A series of major TV and film events in France over the coming months are remaining stoic in the face of the growing threat of coronavirus, which has forced organizers of other major business events to abandon their plans.
The Geneva Motor Show was one of the latest corporate gatherings to be canceled after Switzerland on Friday banned events involving more than 1,000 people following the COVID-19 outbreak. Other victims include Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress, while Facebook has pulled the plug on its F8 developer conference, which is scheduled for May.
But with millions of dollars at stake, the France-based Mip TV, Series Mania, Canneseries and the Cannes Film Festival all remain committed to their events, preferring to emphasize the precautions they are taking on behalf of delegates, rather than what thought they are giving to pulling the shutters down for 2020. This is despite the first case of coronavirus in the Cannes region being confirmed on Friday.
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The Lille-based Series Mania opens its doors on March 20 and signaled that it was business as usual today by announcing that HBO’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge show Run will receive its world premiere during the event. Behind the scenes, organizers sent a letter to participants Friday outlining the coronavirus measures being taken to ensure people “enjoy their visit and fully profit from the festival.”
“The festival’s organizers are in close and regular contact with local and national authorities to monitor how the situation is evolving. This will ensure that we are able to provide frequent updates to participants with regard to any measures introduced by authorities,” the letter said. Series Mania added that it would deep clean public areas, make hand sanitizers available in all event spaces and provide specific training to staff.
Mip TV and Canneseries provided Deadline with the same statement issued earlier this month: “We are closely monitoring the situation with relevant authorities and will keep all Mip TV-goers updated on a regular basis,” Reed Midem said. “We look forward to welcoming customers who are not impacted by travel restrictions to our events as usual.”
Chinese buyers are not expected to travel to the market, and even if they do, they would be subject to restrictions imposed by French authorities. Major global companies are also putting in place their own travel guidelines for staff, which could prevent other delegates from attending the event beginning March 30. Fears over the virus are not well-timed for Mip TV, which has already suffered the loss of major exhibitors, including Banijay and ITV Studios, for business reasons.
Finally, the organizers of the Cannes Film Festival — which does not take place until May 12 — said they were keeping a watching brief on coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people worldwide. They added that it was “premature” to “express assumptions” about the event and whether it will proceed.
“In due course and depending on the occurrences, the Festival de Cannes will naturally take all the necessary measures aiming at ensuring the protection of all attendees and preserve their health during the event in Cannes, under the responsibility of public authorities,” they said. “For now, the Cannes film Festival staff continues to prepare the event.”
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