Short interview with Diana Iljine
FILMFEST MÜNCHEN will regrettably not be held in 2020. Diana Iljine answers four pivotal questions about the decision-making process.
Why not wait a few more weeks to see how the situation develops and then decide?
Diana Iljine: “A festival depends on films and guests being confirmed — but nobody can decide at the moment whether they will be able to travel in late June. And since the festival engine usually has to be running at full speed in April in order to organize such an event with a relatively small team, waiting is unfortunately not an option. It’s not possible to organize a festival like FILMFEST MÜNCHEN in its full scope and as it’s known and loved if there is no certainty until, say, May.”
Why not reschedule FILMFEST MÜNCHEN for the autumn?
Diana Iljine: “This was of course a scenario that we looked at in detail. However, the festival calendar is not blank in autumn. There are festivals in Locarno, Venice, and Toronto that it wouldn’t be at all sensible to overlap with. Moreover, there might be a backlog of events, and the festival calendar would be seriously disrupted. This includes our own, by the way, because in November we’re planning to celebrate the 40th anniversary edition of our FILMSCHOOLFEST MUNICH. And from a logistical standpoint, with regard to our team and our partners, this would only be possible with enormous additional effort and expenditure. Even then, it would still be uncertain whether our festival could be held. This is also not the right approach at this time.”
Why not hold FILMFEST MÜNCHEN as an online festival?
Diana Iljine: “That sounds very tempting indeed: Let’s just make it digital. That’s a modern approach. But unfortunately, in the specific case of FILMFEST MÜNCHEN, such a move is not as easy to implement as it may seem. This starts with the streaming rights to films, some of which are supposed to have their world premiere at the festival. And it also raises the question of what this would mean for the movie theaters in the long term. Beyond that, it would also be a great technical challenge to achieve a good balance of VoD and live streaming of, for example, audience discussions with film directors, and have all of this with functioning upstream channels at bandwidths that would probably be limited due to the current high demand. It would mean spending a lot of money for a comparatively minor solution, because it’s no help to anyone if just anything is streamed. We are a festival of real encounters for the industry and the audience.”
What does the cancellation mean for the employees of FILMFEST MÜNCHEN?
Diana Iljine: “We are very aware of our responsibility to the entire team. In all honesty, though: it won’t work without cutbacks. We have, however, taken steps toward finding solutions that will prevent cases of hardship and have received positive signals from our shareholders in return. We are very grateful for this. Despite the cancellation, we want to retain a positive outlook, and we’re able to, because we do not intend to simply be idle now. Quite the contrary! We still have a lot planned for FILMFEST MÜNCHEN, and that’s exactly what we’re going to be working on now as a team. In 2021, FILMFEST MÜNCHEN will once again offer everything that people know and love about it, and I’ll dare to promise this much: not just familiar content, but more content and new content.”