Cannes International Film Festival has given up on the possibility of hosting its annual event in “its original form” this summer.
Organizers announced last month that the festival in the South of France, a huge industry stage which last year launched Oscar best-picture winner “Parasite” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” would push back from May 12-23 to late June and early July as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread globally.
But Tuesday, a day after French President Emmanuel Macron announced that large public gatherings such as festivals would be banned in France until mid-July, organizers said the planned postponement “is no longer an option.”
“It is clearly difficult to assume that the Festival de Cannes could be held this year in its original form,” says a statement sent to USA TODAY by festival representative Alexandre Bourg. “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.”
The statement did not specify whether the 73rd event, at which filmmaker Spike Lee is set to serve as jury president, would be held virtually.
“When the health crisis, whose resolution remains the priority of all, passes, we will have to reiterate and prove the importance of cinema and the role that its work, artists, professionals, film theatres and their audiences, play in our lives,” the statement adds. “Each and 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 festival has been canceled only once since its launch in 1946, during a nationwide student riot in 1968.