Cannes Critics' Week, Directors' Fortnight Canceled

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A picture taken on March 25, 2020 shows a man walking along the Festivals' palace in Cannes, south eastern France.

The festival sidebars, which run alongside the main Cannes Film Festival, have been called off as Cannes "explores options" for 2020.

The Cannes Critics' Week, Directors' Fortnight and ACID sidebars, the independent sections that run alongside the official Cannes International Film Festival, have been canceled due to the coronavirus.

"Following the French president's April 13 announcement banning any festival from taking place until mid-July, the parallel sections of the Cannes Film Festival acknowledge that the previously considered postponement to late June/early July is no longer an option," the sections said Wednesday in a statement. "Consequently, the Directors' Fortnight, La Semaine de la Critique and ACID regret to announce the cancellation of their 2020 editions in Cannes.

"The health crisis we are all presently facing makes it impossible to anticipate the practical course of events. However, in order to support the whole film industry impacted by the current circumstances, each section, in consultation with the Cannes Film Festival, is looking at the best way to keep on supporting the films submitted to its 2020 edition."

The announcement comes a day after Cannes festival organizers acknowledged their initial plan to kick off the 2020 festival in late June was no longer viable. On April 13, French President Emmanuel Macron banned all large public gatherings, including festivals, until mid-July.

Cannes had previously announced it was postponing the 73rd Festival, initially set to run May 12-23. Festival organizers say they are still exploring options for a 2020 edition.

The Critics Week, Directors Fortnight and ACID sections run parallel to the official Cannes festival and are popular with both critics and the industry. Last year's Critics' Week selection included Jérémy Clapin's animated feature I Lost My Body, which went on to win the section and score an Oscar nomination. Robert Eggers' crossover hit The Lighthouse premiered in 2019 in the Directors' Fortnight section. The ACID section is devoted to up-and-coming filmmakers and is intended as a platform to help secure distribution for their movies.

Critics' Week, launched in 1962 by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics, was set to celebrate its 59th edition this year. The section has a reputation for discovering emerging talent and is credited with premiering the breakthrough works of such auteurs as Alejandro González Iñarritu and Wong Kar-wai. The sidebar typically screens around a dozen features as well as several short films.

Directors' Fortnight was launched in 1969 in response to the social upheaval of the year before, which saw the official Cannes festival called off midway through. Intended as a cutting-edge alternative to the Cannes establishment line, the Fortnight selection highlights directors from outside the mainstream as well as genre films. The section has screened some of the earliest films of future greats such as George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch and Ken Loach.

The Cannes Film Market plans to hold a virtual event in June for international buyers and sellers, but it is still unclear what will happen with the official festival. Cannes has ruled out an online-only event.