Next year's edition of the Moscow International Film Festival has been moved up from its traditional dates in late June to April due to the upcoming FIFA World Cup, which Russia will host from June 14-July 15, the fest's president Nikita Mikhalkov announced Friday.
Leonid Vereshchagin, a member of the Moscow festival's organizing committee, explained that the soccer tournament will be the main focus of attention in the capital and country in late June and also will add strain on the infrastructure.
"Holding the festival in its traditional dates will be impossible because of unavailability of hotel rooms, because of transport issues and diversion of potential audiences' interest [by the World Cup]," Vereshchagin was quoted as saying by the news agency Interfax. He added that the decision was agreed upon with the International Federation of Film Producers Associations, which is in charge of running major international festivals.
FIAFP did not respond to The Hollywood Reporter's request for comment.
Changing a major film festival's dates because of a large-scale sporting event comes as a very uncommon move.
MIFF is Russia's main international film event and, alongside Karlovy Vary, one of the two main festivals in Central and Eastern Europe. The 40th edition of the fest is set to be held in 2018, though its specific dates in April have yet to be determined.