MIPTV Canceled Amid Coronavirus Fears, Cannes Film Festival Unchanged

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Organizer Reed Midem confirmed that the 2020 edition, scheduled for March 30-April 2 in Cannes, has been canceled. The Cannes Film Festival is still scheduled to go ahead as planned.

The Cannes Film Festival says it currently has no plans to postpone or cancel the 2020 festival following concerns after the international television market MIPTV and TV festival CanneSeries were canceled Wednesday due to ongoing health fears concerning the coronavirus.

“We understand the concern that has been expressed following the postponement of Cannes Series and the cancellation of MIPTV, but as of today nothing indicates that the Cannes Film Festival will not take place," the Festival and Cannes market said in an official statement Thursday. "The Cannes Film Festival staff, [festival director] Thierry Frémaux and the selection committee are all currently working on the organization of the event.”

A spokesperson for the Cannes festival told The Hollywood Reporter organizers "still have time" to assess the extent of the coronavirus outbreak and the impact of measures taken to stem the spread of the virus. The 2020 Cannes Film Festival is scheduled for May 12-23. The festival press conference where Cannes will reveal this year's line up is still scheduled for April 16 in Paris.

MIPTV organizer Reed Midem confirmed that this year's edition, scheduled for March 30-April 2, will not take place.

“In the current context, many of our clients have expressed concerns about traveling at this time. Rescheduling MIPTV in the coming months is not feasible, so the most appropriate course of action is to cancel MIPTV for 2020,” Paul Zilk, Reed Midem's CEO, said Wednesday in a statement.

MIPDoc and MIPFormats, adjacent markets focused on nonfictional and formatted TV programming, which were set to run March 28-29, have also been canceled. CanneSeries, a television festival that was originally scheduled to run parallel to MIPTV has been moved to Oct. 9-14 to run alongside the international TV market MIPCOM, which is also held in Cannes.

"Given the rapidly evolving situation, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the festival. It is our responsibility to protect the health of guests, professionals and the public." said CanneSeries president Fleur Pellerin.

Reed Midem said the next edition of MIPTV will take place April 12-15, 2021, in Cannes, with MIPDoc and MIPFormats scheduled for April 10-11. The fourth edition of CanneSeries will also be held in April 2021 during MIPTV.

MIPTV's cancellation comes as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout Europe. In France, there has been a rising number of confirmed cases of the virus and related deaths. The first known case of coronavirus in Cannes came Friday when a woman in the city tested positive for the respiratory illness. Initially, however, Reed Midem said it would go ahead as planned with MIPTV.

Only when cases began to skyrocket and French officials issued travel restrictions did the organizers change their tune. The risk to thousands of television executives coming from around the world to gather in the close confines of the MIP Palais was considered too great.

On Saturday, the French government ordered a nationwide ban on gatherings of 5,000 people or more, putting the TV event at risk. If the ban continues it would put the film festival at risk. Some 200,000 people pass through the Riviera city over the festival's 12 days. This includes nearly 12,000 industry attendees for Cannes' film market.

The danger at MipTV have been even greater this year as the entire market, including screenings, events and company booths, was to be contained within the single building of the Palais, making for a more confined, and potentially infectious, atmosphere.