TELLURIDE, Colo. — Organizers of the Telluride Film Festival announced Tuesday that they have reached the “heartbreaking but unanimous” decision to cancel the 2020 event because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Festival organizers said in a statement the call came “after months of intense due diligence around physically holding an event,” but insurmountable logistical hurdles arose in “the past week or so,” The Hollywood Reporter reported.
Specifically, the use of two key festival venues – thePalm and Galaxy theaters – came into question earlier this month because both sites are housed in a local school, THR reported.
“We understand that film festivals and their long-term health are not top of mind today. A safe vaccine, vital medical interventions for those sick and properly enforced health regulations are,” organizers wrote in their statement. “However, we do ask that you take this moment to consider a world where gathering around a shared love of culture is no longer possible and what that means for the psychological condition of the world. If the prospect prompts a sense of despair, please advocate and champion the return of our gatherings that provide vital nourishment and oxygen to humanity’s soul, at the appropriate time, of course!”
The festival, nestled in an upscale district of the Colorado Rockies, typically launches Oscar season during Labor Day weekend, but the pandemic has already forced the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to push back the 2021 Oscar ceremony from late February to April 25.
According to The New York Times, that step was taken with the hope that filmmakers could use the extension to finish their works in progress and release them, either in theaters or on a streaming platform.
Organizers, who traditionally keep the festival’s lineup secret until the day before it begins, said they will still release their schedule to highlight what they see as “the best in film this year,” the Times reported.
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