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CANNES 2020

The Cannes Film Festival explains its position

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- The festival team has published a highly informative text which sets out their thinking and provides further details on the potential postponement of the 73rd edition to the beginning of summer

The Cannes Film Festival explains its position
(© FDC)

Yesterday, a week after the Cannes Film Festival decided to abandon the original dates scheduled for its 73rd edition (12 - 23 May) and to look at postponing to the end of June-beginning of July, depending on "the evolution of the healthcare situation in France and around the world" (read our news and our article on French professionals’ reaction to this decision), the festival published a whole series of explanations and clarifications on its website.

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As regards their decision not to simply cancel the festival’s 2020 edition, the Cannes team argues that ’"a postponement might, we repeat might be possible”, bearing in mind that “no-one knows what will happen in the near future". "It’s not a matter of standing firm, but of analysing the situation with clarity and responsibility”. “We are working towards a deferred event, if at all possible. And if it is not possible, we will accept that", the text states.

Emphasising the sense of solidarity they feel for the wider world during this healthcare crisis (“it would be absurd to fixate on the dates of a cultural event when the whole world is living through such a painful time") - the evolution of which will dictate whether or not it will be possible for crowds to flock to the Croisette at the end of June-beginning of July ("ultimately, it is the public authorities – the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of the Interior, the Alpes-Maritimes regional authority and Cannes City Council – who will give the green light, just as they authorised us to announce a possible deferment") - the Cannes Film Festival acknowledges that some might think it unrealistic to envisage the 2020 edition taking place at the beginning of summer, "but we will not take that view until the evidence compels us to abandon this year’s event”.

According to the Festival team, any hope of the 2020 edition actually taking place relies entirely on the possibility of deferment to the beginning of summer ("We have decided to opt for the end of June because we cannot plan further ahead than that"), which would breathe fresh life into the entire global film industry, because: "although Cannes is mainly famous for its arts and media side, it also plays an essential role in the economy of world cinema. When the decision to cancel the event in May was considered, every stakeholder in the sector asked us not to give up on holding it this year. We therefore decided, after a rapid, broad, national and international consultation, that it was necessary to investigate all routes which would allow a postponement rather than a simple cancellation.  This applies to the whole Festival, including the Marché du Film (…) When the moment comes for us to all get ourselves back on our feet, to welcome festival goers, show films, open the theatres to the entire world, meet the artists, the journalists, the professionals and welcome those for whom seeing the creation, distribution and production coming back to life is important, the Festival must be ready."

On a practical level, even if "it is obviously not possible to give precise dates yet", the Cannes Festival team (whose selection committees are carrying on with their work as usual) specified that "the traditional press conference announcing the selection will not take place on April 16th. If the Festival is confirmed for the end of June or beginning of July, it will take place around one month beforehand, in Paris, at a date which is yet to be arranged." Also worth noting is the fact that the deadline for registering films has been extended by one month, with a new date – more than likely at the end of May - set to be announced in due course.

These explanations, ruminations and clarifications were published at just the right time, when the entire film sector is awash with speculation and rumours over a still unpredictable future and the different options the Cannes team might consider. Yet these plans would be entirely dependent on the evolution of the epidemic in France, as well as elsewhere (what about festivals in Karlovy Vary, Locarno, Venice, Telluride and Toronto?), not to mention its impact both on the economy (which partners would invest and at what level, if these festivals do find a way of taking place? Will international travel and gatherings be permitted, and to what extent, etc.) and on people’s psyches. To be continued…

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(Translated from French)

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