Coronavirus: San Sebastian & Zurich Film Fests Look To Grow Markets Given Loss Of SXSW, Tribeca & Cannes Uncertainty

Zurich, San Sebastian
Zurich, San Sebastian Premier PR

The San Sebastian and Zurich film festivals today announced plans to introduce larger film markets at their respective events given the disruption to the spring and summer film calendar wrought by coronavirus.

José Luis Rebordinos, Director of the San Sebastián Film Festival (SSIFF), and Christian Jungen, Artistic Director of the Zurich Film Festival (ZFF), made the announcement today.

Marking a first for both events, SSIFF and ZFF are aiming to welcome buyers from across the globe, with programming that includes films originally selected to be showcased at SXSW and the Tribeca Film Festival (which has officially been postponed but new dates have yet to be announced) and will introduce new sales projects.

Working with both entities, CAA Media Finance is supporting the initiative to transform San Sebastián and Zurich into sales markets that bring together a worldwide consortium of agencies, foreign sales companies, distributors, financiers, and buyers. The initiative is said to be backed by major independent film companies, including Wild Bunch and Film Nation.

Both festivals have included industry elements in the past and there is business done at each event but this would be an expanded offering.

“For the San Sebastián Film Festival, the most important thing now is the health of film industry professionals and spectators. But we keep working with the aim of making the 2020 edition of the festival a reality next September (18-26)”, said José Luis Rebordinos.

“If the festival can be held under normal conditions, because the health authorities allow it, we want this edition to serve as an opportunity for films that have not been able to be seen at the festivals for which they were originally selected, to be shown to an audience of buyers and distributors and, at the same time, for these professionals, representatives of the most important companies in the world film industry, to get to know the size of the San Sebastián Festival, its line-up and its activities focused on the film industry.”

“We live in disruptive times which also shatter the traditional festival landscape and threaten Independent cinema. Many high-profile titles are orphans of a real premiere their cast and crew deserve. So we are happy to help out holding screenings for buyers together with our friends of San Sebastián,” said Christian Jungen.

“It is important to strengthen independent cinema and to help those titles in their launch for the award season. Zurich is one of the world’s financial capitals and an ideal place for a film market since it has a great infrastructure where you can do business in a leisurely atmosphere”. The Zurich Film Festival is due to take place September 24 to October 4, 2020.

Specifics about the film screenings and programming are due to be revealed at a later date.

Venice and Toronto could also be in line for busier markets should they be able to go ahead. Cannes remains a question mark, though there are various plans for online market scenarios should the physical event fall by the wayside.

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