Welcome to the 10th Norwich Film Festival
This year has been an immensely difficult one for us all. As we were preparing to welcome audiences old and new to Norwich to celebrate our 10th anniversary, a global pandemic took hold and put so many things into perspective. There was a long period of time where we weren’t sure the festival could even take place this year. Venues had closed, social restrictions were put in place, and the health and safety of everyone was rightfully put first. There would be no place for us to safely meet, and so there would be no festival.
Throughout all this time, we were amazed at the amount of films still being submitted to us for consideration. Despite all that was going on in the world, filmmakers were showing incredible resilience and perseverance - they continued working together to create their art and were desperate to share that art with the world. If we cancelled or postponed the festival, we would be doing them a disservice. With cinemas and event spaces now closed or running at an extremely reduced capacity, filmmakers and producers are in need of our support now, more than ever. Showing and promoting their films is crucial to the continuation of their careers and to any future projects. Our industry is one that is fraught with hardship, setbacks, and rejection at the best of times. Our responsibility as a festival is to support the careers of filmmakers from around the world and to offer new and exciting content to audiences.
Our objective as an organisation has always been to advance and promote the high standards of the art of cinema, visual art, and cinematography; furthermore, to provide and promote a programme of screenings of films by international, national, and local filmmakers to encourage the public to engage with, and to educate the public on, the art of cinema, visual art, and cinematography. We had to come up with a way to achieve that objective while making sure our audiences and volunteers remained safe. Thanks to the wonderful people at Shift72 we were able to transition a lot of our plans online to a digital platform.
While we are of course disappointed not to be able to put on our usual selection of live events to audiences, the transition to a digital festival has afforded us one key benefit - we have been able to create our biggest ever programme of short films. We had more submissions this year than ever before, which meant it was much harder to decide on our Official Selection - but with over 1200 films from 55 countries, we have had the pleasure of watching some truly incredible films over the last ten months, and we are so excited to present to you our 2020 programme. We have narrowed these submissions down to 132 of the finest shorts from around the world, and we have curated a diverse and thought-provoking series of Film Strands which we hope will entertain, inform, and move you.
We are still hoping to bring a physical festival to our audiences at some point in the future, and are provisionally holding back some ideas for Spring 2021. If we are in a position to safely put on live events once again, then we will be holding a scaled back festival focusing on workshops, talks, Q&As, and screenings throughout our wonderful city. But until then, please enjoy our biggest ever programme of short films from the safety and comfort of your own homes.
We would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all those who have supported us over the last year, including the following:
- Arnolds Keys - Sponsor of the 2020 British Film category
- University of East Anglia - Sponsor of the 2020 East Anglian Award category
- Spire Solicitors - Sponsor of the 2020 Documentary Film category