|CANNES FILM FESTIVALFILM FESTIVALFILM FESTSPIKE LEECANNES|
This year’s Cannes Film Festival has been postponed, organizers announced March 19, with new dates being considered for the end of June. It’s by far the largest global film event to be called off amid the growing worldwide coronavirus pandemic, which has led to the cancellation and postponement of dozens of events in recent weeks. Cannes’ 73rd edition was set to take place May 12 – 23. The event, in its modern history, has never been canceled.
Its cancellation is set to add to the pain already being felt in an industry faced with a litany of called-off events, halted productions, and an obliterated global box office — the loss of splashy premieres and an opportunity to make deals on the French Riviera are now just one piece of the economic woes facing the business.
“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 in a statement. “As soon as the development of the French and international health situation will allow us to assess the real possibility, we will make our decision known, in accordance with our ongoing consultation with the French Government and Cannes' City Hall as well as with the Festival’s Board Members, film industry professionals and all the partners of the event.”
Most of the over 150,000 confirmed global cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, so far have been in mainland China, but numbers have increased in Europe and the U.S. in recent weeks. France and northern Italy, very close to the French Riviera where Cannes takes place, have been particularly hit hard.
The French government had earlier prohibited gatherings of 5,000 people or more in confined venues, which Cannes organizers insisted would have no impact on the festival — its largest venue, the Lumiere Theatre in the palatial Palais des Festivals, seats 2,300. The country later upped the ban to 1,000 people or more, then this week prohibited all social and family gatherings.
That spelled big trouble for the viability of the festival, but organizers continued their insistence that the show would go on, even going so far as to say that the online market announced Thursday spearheaded by CAA meant to replace some on-the-ground activity at the Marché du Film would take place alongside the in-person market at the festival.
Marché head Jérome Paillard told IndieWire the market was making additional plans for online screenings and meetings that would take place regardless of what happens with the festival. But now, with 264 deaths and 9,134 as of Wednesday, France entered its second day of nationwide lockdown and people are banned from leaving their homes except for essential trips, Cannes organizers finally announced the...
Everything is delayed, canceled, or on hold at the moment due to the coronavirus COVID-19, which means that film festivals are having to make some tough choices. Cannes is postponed. SXSW was canceled, but they recently announced they would try to put together an online film festival with Amazon Prime Video. TIFF has yet to make a decision one way or another, but festival runners Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey mentioned last week that they were considering a potential digital festival. Digital film festivals are a distinct possibility in several locations, but there’s one fest that has flat-out refused to go digital: the Venice Film Festival.
With the coronavirus continuing to upend film festivals across the globe, some are wondering if virtual, online film festivals might be the solution for the time being. And while some fests – SXSW, TIFF – are open to this idea, the Venice Film Festival isn’t having it. Speaking with Variety, a Venice spokesperson said: “The Venice Film Festival cannot be replaced by an online event,” adding that “there is obviously the possibility that we use technology for some initiatives, [but] it’s too early for this to be decided.”
The Venice Film Festival is supposed to run in September, and as of now, everyone involved with the fest is still operating under the assumption that the festival is still on. Organizers have put out a call for “projects for its Final Cut in Venice co-production workshop dedicated to supporting works from the Middle East and Africa, currently scheduled to be held during the fest.”
Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera was quoted as saying he and his team “are working just the same as in past years” and that they “cannot provide specifics about the future.” The only thing they can confirm is that no matter what happens, the festival will not go digital. While some are more than happy to accept the idea of a digital festival – no travel fees! – not everyone is okay with the idea. For one thing, if a film without distribution were to debut digitally and then immediately be pirated, it would hurt its chances at eventual purchase. Plus, many filmmakers and producers long for that festival buzz that can only be achieved by screening titles for a live audience.
But we remain in uncharted territory for the moment, and it’s unclear just when the coronavirus situation will end. As of now, Italy remains in strict lockdown, and if that continues into the fall, there’s very little chance the Venice Film Festival will go off as planned....
With the Academy Museum finally, finally set to open to the public on December 14, eight years since the project was first announced, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has lined up a new group of world-class talent to contribute to the museum’s programming. Spike Lee and Pedro Almodóvar are among recently announced filmmakers who will curate exhibits for the Academy Museum, with more directors to come, AMPAS said on Saturday. Specific details on the exhibits have yet to be announced.
“Joker” composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, the first woman ever to win the Best Original Score Academy Award, will also collaborate on new exhibits. So will veteran sound-effects whiz Ben Burtt, an editor and Oscar winner on the original “Star Wars,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”
“We will open the Academy Museum with exhibitions and programs that will illuminate the complex and fascinating world of cinema — its art, technology, artists, history, and social impact — through a variety of diverse and engaging voices,” Academy Museum director Bill Kramer said in a statement. “We will tell complete stories of moviemaking — celebratory, educational, and sometimes critical and uncomfortable. Global in outlook and grounded in the unparalleled collections and expertise of the Academy, these first exhibitions will establish this museum as incomparable in the world of cinema.”
Kramer also acknowledged that the Academy is moving full speed ahead, despite the current challenges of the pandemic, in hopes of a light at the end of the tunnel. “We are keenly aware that we're working towards the opening of the Academy Museum during a time of great challenge. Over the past century, motion pictures have reflected and impacted major historical issues and events. The stories we tell in the Academy Museum are part of those bigger stories, and we are committed to highlighting the social impact of motion pictures. We look forward to brighter days for everyone, everywhere,” he said.
With three stories and 50,000 square feet of gallery space, the Academy Museum at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles already has several planned exhibitions, including a focus on films from Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli. With the help of Leonardo DiCaprio, the museum was able to obtain a pair of the ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz,” which will be on display.
Read IndieWire’s report on the latest developments at the Academy Museum from Anne Thompson here.
The Palais is now home to the homeless. An occasional dog walker strolls the deserted Croisette. Once jammed restaurants on Rue St. Antoine are locked, as is the Hotel Du Cap.
Cannes would normally be prepping frantically for its Film Festival May 12, but its delay and the subsequent lock down has slammed this once affluent and bustling mecca. “We are both festless and feckless,” grieves Burton Gintell, an American entertainment executive who has lived in Cannes for twenty years.
Residents are accustomed to spotting celebrities as they wait on the red carpet at this time of year. Instead, they must apply on line for a 'an 'attestation', permitting them to stroll one kilometer outdoors for recreation or grocery shopping. Cannes' famously officious cops check their papers now and then. enforcing the rules. Driving is limited because many gas stations are shut.
“This no longer a mirthful town,” said Gintell, whose British wife, Jackie Pressman-Gintell, is a top realtor. “Those people who rented lavish homes for the duration of the Festival are looking for refunds.” Even the Hotel Du Cap stands empty, devoid of its lavish parties linked to the Festival and its stars.
A movie buff and a gourmet, Gintell and his wife are confined to their home for meals and entertainment. “I used to complain about all the street construction in Cannes and the chaotic traffic, until the streets suddenly became empty,“ he said. The Cannes Film Festival is just one of many events that normally dominate the schedule — conventions for television, advertising and many other fields.
Leaders of the Film Festival equivocated for weeks about a possible delay before finally throwing up their hands and agreeing to a later date, still undesignated.. Their last cancellation took place amid the fierce political protests of 1968. Pierre Lescure, the Fest President, found himself caught in a media crossfire last week over reports that he had hastily rejected an insurance policy that would have protected the festival from financial losses. Lescure, a former chief of Canal Plus, countered critics by disclosing that the policy would only have covered one tenth of the festivals $36 million budget.
Cancellation of the festival this year puts new pressure on the fall fests at Venice and Toronto, leaving indie filmmakers to scramble for screening dates. The Telluride Festival also poses an opportunity for producers to show their wares, but that event is more a showcase rather than a market.