Harrogate Film Festival announces it will stay largely online in 2021

One of Harrogate's top independent festivals has confirmed it will stay mainly online this year - despite the Government's new roadmap out of lockdown.

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 3:49 pm
Flashback - Harrogate Film Festival founder Adam Chandler with one of the winning filmmakers from a previous year of the event's popular international filmmakers competition.

The founder of Harrogate Film Festival, Adam Chandler said, having pushed back the original date from its usual slot in March to the end of April with a mix of digital and in-person events, he would be sticking to that arrangement.

Mr Chandler said: "This year's Harrogate Film Festival will be happening both virtually and in person at different times across the year and more news will be announced soon on how we plan to do that.

"Boris Johnson's plans have opened up some extra assurances and opportunities but we're still aiming to be a mainly virtual festival for our event dates across April and May."

Last year's Harrogate Film Festival took place in person by the skin of its teeth, being one of the last major arts events to take place before the first full lockdown began across the UK to combat the Covid pandemic.

The 2020 festival saw the likes of iconic British director Ken Loach, legendary actor Brian Blessed and award-winning music filmmaker Tony Palmer come to Harrogate in person only a few days before all arts and entertainments event came to a sudden halt.

The four-stage plan to return to normal announced earlier this week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson allows arts venues such as cinemas, museums, indoor pubs and live performances to restart and reopen from May 17.

Commercial art galleries will be permitted to reopen sooner, from April 12 along with non-essential shops.

Music giant Leeds Festival may have announced yesterday it would be taking place this August but there is still some doubt over whether arts venues and events will still face social distancing and capacity restrictions in the summer even if the Government's target of ending all legal limits on social contact by June 21 is successfully realised.

Mr Chandler, who is director of video production company, Reel Film, said the sensible course of action for Harrogate Film Festival was to stick to its existing game plan

He said: “We have this year's festival all planned and are raring to go. As much as 90% of our events planned will be held online."

Harrogate Film Festival was first launched in 2017 and is famed for its worldwide filmmakers’ competition, collaborations with Harrogate Film Society and appearances by highly-respected figures from the wider film world.

The festival also specialises in populist cinema events held in unusual Harrogate locations - from bars to restaurants, museums to churches - as well as presenting major films at Everyman cinema.

This year's the annual film extravaganza will run for ten days starting on Friday, April 23 and finishing on Sunday, May 2.

An independent event, Harrogate Film Festival is backed by backed by Raworths, Leeds Beckett University’s Northern Film School and Everyman Cinema.

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