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There goes Series Mania.
The French television festival, which had been set to kick off in Lille next week, has been canceled because of the coronavirus.
Organizers on Wednesday announced that Series Mania 2020, planned for March 20-28, has been called off following new regulations, introduced by the French government on Sunday, that ban gatherings of more than 1,000 people.
“Every year since its inaugural event in Lille, Series Mania has attracted 80,000 festival-goers, most of whom have already booked their event tickets, and more than 3,000 professionals. Due to the recent restriction from the French government banning gatherings of more than 1,000 people, coupled with the travel restrictions for many of our international participants, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Series Mania,” said Rodolphe Belmer, president of Series Mania. “In this delicate period, we are very touched by the ongoing support of our French and international partners, and we want to express our warm thanks to everyone.”
French health minister Olivier Véran unveiled the ban after the number of coronavirus infections topped 1,110 in France. France had earlier banned gatherings of more than 5,000 people in confined venues. France currently has 1,784 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date and has seen 33 deaths.
Series Mania had been hoping to carry on despite coronavirus concerns. Organizers last week said they were “closely monitoring” the situation but said they hoped to continue as planned, as the festival hosts around 3,000 participants, below the original limit for mass gatherings. Sunday’s tighter regulations, however, made Series Mania untenable.
Series Mania 2020 was set to kick off March 20 with the world premiere of the British-New Zealand historical drama The Luminaries and close March 28 with the world premiere of HBO’s new half-hour comedy series Run, from Killing Eve and Fleabag writer Vicky Jones and the creator of those two shows, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Netflix’s German drama Unorthodox, Israeli series Valley of Tears and Belgium fantasy drama Moloch were among the highlights of this year’s competition.
The new French regulations raise further questions about the fate of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, set to kick off May 12. On Friday, Cannes organizers sought to assuage concerns, insisting they are proceeding as planned and will unveil their lineup on April 16 as scheduled.
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