The impact of the COVID-19 virus is having a substantial effect on the film and television industry, with production halted on dozens of projects in the last week. Due to the restrictions on public gatherings, film festivals have been hit hard, with many cancelled including Tribeca Film Festival and the BFI Flare LGBTQ+ Film Festival in London.
Today, a further two festivals have either been cancelled or postponed from different sides of the world. Variety reports the Sydney Film Festival has been cancelled due to the festival running during the time when the state of New South Wales has banned large gatherings, while the Edinburgh International Film Festival announced through their website that the June festival has been postponed, with one eye on later dates.
A press release was posted on behalf of the Edinburgh Film Festival, with CEO Ken Hay revealing the following:
“It is with huge regret that we have taken the necessary decision to postpone the 74th Edinburgh International Film Festival. Film festivals are critical platforms for films and filmmakers to reach and engage with audiences, and EIFF has done this uninterrupted for 74 years. However the health and wellbeing of our staff, filmmaker guests and audiences has to be the first consideration. We are looking at which elements of the Festival may be delivered later in the year and we will keep you informed as plans develop. For now, we would like to thank our funders, sponsors, partners, staff, donors, patrons, filmmakers, sales agents, distributors and audiences for their loyalty, support and understanding in these unprecedented times.”
While Edinburgh looks for alternative dates, it appears Sydney will not be doing the same. Patrick Frater at Variety writes that, “Organizers did not offer an alternative date later this year. Instead they said that the SFF will return in 2021 ‘with a more crucial role than ever before.'”
With the cancellation of these June festivals, it looks increasingly unlikely that those still scheduled in May and earlier will go ahead. As of writing there has been no decision made on whether the Cannes Film Festival will take place as planned.