17th IndieLisboa: an edition to remember (and that is not over yet)

Perhaps the most atypical edition in our history, which took place between August 25th and September 5th, so far this year has welcomed about 17,000 spectators. An increase of the occupation of the rooms, in a year with the capacity reduced to 50% and less sessions than in an usual edition. There was also space for open-air cinema at Capitolio and on the terrace of Cinemateca, which was a good option for the hot summer nights and to bring many spectators afraid to return to an indoor cinema.

The festival ended on September 11th, after the screening of the awarded films at Cinema Ideal and the end of the exhibition of the Ousmane Sembène and 50 Years of Forum Berlinale Retrospectives at Cinemateca Portuguesa.

245 films were screened in 185 sessions, 36 of which were sold out.

Highlight for the national programming sessions – in particular, Catarina Vasconcelos’ film, The Metamorphosis of the Birds, which sold out the Cinema São Jorge room even before the start of the festival, O Fim do Mundo, by Basil da Cunha that won the National Competition, The Art of Dying Away, by Júlio Alves (which sold out one session and almost sold out the second) – and the national short film sessions, which sold out mostly. In the international field, it is worth noting the sold out sessions of All the Dead Ones by Caetano Gotardo and Marco Dutra (who won the Silvestre Award) or White Riot, by Rubika Shah, who also won the IndieMusic Award. The sessions of the International Short Film Competition were responsible for many sold out sessions, as well as the Ousmane Sembène Retrospective that had all its sessions at the terrace of Cinemateca Portuguesa sold out.

Due to the new festival dates, with schools still closed, it was not possible to bring together the sessions organised by the festival’s educational service. Since it is impossible to keep the calendar due to school holidays, the Cineclube sessions and the school program of the children’s section IndieJunior, which always bring a large portion of the younger audience to the festival every year, will take place from October 6th to 16th, at Cinema Ideal and Cinemateca Júnior rooms, and registration is now open for schools and teachers.

It should be noted, however, that although there is no school component, there was a good number of families attending to the festival this year, highlighting Family Day and the debate-session “When gender identity doesn’t match the gender that was assigned at birth”.

The three industry activities were broadcast online on the Festival Scope Pro platform, of which the strong adherence to the Lisbon Screenings stands out, which registered, for the first time, more than a hundred guests around the world. Still using the online platform, LisbonTalks (only one took place in person, at the Cinemateca Portuguesa) and Directors Talks, with the presence of the festival’s directors.

IndieLisboa will be back in 2021, with a new selection of films produced nationally and internationally. Between April 29th and May 9th, the cinema will return to the city of Lisbon to be a starting point for dialogue, celebration and once again, a meeting point for all who live through cinema.

The first IndieLisboa extensions took place in Arruda dos Vinhos, on September 17th, in Montemor-o-Novo, from September 17th to 24th, Vila Franca de Xira, from September 25th to 27th; Montemor-o-Novo and Seixal – Seixal City Council, from September 22nd to October 13th. More cities to be announced soon.

We also emphasize the importance of making a physical edition happen, with the enthusiastic participation of the audience, with invited directors and with the participation of the national and international industry. The fact that we had more than 35 sessions sold out and many others close to sell out, was a very positive moment with the return of the cinematographic activity in Portugal and with the growing interest of our audience in the cinema that we promote. The final numbers of spectators will be known after the IndieJunior Schools and Cineclube sessions.