Cannes Film Festival finally has admitted that its 2020 edition, which had been moved from May to late June, won’t happen on those dates either and is unlikely to go ahead “in its original form” due to the coronavirus outbreak.
But that’s not the end of the matter. Organizers said Tuesday they still hope to salvage something from the rubble of the pandemic by staging an event at some point this year.
The fest said today:
Following the French President’ statement, on Monday, April 13th, we acknowledged that the postponement of the 73rd International Cannes Film Festival, initially considered for the end of June to the beginning of July, is no longer an option.
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.
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.
Each and everyone knows that many uncertainties are still reigning over the international health situation. We hope to be able to communicate promptly regarding the shapes that this Cannes 2020 will take.
The move to nix the festival in its existing format became almost inevitable following a ruling by French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday night that the country wouldn’t host any festivals or events with large gatherings until at least mid-July.
In a speech to the nation, the president said the French lockdown would be prolonged until May 11. All public gathering spaces including cinemas, restaurants, bars and boutiques will remain closed until further notice. COVID-19-related deaths in France soared beyond 10,000 last week and cases crossed 100,000.
The Cannes Film Festival has been the last holdout among major industry events in France, as the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and the Annecy International Animation Film Festival were scratched. Both normally take place in June.
The event’s determination to forge ahead has had a mixed reaction from industry we’ve spoken to.
The festival had begun to invite movies and has been taking submissions. But some movies that many expected to be highlights have moved to later in the year. Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, for example. Thierry Frémaux himself mentioned Top Gun: Maverick last week, but that’s another movie that has shifted to end of year.
In recent weeks, the Cannes Marché has said that a digital market will go ahead this year. As we revealed, CAA is also leading a digital initiative for sales agents and buyers.
Cannes is coming off a banner year, having hosted movies including eventual Oscar Best Picture winner Parasite and eventual Oscar-nominated films Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Pain and Glory and Les Miserables. The confab remains one of the most lucrative, well-attended and buzzy platforms for launching movies.
The festival hasn’t had to cancel an edition since socioeconomic protests hampered the 1968 festival, and that was only halfway through the event. In 2003, SARS resulted in lighter attendance from Asia, but it has been 70 years since a Cannes Film Festival didn’t happen at all.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.