Thu. Sep 24th, 2020

Cannes Film Festival: canceled but not yet canceled

“It is clearly difficult to assume that the Festival de Cannes could be held this year in its original form.”

In an announcement today, the Cannes Film Festival said that its plans to possibly move the year May festival to June are now not going to happen, but are still pursuing other options for 2020.

Following the statement by French President Emmanuel Macron, on Monday, April 13th, they acknowledged that the postponement of the 73rd International Cannes Film Festival, initially considered for the end of June to the beginning of July, was no longer an option. Macron announced that, due to COVID-19 and the rising amount of cases in the country, that he would extend the country-wide lockdown of France to May 11th and that no festivals would be allowed until mid-July at the earliest.

“It is clearly difficult to assume that the Festival de Cannes could be held this year in its original form. Nevertheless, since yesterday evening we have started many discussions with professionals, in France and abroad. They agree that the Festival de Cannes, an essential pillar for the film industry, must explore all contingencies allowing to support the year of Cinema by making Cannes 2020 real, in a way or another.”

The festival statement continued, saying “When the health crisis, whose resolution remains the priority of all, passes, we will have to reiterate and prove the importance of cinema and the role that its work, artists, professionals, film theatres and their audiences, play in our lives. This is how the Festival de Cannes, the Marché du Film and the parallel sections (Semaine de la Critique, Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, ACID), intend to contribute. We are committed to it and we would like to thank everyone who is by our side, public officials (Cannes’ City Hall, Ministry of Culture, the CNC), industry members as well as our partners.”

With all film festivals in spring already canceled and some exploring digital avenues, the landscape is still unclear for the fall season that includes the Venice Film Festival in Italy, Telluride in the United States and TIFF in Canada as well as upcoming awards ceremonies like the Emmy Awards, Spanish Goyas and the Oscars.

Last year, the Cannes Film Festival premiered three of the five foreign-language films nominated in the International Feature Film category at the Academy Awards and Palme d’Or winner Parasite went on to win four Oscars, making history as the first non-English language film to win Best Picture.

UPDATE: Following the French President’s April 13 announcement banning any festival from taking place until mid July, the parallel sections of the Cannes Film Festival acknowledge that the previously considered postponement to late June/early July is no longer an option. Consequently, the Directors’ Fortnight, La Semaine de la Critique and ACID regret to announce the cancellation of their 2020 editions in Cannes.

The health crisis we are all presently facing makes it impossible to anticipate the practical course of events. However, in order to support the whole film industry impacted by the current circumstances, each section, in consultation with the Cannes Film Festival, is looking at the best way to keep on supporting the films submitted to its 2020 edition.

According to Variety, the Marché du Film is now setting up a full-on virtual market from June 22-28, Variety has confirmed. In addition, the Marché du Film, which has always run alongside the festival, will this year run at the same time as a CAA-led virtual market, according to an industry source close to both initiatives.

Jerome Paillard, head of the Marché du Film, is to communicate details about the virtual market on Friday.

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