We Are One: Global film festival launches amid pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has meant most of this year’s festivals cannot go ahead – so there will be 10-day online celebration, called We Are One: A Global Film Festival.

It will feature contributions from pretty much every major film festival, including Cannes, Tribeca and Berlin, as well as some of the smaller festivals which don’t attract as much publicity.

“We thought, ‘What could we do to help?'” explains organiser and Tribeca CEO Jane Rosenthal.

“You have musicians, comedians and chefs that have been gathering for various relief efforts, but at a time where we’re all feeling so isolated, and we’re all looking for something to watch, I had this idea of bringing all the film festivals, the great curators, together.

The We Are One festival, not to be confused with Lady Gaga’s musical equivalent One World: Together, has been an ambitious undertaking, to say the least.

Having to co-ordinate 21 different festivals takes a lot of organisation, not to mention a video platform that can handle it.

“We wanted to programme a virtual festival using new works, old works, works that have never been seen outside of an individual country,” Rosenthal explains. “So we called YouTube, who were interested in the idea, we felt they were the ideal platform.”

YouTube already had the required technical infrastructure for such an event – including the ability to add translations on screen, and a “donate” button for charities involved in Covid-19 efforts.

“There was also their ability to put a premiere up and take it down very quickly,” Rosenthal says, “So if we have a film that’s only up for a day, you can only see if for that day, and then it can be taken down.”