An international roundtable on the occasion of the 2020 ISFMF Festival in Pula, Croatia
A group of seasoned professionals from the film and music industries gathered to address the current situation. Our goal was to exchange experiences, thoughts and – perhaps – ideas for solutions in this very extraordinary period, which has seen our businesses (as well as our personal lives) being extremely influenced by the global outbreak of SARS-COV2. Each and every one of the participants has been affected by the virus, but we all agreed that, still, we all are rather priviledged – we are well connected internationally, we have no fear for ourselves, and we have and will find ways to continue working. The concern of the group goes more for the “lower ranks”, the many freelancers in music and film, that work on a project-to-project basis, who all have serious economical problems now. We adressed the shameful lack of statal help for artists, no matter which European country we looked at. We found that apparently all artists are being seen as a commodity by the politicians (ministers of culture not excluded), which is nice to have, and very handy as a marketing tool to get media coverage before the next elections, but when it comes to serious help for artists – all promises are just camouflage. Our personal experiences are living proof for that. Fact is, that many freelancers who work on movies have to look for new jobs already, as they cannot make it through this global crisis without real help. The general consensus, as expressed by Austrian Film Academy president Stefan Ruzowitzky, is: We have no idea at all how long this will last, and how quickly our industries may recover. We simply have no sufficient information on the scientific development to come up with any serious prognosis. What we can do, instead, is to care about others, and reflect. Singer Nina Kraljic explained how the time for reflection, which she unexpectedly gained by the crisis, led her to abbreviate and accelerate certain processes for her own life. As far as festivals are concerned, we all see a lack of quality that will arise from the current situation, as many productions are on hold, and few, very few movies, are about to get released theatrically until the end of this year. Composers like Ozren Glaser and myself have adapted easier, as we are more than used to work online and on a long-distance basis, but we agreed with everybody, that there are core aspects of our work which have to be dealt with on a personal basis, with human beings interacting. Summing it up, we all do our very best to adapt and deal with the unexpected circumstances. But we all can hardly wait to interact with our audiences again. Really, not virtually, in flesh and blood. Because this is what our art is about.
Gary Marlowe, July 2020