Coronavirus Expands its Toll on Film Industry Events
Even as some film industry events are now firming up their schedules, others are being forced to cancel, due to continuing travel restrictions and new outbreaks of the coronavirus. The result is a fast-changing calendar of conferences, conventions and festivals going into the northern hemisphere fall.
On Wednesday, the CineAsia distribution and exhibition sector convention pulled the plug in its 2020 trade show and convention. “Out of concern for the safety of everyone involved, we regret to announce that CineAsia 2020, to be held 7-10 December in Bangkok, Thailand has been canceled. Given ongoing uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic and taking into account travel restrictions by governments as well as employers, we feel this is the prudent decision. Please stay safe and we look forward to seeing everyone in Bangkok next year at CineAsia 2021 — 6-9 December.
The same day, leading documentary event The World Congress of Science and Factual Producers announced it will change format. “Originally slated for Strasbourg, France, WCSFP will be held online Dec. 8–10 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” organizers said.
“The pandemic has focused the world’s attention on the critical role of science producers, creators and communicators,” said Paul Lewis, conference director for WCSFP. “Scientists have become real-life superheroes and our delegates are at the forefront of telling their stories to a public hungry for credible, trustworthy information. While we’re disappointed at not being able to have a physical event this year, I can’t imagine a more important time to gather as a global community to learn from each other, exchange ideas and best practices.”
On Thursday, it was the turn of the Hong Kong International Film Festival. It said that it would postpone announcing its full line-up, for its 44th edition, following a series of recent COVID-19 community outbreaks. The 14-day HKIFF44, already postponed from March, is due to take place from Aug. 18 to 31. Ticket sales, initially scheduled to start from Aug. 5, have also been delayed until Aug. 12.
“We will now unveil the full HKIFF44 line-up online through our official website and social media platforms on Aug. 6,” said Hong Kong International Film Festival Society executive director, Albert Lee. “We are closely monitoring the evolving situation and adjusting our preparation in conjunction with all screening venues to ensure HKIFF44 could proceed on schedule safely and responsibly.”
The announcements follow shortly after the cancellation of the prestigious Telluride film festival, which had been set to run in late August, and the transformation of the American Film Market in November into a virtual market. Moving in the opposite direction, the Shanghai film and TV festivals Thursday firmed up their events in front of live audiences in July and August.
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