Abertoir 2021 – FAQ (July 21, 2021)
We ran a survey recently to ask for your input on what Abertoir 2021 looks like - we’ve been working on things for a while now but we’re not quite ready to reveal all the finer details.
We’ve compiled some common questions, including comments from the survey feedback, into the following FAQ, in the hope that it might clear some things up for you while we still work on the exact details of this year’s festival!
Is Abertoir going ahead this year?
Yes! Whatever happens, there’ll definitely be an Abertoir Horror Festival!
We’re planning to run a two-part festival, with a physical event in Aberystwyth 2-7 November, and an online event 14-16 November.
Why are you doing a two-part festival?
We heard loud and clear how many of you found the online festival last year to be an accessible way of enjoying the festival and we’re not going to ignore that!
We also know how many of you value the cinema experience, both in terms of watching the films and in terms of meeting people.
We don’t want to just hold a hybrid event where the same films and events are both happening physically and online – we don’t think we have the capacity to do this to the quality we want for Abertoir, and we don’t believe in just presenting you with a bunch of online films and leaving it at that. We’re determined that the online experience will feel like a proper festival too!
There’s also a chance the physical event won’t be as full a programme as it normally is, due to safety considerations such as more time between films to allow for proper cleaning. The online event therefore allows us to ensure that all the great films we want to screen and all the great events we want to put on get their time to shine.
What’s the difference between the two parts?
To put it simply, Abertoir is spread over two formats – it starts in a physical version, then continues virtually. It’s all one festival that can quickly adapt to any situation if needed, and also allows people to join in who aren’t able to make it to Aberystwyth.
The two parts of the festival will have different content – there might be a few similar events, or live physical events recorded and available online, but otherwise the programme will be different.
We’ll be ensuring that it isn’t any more expensive than usual to attend both parts.
We’re conscious that the online part of the festival is great for anyone who finds attending the physical event difficult, so they can also enjoy Abertoir from home. We also know that you value flexibility, and while we’ll be running on a schedule for the online part of the festival there will be more flexibility around viewing windows than last year.
We, like many of you, really miss the cinema – the big screen, the booming sound, the total darkness. We also miss the people. With cinemas and venues opening up, it would be remiss of us not to plan for a physical event as we normally would – Abertoir was born in a cinema, and that’s where it belongs!
One of the consistent points in your feedback was how much people enjoy experiencing classic films on the big screen, and watching these with an audience as they would have originally been viewed is the ultimate way to truly appreciate cult cinema to its fullest.
Abertoir 2021 is one festival, but with two parts and two experiences. As always, both will feature a mix of brand-new films, cult classics, and special events.
I want to attend in-person but I’m worried about my health/I’m nervous about safety. What will you do to ensure Abertoir is a safe festival?
The physical part of Abertoir 2021 will take place in the Arts Centre’s Theatr y Werin, which is three times bigger than our usual cinema. This will allow us to ensure that there’s the possibility to socially-distance without completely compromising capacity.
We’ll be allowing more time between films too so we can keep the auditorium clean and so you don’t have to rush to eat and can relax safely. (‘About time!’ we hear you cry…)
We’re aware the restrictions are lifting and that there may be more of a sense of normalcy before November. However, we’re keen to ensure everyone feels safe. We plan to take a more cautious approach in 2021, even if the rules that in place now are relaxed by November. We’ll ask for your feedback again in September to guide what those precautions should look like.
We don’t have the exact details planned out yet, but when we do, we’ll make sure it’s well in advance of you needing to book your tickets and clearly available to anyone thinking of attending in-person.
What will happen if things change and you can’t hold the physical event?
We will be contingency planning. By having a virtual part of the festival, it also provides us the infrastructure to pivot entirely online as much as we’re able to if needs must.
We’ll be operating a flexible refund system on tickets and passes, so if anything does change and you’re no longer satisfied, it will be possible to receive a refund.
We also recommend that your travel tickets and accommodation are flexible, just in case things do change.
I want to join the online festival from outside the UK – can I?
Sorry, but no! Some in-house events might be available, but in terms of films this restriction is out of our hands.
Why don’t you do more events all-year round?
Where we’re able to collaborate, we love to host more events. This has included our regular events in Cardiff and Bangor in previous years, and this year’s WOW Film Festival. Over the course of the past 18 months or so we’ve also hosted watchalongs, including a New Year’s Eve special with the cast and crew of Canaries.
Please remember that Abertoir is run by a small team of three who all have very busy day jobs and other commitments too. A lot of time, energy and effort goes into putting on our main event to the high standard you’re used to, and that means that we can’t spread ourselves too thinly by regularly hosting year-round events.
What can I do to socialise with other people who attend Abertoir?
We know socialising is an important part of the festival experience. We’ll be doing our best to retain the social experience in both our physical and online spaces this year.
Unless things change, the café and bar in the Arts Centre will be open during the festival. We’ll also try to ensure there is outside space to relax – but do bear in mind it’ll be November!
Our online festival will again feature our ‘Zoom bar’ space, allowing for attendees to meet each other and chat.
We also have a Discord server, where Abertoir attendees can chat about films and various other topics – Discord also allows for voice and video chat and as more people use it we’ll be sure to make the most of the platform.
Can you explain how the voting slips work?
No comment ;)