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Can The Show Go On? Postponed Cannes Film Festival Raises Eyebrows


The postponement of the Cannes Movie Pageant from mid-Might to the top of June has elicited a mixture of unhappiness and scepticism amongst worldwide movie executives.

The competition’s resolution Thursday night to delay this 12 months’s version from its initially scheduled dates of Might 12-23 to an as but undetermined interval between June and July was not shocking, given the occasion’s vulnerability to the rampant outbreak of coronavirus in Europe.

“It was the logical step to take,” says outstanding Spanish producer and distributor Antonio Saura, “and I’m very glad they made it now, and didn’t wait till mid-April (as organizers had beforehand mentioned).”

The manager, who says the postponement is “unhealthy information” for independents that do “half their enterprise” in Cannes, notes he has been “making ready” for such an eventuality because of the pandemic’s aggressive unfold.

Saura provides he’s “not optimistic” concerning the prospect that the fest may happen in a June-July slot given the evolution of how the virus is spreading, “particularly within the U.S. and U.Okay., which have been so late in taking measures.”

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Saura and different outstanding executives in Europe and past are questioning if, by June, movie firms world wide will even have the ability to return to regular.

“I perceive their place. The competition not occurring can be damaging in each method,” says Oscar-winning British producer Jeremy Thomas (“The Final Emperor,” “Crash”), referring to the Cannes workforce.

“I suppose actuality will emerge, as a result of this illness is occurring at completely different instances in several components of the world, however I believe the worldwide aspect of will probably be fairly troublesome,” says Thomas.

British producer Ed Guiney (“The Favourite”) expressed an analogous view. “It feels unlikely that it’s going to occur in (June-July) though I’d be delighted if we had been in that world,” he says.

Indian producer Sunil Doshi, head of Mumbai-based Alliance Media & Leisure, agrees it isn’t “life like” that Cannes may run in June-July.

“We have to be resilient and stick collectively and regroup for the revised realities of the world,” Doshi factors out. “When Cannes skipped a 12 months in 1968 they continued to be the highest competition on this planet. If Cannes doesn’t occur for one 12 months, I don’t suppose it is going to (do) definitive harm.”

“How are you going to think about having a competition like Cannes on the finish of June?” balks Italian producer-distributor Gianluca Curti, head of Rome’s Minerva Photos. “Who’s going to enter the Salle Lumiere (in June-July) with greater than 2,000 seats to observe a film? I wouldn’t enter it even with a double (anti-coronavirus) masks!”

On the enterprise aspect, Curti factors out, “Who’s going to sit down at a desk with folks from everywhere in the world and from international locations the place the pandemic will nonetheless be lively (at that stage)?”

In France, nonetheless, firms are extra hopeful across the feasibility of a June-July slot for Cannes.

“Cannes units the tone for all the opposite festivals, together with Venice and Toronto, and for the remainder of the 12 months’s movie exercise in addition to for the awards season,” says Gregoire Melin, founding father of outstanding gross sales firm Kinology.

In the meantime, Jean-Baptiste Babin, co-founder of Backup Movies, provides, “Often we arrange all the pieces on the final minute in a rush so this new timing offers us extra time to get ready. If Cannes does occur, it is going to mark a contemporary new begin for the movie business.”

Fred Bernstein, president of Astute Movies, says that he, like many others, is “swimming in a sea of uncertainty.” Nonetheless, he, too, is hopeful that Cannes will have the ability to transfer ahead.

“We, like others, have completed movies we need to share with audiences world wide in these attempting instances,” says Bernstein. “Many people are fortunate sufficient to have entry to streaming providers and DVDs to hold us by. However there’s nothing like sharing the movie-viewing expertise with an viewers of strangers in a darkish auditorium.”

Powerful choices forward for Cannes

Cannes has been signalling to filmmakers that it’s nonetheless occupied with taking a look at submissions and has even indicated to sure auteurs that their newest works have made the reduce.

Nonetheless, some indie executives imagine the competition shall be pushed again into late summer season, doubtlessly taking the slot occupied by the Venice Movie Pageant. Italy has been one of many hardest hit international locations by coronavirus.

A spokesperson for the Venice Movie Pageant, nonetheless, insists the occasion, which is slated for Sept. 2-12, continues to be very a lot on.

“Clearly we’re forging forward. No different occasion slotted in September is coming into query. That interval is being thought of outdoors the disaster,” he says, highlighting that no person is questioning the destiny of Toronto and Telluride.

“In fact in a scenario like this, there could be no certainty, so we’re monitoring the scenario intently,” he says.

Including extra uncertainty nonetheless is the truth that Cannes is unlikely to announce its new dates till there’s readability on when the pandemic will peak in France.

The paradox of the scenario has been anxiety-inducing for filmmakers who’ve acquired invites from Cannes however are nonetheless with out agency dates. In precept, late June to early July is nice timing, “however we don’t know what the scenario shall be within the U.S. then,” says one high-ranking U.S. agent.

Whereas the competition has mentioned movies are being submitted at a traditional tempo, the post-production work in international locations that are actually in lockdown mode, akin to France, Italy and Spain, is being delayed, say a number of executives.

If the French authorities finally nixes the concept of a summertime Cannes, some U.S. firms hope the jury will nonetheless watch, consider and hand out awards for movies. They word that victory in Cannes can present a significant advertising and marketing enhance to a movie.

“The most important disappointment can be to not have that curation from Cannes,” says Tom Bernard, co-head of Sony Photos Classics. “Cannes highlights the most effective movies on this planet and places them into the zeitgeist.”

One outstanding European exec factors out that “all people is making their plans for Cannes to not occur and attempting to make use of trendy know-how.”

“I don’t suppose there’s anybody who can say whether or not, by the top of June, the well being scare shall be over,” says Russian producer Alexander Rodnyansky, whose credit embrace Oscar nominees “Leviathan” and “Loveless.”

If not, Rodnyansky is hopeful the digital market will guarantee producers don’t miss out on essential enterprise alternatives.

Curti echoes Rodnyansky’s take. “Whether or not it’s the CAA-led initiative, or Cannes with its Cinando platform, for us as Italian independents, it’s the identical. So long as there’s a place the place we are able to do some enterprise, and never really feel remoted.”

However the boss of 1 French media firm poured chilly water over the concept folks shall be occupied with shelling out to get pleasure from motion pictures on the Riviera, even when the virus dies down by the summer season.

“The financial system shall be so crushed that everybody’s precedence shall be to jump-start their productions and get their companies again on observe, moderately than go to Cannes and spend cash there,” says the exec.

Brent Lang and Leo Barraclough contributed to this report.

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