With the film festival calendar thrown into chaos by COVID-19, Tribeca Enterprises and YouTube are teaming up to present a 10-day streaming event drawing from 20 global fests, including Cannes, Toronto, Sundance and Venice.
The online showcase, dubbed We Are One: A Global Film Festival, will kick off on YouTube on May 29. Its lineup of films, shorts, documentaries, music, comedy, and conversations will be released at a later date, organizers said.
All programming will be free for audiences to stream. Donations will benefit the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and local relief partners in various parts of the world.
The press release sent by the organizers claims there will be “new and classic” movies but features are largely expected to be library titles which had little exposure at the time. There aren’t expected to be any movies scheduled for upcoming 2020 festivals, for obvious financial and rights reasons. For example, Cannes has not submitted any movies, we are told, but will be sending some masterclass content.
Amazon’s streaming arrangement with South By Southwest, which goes live this week, provides something of a template for others exploring digital options. Because of that offering, SXSW is not among the participants in We Are One.
The roster of festivals that are feeding into the new venture includes Tribeca, Berlin, New York, San Sebastian, Karlovy Vary, London, Locarno, Guadalajara, Macao, Jerusalem, Mumbai, Marrakech, Sarajevo, Sydney, Tokyo and the Annecy animation fest.
“We often talk about film’s uniquely powerful role in inspiring and uniting people across borders and differences to help heal the world. All of the world needs healing right now,” said Jane Rosenthal, CEO of Tribeca Enterprises and co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival. “We Are One: A Global Film Festival unites curators, artists and storytellers to entertain and provide relief to audiences worldwide. In working with our extraordinary festival partners and YouTube we hope that everyone gets a taste of what makes each festival so unique and appreciates the art and power of film.”
Tribeca was among the earliest pioneers in extending traditional festivals into the digital realm, adding an online component for eight titles in its 2010 festival lineup. This spring, the 19th edition of the festival was scrubbed due to the coronavirus and a selection of its program headed online.
“One of the most unique and inspiring aspects of the world staying home is our ability to come together and experience an event as one, and We Are One: A Global Film Festival is just that,” said Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer, YouTube. “Along with Tribeca Enterprises and our incredible partners, we are bringing fans the opportunity to experience the curated programming each of these festivals provides as part of our ten-day long event. It’s an event that’s never been done before and we’re proud to be the home for this fantastic content that is free to fans around the world.”
In a joint statement, Cannes president Pierre Lescure and general delegate Thierry Frémaux said, “We are proud to join with our partner festivals to spotlight truly extraordinary films and talent, allowing audiences to experience both the nuances of storytelling from around the world and the artistic personalities of each festival.”
Andreas Wiseman contributed to this report.