The Coronavirus pandemic has led to public events being cancelled or postponed worldwide. But the fourth edition of the Ramsgate International Film & TV Festival will still be taking place by moving to its own online virtual platform, Ramsgate Digital Cinema.
Festival director Sylvie Bolioli said: “Our thoughts are with people still in intensive care or slowly recovering and all victims of this terrible disease, as well as their families. Our thoughts are also with all the workers who helped to keep their countries going, in the UK and elsewhere, and particularly those on the frontline who risked their lives to save others.
“But we also wanted to support the independent film industry and give exposure to a plethora of excellent work from the four corners of the planet and keep cinema alive.”
The line-up and schedule of shortlisted films, documentaries, music videos and web pilots is available on the website www.ramsgatedigitalcinema.co.uk.
The festival takes place between June 11-14.
The competition will kick in with the World Premiere of a remarkable documentary featuring Sam Waterston, ‘Gatsby in Connecticut: the Untold Story’, directed by Robert Steven Williams.
Nick Broomfield fronts the jury in the Feature Documentaries section. The festival’s BAFTA-winning patron, Brenda Blethyn -currently starring in Kate & Koji, Wednesdays at 8pm on ITV -chooses the appropriately named Brenda Blethyn Special Prize for the Best Film by a First Time Director.
Other jury members are Dee Anderson, Jimmy Akingbola, Kenny Doughty, Jerome Blake, Luba Balagova, Lisa Scott Gordon, John Warburton, Mark Valley, Peter Ferris, Bruno Tilley, Julie Forsyth and Tim Clark.
As usual, screenings at the festival will compete for the coveted Anchor awards – Ramsgate being a town with a strong maritime association – and online viewers will be able to have their say on the films they watch, with eight audience awards being up for grabs.
Among the titles on offer will be The True Story of Vincent Legrand – a short film starring Kent-based, French magician Etienne Pradier.
Etienne is a member of the Magic Circle with Gold Star and has numerous awards and accolades internationally. He has also performed for many celebrities and royalties.
In 2011 Etienne Pradier got to perform in Las Vegas with Penn & Teller after they failed to figure out how he achieved the Teleporting Card and Card Prediction tricks, earning him the honour to perform alongside Penn & Teller in Las Vegas.
His film screening will take place on June 11 at 1pm. The film features documentary director Roger and his crew following the famous and whimsical street magician Vincent Legrand (Etienne Pradier) as he plans to perform an epic final trick before retiring.
However, things go out of hand and they realise that the whole plan could be an act to fool his audience, the crew, the world, and maybe even himself.
Sylvie said: “The festival has received many hundreds of submissions from all around the world and, although the present circumstances are particular, we are pleased to be able to bring those that are shortlisted to audiences in a slightly different way.”
Using the latest technology, films will be live streamed and will only be accessible once in order to protect the works. Registration at www.ramsgatedigitalcinema.co.uk is essential.
The event is free in order to give people the opportunity to access quality entertainment. Optional donations will help the festival carry out its work and ensure its survival.
Webinars by high end industry players will complete the programme. Andy Mayson (Altitude Entertainment) will look at the future of distribution of independent films post-COVID-19. Rebekah Louise Smith will advise filmmakers on the impact of the coronavirus on festival strategy and how to fix it.
This year the festival is launching a new satellite event, the ‘Fight Back International Awards’, in partnership with the organisation ‘Ring of Peace’ with a special competition for ex-servicemen suffering with PTSD and using filmmaking as a way to ‘fight back’ and re-integrate into society.
Sylvie said: “We will have a digital introduction during the festival, with a special screening of a film written and performed by ex-servicemen with PTSD and a webinar hosted by Peter Ferris, who runs ‘Ring of Peace’ and teaches acting/filmmaking to this less-looked out for category of people suffering from mental illness.
“The purpose of the ‘Fight Back’ Awards, distributed from next year, will be to raise awareness of PTSD and encourage sufferers to find an outlet through cinema.“ Donations for this section will go to the Charity ‘Combat Stress’.