BEAST International Film Festival implemented this year’s program in different stages, in order to aim for the safety and health of the public due to COVID-19.

Presented by Associação Cultural OKNA in co-production with Porto City Council and with the support of local and international cultural institutes, BEAST International Film Festival has been operating since 2017 as a complex channel of contemporary culture from Central and Eastern Europe to the Portuguese public.

Thus, BEAST IFF held in March this year a successful online edition, which surpassed the ten thousand views mark and presented more than 60 short, medium and feature films, with part of its program also being made available through the streaming platform Filmin Portugal. In addition, more than 20 special activities were broadcast throughout the edition, such as performances, interviews with directors, lectures, and discussions with members of the film industry, such as producers Ada Solomon and Monica Lăzurean Gorgan.

Within the online edition, the Official BEAST IFF 2021 Competition was also promoted. This year, the following films were awarded by the jury team: SH_T HAPPENS (EAST WAVE Award, Michaela Mihalyi and David Štumpf, Czech Republic); Pure Art (EAST DOC Award, Maksim Shved, Poland and Belarus) and The Close River (experimentalEAST Award, Marta Hryniuk, Poland). The program ended up opening a cultural umbrella that covered 20 countries, with a unique focus on diversity.

Given the positive response from the public to the online program and the new measures easing lockdown restrictions by the Directorate-General of Health, BEAST IFF decided to once again extend its program to the traditional cinemas of Porto, which have always welcomed it. This second cycle of the festival in 2021, called on-site, took place from April 29th to June 3rd and promoted 15 on-site cinema sessions in the city of Porto.

Among short films, documentary and fiction features, 16mm projections and educational activities, 38 films were screened in five different cultural spaces in Porto: Cinema Passos Manuel, Casa das Artes, Maus Hábitos Espaço de Intervenção Cultural, Livraria Térmita and OKNA Espaço Cultural.

The performance of all the activities mentioned above is due to the support and fundamental participation of cultural institutions such as the Câmara Municipal do Porto, Ágora, the International Visegrad Fund, the Instituto Cultural Romeno Lisboa, the Hungarian Embassy in Lisbon, the Slovak Embassy in Portugal, the Polish Embassy in Lisbon and the Romanian Embassy in Portugal.

Having walked with us in the production of this year’s edition, the public and the festival’s partners allowed BEAST to foster the Portuguese cultural scene even in the face of such an adverse period for the world and for the creative sectors.