The coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the film festival calendar. Cannes had to give up on its June-July dates last week and a plethora of smaller events have cancelled this spring and summer. Here’s an update on the status of five of the biggest remaining festivals on the schedule. It’s fair to say there remains uncertainty around each of them.
Venice (September 2 – 12): The glamorous and prestigious Lido festival, which has attracted numerous Oscar contenders in recent years, told us on Friday that it was still on course for an early September launch. Yesterday, in an interview with Italian news agency ANSA, the president of the Venice Biennale admitted that he expects foreign attendance to be down this year. “We are doing simulations regarding a typical festival day,” he said, adding that there would be “a proposal that we will bring forward to producers,” and that the Biennale has given itself an “end of May” deadline for clarity on its status and structure. Italy has been among the worst hit countries in the world by the pandemic with more than 180,000 confirmed cases and more than 24,000 deaths. The country remains largely under strict lockdown and there are no firm dates for widespread reopening, which makes the prospect of a major international festival in four months a challenging one.
Telluride (September 4 – 7/8): A spokesperson for the picturesque and famously press-shy Telluride Film Festival has told us that they are “hoping to have some information this week” regarding the event’s status and planning in light of the coronavirus. The Oscar-bellwether was expected to expand to five days this year after the Town Council approved an additional day earlier this month. Colorado has recorded close to 10,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and 422 deaths. The state garnered international headlines this week when healthcare workers blocked anti-lockdown protests.
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