Organizing an International Film Festival in the Pandemic Era: A Case Study on VOID International Animation Film Festival

Irene Galletti

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis aims at understanding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on international film festivals. To analyze this phenomenon, I conducted a case study on VOID International Animation Film Festival, which takes place annually in Copenhagen, Denmark. The qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews with the organizers of VOID International Animation Film Festival; three field professionals collaborating with this edition of the festival were also interviewed to support the analysis. Theories on the film festivals industry, the experience economy, the cultural industries and crisis management were used as a theoretical framework for my study. The research focuses on the organizational aspects of festivals, with a particular emphasis on how their traditional physical format had to evolve to face the multiple challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Through the analysis of the gathered data, I discovered that the main response of festivals’ organizers was to change their format by turning the festival into digital. This new configuration affected both the organizational activities and the relationships with the manifold stakeholder; in the specific, I analyzed how the activities of programming, networking and audience development were altered. The adoption of digital formats radically displaced the unique physical experience which has always characterized film festivals. As a consequence, various innovative activities were implemented to attempt to recreate this aspect. Furthermore, I discovered that the hybrid format is emerging as a diffuse response to the challenges of the pandemic, allowing festivals’ organizers to merge aspects of the digital and the physical formats to keep delivering compelling experiences to their audiences.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages88
SupervisorsChristian De Cock