The 73rd Cannes Film Festival is officially canceled.
Due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the legendary film festival is no longer happening. Festival director Thierry Frémaux confirmed the news to Screen Daily, “Under the circumstances, a physical edition of Cannes 2020 is hard to envisage, so we’ll have to do something different. A ‘festival’ is a collective party, a spectacle that brings together an audience in a given location, in this case on the Croisette, in the presence of thousands of people. Everyone understands that that’s impossible this year.” He continued, “The Cannes Film Festival, which by its nature is a globalized institution, can’t escape being a victim in the same way as the rest of human activities.”
Frémaux added the official film selections will be announced in June but will be restricted to titles, which are “scheduled to be released theatrically between now and spring 2021.”
Organizers will start to plan events in selected theaters as “Cannes hors les murs”, which means Cannes outside the walls”. In addition, if social distancing rules come to an end, the film festival may partner with other film festivals this year.
“We’ll go to Toronto, Deauville, Angoulême, San Sebastian, New York, Busan in Korea, and even the Lumière festival in Lyon, which is a festival of contemporary and classical cinema, which will host numerous films,” Frémaux, who also works at Lumière, added. “And with Venice, we want to go even further and present films together.”
Cannes was set to take place this May 12 to May 23. However, in late March, organizers announced its postponement to the end of June to early July. “As soon as the development of the French and international health situation will allow us to assess the real possibility, we will make our decision known, in accordance with our ongoing consultation with the French Government and Cannes’ City Hall as well as with the Festival’s Board Members, Film industry professionals and all the partners of the event,” the festival first announced. Currently, over 26,000 people have died from the Coronavirus in France.
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“While we will need to change this process — in some cases dramatically — to ensure the safety of cast and crew during this pandemic, the closed nature of sets also offers some advantages,” Sarandos wrote Monday in an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times. “Not least that they provide a relatively controlled environment, where we can track who comes and goes.”
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