Virtual LIFFe showcasing 22 feature films

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Ljubljana – The 31st Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFe) will be held in the virtual realm, making 22 feature films and a selection of shorts available as an on-demand service between 11 and 22 November. The opening ceremony will be held online as well.

“Even though LIFFe will only be available online, at least in November, we still take it as a cinema event and we’re trying to keep this classic film experience,” the festival’s director, Simon Popek, told an online presentation of the festival.

Since most of the online programme will be on general release in cinemas, tickets for the festival screenings will be accessible in numbers similar to those in festival theatres. However, the films will be available for the entire duration of the festival.

Popek said the number of feature-length films had to be trimmed down to 22 from the initially planned 38 because they could not get the rights for online screenings for the remaining films.

The Perspectives section, featuring films by up-an-coming directors in the running for the Kingfisher Prize, will showcase five films, including The Assistant by Australian director Kitty Green in a story echoing Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse cases.

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The French film Gagarine, by Fanny Liatard and Jeremy Trouilh, is a portrait of the life in a multi-ethnic community on the outskirts of Paris, and Exile, by Kosovo-born director Visar Morina, is about a man whose mounting paranoia exiles him from his own life.

Other films in the running for Kingfisher will be Marko Đorđević’s My Morning Laughter, which Popek described as a “dry black comedy about a sexually suppressed young man”, and the Greek-Polish-Slovenian co-production Apples, directed by Christos Nikou.

The Avantpremieres will see ten films, including the latest by Andrej Končalovski, Thomas Vinterberg, Francois Ozon and Christian Petzold, and a documentary on teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, directed by Nathan Grossman.

The Kings & Queens section will feature three films, including a documentary about the lockdown in Wuhan during the coronavirus outbreak in the spring of 2020, directed remotely by Ai Weiwei from Europe.

The 2020 Berlin Film Festival winner There is No Evil, by Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof, will be screened in the Panorama section, and the sole film in the Ekstravaganca section will be Quentin Dupieux’s Mandibules.

Kinobalon will feature two films targeting young audiences, while Europe in Short will offer a selection of short films. The festival will also see an accompanying programme and awards presented at the conclusion.

The coronavirus situation permitting, Popek says they would like to screen the rest of the originally planned 56 feature-length films, together with a retrospective of Federico Fellini films, in cinemas.

Uršula Cetinski, director of Cankarjev Dom, which organizes the festival, says LIFFe remains an event celebrating film even if this year “we’ll be watching the films from the comfort of our sofas”.

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