The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the film fest circuit extends into 2021 with Dixie State University’s DOCUTAH International Documentary Film Festival announcing an expanded festival in November.
Organizers, who postponed the 2020 festival last fall, originally hoped to run its program slate in March, but given the ongoing health crisis, they decided to cancel the postponed festival and instead, in the interest of public safety, to reschedule until fall and instead run a “super festival.”
“We believe that the in-person festival experience is an important part of attending and viewing films with a like-minded audience as well as interacting with filmmakers,” Della Lowe, marketing and public relations director at DOCUTAH, said in a statement. “We held out as long as we could to make the decision about March. However, the situation across the country and here in Utah makes it impossible to do so safely. We appreciate the continued support of our filmmakers and audiences.”
Of course DOCUTAH is not the first festival that had to make adjustments due to the pandemic. The 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, MIPTV, and the Sundance Film Festival, to name a few, moved to a virtual format as was covered in detail in Daniele Alcinii’s feature for Realscreen‘s May/June 2020 issue, where organizers discussed the “massive learning curve” they went through to pivot to online.
Now celebrating its 12th anniversary, the southern Utah doc fest will run November 1-6 and will include all films accepted for the 2020 festival, as well as more than 100 films selected for 2021.
“As always, DOCUTAH will be filled with films which cover a wide variety of subjects from the very serious, to the hilarious, to the quirky. We will fill the theaters with interesting conversations, music and laughter,” added Phil Tuckett, director of DOCUTAH.
In addition to special events which are curated to the themes of films selected, festival audiences will get to directly interact with filmmakers through post-screening Q&A sessions as well as DOCTalk events, which are billed as “intimate conversations” between filmmakers and attendees who can glean advice about the documentary filmmaking process.
Submissions for the November 2021 DOCUTAH will be accepted via FilmFreeway through June 25. Organizers suggest that filmmakers continue to monitor its website for updates.