Banff World Media Festival Cancels 2020 Edition Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Banff Springs Hotel - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Banff Springs Hotel

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos was set to keynote the annual Canadian Rockies industry retreat.

The 2020 Banff World Media Festival, set to run June 14-17 in the Canadian Rockies, has been canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Canceling the festival after 41 years of success was not a decision that we took lightly, but it was the right thing to do for festival delegates, speakers and staff,” Randy Lennox, president of Bell Media and chair of the Banff board of directors, said Monday in a statement.

Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, was set to offer a keynote speech at Banff's 41st edition of the fest.

Banff organizers added that jury members for the festival's Rockie Awards will continue their deliberations and present trophies to winners later this year. And the event will look for alternative ways to hold the inaugural Banff Spark Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media.

"Although we had kept hope up in recent weeks, it became clear that it would be impossible to hold the festival with no certainty regarding what the safety situation might be by June in addition to restrictions on large gatherings and travel bans in place at most media companies," Jenn Kuzmyk, executive director of the Banff fest, said in her own statement.