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New way to watch flicks keeps Barrie Film Festival fans engaged

'Everyone is adapting and creating innovative ways to survive this,' says Claudine Benoit

The Barrie Film Festival (BFF) is unable to showcase its films and documentaries to a theatre full of movie lovers due to COVID-19, but as with many events, organizers have had to find new ways to adapt. 

BFF director Claudine Benoit told BarrieToday there are currently six movies in the Virtual Cinema section with new films and some favourites.

“The Virtual Cinema started up in mid-April as a lot of distributors were looking for ways to keep people engaged,” Benoit said. “We show new ones every week and they are available with an online ticket.”

To view a movie, you would go to the website and order the film. Once purchased, they are accessible for a few days to watch. 

Benoit says she knew the film industry would take a hit during the pandemic, but she believes it, too, will find a way to thrive, just like many other business.

“The thrill of watching a movie with a large group of people is gone for now, and who knows when it will come back. But I think that you’ll see organizations and distributors finding new ways to get their films out there,” she said.

“Everyone is adapting and creating innovative ways to survive this," Benoit added. 

The local festival is also looking at new ways to keep its audience involved, even looking at a way to utilize its short-films event that usually airs during the annual fall festival.

“Our short films have always been very popular and while we look for ways to engage our fans, we are thinking of showing short films we’ve acquired in the past with the filmmakers having 10-minute discussions on them,” said Benoit. 

Not just the festival director, Benoit is an avid movie lover and is hoping things get back to normal soon.

“I still watch films regularly. I would just rather be mingling with a crowd of fellow film enthusiasts during a festival or screening,” she said. “I’m not worried about a shortage of films next year, either, with companies not being able to film. I do think that films that were in the editing stages before the pandemic will be fine from a production standpoint."

For more information on the BFF Virtual Cinema, go to the link here.