Among the many, many, many film industry events and projects being cancelled, from CinemaCon and SXSW to a number of filming and release schedules, the coronavirus pandemic has everyone on edge. After these big cancellations, all eyes turned to arguably the biggest festival of the spring: The Cannes Film Festival.
After much speculation about whether the French riviera would be open to attendees this year, a report was published Saturday in the weekly news magazine Le Point quoting an unnamed member of the Cannes Film Festival board saying that it would be “difficult if not impossible” for the event to take place, and that the decision would be made final on April 16, cancelling this year’s festival. The report must have sparked even more speculation on the festival, as a tweet from the Cannes Film Festival announced that “Despite some sensational headlines, there is no new element regarding the Festival de Cannes.” with an additional statement explaining the festival is “studying with care and clarity the evolution of the national and international situation, in close cooperation with the City of Cannes and the CNC. When the time comes, around mid-April, they will take the necessary decision together.”
As the original French report quoted an unnamed board member saying that travel restrictions would prove difficult for the festival to select films from territories struck with the coronavirus such as China, Korea, Iran and Italy and “undoubtedly about 50 other countries” knowing that the actors, and directors would be unable to travel to France for the event. “Showing films in a 2,000-seat auditorium [the large Louis-Lumière auditorium has 2,300 seats] will not be allowed and the slightest alert will worry festival-goers.” With over 150,000 confirmed cases worldwide, the French government introduced new restrictions this week, limiting public gatherings to under 100 people and closing all schools, universities and daycare centers from Monday on in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.
UPDATE: Just now it was announced that the French government has decided to shut down all stores, restaurants, cafés and movie theaters in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced the new measurements on Saturday, which will take place after midnight and remain for an indefinite amount of time, as Variety reports.