Cannes Film Festival Postponed Amid Coronavirus Fears

The Cannes International Film Festival, the most prestigious film festival in the world, announced Thursday the 2020 edition will be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. It was originally scheduled for May 12-23, but has been pushed to the late June or early July. The decision came the day after Cannes announced plans to run a virtual version of the Cannes Film Market, which usually runs parallel to the festival every year.

"At this time of global health crisis, our thoughts go to the victims of the COVID-19 and we express our solidarity with all of those who are fighting the disease," Cannes organizers said in a statement. "Today, we have made the following decision: The Festival de Cannes cannot be held on the scheduled dates, May 12 to 23. Several options are considered in order to preserve its running, the main one being a simple postponement, in Cannes, until the end of June-beginning of July, 2020."

Organizers said they will set a new date "as soon as the development of the French and international health situation will allow us to assess the real possibility." "In the meantime, the Festival de Cannes lends its vocal support to all of those who firmly call on everyone to respect the general lockdown, and ask to show solidarity in these difficult times for the entire world," the statement concluded.

On Wednesday, Cannes Marked executive director Jerom Paillard told The Hollywood Reporter they will have a virtual edition of the film market, which will be open to all regular attendees. The market will give film distributors an opportunity to screen completed films, watch promo reels and have video conferencing meetings. Organizers will use Cicando, a platform already used by the festival for promo reels and catch-up screenings for attendees.

The virtual market idea came from the agency CAA and earned the support of UTA, Endeavor Content and ICM Partners, and the studios FilmNation, STX Entertainment, Lionsgate and Miramax.

The coronavirus outbreak have already caused several film festival organizers around the world to postpone or completely cancel their events. The first major festival completely scrapped was SXSW in Austin, Texas. The event, which includes tech conferences, musical performances and film screenings, was completely canceled on March 6.

Last week, the Tribeca Film Festival was postponed. It was scheduled for April 15-26.

"We have made the difficult decision to postpone the 19th Tribeca Film Festival (April 15-26) based on the announcement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that events of 500 people or more are banned due to the spread of the novel coronavirus," Tribeca co-founder and CEO of Tribeca Enterprises Jane Rosenthal said in a statement to Deadline. "We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of the public while also supporting our friends, filmmakers and storytellers who look to Tribeca as a platform to showcase their work to audiences. We will be back to you shortly with our plans."

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The Cannes Film Festival is one of the oldest film festivals in the world, and considered an important showcase for international films. Last year, Parasite won the top prize, the Palme d'Or, before winning the Oscar for Best Picture.

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