It was only a few days into the 30th anniversary festival for Melbourne Queer Film, when the government ordered the closure of cinema’s and all non-essential gatherings. It was a devastating blow to not only the festival team but to our community of which lies at the centre of the festival’programming.

I guess like everyone it’s been a bit of a roller coasterMQFF director Spiro Economopoulos told Star Observer. “My lockdown commenced as soon as the festival was postponed.

“Dealing with the loss of a festival that you’ve spent a whole year working on, that was pretty tough.

But soon afterwards, the reality of what was going on in the scheme of things was the most pressing thing, that it was something we were all going through- that’s what struck me.

It’s been amazing to watch how people have been adapting to it and trying to connect through social media. It’s also great to see how arts organisations have been responding to it.”

 Having worked as a film programmer, maker, and for a short time as a film critic prior to joining the team at Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF), we asked Economopoulos how he thought the broader film industry was adapting to the challenges of Covid-19.

I think we probably won’t see the impacts for a couple of years, there’s a bit of lag between production and postproduction.

“But I’ve also been reading a lot on how some production companies are looking at starting up again and creating their own social distancing rules for production.

“Seeing how the industry will adapt is going to be really interesting.”

 Turning our attentions once more to MQFF, Economopoulos continues the interview by saying, “At the heart of MQFF  it’s a community festival, it’s about all of us getting together.

We are trying a lot of new things at the festival, such as the Couch Critic Competition which has been a really nice way of engaging with our audiences. It’s also been really fun to discover new things through our audience too.

“We are hoping to still go ahead with our smaller October festival, which we launched last year. Fingers crossed we can present that in some shape or form.”

It may still will be some time before we can all come together again as one, a point that Spiro finishes the interview reflecting on by saying, “I have to remember that this is just a short-term thing and I hope that soon, we can all get together again in a packed cinema- that’s what I’m hoping for.”

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