Cannes Planning Virtual Film Market in June

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It remains unclear when or if the Cannes Film Festival will happen this year, but the market is set to take place online, kicking off late June, sources say.

The future of the 2020 Cannes Film Festival is still unclear, but a virtual version of the Cannes film market, the Marché du Film, will be going ahead. The Marché will unveil plans on Friday for an online film market to kick off in late June.

On March 18 the Marché said it was planning to hold a virtual market some time this year after Cannes was forced to postpone the film festival, originally scheduled May 12-23, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Initially, the online market was set to run alongside the physical market and festival, which, organizers hoped, would take place in late June to early July.

But Cannes announced Tuesday that that time frame was no longer tenable after French President Emmanuel Macron on April 13 issued a ban on large public gatherings until mid-July. It is unclear what happens now with the Cannes festival. Organizers have not yet canceled and say they are exploring "all contingencies" to make "Cannes 2020 real, in one way or another."

International buyers told The Hollywood Reporter they have been given a June 22 start date for the virtual Cannes film market, a week earlier than had been planned.

While the festival ponders its next move, international film sales and distribution companies need to move forward with the packaging and financing of new projects, many of which will be pushed into production as soon as coronavirus quarantine restrictions are lifted.

A consortium of production and sales companies, organized around CAA's Media Finance, have already floated plans for a virtual film market should Cannes be canceled. CAA, along with indie heavyweights, including Wild Bunch and FilmNation, have backed a new fall film market jointly launched by the San Sebastian and Zurich international film festivals that will highlight titles selected for South by South West (SXSW) and Tribeca, festivals that were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Marché's virtual market would be based on the Cinando platform, which has already hosted several film festivals and industry events that have been forced online during the current crisis.