The 73rd edition of the Cannes Film Festival has officially been postponed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, a press release from festival officials revealed on Thursday.
While not a cancelation, festival organizers are hoping for are weighing multiple options, including pushing the French Riviera fest to June or July. Currently, the entire country of France is under a 15-day lockdown.
Academy Award and Cannes-winning director Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman) had been previously selected as president of the jury for the main competition of the festival but there is no word if he will stay on in a postponed version of the festival. UPDATE: “I agree 100% with Thierry and the Cannes Film Festival,” Lee said in an interview with Variety shortly after the announcement. “The world has changed and it’s changing every day. People are dying and France’s president has said, several times — I’m paraphrasing — ‘We are at war.’ We are in a war-like time.” He added Lee continued, “The stuff that we love has to take a back seat: movies, TV, sports, the NBA is a global sport, baseball. So many things have been canceled, and I agree with this move.”
When asked if the festival manages to shift to another date, Lee said he’d make himself available to take on his role as jury president. “Let’s not forget this is the world’s biggest film festival, the world’s biggest stage for cinema and I’ll be the first black president of the jury,” he said. “So look, I can’t pretend [to know] what’s going to happen tomorrow. Everybody has to pray, get on bended knee, pray, we get out of this, find a vaccine, get back on our feet — physically, emotionally and financially worldwide. This is no joke. It’s not some movie. People are dying.”
The 2020 Cannes Lions festival was postponed yesterday, moving from June to October.
Here is the official press release in full:
At this time of global health crisis, our thoughts go to the victims of the COVID-19 and we express our solidarity with all of those who are fighting the disease.
Today, we have made the following decision : The Festival de Cannes cannot be held on the scheduled dates, from May 12 to 23. Several options are considered in order to preserve its running, the main one being a simple postponement, in Cannes, until the end of June-beginning of July, 2020.
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.
In the meantime, the Festival de Cannes lends its vocal support to all of those who firmly call on everyone to respect the general lockdown, and ask to show solidarity in these difficult times for the entire world.
See you very soon,
The Festival de Cannes Team