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CineAsia, the exhibition and distribution industry conference usually hosted every fall somewhere in Asia Pacific, has canceled its 2021 edition amid Delta variant outbreaks throughout much of region.
The event previously was scheduled to be held in Bangkok, Thailand in December. The decision marks the third consecutive year that CineAsia has been canceled. In late 2019, the event was set to be held in its longtime former base of Hong Kong, but the violent police crackdown on pro-democracy protestors in the city forced organizers to pull out. CineAsia then intended to shift locations to Bangkok in 2020, but those plans were ultimately waylaid by the first waves of the pandemic.
Traditionally, CineAsia has been a regular annual stop on the Asian entertainment calendar for Hollywood studio execs, with full theatrical screenings of upcoming tentpoles a feature of the three-day event. The big-screen focus of the gathering has made shifting to an online model less viable than other film markets and industry occasions.
“After much consideration following conversations with strategic partners in the APAC region and meetings with key supporters and studios at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, we have determined that we cannot hold a successful convention in Bangkok in December 2021,” CineAsia organizers said in a statement Thursday. “It is therefore with much sadness and disappointment that we need to cancel CineAsia 2021.”
Organizers noted that eight key markets in Asia-Pacific are presently closed and will not reopen until October. Strict travel restrictions, meanwhile, remain in force across all territories in the region, with no signs of mass mobility resuming by the end of the year.
“Slow progress on vaccine rollouts and quarantine requirements all add to the challenges in the region,” CineAsia said, noting: “Safety is our first priority and we cannot subject our delegates to any potential risk.”
Besides Hollywood movie screenings and a trade show for major, regional and independent movie studios, CineAsia always features a series of panel discussions and an awards show for regional stars and honored exhibitors.
The event is produced by the Film Expo Group, based in New York City, which also puts on CineEurope, held in Barcelona, and ShowEast, held in Miami.
The group said they expect to host an in-person CineAsia in 2022 and will share dates with the industry soon, adding, “Stay safe and stay positive.”
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