LondonSWF 2021 Important Update…


PLEASE READ THIS MESSAGE FULLY.

NOTE… We are sending mails from several servers to ensure everyone gets this message, so you may get it more than once.

This is the first of many regular emails you will be getting from me about the London Screenwriters’ Festival. Yes, we have many challenges and you will have many questions. Please bear with us as we plan to address the big ones over the coming week and also host a Zoom ‘town hall’ meeting next Monday night to answer any questions you have (I will send Zoom details over he weekend.)

This year more than ever, we need to plan the London Screenwriters’ Festival in great detail. We need to make a best guess as to what the world will be like in September and plan accordingly, changing plans as and when needed (if needed).

The most important thing to stress is this:

If you choose to NOT attend in person, you can enjoy 100% of the festival online this year. I will say it again for clarity. If you choose to NOT attend in person, you can enjoy 100% of the festival online this year.

So… I can’t foretell the future of course, but it’s a reasonable assumption that we may well be in a third wave of Covid-19 over festival time. That much seems extremely likely. The danger posed by Covid is less clear, especially if you are double-vaccinated.

As I mentioned above, we are planning for 100% of the festival to take place online, with events over the weekend of September 10th to 12th onstage in London being filmed and uploaded later.

Following the ‘On Stage’ events there will be an ‘Online-only’ festival too. This will be live and will happen later in September/October.

The pitchfest this year will be 100% online. We are still working out logistics and while on the face of it, the idea of doing it online seems logical, it also throws up many other issues, not least that the pitchfest execs are, like the rest of us, Zoomed out.

So, I need to ask you to guess about the future too.

And to be clear, there is still a chance we may be forced to run the festival entirely online, and not run any part of it on stage in London – either because the venue closes, or the government bans gatherings of more than a small number of people.

None of us want this, but equally I personally do not want to take any silly risks. Not for me, my family, the team, the staff, the volunteers, the delegates or the speakers.

Also, to be clear, at the venue in London we will be running Covid control, asking for vaccination passports, flow tests daily and mask-wearing onsite. This is of course to create as safe a bubble as possible for the three days of the event, but also to respect whatever rules the venue has in place.

I will personally have zero tolerance for anyone who chooses to argue with me about this.

We have so much at risk too. What if Bob Schultz or I get Covid, or are pinged and we have to self-isolate? What if the team gets infected? How will the festival run?

And one last curve ball. Right now, almost every speaker who has agreed to participate is saying a version of this… ‘Yes, I will come, but I will confirm 100% the night before…’ They may not use those exact words, but that is the sentiment. And who can blame them? They want the right to back out if they don’t feel safe on public transport or at the venue.

So again, I need to ask you about your plans now… Can you share your thoughts?

The survey has been emailed to you and will take less than 20 seconds. Thank you in advance for helping to keep everyone safe.

I am asking for your name too in the survey, so we can be sure who has taken this survey and for no other reason. None of this will be binding. You won’t be held to the choices you share now. We just need to get a true picture of where we are at so we can plan accordingly.

Concluding now…

Bob and I plan a Zoom ‘town hall’ meeting next week to have an open discussion with anyone who has concerns or questions about the festival plans. Feel free to join us.

LSFConnect… Our private delegate network is now in final testing and you will get an invite in the coming days.

Other initiatives like the Legal Clinic will be opening very soon and again, you will get an email from me about this.

Thank you for reading this message fully, I know it’s a big ask.

I will be in touch soon.

Chris Jones
Captain of the London Screenwriters’ Festival

 

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