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Global film festival aims to bridge coronavirus distances

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FILE PHOTO: Bong Joon Ho poses with his Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director for “Parasite” in the photo room during the 92nd Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Cannes film festival was canceled and the September jamborees in Venice and Toronto are uncertain but this week movie lovers are being offered a taste of the film festival experience from the comfort of their homes.

The 10-day “We Are One: A Global Film Festival,” starting Friday on YouTube, will feature new and classic movies, talks with directors, and music and comedy curated by 21 festivals including those in Berlin, Cannes, Venice, Toronto and New York.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the cancellation of multiple cultural events where independent movies are first launched.

“We Are One” will stream more than 100 movies representing 35 nations. The program includes the world premiere of documentary “Iron Hammer” about former Chinese Olympic volleyball star “Jenny” Lang Ping, talks with directors Bong Joon Ho and Guillermo del Toro, and a 20th anniversary reunion of the cast of “Almost Famous.”

“You’ll be able to see a premiere of the film and during that premiere the filmmakers will come out and introduce it. There will be a talk afterward,” said Jane Rosenthal, who organized the global event.

Rosenthal said she wanted not just to celebrate film but also to reach out to people who have never been to a film festival.

She said the idea sprang from the Tribeca film festival, which Rosenthal and actor Robert De Niro launched in 2002 to reinvigorate lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

“We are all globally in the same place except this (coronavirus) is even harder. We can’t physically gather. So I started thinking about how do we to pull the world together at a time of need,” she said.

While the festival will stream for free, viewers will be asked to donate to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Tom Brown

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