The Coronavirus crisis has left a mark on the entire world, whether it’s going to work, going out for a beer, attending a concert or watching a football match live. Film festivals have been affected as well, and some of the most prestigious names in the industry with spring-summer date have been forced to reconsider their plans. Some have been postponed, some have been (partly) moved online, whereas others were cancelled altogether. Here are a few of them so far:
1. Cannes Film Festival
Cannes is not only the most prestigious film festival in the world, but also offers a yearly collection of undeniable quality and diversity in filmmaking with its Palme d’Or shortlist. Sadly, the 12 – 23 May timeline just won’t do under current circumstances, despite the fact that the situation in France is improving as well. With large gatherings banned by the French government until at least mid-July, the festival’s organisers are exploring other opportunities and timeframes, with a definite option yet to be announced.
2. Edinburgh Film Festival
The Edinburgh Film Festival, due to run between 17 and 28 June, has also been postponed. Although it was not due to start in another two months, it implies a large gathering of people, and such an endeavour would thus prove a bit more complex. The organisers were sad to announce this delay in a festival that has ran uninterrupted for 74 years, but they are hopefult that it can be rescheduled later in the year.
3. Transylvania International Film Festival
Romania’s biggest festival, due to take place in Cluj between 29 May and 7 June, has also been given the postponement treatment, after the Romanian government extended the current lockdown until mid-May at the earliest. TIFF’s organisers had hoped they would have lesser problems on the given dates, such as whether or not it would rain, but it now appears impossible to stick by the old schedule, and a later date will be proposed in due time.
4. Munich Film Festival
In the case of FILMFEST MÜNCHEN, a more radical decision was taken: this year’s edition has been cancelled. The festival’s website now reads ‘see you in 2021’, and organisers have explained that even if local conditions in Bavaria would permit organising the event later in the year, international restrictions on travel would severely limit the quality of the festival and its international factor.
5. Northampton Film Festival
To end on two slightly more positive notes, some festivals have also tried to make the most of current circumstances, while also staying true to their vision. Northampton Film Festival, originally scheduled for May, has been postponed, but the organisers have launched a ‘lockdown competition’ as part of the event. Becky Adams of Screen Northants said that “being unable to leave your house should lead to some really interesting short films.” The competition, named “Kind of a Big Deal In My Living Room”, will run in parallel with the event’s usual 30-minute film competition, in what should be a unique edition.
6. Glasgow Short Film Festival
Meanwhile, this Glasgow-based festival also had to delay their planned edition, with 19 to 23 August as the newly chosen timeframe. The organisers are working hard to ensure that as much as possbile of the original programme can be rescheduled for late summer, but to keep things interesting, they have also been offering select screenings online. Such a partial transition to online can be a smart move, and the festival may consequently reap rewards in the long run.