France’s renowned Canned Film Festival has been postponed. Organizers of cinema’s largest annual gathering, scheduled to take place May 12-23, said Thursday that they are considering moving the festical to the end of June or the beginning of 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’, the festival said in a statement.
Organizers had been extremely reluctant to cancel Cannes. For weeks, its organizers deflected questions and tried to push through its selection process.
But as the pandemic spread through France, it became all but inevitable than a massive gathering like Cannes would be canceled. On Saturday, France’s Prime Minister Eduard Philippe ordered the closure of all restaurants, cafes and cinemas in France to increase social distancing and combat the virus.
Other major film festivals, including South by Southwest and the Tribeca Film Festival, have already been scuttled. But some hope held out that Cannes, taking place closer to summer, might yet continue.
Cannes has greater ramifications for the film industry, which convenes annually on the Cote d’Azur, not just for the festival’s gala screenings but for the world’s largest movie market. Every year, countless production and distribution deals are hatched in Cannes. Film executive fly in from all over the world and gather at the Matche du Film in the basement of Cannes’ hub, the Palais. Every country with a film industry erects a pavilion at Cannes’ international village.
The postponement is also especially painful for Cannes since it’s coming off a particularly successful 2019 edition.
Though recent years have been intensified criticism of the festival’s gender inclusivity and increased competition from other festivals like the Venice Film Festival, the 2019 Cannes features the eventual Oscar best picture winner Bong Joon Ho’s ‘Parasite’, as well as Quentin Tarantin’s ‘Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood’, Pedro Almdovar’s acclaimed ‘pain & Glory’ and Celine Sciamma’s celebrated French drama ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’. ‘Parasite’ won Cannes’Palme d’Or before its Oscar victory.
But the international flavor of Cannes has worked against it this year. Because of the global spread of the novel coronavirus, even a virus – free France would have difficulty drawing – and keeping healthy – filmmakers, executive and press from around the world.
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