Barbican Young Programmers' thoughts on Chronic Youth Film Festival

image of the 2020 barbican young programmers
22 May 2020

Two Barbican Young programmers, Emma Bouraba and Maria Paradinas, write about the experience of cancelling Chronic Youth Film Festival back in March and connecting through cinema.

As young festival programmers entering the film industry, coronavirus has suspended all of our activity. There are the practical and economic impacts of postponements and cancellations, but there is also a profound emotional effect. Of course public health and safety is paramount, so these emotions are caveated by the confident knowledge that this action is essential.

As part of Barbican Young Programmers we had been working towards Chronic Youth Film Festival, a programme run to give young people an opportunity to develop skills curating and marketing their first film festival. The festival was scheduled to include features, panel talks, a performance and a series of shorts platforming the work of emerging filmmakers.

There is an irony in the fact that although cinemas are closed, probably more people than ever will be watching films

The film festival was a ghostly project which so many emotions were projected onto, and it will remain so until further notice. We are therefore regretting conversations that could have happened and mourning an event which was not realised. Chronic Youth feels selfish as the festival will remain unshared for now, and we are suspended in the safe, incubator process. Our ideas of what it could have been are purely speculative, and the spontaneity of live event is dissolved.

There is an irony in the fact that although cinemas are closed, probably more people than ever will be watching films. A film festival is a site where films are shared, but instead we will watch in isolation.

We are thinking of ways in which we can reconceptualise the Barbican Young Programmers group, redirecting our passion for film away from live event. It is important in the current uncertainty and seclusion to nourish ourselves and each other by connecting through cinema.

Written by Emma Bouraba and Maria Paradinas, Barbican Young Programmers

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