The Bushwick Film Festival still seeks submissions as organizers adapt to a future of social distancing. Photo Credit: FLICKR

As New Yorkers begin to adjust to city life amid COVID-19, art organizations are taking on the large task of altering what it means to view art.

Amid ongoing restrictions, organizers of the annual Bushwick Film Festival are still considering how to showcase moviemakers in the fall, reports The Brooklyn Paper.

While the festival goes onto its 13th installment this October, organizers are planning to have a lower venue capacity for in-person live gatherings. And for the first time, outdoor and online screenings may be a part of the festival’s programming for the first time in history.

“Community events like this repair or make us feel like there’s still parts of the world that we won’t lose,” said Kweighbaye Kotee, the festival’s founder and chief executive officer. “It’s a place where people from all social classes can come and enjoy film together.”

While most submissions come in between January and March, and between May and July, the cancellations of other festivals and the disruption caused by COVID-19 has made artists hesitant to send in their work. The festival initially hoped for 1,500 submissions but may only get around 1,300 which is similar to last year’s count. Nevertheless, in honor of the festivals 13th year, the short film submission theme will be centered around the ideas of teenage angst and coming of age.

As warm weather progresses and COVID cases are predicted to drop, a more detailed approach to the modified Bushwick Film Festival will be released in the coming months. For now, though, planners say they may move the festival’s panels to online platforms.

“I think a lot of people over the past few months have found some sort of comfort and peace in art, stories, and filmmaking,” said Kotee. “It’s a way that has brought people together.”

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Kimberlean Donis

Kimberlean Donis is a journalist based in Brooklyn. She is a student at Williams College majoring in Political Science and Art History.

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