Sydney Film Festival Cancelled Over Coronavirus

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House STEVEN SAPHORE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The 2020 Sydney Film Festival has been called off due to fears over the continued spread of coronavirus.

The event, one of Australia’s key film fests, was due to run June 3-14.

“It is with deep regret that, for the first time in its history, the Sydney Film Festival board and management must announce the cancellation of this year’s festival,” wrote Chair Deanne Weir, CEO Leigh Small, and Festival Director Nashen Moodley on the event’s website.

“The decision to cancel this year’s Sydney Film Festival follows a review of the most up to date advice regarding ways to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, and the New South Wales Public Health (Covid-19 Public Events) order banning events of 500 people, which is in place until 14 June,” the statement added. “In this rapidly evolving and unknown environment, the SFF board and management know this is the only responsible decision – albeit a devastating one. However, the health and safety of our community is our first concern.”

“Sydney Film Festival will return in 2021 with a more crucial role than ever before. In changing and challenging times, the Festival is proud to be the forum where we collectively discover and discuss the world and our times through the medium of film,” it concluded.

The festival said it will now assess options to “continue to celebrate film and filmmakers” in the wake of the cancellation.

Australia has 565 confirmed COVID-19 cases and six deaths at the time of writing.

Many film festivals across the world have now been cancelled. Cannes, which is due to run May 12-23, continues to holdout despite the spread of the virus in France, one of the worst hit euro nations. Yesterday, we had the scoop on how industry are preparing for the eventuality that it may not take place.

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