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DIFF Done Different

Since 2010, Darwin International Film Festival (DIFF) has given film lovers and makers the chance to connect on common ground over several flick-filled days each September. Throw a global pandemic in the mix, and the possibility of running an international film festival would seem all but lost. This year, hindsight is 20/20, as DIFF looks back on the last decade of film festivals with DIFF 2020: Take One.

By Tierney White

There’s no doubt about it, March was a strange time for everyone. The world as we knew it was cast into a state of uncertainty, as we tried to navigate circumstances they say only happens once every 100 years.

Under this cloud of uncertainty, DIFF Festival Director Blandine Ruffo was tasked with trying to predict what the 2020 DIFF might look like, six months down the track.

“Like everyone else, we spent two months preparing for different scenarios. We had no idea in March where we would be in September – the government predicted six months of potential lockdowns, and September was right at the end of that. The only thing we did know was that we didn’t know! So it was really tricky,” Ruffo says.

“We were also mindful that once we had more information, we wouldn’t have much time to pull it together. We are just so excited to be able to have DIFF, which is presented over two programs – DIFF 2020: Take One runs this month and DIFF 2020: Take Two is scheduled for May next year.”

From 18-27 September, one film from each DIFF since 2010 is showcased on the Deckchair Cinema screen, films that were meticulously selected by the DIFF committee from international film festivals past, such as Cannes and Sundance.

“We decided to pick 10 films from our 10 previous programs of DIFF. It just wasn’t possible to curate a whole selection of new movies in time, especially with the postponement of other international film festivals that our program is developed from.”

DIFF 2020: Take One also heartily supports the local creative scene, with live performances from support acts each night prior to screenings. Tables from the deck area are relocated to the lawn in front of the big screen, making way for the deck space to come alive with intimate, laidback performances from local artists.

“We have the space to support live performance, and we have a responsibility to share our space as much as possible,” Ruffo says.

“Local performers combined with flavours from local caterers and international film means this is a festival for the senses. It’s a wonderful way to experience the Deckchair Cinema.”

DIFF caters to two main audiences – film enthusiasts that relish the opportunity to see cinematic gems on the big screen, and members of the local film industry.

Through a series of events and initiatives, including the Capricornia Film Awards and the NT Screen Summit, DIFF provides the Territory film industry with development and networking opportunities, as well as the chance to receive recognition where there once was a gap. DIFF 2020: Take Two is where you can expect to find this part of the program next year.

In the meantime, Ruffo encourages you to soak up DIFF 2020: Take One, celebrating the epitome of life in the Top End.

“The live performances roll out during sunset against the best freaking backdrop you could ask for. Live entertainment, fantastic film and local flavours in an iconic Top End setting – what more could we ask for?”


DIFF 2020: Take One
WHEN
FRI 18 – SUN 27 SEP
AT DECKCHAIR CINEMA
COST $9-$22
INFO diff.net.au

Click here for all DIFF events.

Photos: Header & thumbnail - Loving Vincent
Top: On The Road
Middle: Still Our Country - Reflections on Culture
Bottom: Looky Looky Here Comes Cooky

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