Did we miss the lessons learned during COVID-19?

In the culture I grew up in, weddings are big, flashy events and an opportunity to impress. It’s not only about a large number of guests, but also in the standard of hospitality. Parents are considered as the real organizers and as the ones who invite the guests. There is a whole mathematics of “who can be offended if not invited” which creates ridiculous situations in which people that hardly know each other are invited to each other’s weddings.
In addition, nobody wants to be perceived as miser, so too many families have to pretend they are very rich and very generous. Many of them take loans that will take years to return, only not be embarrassed and be talked about as poor (although all the guests know they ARE poor).
From the side of the guests, well, they are expected to bring a check which at least covers the cost of them being invited. Maybe with some surplus, which will be given to the married couple.
Next month, those guests who brought the check will have their own wedding (i.e — their kids will get married) and there will be a switch of roles : Those who arranged the wedding last month will be now those who bring the check that covers the cost of their meal in the wedding etc.. It’s practically like moving money from one pocket to another, in an endless vicious circle.

Everyone hates that

Although very few dare to admit it. People say “it’s the happiest day of my life”, “the best day ever” or “I felt like a king/queen for one day” and so on. They lie. The tension among families is so high during the preparations, that sometimes it seems that the wedding will be cancelled. The only ones who are happy with all this are the service providers and since I have friend who is a millionaire thanks to that (he’s a catering provider and an owner of a wedding hall), I can testify it’s true.

Then came COVID-19

Wedding halls were closed during the pandemic and the gathering of more than 10–20 people was not allowed. Some couples decided to postpone their weddings but other insisted on getting married whatsoever, with any number of guests.

A wonderful thing happened

The couples enjoyed the intimacy. The guests enjoyed the intimacy. Everyone enjoyed. Couples married in the backyard without the stupid limousines, parachutes, appearing out of a huge cake or any other gimmick.
Everyone seemed to have liked it.

Then, it was all forgotten

Although there were very positive reactions to those modest weddings, everything went back to “normal”, the minute the restrictions were lifted. Back to the flashy events, back to spending $50-$100k in one evening, back to inviting people you met last time 15 years ago.
Nothing. We learned nothing. All those talks about the pandemic and the lockdown teaching us what’s important in life, simply vanished as if they never existed.

What about the film industry

This blog is dedicated to the film industry and this is where I connect the dots: I admit I was certain that film producers and film festivals will learn the lesson and from now on, will have online screenings parallel to the screenings in venues. And if the analogy is not clear, I thought that discovering the benefits of the online world would be like discovering the modest weddings.
But the majority of film festival directors I talk to, dump online altogether.
For them, it was a nightmare and thank God it’s over.
What about people who cannot attend screenings because they have a weak immune system? And those who can’t take an airplane to participate in the premiere? And the disabled or bedridden? They are forgotten again.

I have an interest. So what?

Yes, I have an interest that people would use online services. It’s a full disclosure and I’m not hiding anything. Nevertheless, I’m an active citizen and try to care for those who have mobility issues.
When restrictions began to be lifted, I sensed the direction things are taking and created the following short video.
Does it make a difference? - I hope so.

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Digital film distributor and founder of Movie Discovery VOD platform, QuickRights and Movies Everywhere . A former documentary filmmaker.

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Yoram Schaffer

Yoram Schaffer

Digital film distributor and founder of Movie Discovery VOD platform, QuickRights and Movies Everywhere . A former documentary filmmaker.

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