5 November - 2020
Usually around this time of the year the Northern Film Festival kicks off, the start of the November Festival month in Leeuwarden. But, as we know now for certain, everything is different in 2020 because of Covid-19. It turned out to be an interesting challenge to come up with new plans and to adjust them time and time again. A Drive-in-Cinema was ready to go. We chose slimmed-down forms and different ones each time. We chose alternative locations. We needed to settle with fewer and fewer audiences who would be able enjoy the carefully selected film programme. We remained optimistic about what could still be done, especially because of the support we received from colleagues, partners, patrons, festival fans and volunteers. We were almost there… Until it became clear on Tuesday that film theaters and cinemas were shut down by the government.
We have decided to cancel all forms of our festival now. Naturally, we weighed up on all the options and wondered whether we could re-examine alternatives or postpone the programme. The circumstances are now so complex that we do not opt for this. Even though we receive many kind words of support, the compromises are piling up, which does not benefit the quality of the ‘festival’ and the organization. Postponement is no guarantee to success, because it is unclear how long we would have to postpone and it may still mean cancellation. Various team members are running empty of their enthusiasm and positive energy. We have a responsibility in this too. After all, in addition to the Northern Film Festival, we also organize daily film screenings in our film theatre Slieker and we ensure that the Frisian film heritage becomes increasingly visible to the public at the Frisian Film Archive. There too, constant adjustments are needed.
What will still take place is the Noorderkroon Competition. Talented filmmakers from our region could use some recognition in these times and the competition can stand on its own. The jury is already at work to judge the films and the prize winners will be announced online on November 14 at 7:30 PM. The school screenings that were planned in the classrooms will also take place. Hundreds of kids in Leeuwarden can still enjoy a great Norwegian children’s film with educational materials. A number of films that were to be shown in the Northern Film Festival this year will most likely (if they are not or hardly shown in The Netherlands in the meantime) go to the next edition and can then still be seen on a large screen.
We would like to thank all the people who have sent us encouraging and respectful responses in the past weeks and especially in these last days via e-mail, telephone and social media to support us. This is really hartwarming and much appreciated!
As a team we will now recharge ourselves with fresh energy and focus on the preparations for the next real festival edition from 10 to 14 November 2021. Hopefully an atmospheric and festive 41st edition with a large audience in the cinemas, with fun, food and drinks and the possibility to talk with each other and with international guests.