Five US film festivals – the Boston Underground Film Festival, the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, the North Bend Festival, the Overlook Film Festival and the Popcorn Frights Film Festival – respond to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic for the festival and the exhibition landscape with the Creation of a new virtual festival, Nightstream, that will take place October 8-11. Programmers from all five festivals will curate the event, which, according to a press release, “contains a mix of international horror, fantasy, science fiction, avant-garde and underground films that capture the special curatorial spirit of each festival. In addition, "the proceeds of the event will be given to all participating filmmakers and artists and donated on behalf of each associated festival to charities and local businesses in their hometowns."
Important for rights holders is that these five festivals work together to create a national, not international, event. Movies and events are geoblocked in the US and hosted on Eventive, which uses industry standard DRM technology. Virtual participation is also limited, with tickets for each film limited. (Passes – a five-movie pass / $ 55 and a 10-movie pass / $ 90 – are available now.)
Nightstream takes place in a year when the events of the five festivals have been affected by the coronavirus shutdown. From the press release:
The Boston Underground Film Festival, which usually takes place every March at the historic Brattle Theater in Cambridge, MA, has had to abruptly cancel its 22nd annual event due to the pandemic. The Popcorn Frights Film Festival, the largest genre film festival in the Southeast, has postponed the 2020 edition that was originally scheduled for this month in Fort Lauderdale, FL. After the North Bend Film Festival in the Pacific Northwest had been postponed until this year, it was due to take place this month in the famous city of Twin Peaks near Seattle, WA. The Overlook Film Festival, which annually programs a celebrated horror movie in addition to live performances and interactive events, postponed the upcoming edition, which was planned for the end of May in New Orleans. The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, which specializes in cinema that pushes the boundaries of horror, will postpone its planned fifth edition by a week with this transition to virtual.
The five festivals also released the following letter on the origins of Nightstream:
As the COVID-19 crisis is transforming our collective lives in countless unprecedented and increasingly catastrophic ways, its impact on the industry we love is all too evident. In the midst of enforced festival cancellations and changed film releases, we had an overwhelming need to come together and unite to bring the larger genre community a first-rate film experience this Halloween season. The challenges this year are immense, but so is our desire to remind our fans of the thrill, entertainment and wonder of discovering new films, even from home.
Through the association, we want to both show our determination to overcome this time of fear and uncertainty and demonstrate our strong will to continue to support courageous and visionary films and filmmakers from around the world. More than ever, we are dedicated to celebrating the cinema and offering filmmakers the opportunity to have their films seen and enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience.
The launch of NIGHTSTREAM, a unique virtual festival experience, will continue each of our missions to bring communities together and showcase the best that the genre scene has to offer, while giving back to those in need who have supported us. To this end, we would like to emphasize that all income from the sale of NIGHTSTREAM will be shared in the manner described below.
Your ticket purchase goes direct to all of the artists we feature, to charities and small businesses in every hometown of our festival, as well as to each of our organizations to recoup the cost of our canceled physical events and help us through turbulent months so we can all can return to public meetings when it is safe to do so.
The genre film community is not defined by our physical proximity to theaters. It is our love for film in all its forms that binds us and keeps us close. Now is the time to rethink the future of festivals, our future and what can be achieved through cinema. Let's do it together.
“It is true, we will be monsters, cut off from the whole world; but because of that we will be more bonded. “Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Boston Underground Film Festival, Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, North Bend Film Festival, Overlook Film Festival and Popcorn Frights Film Festival