This article has been written with the support of the High Commission of Canada.
#CanadaGoesDigital: Moon Festival explores all things lunar
- Arusa Qureshi
- 29 June 2020
Livia Filotico, Creative Director of the Moon Festival, discusses the festival's partnership with the High Commission of Canada and what to expect from the new digital programme
With festivals around the world cancelled and postponed for the foreseeable in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have opted to move whole programmes online so that audiences can still take part and enjoy key elements from home. While the Moon Festival, which took place for the first time in Greenwich in July 2019, will not be returning this summer in its physical form, the team are delighted to invite audiences to the first-ever iteration of a digital Canadian Moon Festival, thanks to a collaboration with the High Commission of Canada. As part of the High Commission's #CanadaGoesDigital programme of events, the Moon Festival will provide a month of digital content celebrating the brightest rock in the sky and its relevance to contemporary and historical Canadian culture, with original content as well as existing work across film, theatre, visual art and much more.
'We launched the Moon Festival in 2019 to strategically coincide with the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.' Creative Director Livia Filotico explains about its origins. 'But for us it was about culture and art and the moon's power to push boundaries across cultures and disciplines from the beginning.'
With events planned and a programme ready to go for 2020 before the pandemic hit, the team had to work quickly to adapt, partnering with the High Commission to ensure that there was an effective way to shift their focus. Thankfully, as a huge supporter and participant of the festival in its inaugural year, Canadian author Margaret Atwood was happy to be on board as part of this new digital programme.
'Programming for digital content is very different from live experiences because you're not dealing with a physical relationship between audiences and creatives,' Filotico says. 'It's not an event, it's a project and audiences engage with content in a very different way. So we had to rethink the content completely while keeping the heart of the festival alive. Margaret Atwood was incredibly supportive again thankfully. She will be revealing an unpublished moon-themed story via video to open the festival.'
As well as Margaret Atwood, the Moon Festival promises a number of excellent additions to its programme, which Filotico is looking forward to sharing with audiences at home.
'We also have Alanna Mitchell, a journalist from Canada. She and I will be having a conversation about the sea and the moon. Alanna wrote a book called Sea Sick. Her thing is the sea. Mine is the moon so we thought we would do this interview together and see how our passions can come together in the Canadian landscape.'
Elsewhere, highlights include an interview with Inuk Elder artist Manasie Akpaliapik on the moon in Inuk stories; a song cycle by opera singer Janet Fischer; an exclusive interview with architect Douglas Cardinal, and much more to be announced.
The Moon Festival officially launches on Sun 5 Jul, with all content to be published for free on the Moon Festival's website and shared with Moon Festival's subscribers via their newsletter, on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using the #CanadianMoon hashtag.
'I'd really like the huge variety of relationships between Canadian culture and the moon to come through,' Filotico says of her hopes for the festival. 'Canada is an incredible country. And it is my hope that the festival can offer a window into another place and connect two countries via the magical vehicle that is the moon. So variety, diversity, crossing bridges and looking across disciplines is what I'm hoping people will take away.'
Similarly, The High Commission is hopeful that audiences will enjoy and take away plenty from the festival's various offerings: 'The High Commission of Canada is delighted to be working in partnership with The Moon Festival, to deliver this specially commissioned edition. Whilst we all begin to process the impact of our enforced experiences of lockdown and isolation we hope audiences will enjoy these rich offerings from Canada, reflecting on different aspects of the moon in our culture. We are particularly excited to be able to support a programme that offers an insight into the rich heritage and plurality of voices that make up the country. No matter where we are situated in life, we are all united under the moon's silvery unwavering waxing and waning.'
Canadian Moon Festival, Sun 5 Jul–Mon 3 Aug, moonfestival.co.uk