Poster for Cannes 2019 - the 2020 edition has been postponed Photo: Festival de Cannes
Organisers are keeping their options open for the event to be rescheduled at the end of June/beginning of July.
In a statement, the Cannes team wrote: “At this time of global health crisis, our thoughts go to the victims of the Covid-19 and we express our solidarity with all of those who are fighting the disease.”
They added: “As soon as the development of the French and international health situation will allow us to assess the real possibility, we will make our decision known, in accordance with our ongoing consultation with the French Government and Cannes’ City Hall as well as with the Festival’s Board Members, Film industry professionals and all the partners of the event.
“In the meantime, the Festival de Cannes lends its vocal support to all of those who firmly call on everyone to respect the general lockdown, and ask to show solidarity in these difficult times for the entire world.”
Other events in Cannes had already been postponed due to the pandemic, including Cannes Lions and international TV market MIPTV, which has announced it will provide a streamlined online version of the event.
This is the first time Cannes has been forced to postpone the event, although it was cancelled in its second week in 1968 due to student riots.
France is currently in lockdown in a bid to control the spread of the virus.
The festival is the latest in a string of worldwide film events forced to postpone their editions, including SXSW and Tribeca in America and Edinburgh International Film Festival, BFI Flare and the Glasgow Short Film Festival in the UK.