Many film festivals are going to look different this year because of the pandemic, but one festival in Sweden is taking its COVID-19 precautions to another level. 

The Göteborg Film Festival will be sending one person to an “Isolated Cinema” on a remote Swedish lighthouse island for seven days this month — but there’s a catch. 

That person will be totally isolated, without even their phone. What they will have is 60 films to watch during their week on the island. 

“Isolated Cinema” is just one way the film festival is exploring its theme: “Social Distances.”

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“Göteborg Film Festival is looking for someone keen to take on the challenge of spending one week in social isolation on the remote lighthouse island of Pater Noster, a secluded spot out at sea, far away from family, friends and mobile phone, the festival website says. “The only company will be the noise of the sea – and the festival films.”

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According to the website, anyone can apply to attend “Isolated Cinema,” but only one person will be chosen. During the week that he or she is on Pater Noster, the person will have to “provide a [daily] report about the films and the experience of being alone on an isolated rock in a vast sea,” the website says.

The Göteborg Film Festival is sending one person to the lighthouse island of Pater Noster (pictured) to watch 60 films in seven days.

The Göteborg Film Festival is sending one person to the lighthouse island of Pater Noster (pictured) to watch 60 films in seven days.
(Erik Nissen Johansen)

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The festival is also offering isolated film screenings at the Scandinavium arena and the Draken Cinema. Though multiple films will be shown at each location, only one person will be able to attend each screening.

The Göteborg Film Festival will also host isolated screenings inside the Scandinavium arena and the Draken Cinema. (iStock)

The Göteborg Film Festival will also host isolated screenings inside the Scandinavium arena and the Draken Cinema. (iStock)

Tickets for those screenings “will be raffled among visitors who register via the festival website,” the website says.

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“The 2021 festival focus, Social Distances, examines the new world that has emerged in the wake of the pandemic, and the role of film in this new world,” Jonas Holmberg, the festival’s artistic director, said in a statement. “The creation of isolated film experiences for single-person audiences at iconic sites is a way of ensuring entirely safe festival screenings, but it is also an attempt to process how the pandemic has changed people’s relationships with film.”

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“On Pater Noster it’s all about the total isolation experienced by so many people the world over this past year,” Holmberg added. “The sensation of being utterly alone … ties in with the altered relationship people now have to all those places that normally buzz with activity but are now deserted.”

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According to the website, the festival will choose the person for “Isolated Cinema” by Jan. 19. That person will spend a week on the island beginning Jan. 30. 

The rest of the festival will be virtual. Registered guests will have access to all the films, premieres and talks digitally, organizers said.

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