We may not be able to physically attend the Cannes Film Festival this year, but efforts have been made to ensure they have some form of presence known to the global film industry, even if it is online.
When the news of the Coronavirus hit the world initially, organisers made the decision to postpone the event until July. However, due to worsening circumstances, and announcements from French authorities called for a ban on mass public gatherings, it was clear that the physical form of the festival was going to be cancelled. This will go down as only the second time in history that the festival has ever had to be cancelled since 1939.
“We will all miss the Cannes experience this year. We will all miss the Cannes effect: what a single projection at the Palais des Festivals gives birth to, an acclamation, a reputation, a storm and sometimes a thunderstorm. All things that make up the flavor and richness of the 12 days of the Cannes Film Festival, before the films go to find other fortunes and other successes in cinemas and festivals around the world” – Cannes Official Statement, 2020
Cannes officials stated that holding the festival at a later date was not going to be feasible due to clashing events so it was made public that it would be officially cancelled for 2020.
Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux mentioned in his statement that despite the absence of a physical event, 56 feature films have been chosen for the Official Selection for 2020. These films will have Cannes 2020 branding and play at other film festivals, or, debut in cinemas later on in the year.
“Since there won’t be any screenings on the Croisette, and there won’t be any traditional festival programming, we have decided to group the films selected in one single list without registering them in the usual separate categories: Competition, Un Certain regard, Out of competition, Midnight Screenings, and Special Screenings” – Cannes Official Statement, 2020
Running alongside the film festival is normally, the Marche du Film. This is a space in and around the grounds of the Palais de Festivals on the Croisette where people can gather for business meetings, visit the huge exhibition of distribution, sales and production companies, watch film screenings and take part in organised festival events.
The Marche du Film is now happening online this year with virtual pavilions and stalls, meeting spaces, showings, and special events for attendees.
Having been fortunate enough to attend the festival, we know the ‘Cannes buzz’ well, and just how profound of an effect it has on its attendees.
Roll on next year!