Cannes Cancellation Looms as France Extends Festival Ban to Mid-July

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The festival had hoped to hold this year's event in late June.

It is looking very likely that the 2020 Cannes Film Festival will be canceled after French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday announced new measures extending France's national coronavirus lockdown and banning all public events, including festivals, until mid-July.

In his televised address, Macron said he was extending the country's lockdown until May 11. After that date, France expects to be able to supply face masks to all of its citizens and to have the equipment needed to test anyone presenting symptoms of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. After May 11, France plans to begin progressively reopening selected businesses and public institutions.

But Macron made it clear it would be some time before the country returned to normal.

"Bars, restaurants, cafes, hotels, cinemas, theaters, concert halls and museums will remain closed at this stage," he said, noting that festivals and other events with large crowds will be banned until mid-July.

That could be the final blow for the 73rd Cannes Film Festival.

This year's fest already has been pushed back from its original dates of May 12-23 due to the coronavirus pandemic. But festival organizers so far have refused to cancel it, holding out hope that the 2020 Festival du Cannes could be held from late June to early July.

Macron's new regulations would appear to make that impossible. A late-July start for Cannes could prove unworkable, as it would mean just a month between the French event and the Venice International Film Festival, set for late August.

The international industry already is working on the assumption that Cannes will be called off this year. Several major international production and sales companies, gathered around CAA, have floated plans for an alternative virtual market for companies to pitch new projects and screen finished films should the fest be canceled.