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On Tuesday, organizers for the Czech festival said they were cancelling this year’s event because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 55th Karlovy Vary Festival is now scheduled to run July 2-10, 2021.
The festival said the cancellation was necessary “in view of the Czech government’s ongoing coronavirus measures and the complicated worldwide situation.” The Czech government is set to ease the country’s strict lockdown orders on June 8, but according to festival organizers, the new regulations would only allow them to screen movies to a maximum of 50 viewers per cinema.
In place of its usual event, the festival is planning to tour some of its official selections for this year around the country in early July to “offer a taste of the festival at selected movie theaters.”
Karlovy Vary is the latest film fest to shut down amid the pandemic. U.S. festivals South by Southwest and Tribeca both
canceled their physical events, as did the Annecy Animation Film Festival in France.
On Monday, YouTube and Tribeca Enterprises announced plans for a joint online-only fest, the We Are One Global Film Festival, to screen movies and other programming from festivals worldwide, including some of those forced to shut down during the current crisis.
The Karlovy Vary fest, held every July in the historic spa town in the West Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, is the most important film festival in Central and Eastern Europe and attracts both Hollywood and international arthouse talent. Julianne Moore, Helen Mirren, Oliver Stone and John Travolta are among the VIPs that have received lifetime achievement awards at the event.
Karlovy Vary was among the last holdouts of the summer festivals. The Cannes Film Festival has twice postponed, pushing back from its original date in late May and again from its alternative choice in late June, but so far it has not called off its 2020 event.
The Venice Film Festival is officially sticking to its original schedule and hopes to hold the 2020 edition Sept. 2-12. Other late summer and fall fests, including Locarno, Toronto, Telluride, San Sebastian and Zurich, are still planning to go ahead but many doubt it will be possible to hold a major physical film festival in the near future, given the current uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.
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