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Hollywood’s annual gathering of classic film fans will be scrapped this year amid the spread of coronavirus.
TCM Classic Film Festival organizers said in an email to ticket buyers on Thursday that “we have made the difficult decision to cancel” the April event and “all pass purchases will be refunded 100%.”
“After talking to our festival partners, as well as the actors, directors and writers who had committed to attending, we didn’t feel we could ask all of you — in good conscience — to come to Los Angeles for the festival,” Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz said in a video explaining the decision.
This year’s festival was set to be held from April 16-19 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX, Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard as well as the Legion Theater at Post 43. Pass prices for the fest had ranged from $349 to $2,449 with individual tickets from $20.
Organizers added, “We assure our fans that we will begin planning the next TCM Classic Film Festival soon and will endeavor to make 2021 edition the best Festival yet.”
As the virus has spread globally, many of the most high-profile industry conferences and festivals where more than 1,000 attendees are expected have been either scrapped or postponed until later in the summer or fall. (TCM Fest venues like the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX can seat 932 moviegoers while the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian Theatre can seat 616.)
Stateside, Austin’s music and tech fest SXSW was canceled for the first time in 34 years; the star-studded Coachella music festival was moved from April to multiple weekends in October; and Miami’s Ultra Music Fest was scrapped altogether this year.
The video game convention E3 in Los Angeles, which had been set for June 9-11, was scrapped, as was visual effects and animation fest FMX in Germany and annual technology confab NAB in Las Vegas (although NAB organizers said they were exploring “all potential alternatives”). And CinemaCon, the annual gathering of exhibitors in Las Vegas from March 30 to April 2, was scrapped on late Wednesday as well.
There have been a few holdouts — festivals that have not yet canceled. Despite the cancelation of the international television market MIPTV, organizers for the Cannes Film Festival in May have signaled that they are taking a wait-and-see approach.
As of March 12, there were 127,863 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally, with 1,323 in the U.S., per Johns Hopkins University’s case tracker. The total number of cases in Los Angeles county is at 27.
The L.A. County Dept. of Public Health said on March 11 that it recommends avoiding for now large gatherings “such as ticketed events (such as theaters, concert halls, and sporting events) if you are at higher risk of getting very sick from infection, such as the elderly (65 or older), people with underlying health conditions and pregnant women.”
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