IT’S early days, but 2021 has not so far proven to offer the post-2020 relief the world was waiting and hoping for and now, in an unusual pandemic experiment, one person is being offered the opportunity to escape the maelstrom - spending a week alone on a rocky Swedish island long thought to have been uninhabitable. And there’s a catch….


What’s the catch?

It’s not that bad a catch really - you simply have to be a movie enthusiast, who also happens to not be frightened of being alone on an island in the middle of nowhere.


How so?

The Gothenburg Film Festival is looking for a true movie lover to spend a week in a historic lighthouse on a rocky and remote Swedish isle, doing nothing more than watching the films on this year's roster at the Swedish festival.


Where is the island?

The tiny isle of Hamneskär, outside Marstrand on the Swedish west coast, is set in extremely hazardous waters, said to have been feared for centuries. Seafarers are known to have always read The Lord’s Prayer - Pater Noster in Latin - when their ships approached the dangerous reefs and countless shipwrecks gave the island a chilling reputation.


This is as remote as it gets?

The island was long thought to be uninhabitable, but due to the dangerous waters, the lighthouse was constructed in 1868 and given the name Pater Noster as a tribute to the sailors’ prayers. 


The chosen candidate…

…will be granted a week's lodging at the Pater Noster lightkeeper's house, but only for them. No-one else.



Phones and books are not allowed to accompany the successful applicant, so if you’re looking for a 2021 getaway already, this would fit the bill. Jonas Holmberg, the festival's artistic director, said of the chosen applicant: “They are totally isolated. They are not allowed to bring anyone, of course, but also no phone and not even a book. So it will be only this person and the sea, the waves, the sky and the 60 different premieres that we are screening at the festival."


It’s inspired by the pandemic?

The contest is called The Isolated Cinema and Mr Holmberg said the idea was sparked by the pandemic and how social distancing and lockdown measures have affected the way people watch movies. Mr Holmberg said: ”People have watched so many films, and they are alone, and they turn to the films for company and also for comfort. It's also starting to feel strange to watch films with other people touching each other, hugging and kissing strangers — all kinds of things that have changed the audience's relationship with the films. We want to take this to the extreme and put somebody out there."


It could be me?

Applications are being taken until January 17 from all over the world, although Covid-19 restrictions are being taken into consideration. Interested film fans can apply for the Isolated Cinema on the festival's website. The winning candidate will stay in the lightkeeper's house between January 30 to February 6. Mr Holmberg added: “It will be lonely, of course, and it will be beautiful.”