Cannes is among the film festivals this year that was holding out and rescheduling in the hopes of not having to cancel. SXSW released their picks on Amazon Prime, and it looks like Cannes may have to do something similar with the coronavirus on no path towards slowing by the time that their planned June festival date rolls around.
Today, it was announced that Cannes will not be going ahead with the rescheduled date, and will not be having any physical events. This news follows the announcement by the French government that any large gatherings or festival will be banned until mid-July at the earliest. The festival issues the following response in reaction to this policy:
Following the French President’ statement, on Monday, April 13th, we acknowledged that the postponement of the 73rd International Cannes Film Festival, initially considered for the end of June to the beginning of July, 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.
The Cannes film festival is an essential part of international film markets, and it has been deemed too significant to cancel altogether. The only cancellation of the festival occurred halfway through in 1968 due to civil unrest, every year since has gone on smoothly.
The committee has not yet said they would indeed switch over to a digital festival; they are still considering exactly how the festival will need to be modified in order to proceed. The market for distribution will still proceed in June, called the Marche du Film. More info will be released soon on what the organizers decide as they consult with those throughout the industry to decide the best plan of action.