nightstream

Film festivals have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and while some are attempting to compensate with limited capacity events, others have just flat-out been canceled for the year. But rather than give up, the organizers behind the Boston Underground Film Festival (MA), Brooklyn Horror Film Festival (NY), North Bend Film Festival (WA), the Overlook Film Festival (LA), and Popcorn Frights Film Festival (FL) are joining forces for Nightmstream, a virtual film festival that will run in October.

Programmers from all five festivals are collaborating on the Nightstream lineup, and each film will be recognized as an official selection of each fest. There will also be a short film selection that will be individually curated by each festival, along with live events and panels. The full lineup will be announced sometime in September.

Nightstream runs from October 8 through 11 and will offer a selection “showcasing a mix of international horror, fantasy, sci-fi, vanguard, and underground films that capture the distinct curatorial l spirit of each festival.” Boasting “imaginative, daring, and bold voices in cinema,” Nightstream hopes to “encompass the full scope of genre storytelling and provide an exciting home experience for film fans this Halloween season.”

Proceeds from Nightstream will be shared with all participating filmmakers and artists, and donations will be made on behalf of each associated festival to charitable causes and local businesses in their home cities. Earlybird Badges are now on sale, with options for badges: a five-film bundle and ten-film package, priced at $55 and $90 respectively, with each badge granting unlimited access to live events and panels.

The festival is geo-locked to the U.S. and hosted on Eventive, which “offers enhanced security features including the same DRM technology used by Disney+, iTunes, and Netflix, and is trusted by leading distributors and studios including A24, Sony Pictures Classics, Starz, Showtime, and National Geographic. It will function on multiple internet browsers as well as Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast and other connective devices to ensure the most wide-reaching compatibility, as well as comfort for viewers.”

This all sounds very cool, and I like the idea behind this – an attempt to make things work rather than throw in the towel. I know some film festivals scoff at the notion of a virtual option (looking at you, Cannes), but in this weird, nightmarish world we’re currently stuck in, a compromise might be more beneficial than just flat-out refusal.

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