CANNES CAN’T: The Cannes Film Festival has scrapped plans for a postponement until the end of June, but said it is exploring different formats to make sure the films that were due to be screened at the event find an audience.
The festival was originally scheduled to take place from May 12 to 23, with U.S. director Spike Lee heading the jury. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers initially proposed moving the event to late June and early July instead.
That option has fallen through after French President Emmanuel Macron said France would begin lifting confinement measures on May 11, but continue to ban large public gatherings until mid-July.
“It is clearly difficult to assume that the Festival de Cannes could be held this year in its original form,” the festival said in a statement issued late on Tuesday.
“Nevertheless, since yesterday evening we have started many discussions with professionals, in France and abroad. They agree that the Festival de Cannes, an essential pillar for the film industry, must explore all contingencies allowing to support the year of cinema by making Cannes 2020 real, in a way or another,” they added.
What shape that might take remains unclear. In an interview with WWD sister publication Variety last week, festival director Thierry Frémaux had excluded switching to a digital event.
“(For) Cannes, its soul, its history, its efficiency, it’s a model that wouldn’t work. What is a digital festival? A digital competition? We should start by asking rights holders if they agree,” he said.
Cannes is huge marketplace for film, through its main selection, parallel sections like the Semaine de la Critique and Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, and the Marché du Film film market. In addition, the red carpet is a showcase for major corporate partners like L’Oréal Paris, Chopard and Kering.
“Everyone knows that many uncertainties are still reigning over the international health situation. We hope to be able to communicate promptly regarding the shapes that this Cannes 2020 will take,” the organizers concluded.