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HoF 2020: A Special Year with a Special Festival

Even the longest film festival comes to an end. After 13 days, the final scene of the successful double feature of the 54th Hof International Film Festival came to a close on Sunday, 1 November 2020. The artistic director Thorsten Schaumann and his team were creative in the planning and implementation. Thus, it was the combination of both physical and online events that enabled optimal flexibility in the implementation and adaptation to the constantly changing hygiene rules.

From 20 – 25 October 2020, 71 feature films and 54 short films celebrated their premieres, as in previous years, in the cinemas in Hof and also as live streams. In order to also show the diversity of the cinema and to keep the number of premieres stable, there were two additional venues, the banquet hall of the Freiheitshalle and the Bürgergesellschaft.

Starting with the premiere in the cinema, all films could be watched online for the first time in the German festival landscape. There were extras to the many films, such as a short intro and Q&As from the directors. There was a total of approx. 17,000 online views. This number is within the expected range and clearly shows that a film exploitation as a physical screening and a digital screening can complement and not cannibalize each other. It was important to have an online offer with HoF On Demand to reach an audience that did not have the opportunity to come to Hof this year. At the same time new viewers could be addressed with the offer and be made curious about the diverse HoF program. The films got a great chance to be really seen.

The program HoF PLUS with current topics and new formats, such as the discussion rounds “KiNot” and “Generations in the Cinema”, was completely digitally reproduced. The focus was on the interactive participation of the viewers. There was a party substitute for the late evening too: As the first festival ever, the Hof International Film Festival produced the live-streamed, interactive late-night talk “GASTHoF”. Last year’s successful speed pitch “7 Minutes”, for which filmmakers could submit their projects, also took place virtually. All major award ceremonies were also streamed live.

All recorded livestreams, awards ceremonies and discussions rounds are available on the » YouTube channel of the Hof International Film Festival.

“The final scene of the 54th Hof International Film Festival is in the can. And we are all pretty overwhelmed. All the more so, I am happy that the concept Double Feature was a success. Many thanks to everyone who trusted us and made the festival possible, especially in this special year. The overwhelming response from the industry and the filmmakers is confirmation and incentive to continue. Because now is the time to try out new things. We are all ready to continue with heartfelt passion. In this »Year of Challenges« HoF could once again be the Home of Films, the family festival of film. There were still a few things that may not have run smoothly. But in this sense, we did it. Let’s look ahead together. With great passion, I say again and again: Cinema lives!” Thorsten Schaumann, Artistic director

The 54th Hof International Film Festivals Facts:

  • Total duration 13 days (6 days attendance + 7 days digital)
  • An average of 4,700 admissions in 5 days
  • Seat load factor of 42% (with a corona-induced maximum seat load factor of approx. 25% compared with the average seat load factor in previous years (1,538)
  • Two additional venues: the banquet hall of the Freiheitshalle and the Bürgergesellschaft
  • Constant number of premieres as in previous years due to venue expansion
  • On five consecutive evenings a premiere including a Q&A was streamed live from the cinema, including the opening
  • Films available online from the cinema premiere
  • The IHF was the first film festival in Germany to show all films in the cinema and also online on demand.
  • approx. 17,000 views on HoF On Demand
  • As the first festival ever, the IHF produced its own interactive, live-streamed late-night talk, the “GASTHoF”, on 9 consecutive evenings.
  • HoF PLUS, supporting program with current topics from the industry, completely digital
  • Discussions with directors, 6 moderated club discussions partly live streamed
  • New formats for HoF PLUS: KiNote – Short talks about the cinema as a cultural location: Getting youth back to the cinema as well as Generations in Cinema – Two filmmakers from different generations talk about the films they present at the festival
  • 7 Minutes Speed Pitch – 5 mentors and 5 young filmmakers have 7 minutes to pitch their projects and 7 minutes of feedback took place virtually as a closed event
  • approx. 6 hours per day of specially produced content about the festival with 6,500 views.