Measures to control the spread of Covid-19 have had a far-reaching impact on established models of film distribution and exhibition, significantly contributing to an acceleration of existing trends around the online delivery and consumption of film. This acceleration has made visible further nuances in existing patterns of film audience experience as identified by Hanchard, Merrington and Wessels (2020). Combining elements of what they term “group film audience experiences” and “digital film audience experiences”, the “watchalong” – in which viewers watch films at home simultaneously with other physically remote co-viewers – grew in popularity alongside nationwide stay-at-home orders in the UK throughout 2020 and 2021. Replicating some of the scheduled, event-like quality and shared, collective experience of the in-person film screening, this paper argues that the watchalong serves as a noteworthy example of a contemporary film audience experience that highlights the flexibility of the patterns identified by Hanchard et al., as well as providing a suggestive case study with which to expand Hanich’s (2018) work on “the audience effect” beyond the physical space of the cinema auditorium.
|Title of host publication||The Formation of Film Audiences|
|Subtitle of host publication||Conference Proceedings|
|Editors||Lito Tsitsou, Helen Rana, Bridgette Wessels|
|Publisher||The Digital Humanities Institute|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2022|
- film exhibition
- digital cultures