Cinema is in the middle of a pandemic.
Every day of the year, a film festival is taking place somewhere, or somewheres, in theatres, lecture halls, community centres. Vancouver alone hosts at least a dozen. There’s the Queer one, the Asian one, the South African one, the Latin American one, the Polish one, and the Jewish one. There’s the European Union Film Festival, the International Women in Film Festival, one each for shorts and documentaries, and the biggie, the Vancouver International Film Festival.
Toronto plays host to eight film festivals in just the month of November.
Apparently there’s a film festival for every hobby, interest, ethnicity, persuasion, and nationality. The EU‘s, for example, features a film apiece from each of the 28 member countries (except Malta – the one country I wanted to see a film from).
My favourite is the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, which showcases climbing, mountain expeditions, and remote cultures. That’s nine days devoted to movies and books about mountains.
What’s next, a festival of films celebrating and exploring the intricacies of yarn?
It’s overload. Who has the time or the money to stand in all those lineups (other than the people standing in all those lineups)? And how many cinephiles are actually interested in an entire festival devoted to the films of one nationality?
A: The Norwegian Film Festival is this weekend. Want to go?
B: Nah, I’m not interested in Norwegian film. Finnish, maybe. Danish, definitely.
I think not.
Then again, I could be wrong. Actually, I am wrong. The Banff Fest draws thousands of people every year. The Queer festival and Jewish festival in Vancouver are both in their 25th year of operation.
And they’re well-intended, devoted as they are to providing a platform for films that would likely not be screened outside the festival circuit. But enough. I propose they all amalgamate into one giant super festival – a never-ending celebration of film from every nook and cranny of the world. Call it the Festival of Films Worth Seeing. We’d only have to pay one membership, no talented filmmaker would have to compete with another, and no longer would we be subject to a film festival devoted to labour.
Speaking of labour.