Coronavirus: French Talent Cancels for Rendez-Vous Fest in New York

Juliette Binoche, Chiara Mastroianni and Bruno Dumont_Split - Getty - H 2020
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Juliette Binoche, Chiara Mastroianni and Bruno Dumont were among the Gallic stars set to attend the 25th anniversary edition of the French cinema festival.

The delegation of French stars and filmmaking talent set to attend this week's Rendez-Vous With French Cinema festival in New York have canceled their trip, citing concerns over the coronavirus.

French film promotion body UniFrance announced Wednesday that the French delegation, which would have included such talents as Oscar-winner Juliette Binoche, Persepolis actress Chiara Mastroianni and director Bruno Dumont (Slack Bay), will not be coming.

"It is a very sad and difficult decision to make. We were so thrilled to come to New York with such a great delegation," said UniFrance director Daniela Elstner, who added that talents would do video interviews and Q&As from France to "to ensure New York audiences get the same incredible experience as always ... we will continue to foster artistic exchange between the French and American film industries."

Binoche was scheduled to present Hirokazu Koreeda's The Truth, which bowed in Venice last year. Dumont was to introduce his latest, Joan of Arc, about the legendary 15th century Christian heroine, which premiered in Cannes. Mastroianni was set to attend the New York Rendez-Vous for her new film, the Christophe Honoré-helmed comedy On a Magical Night.

France has recently increased security and health measures in response to an uptick in coronavirus cases. The country has close to 290 confirmed cases and four reported deaths from the illness. There have been some 73 newly diagnosed cased in the past 24 hours. The French government has banned public gatherings of more than 5,000 people in enclosed spaces and several large events have been canceled, including the international television market, MipTV, which had been scheduled to kick off in late March.

Organizers for the Rendez-Vous festival, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, said the event will still go on as planned and all screenings are going ahead.

The 2020 Rendez-Vous With French Cinema runs March 5-15 at the Lincoln Center in New York.