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Las Vegas film festivals adjust to cope with pandemic

Milo Kostelecky and his team should have been putting the finishing touches on the Las Vegas Film Festival.

Instead, the event, which had been scheduled for May 28-31, is being rolled to the same time frame next year.

“We decided that the best approach would be to focus all attention into next year and incorporate what we’ve been working on this year to showcase in 2021,” said Kostelecky, the festival’s president.

The festival offered its filmmakers the option of waiting until then or having their entry fees refunded.

“The great majority decided to stay in for next year,” he said, “so I’m optimistic that we will host a really nice event in 2021.”

The Nevada Women’s Film Festival had been set for its sixth installment March 19-22. Rather than wait until 2021, the fest is moving online June 25-28.

Founder Nikki Corda said she’s hoping to screen all the same films. Live question-and-answer sessions are still scheduled with Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, the festival’s Vanguard Award winner for her acclaimed Nevada-filmed feature “The Mustang,” and UNLV grad Andrea Walter, its Nevada Woman Filmmaker of the Year.

“I believe we will pick up again next March,” Corda said, “assuming life is back to ‘normal.’ ”

Joshua Abbey is already taking his Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival online, ahead of its 20th anniversary in January.

Every two weeks, he’s announcing a new movie on the festival’s Facebook page, then presenting virtual Q&As.

Abbey said he’s hoping to hold an in-person version in January, but he’s aware of the high-risk status of his most loyal, older attendees.

“I don’t think I’m going to hold the festival if people have to come in wearing masks and gloves and being tentative and apprehensive. I don’t think it’s worth it,” Abbey said. “So, basically, unless a vaccine is forthcoming and people feel completely assured that their physical safety is intact, I most likely won’t do it. It will compromise the experience too much.”

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

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