With the COVID-19 pandemic dominating the world, the film industry is in a state of flux across every possible facet, the festival scene notwithstanding. The Cannes Film Festival is arguably the biggest-name in the prestigious circuit of international film festivals, and its curators have confirmed today that there are no plans to adopt a digital platform in light of the pandemic.
Delayed from its usual May timeframe, the prospect of a 2020 festival has been ambiguous. Festival director Thierry Fremaux has come out to confirm that should the Festival be deemed impossible this year, a digital placeholder will not be considered.
Fremaux spoke of Cannes’ “soul, its history, its efficiency,” saying a digital platform simply “wouldn’t work.” Citing upcoming films like Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch and Top Gun: Maverick the director reasoned that “[these] films have been postponed to be shown on a big screen; why would we want to show them before, on a digital device?”
Fremaux continued with a degree of uncertainty in how festivals would proceed should physical organization be too unfeasible. “If all the festivals are canceled, we will have to think of a way to showcase films, to avoid wasting a year, but I don’t think a precarious and improvised alternative of Cannes or Venice — no sooner done than forgotten — would be the solution.”
Though the French government has extended its lockdown of the country to April 15th in an effort to cull the spread of the virus, the Cannes committee has continued to accept submissions and curate a lineup for the Festival, should it occur.