The 2020 Telluride Film Festival Has Been Canceled


Another film festival has fallen. Moments ago, the decision makers for the Telluride Film Festival have announced that the 2020 incarnation of the fest has been canceled. Obviously, this is due to COVID-19 and the complications that the pandemic has brought about. Seeing how a number of states have struggled with reopening and controlling the Coronavirus, having a large gathering like Telluride is just out of the question. To be sure, this is another big blow to the movie industry, and especially for the upcoming awards season. Clearly, public health and the desire to not have a ton of out of state folks descend upon a small Colorado town wins out over campaigning for an Oscar nomination, but it’s still a shame that we’re losing another festival here in 2020.

The Hollywood Reporter was the first to break the news, with a statement from the folks at Telluride that you can read below. The fest had hoped to go in as planned, with some major changes previously announced, but as the days and weeks passed, it got less and less likely. By the time this afternoon’s announcement hit, it was all but a foregone conclusion. The New York Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival are officially on the clock now, though there’s some cautious optimism that they might still go on. We shall see, though, as COVID-19 has upended plans time and time again this year…

Here’s the statement from the festival:

After months of intense due diligence around physically holding an event, we’ve come to the heartbreaking but unanimous conclusion to cancel this year’s Labor Day celebration of film in Telluride.

While there will be those who might say they’re not surprised by it, that this was inevitable, we beg to differ. It didn’t have to be this way. Until the past week or so, we had a very good plan to put on the SHOW safely. But with a seemingly unending number of new cases of Covid-19 and the national chaos around it, even the best strategy is threatened by this out of control environment. No matter how much many of us wear our masks and observe social distancing protocols, the pandemic has worsened rather than improved and the health and safety of you – our passholders, filmmakers, the people of Telluride and its surrounding areas – cannot be compromised.

As you may know, we have been working cooperatively with our fellow fall film festival partners to champion global cinema and its artists. We hope that many of you will seek out and discover the titles we’ve selected for this year’s program at the New York Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, or Venice Film Festival, or when they’re made available on a wider basis. We will announce soon what we have carefully programmed in the hopes that you will experience as we did, the best in film this year. There are some incredible, powerful, and beautiful gems and we’re excited to extol their virtues when the time is right. Follow these titles, support them. We intend to champion them outside of the festival as best we can.

For those who have supported us and believe in what we are trying to do, our gratitude is enormous. Thank you. We will need you in the coming months in many ways. Let’s light candles now to conjure a better 2021 and Labor Day weekend in Telluride, together, under the stars in the mountains doing what many of us love the most. The way we prefer to experience cinema will return. Let’s make it so.

We wish you good health, peace and may we collectively move forward to a better world.

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. 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!

We will follow up with information and options regarding passes in a separate email.

Stay tuned for more…

(Source: THR)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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