Preparing to host a Covid Safe festival
If there’s one thing that Covid has taught us, it’s that we are a resilient community and capable of adapting to changing circumstances. Nothing can hold us down!
We’ve been heartened by all the support we’ve received from local filmmakers as we’ve decided to go ahead with the festival this year, even after the incredible hardships of 2020 and in spite of all the challenges 2021 has continued to throw our way.
We’ve been festival planning during a pandemic for some time now so we’re feeling pretty good about what we need to do, and of course, we have a good track record running the 2020 festival successfully and safely last year.
We’re committed to making it work and hosting an event we can all enjoy safely.
Our huge Vmax cinema seats 330 people very comfortably (hello luxe leather arm chairs!) and depending on the Covid-safe rules at the time, we are likely to be accepting 75% or 100% capacity.
Please bear in mind that the NSW Health guidelines currently do not allow unvaccinated folks to attend the cinema. Mask-wearing is required, though not when you have food and drink. Ultimately, we just have to follow the Covid-safe guidelines in place at the cinema.
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 started venturing out in recent weeks, whether to work or a cafe or a screening night, we often look up the venues we’re going to ahead of time to see their systems for keeping people 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 VENUE?
Yes. Event Cinemas is a Covid Safe registered business and they have passed multiple inspections with flying colours, as their procedures are considered well above standard.
They have QR Codes for check-in at the front entrance near the Box Office as well as in Scoop Alley and will not allow any person on site who is not a ticket holder.
All guests on site must be fully vaccinated, showing a digital vaccination certificate for verification. No photocopies or paper certificates allowed - digital only.
All staff wear masks when serving and interacting with customers. Currently, wearing a mask is required by all attendees in the cinema too, except when eating or drinking.
The number of people allowed per group in Scoop Alley is limited to avoid overcrowding. They have floor decals throughout and safe-distance bollards at the register, and will have a similar system set up in the private bar upstairs.
The current seating capacity in each Vmax cinema is 250 people, which is 75% of the usual 330-seat capacity. This allows for 2m per person.
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, 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. Cinema staff will check for tickets at the main foyer entrance, so you will need a Made in the West 2021 ticket to access the cinema.
Check-in via QR code and full vaccination status required. Cinema staff will check your status at the main entrance, so please ensure you have your digital certificate accessible. Once you’re checked and through the main foyer, then you can make your way upstairs and we’ll scan your ticket to enter the festival, collect your seat number and hit the red carpet for a photo.
Masks are required currently, unless you have food or drink. The rules for our private function are just like the rules in other hospitality venues. If you have a drink or food then you are allowed to remove your mask. It's possible that this rule might be relaxed by December, so masks may be optional by then. We’ll keep you posted!
Have you seen our festival masks on sale in our merch shop? We're loving all the festival styles available.
Pre-Festival drinks and intermission hangs happen in the cinema, not in the foyer. This is because the cinema is huge and the seats really roomy, so there’s more space to mingle at our seats and down the front of the cinema during the breaks.
Social distancing will be monitored and encouraged openly throughout the night. Again 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 times we live in!
We’ve also made a few changes to our format that will help limit risk:
We’ve pushed back our start time to after 6pm so that everyone can access the free parking at the cinema after 6pm. This means you can avoid public transport if you wish, without having to worry about the parking costs.
We recommend car pooling with your group! Assign a designated driver to get you all home safely, or take up our 15% discount offer for festival attendees -- use the promo code WFF and stay at Quest Apartments in LIverpool so you can make a night of it!
We're running our live audience vote through a digital platform this year, so we can avoid needing to hand out pens to everyone and collect all the voting cards by hand at the end of the night. You’ll still get a program each, so you can keep track of the films!
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 get crowded in the foyer. We’re also breaking up the segments into three chunks, not two, so you won’t all feel the need to rush out the door for the bathroom at the same time.
WILL I NEED TO SIGN IN?
Yes. You will be asked to check-in via QR code at the front entrance, plus show your vaccination certificate to cinema staff, before we then scan your festival ticket and admit you to the festival.
CAN I SIT WITH MY FRIENDS?
Yes! All general admission seating will be allocated when you arrive, so we recommend arriving with your friends! Your seat will be yours for the night, because it's safer that way.
Group seating is preferred, so friend groups who arrive together can sit together during the show. If you arrive early, you can always grab a drink at the bar and wait for your pals.
If you purchase a reserved seat or VIP Exclusive ticket, we’ll reserve your seats ahead of time, then do our best to find seats for your GA friends nearby.
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 21 finalist films plus highlights from the red carpet and interviews with Western Sydney filmmakers.
We’ll send you the link to view the festival online on Friday 10 December and you'll have 48hours to watch the show!
Tickets open soon for Made in the West Online Film Festival.
Individual tickets are $9 + booking fee. If you’re watching with a group of people, then throw in a little kicker and purchase a household ticket for $15 instead.
All proceeds support Made in the West event costs and future festivals.
MY QUESTION WASN'T ANSWERED, 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 preparations. We’re committed to keeping you safe and informed.
From the team at SSP