The organizers behind the annual Cannes Film Festival have announced that the event -- originally scheduled to take place from May 12 to 23, and then postponed tentatively until the end of June -- has now been canceled and delayed, potentially until early or mid-July, due to the global coronavirus crisis.
In a statement issued late on Tuesday, the festival explained that: "It is clearly difficult to assume that the Festival de Cannes could be held this year in its original form", revealing that the June option had fallen through after French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that France would begin lifting confinement measures on May 11, but continue to ban large public gatherings until mid-July (via WWD).
While the way that the event may evolve in in future, and as a result, remains unclear, it is understood that the festival is exploring different formats to make sure the films that were due to be screened at Cannes find an audience -- although festival director Thierry Frémaux had excluded switching to a purely digital event, in an interview with WWD sister publication Variety last week.
Continuing in an official statement regarding the most recent date change, the festival added that: "Nevertheless, since yesterday evening we have started many discussions with professionals, in France and abroad. They agree that the Festival de Cannes, an essential pillar for the film industry, must explore all contingencies allowing to support the year of cinema by making Cannes 2020 real, in a way or another."
Traditionally, Cannes is a huge marketplace for film, through its main selection, parallel sections like the Semaine de la Critique and Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, and the Marché du Film film market. In addition, the red carpet is a showcase for major corporate partners like L'Oréal Paris, Chopard, and Kering.
The jury for this year's planned installment for 2020 was to be headed up by US director Spike Lee, with several other high-profile directors, actors, and celebrities due to arrive in Cannes and stay in and around the city to attend the (usually) start-studded event.