The Cannes Movie Pageant is quickly assembling a contingency plan to maintain the competition going.

A spokesperson for the competition informed Selection on Wednesday that preparations are being made to down-size the occasion and restrict audiences in auditoriums and different competition venues — a method that would assist the occasion get round a ban that restricts gatherings to 1,000 individuals. Whereas this present ban is ready to run out on April 15, Cannes is making ready for a situation during which it’s maintained.

One possibility is to restrict seating in the primary auditorium the place gala world premieres are hosted. The venue boasts 853 seats in its orchestra and a further 1,456 seats on its balcony.

Nonetheless, Cannes’ optimism may very well be short-lived if the nation is positioned in quarantine, as is the case in Italy. France’s president Emmanuel Macron can be making a televised speech on Thursday night to deal with coronavirus issues and presumably announce new measures.

Though coronavirus has simply been declared a pandemic by the World Well being Group, a consultant for France’s well being minister tells Selection there are not any quick plans to tighten the ban — which expires a day earlier than the competition’s April 16 press convention — beneath 1,000.

In France, the second most impacted nation in Europe behind Italy, a number of high-profile occasions have been canceled, notably MipTV, the worldwide TV showcase that was scheduled to happen in Cannes on the finish of the month, and Sequence Mania, the Lille-set TV drama competition that was additionally because of bow in late March and was axed in the present day.

However not like within the U.S. the place town of Austin pulled the plug on SXSW over coronavirus fears, the French authorities has not performed an lively function in canceling any of the nation’s high-profile cultural or media occasions. Each MipTV and Sequence Mania had been pulled by their respective organizers primarily as a result of too many company and members had bowed out because of journey bans put in place by their corporations or governments.

For Cannes, one of many world’s most prestigious movie festivals in addition to the most important movie marketplace for unbiased gamers, the stakes are a lot larger.

“It’s a matter of soppy energy for France. Nobody, not even the tradition minister (who has examined optimistic for coronavirus), or the regional and native authorities, need to see Cannes getting scrapped as a result of a lot is within the stability — not simply economically but in addition culturally,” mentioned a high-ranking French movie govt near the fest.

2019 was a banner yr for Cannes because it world premiered Bong Joon-Ho’s “Parasite,” winner of the Palme d’Or and 4 Oscars, and Ladj Ly’s Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated “Les Miserables,” in addition to Celine Sciamma’s Golden Globe-nominated “Portrait of a Woman on Fireplace,” amongst many different standouts that went on to develop into industrial and significant hits.

The present could go on — however who will come? 

Nonetheless, if the Cannes Movie Pageant is maintained, what sort of occasion will it form as much as be and who will flip up?

A part of the reply could lie within the geographical unfold of the coronavirus outbreak. In France, the place there are 1,784 instances and 33 deaths as of March 11, the virus is anticipated to peak in a single month and projected to tail off in two months, across the time Cannes kicks off, in keeping with Alexandre Bleibtreu, a health care provider specializing in infectious, parasitic and tropical illnesses on the Pitié-Salpêtrière, one of many nation’s main hospitals.

Nonetheless, within the U.S., the place there at the moment are over 1,000 instances, the epidemic remains to be in early levels and anticipated to peak in roughly two months, he says.

Catia Rossi, head of Italy’s Imaginative and prescient Distribution, stays sceptical concerning the world turn-out. “We’re working as if we (are) all going to Cannes. However will the People come? Will the Latin People come? Will the Scandinavians come? Will individuals who haven’t been very affected by the virus come to a spot the place there can be individuals from areas similar to Asia and Italy, (which) have been very affected? I simply don’t know,” she mentioned.

In China, executives at massive teams similar to Bona Movie Group, Wanda Movie and Huayi Brothers haven’t but dominated out Cannes and are adopting a wait-and-see method. Amongst Chinese language outfits, some execs who had skipped the European Movie Market in February are trying ahead to attending Cannes if it occurs.

“We’re nonetheless planning for Cannes. We actually hope the virus will get managed by then. We couldn’t make it for Berlinale (so) we’re praying we will all go to Cannes,” mentioned an exec at Chinese language distribution outfit Infotainment. “We have to discover good films for 2022 — in any other case we received’t have something to maintain us, as we received’t have sufficient movies to distribute in China.”

For North People, touring to the Cannes Movie Pageant is likely to be extra difficult than for company coming from Europe, notably Italy, and even from Asia the place the outbreak can be receding. If the virus reaches its peak within the U.S. within the run-up to Cannes, trade professionals touring from the U.S. will face the chance of being quarantined for 14 days in the event that they make the journey to France, or not be allowed to fly again house after the fest.

Firms that have already got journey bans in place embody Sony, Amazon, CAA and Warner Bros.

As for American stars, “no expertise agent, producer or gross sales agent will permit them to journey amid a worldwide well being disaster and develop into liable in case somebody will get contaminated with coronavirus. It may value them tens of millions of {dollars} in damages,” mentioned Emilie Georges, founding father of Memento Movies Worldwide, which received’t have to fret this yr about main U.S. expertise given its slate is European-focused.

In the meantime, a high-ranking American agent tells Selection his agency will determine its plan of action in keeping with company pointers, in addition to WHO directives. So far as a Cannes premiere with out expertise, the agent mentioned it would depend upon the movie. “If it’s a director-driven movie, maybe,” he allowed.

Over at one main U.S. unbiased distributor, a senior govt mentioned discussions are ongoing round competition attendance. The exec mentioned he wish to see town of Cannes put some system in place the place “company have to point out a clear invoice of well being” or a “gold star on their accreditation,” confirming they’ve examined adverse for coronavirus.