• Made in the West Film Festival

Hosting a Covid-safe festival

Let’s reminisce for a moment, to a simpler time … way back in 2019.


There we were, planning to host a community film festival at a time when large public gatherings were literally everywhere, global travel was a thing, sanitising your shopping trolley wasn’t even an option and we could all have more than twenty mates over for a house party. Ahhh 2019, wasn’t it just grand??


Welcome to 2020.

If there’s one thing this year has taught us, it’s that we are all resilient and capable of adapting. We’ve been heartened by all the great work coming from Western Sydney this year as well as the support we’ve received from local filmmakers as we’ve decided to go ahead with the festival, in spite of all the challenges 2020 has thrown our way.


We’ve been planning a Covid-safe event for some time now.


We’ve put a lot of thought into how we're running the festival this year and the decisions we've made, like our after-6pm start for free parking, the offset start and intermission times in each cinema, allocating group seating in 'bubbles', and our new digital voting system, are all helping us provide a safe experience attending the festival with friends this year.


As a team, we’re all pretty Covid-conscious here at Made in the West, so we don’t mind admitting that as we’ve each started venturing out in recent weeks, whether to work or a cafe or a screening night, there have been times that we have taken a moment to look up whether the venues we’re going to have got any plans in place for keeping people Covid-safe.


So if that’s what YOU’RE doing here -- i.e. If you’re keen to find out more about our plans for a Covid-safe event -- then you’ve come to the right place!


Hopefully this list of FAQs will answer your queries, and if not then you can always contact us to find out more.


IS EVENT CINEMAS A COVID SAFE REGISTERED BUSINESS?

Yes. Event Cinemas is a Covid Safe registered business and they have had multiple inspections from NSW Health and NSW Police with great feedback with their procedures being well above standard.

  • There are QR Codes for check in at the front entrance near the Box Office as well as in Scoop Alley and they will not allow any person on site who is not a ticket holder.

  • The amount of people per group in Scoop Alley is limited to avoid overcrowding and they have floor decals throughout Scoop Alley and safe-distance bollards at the register, and they will have a similar system set up in our private bar upstairs.

  • The current seating capacity in each Vmax cinema is 174 people, which allows 4 square metres per person and is half the usual 330-seat capacity.

  • There are hand sanitisation stands available as you walk into the site, exit the toilets and in the top foyer prior to going into the cinemas.

  • During peak trade there is an additional cleaner whose primary responsibility is the sanitisation and disinfection of high touch-point areas every 30 minutes, as well as a social distancing Marshall to assist with enforcing social distancing in the foyer areas.

WHAT COVID-SAFE MEASURES WILL BE IMPLEMENTED AT THE FESTIVAL?

No ticket, no entry. You will need to have your Made in the West 2020 ticket in order to access the cinema. We’ve got the entire west wing (including the private foyer, cocktail bar and 2 cinemas) roped off for festival guests only.


You will check-in via QR code to register with NSW Health on site at the front entrance, before we scan your festival ticket and admit you to your screening. Yes, that means you’re signing in twice -- once on site with the cinema and once to the festival with us. Hopefully we can make that process quick and easy for you.


All seating will be allocated in group ‘bubbles’ according to friend groups nominated on your ticket order. Bubble group seating means that friend groups who arrive together can sit together during the show and we will leave spare seats between nearby groups. If you’re flying solo, that means you’ll get a bubble all to yourself.

If you have a drink, you need a seat. The rules for our private function are just like the rules at the pub or a bar. If you have a drink in your hand then you can’t also be standing around talking to people.


Red carpet opens 40 minutes before each screening, not before. This allows time for cleaning of high touch-point surfaces in the foyer and bar area between audience arrivals.


Social distancing will be monitored and encouraged openly throughout the night. This year, we will all chat to each other in nice widely-spaced circles, we’ll elbow bump instead of shaking hands, and we throw kisses across the room rather than kiss people on the cheek. Such are the requirements of the times we live in!


We’ve also made a few changes to our format that will help minimise risk:


We’ve pushed back our start time to after 6pm so that everyone can access the free rooftop parking at the cinema after 6pm. This means you can avoid public transport without having to worry about the parking costs.


We recommend car pooling with your group bubble! Assign a designated driver to get you all home safely, or take up our 15% discount offer for festival attendees -- stay at Quest Apartments to make a night of it! See our FAQ page for details.

We’re running the two screenings at offset times. The 7pm VIP Premiere Awards Night and 8pm Made in the West Marathon are entirely separate screenings with offset start times and intermissions. This allows time for cleaning of high touch-point surfaces in the foyer and bar area between each intermission.

We're running our live audience vote online, so there's no need for us to hand out pens to everyone or collect all the voting cards by hand at the end of the night.


We’ve slowed down the pace a little this year, extending our intermissions to 30 minutes to allow plenty of time to grab a drink and go to the bathroom during the breaks, so there’s no need to crowd the bar. We’ve also extended bar service until midnight, so you don’t all feel like you have to get out the door at the same time, therefore limiting crowding upon exit.


WILL I NEED TO SIGN IN?

Yes. Twice, actually. You will be asked to check-in via QR code to register with NSW Health on site at the front entrance, before we scan your festival ticket and admit you to your screening.


Note: The red carpet opens 40 minutes before each screening, so please don’t arrive before then, but do allow some extra time for Sign In procedures and Ticket Check this year when planning your travel.

CAN I GO TO BOTH SCREENINGS?

No. How can you be in two places at once?


We have two cinemas and two audiences for Made in the West this year with screenings at offset times, commencing 7pm and 8pm. This means that when one is in session, the other has intermission, and vice versa. It is very unlikely the audiences will meet.


CAN I SIT WITH MY FRIENDS?

Yes. All seating will be allocated in group ‘bubbles’ according to friend groups nominated on your ticket order.


Bubble seating means that friend groups who arrive together can sit together during the show and we will leave spare seats between neighbouring groups. If you’re flying solo, that means you’ll get a bubble all to yourself.


Note: All attendees will receive an email with your seating bubble allocation 4 days prior to the festival. Please ensure you and your friends accept your correct bubble allocation to confirm your tickets!


Note: Any unconfirmed tickets may be offered to people on the waitlist.


CAN I WATCH THE FESTIVAL ONLINE INSTEAD?

Absolutely. We’re hosting the entire show online one week later for anyone keen to stay home and watch the festival films from the comfort of your own couch.


No need to carpool or check-in, just make some popcorn and your favourite beverage then settle in for a 3-hour marathon event featuring all 28 finalist films plus highlights from the red carpet and interviews with Western Sydney filmmakers.


Reserve your ticket now for Made in the West Online Film Festival. Tickets are $5 + booking fee.


CAN I CONTACT YOU?

Of course. You can contact us via our website with any further questions.


Thanks for reading this update on our Covid-safe festival plans. We’re committed to keeping you safe and informed.


Ultimately, we all want to enjoy celebrating Western Sydney film in a safe environment, so we’re doing our best to bring you that experience and still keep it enjoyable and fun for everyone involved.


SSP