The Netherlands imposed a partial lockdown Friday, amid a surge in COVID-19 infections, but the entertainment business has escaped unscathed, with movie theaters remaining open, and documentary festival IDFA set to run as an in-person event as planned.
The 34th edition of IDFA will run Nov. 17 to 28 in Amsterdam. In a statement released Friday, the festival said: “IDFA is delighted to share that the festival continues in person next week, and cinemas remain open […] All films, talks, and performances will go on in full, with the utmost health and safety measures in effect.”
Orwa Nyrabia, IDFA’s artistic director, commented: “We highly appreciate the acknowledgement of culture’s importance in the new regulations, and it makes us believe in our responsibility even more: to organize a safe festival, as we keep on serving the resilience of the international film community, and the cultural life of Dutch society through such trying times.”
In addition to the festival’s audience programming, industry activities such as IDFA Forum, Docs for Sale, IDFAcademy and IDFA DocLab will continue as planned, the festival said.
The event’s COVID safeguards, already announced, include a maximum capacity of 80% in most festival locations, the requirement for face masks on site and in theaters, and checks on COVID vaccination passes (unvaccinated guests will need to provide a negative test result from the past 24 hours).
The government’s decision on Friday that cafes and restaurants cannot serve customers after 8 p.m. will affect some socializing at the festival, however. The festival said: “In line with the new rules for bars and restaurants’ closing times in the evening, social events such as drinks and gatherings will need to be adapted, and we will inform everyone with the details as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, another key industry event in the country, broadcasting technology show IBC, took a more cautious approach. In a statement, it said: “IBC is assessing the impact and engaging with our stakeholders. As you can imagine, this is an issue that needs careful consideration and we will communicate our plans as soon as possible.” IBC runs Dec. 3-6.
Latest daily figures on Friday showed 16,287 new COVID cases in the Netherlands, up a third on the previous week, according to the BBC. Dutch vaccination rates are relatively high, with 82.4% of over-12s having two doses, which is 73% of the population.