Black Star International Film Festival Goes Virtual

Juliet Asante

The Black Star International Film Institute (BSIFI), organiser of the annual Black Star International Film Festival (BSIFF) in Ghana, has announced a live virtual festival for its fifth edition.

The live virtual festival dubbed ‘Connect’ will take place on September 24 to September 27, 2020. It will be four solid days of connecting international and local stakeholders via virtual platforms.

The overarching theme of the virtual festival is ‘Stronger Together’, which is seeking to explore ways in which the film and creative arts sector can build great partnerships and leverage on existing opportunities for expansion.

Other objectives of ‘Connect’ are to provide distribution opportunities to budding and emerging filmmakers to provide networking opportunities to filmmakers and other audiences, to educate and inform budding and emerging filmmakers about relevant industry topics, including distribution opportunities and to connect the world to African cinema.

According to the organisers of the Black Star International Film Festival, the decision to organise a live virtual event is due to the recent coronavirus pandemic which has forced various sectors of the economy, including the creative arts, to rethink strategies to maintain relevance.

The Manager of BSIFF, Philippa Ama Bentuma Arthur, said the present pandemic affords “BSIFF a great opportunity to innovatively push strongly to become better and not cower. And it is with this determination the festival decided not to cancel but to continue, albeit online.”

‘Connect’ will be no different from the on-ground experience of the film festival in Ghana. Annual activities within the festival like film screenings, master classes, panel sessions and the Black Star music concert will all happen online.

Ms. Arthur added that the vision of BSIFF, which is to position Ghana as a film hub, a film tourism destination and bridge the gap between African cinema and the world through film, is bigger than Covid-19; hence, must soldier on.

“There is no better time than now to be inspired by the talented young filmmakers whose films made it into competition this year, there is no better time than now to connect with BSIFF and learn, network and do business online,” she added.

‘Connect’ will run on the official websites of BSIFF and their social media platforms.