Oldenburg is not letting the novel coronavirus pandemic stop it.
The independent film festival, dubbed by some as "Germany's Sundance," said Friday it will be going ahead as planned this year, from Sept. 16-20. But Oldenburg also unveiled plans for a hybrid event that will combine physical screenings in theaters with virtual streamings online.
"With culture in all areas of life having being pretty much turned off in the past few weeks and with the future still very uncertain, the Oldenburg Film Festival wanted to set an example,” said festival director Thorsten Neumann by continuing to provide "a platform for both audiences and the industry to discover young, independent cinema."
The coronavirus outbreak has shut down the international film festival circuit, with events including SXSW, the Karlovy Vary Film Festival and the Annecy Animation Festival, canceling or going online-only due to the pandemic.
Neumann said the festival's main sponsors, including the city of Oldenburg, film subsidy body nordmedia and the Oldenburg Landesbank (OLB) are backing the online/offline event.
The festival, in turn, is designing a special festival face mask for residents of the northern German city as a sign, Neumann said, that "we are starting up cultural life again in the time of corona."
Oldenburg will outline details of its plans for the hybrid festival in the coming weeks.
Germany, which went into lockdown in late March in response to the coronavirus outbreak, is beginning to slowly re-open. The country's largest state this week unveiled plans that will allow cinemas to re-open from May 31 under strict COVID-19 guidelines. The rest of the country is expected to follow suit by late summer.