"It's all about films. And people". We are about to set sail!
At the end of February, on my way back from the Berlinale, which – as every year – marks the beginning of the intensive work leading up to the next edition of Ale Kino!, I was carrying with me the memories of many fruitful meetings with producers, distributors and film friends from all corners of the world. So many films watched, so many conversations about them, too. But I also carried a strong sense of anxiety. It was during the Berlinale that we learned about the mass infections spreading in the north of Italy – infections with a new virus that no one had ever heard of before. No more than a dozen days later, nothing in our life or work was the same anymore… Film festivals were cancelled, postponed or moved online, as were all other cultural activities.
Ale Kino! is essentially about films. The ones we so carefully select throughout the year, from the Berlin screenings onward. The dream scenario is to watch them together, in the cinema. To meet their makers. To talk, argue, dispute – in the case of adult viewers, professionals, frequently deep into the night. This brings us all together in the enchanting world of cinema. But still, films are what it’s all about. And people.
That is why, out of concern for the safety of people and with films in mind, we decided to move a major part of the Festival online, so that we can be sure that all of the wonderful productions can be watched.
There are undoubtedly some good sides to this transfer. We are able reach young audiences throughout the country, not only in Poznań. For the first time in the 57-year history of the Festival, we can be anywhere the Internet signal may take us. And according to Statistics Poland, more than 90% of households use the Internet today. This means that we can reach more than 4 million families with children under the age of 16. Ah, we would have been delighted with a modest one percent of that number, or even a little less! Those who choose to venture into the depths of the Internet – and for young people these are rather friendly and well-known waters – will be rewarded with an opportunity to watch more than 130 films from 35 countries. Bearing with this nautical metaphor, in order to fish in such a bountiful ocean of films, all you need to do is board our website and navigate your way according to the instructions for passengers – viewers. A week of travel will pass in no time, and the cruise will leave us with wonderful souvenirs – emotions and laughter, reflections, experiences and conversations with kids about the trip we took together to the world of young audience cinema.
Moving the Festival online turned out a great challenge for everyone involved. We faced an almost pioneering task – we had to learn and acquire new competencies, and we had to do it fast. It is you, our audience, who will judge whether we have succeeded.
Already at this point, I would like to thank my excellent team. Working extremely hard as always, and this year even harder, they did everything that could be done so that we – the Audience and Organisers, cinema and Festival enthusiasts – could find our place in its new online reality.
I would also like to thank the organisers of all the autumn film festivals who were kind enough to share their experiences, and congratulate them on their successful journey through the pandemic environment. I am grateful for the thoughtful support of so many institutions and individuals, and indebted to everyone who shares our vision of cinema for children and young adults, especially in the current reality. Without you, there would be no Festival.
May we stay healthy and may cinema be with us!