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Cannes Film Festival rules out physical event happening this year

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The Cannes Film Festival appears to not be going ahead with any physical event this year, having previously cancelled the event in its traditional May slot amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While it was announced in April that the festival would not be going ahead as planned, there had been some suggestions that it could be delayed to a later date, even if it was not in its “original form”.

However, the festival’s organisers have suggested that any sort of physical version of the festival will now not be possible in 2020, and will instead collaborate with other festivals to present some of its films.

“Under the circumstances, a physical edition of Cannes 2020 is hard to envisage, so we’ll have to do something different,” director Thierry Frémaux told Screen.

Cannes Film Festival
73rd Festival de Cannes – Credit: Antonin Thuillier / AFP

“Everyone understands that that’s impossible this year,” he added. “The Cannes Film Festival, which by its nature is a globalised institution, can’t escape being a victim in the same way as the rest of human activities.”

A spokesperson for the festival echoed his words, saying (via Variety): “As of today, a physical edition seems complicated to organize, so we are going forward with an announcement of films from the (initial Official) Selection at the beginning of June.”

The spokesperson added that Cannes will now organise a “redeployment ‘outside the walls’ (of Cannes), in collaboration with fall festivals”, including Venice — with whom talks have begun — and cinemas.

Shannon McIntosh, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Director Quentin Tarantino, Margot Robbie and David Heyman attends the “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” Press Conference during the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival on May 22, 2019 in Cannes, France

The festival will announce its Official Selection picks — which compete for top prizes such as the Palme D’Or and Un Certain Regard, as well as Out of Competition – that were scheduled to be released theatrically between now and spring 2021.

These films will be given the ‘Cannes 2020’ label. Some movies that were selected for this year but have delayed their releases may be considered for the 2021 edition.

Frémaux added: “Once we’ve announced the list, the aim is to start organising events in cinemas. Professionals the world over with whom we’re in contact on a daily basis, tell us that this represents an opportunity for their projects.”

The labelled films are also planned to show at the likes of Toronto, Deauville, Angoulême, San Sebastian, New York, Busan and the Lumière festival, and Frémaux added that they hoped to go one further and jointly present movies at Venice.

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