, however, tend to be more vulnerable than large-scale events. When the pandemic was at its climax in 2020, their economic sustainability was at stake. This article focuses on Cine Las Americas, a small community-based Latino and Indigenous film festival that takes place in Austin, Texas. Based on interviews of members of the executive and programming team, on research about the history of the festival, and on the experience of the 2020 “Virtual Showcase,” it shows that solidarity between the festival and a wide range of local organizations played a great role in its capacity to survive this critical time. To retrace the festival’s history, the article draws inspiration from organizational theory, illustrating that Cine Las Americas became a field-configuring event (FCE) in the city of Austin, to the point where the friendship that its successive organizers, who have showed crucial adaptation skills over the years, had secured with local partners contributed to its survival.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Emilie Cheyroux
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 Unported License.