Cannes Outlines Reasons for Postponing Festival, Extends Deadlines

Cannes Croisette March 25 2020
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Organizers are still hoping the 2020 event can be held in late June or early July.

Cannes is still hoping to hold a film festival this year.

On March 19, organizers said they were postponing the 73rd annual Cannes Film Festival, which was scheduled to run May 12-23, due to health concerns during the coronavirus outbreak. There has been widespread speculation that the event would be canceled this year.

But on Thursday, the festival said it was still planning to go ahead, if health and safety conditions permit, and was targeting a new date of late June or early July. If the event does take place, Cannes' film market, the Marche du Film, will be held over the same dates.

In a FAQ posted on its website, the festival said it consulted with “sector stakeholders” who pushed for a postponement, not a cancellation, of the 2020 event if at all possible. “Every stakeholder in the sector asked us not to give up on holding it this year,” it said.

Cannes said it is continuing to accept film submissions for the 2020 festival and has extended the deadline for accreditation applications. All approved accreditations will remain valid. If the fest goes ahead at a later date, Cannes said it will announce its official selection around a month beforehand.

Cannes organizers asked for “time, patience, calm and goodwill” as France, and the world, tries to weather the coronavirus pandemic. France is currently on lockdown and remains a hotspot for the outbreak, with some 25,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, and more than 1,300 deaths. Fest organizers said they needed to “show solidarity” with the country, and the rest of the world, as everyone tries to come through the crisis. “It would be absurd to fixate on the dates of a cultural event when the whole world is living through such a painful time,” they said.

The festival said it was closely monitoring changes in the global health situation but that, ultimately, it will be the French public authorities, including the ministries of health and the interior, the Alpes-Maritimes regional authority and the Cannes City Council, who will give the green light to, or cancel, Cannes 2020.