Consensus mounts for final Cannes decision

Riviera events cancelled en masse apart from film festival

by Richard Mowe

Poster boy from last year’s Cannes Film Festival - Alain Delon who received an honorary Palme d’Or
Poster boy from last year’s Cannes Film Festival - Alain Delon who received an honorary Palme d’Or Photo: Cannes Film Festival
Pressure seems to be mounting on the organisers of the 73rd Cannes Film Festival (delayed currently from May until the end of June or beginning of July with no dates yet confirmed) with today’s complete cancellation of the Cannes Lions festival of creativity. It is now due to take place from 21-25 June next year from a postponed date of 26-30 October this year.

Most Riviera events and festivals that use the centrepiece Palais des Festivals in Cannes have been cancelled, including music market Midem, originally due from 2-5 June and MipTV, which would have taken place this week, and is now also cancelled with a fallback online version of the event planned.

To try to quell the disquiet among potential participants the organisers of the Cannes Film Festival have explained in detail on their website why they opted to postpone rather than cancel at this stage despite the unprecedented impact from Covid-19 across the world.

The statement said: "When the moment comes for us to all get ourselves back on our feet, to welcome festivalgoers, show films, open the theatres to the entire world, meet the artists, the journalists, the professionals and welcome those for whom seeing the creation, distribution and production coming back to life is important, the festival must be ready.

"Ultimately, it is the public authorities — the ministry of Health, the Ministry of the Interior, the Alpes-Maritimes regional authority, and the Cannes City Council — who will give the green light, just as they authorised us to announce a possible deferment." The traditional press conference to announce the programme also remains undated.

Philip Thomas, chairman of Cannes Lions, said: “We realise that the creative community has other challenges to face, and simply isn’t in a position to put forward the work that will set the benchmark.

“The marketing and creative industries, in common with so many others, are currently in turmoil, and it’s clear that we can play our small part by removing all speculation about the Festival this year. We have tried to make our decisions as early as possible to give the industry total clarity on the situation, and that is why we are announcing this move today.”

There are many in the film business who believe the organisers of the Cannes Film Festival should follow this prudent and considerate example.

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