TELLURIDE, Colorado (CelebrityAccess) — In what is likely a surprise to no one at this point, organizers of the Telluride Film Festival announced that the event has officially been canceled for 2020 due to the lingering malaise of COVID-19.
“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,” a statement from event organizers said.
Organizers for the event delayed making a decision about the 2020 edition of the festival for some time, but the recent coronavirus surge across much of the U.S. in recent weeks proved to be an insurmountable obstacle.
“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,” the statement added. “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.”
The festival, which launched in 1974, is operated by the National Film Preserve and plays an important role in the movie ecosystem, often serving as a launch point for potential Oscar contenders.
While the fest will not take place this year, organizers have been collaborating with producers of other internationally recognized film festivals and have selected a slate of films for this year’s program at the New York Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, or Venice Film Festival which may take place virtually.
“This year, we’ve moved away from competing with our colleagues at autumn festivals and commit instead to collaboration,” a collective statement from the festivals released last week said. “We are sharing ideas and information. We are offering our festivals as a united platform for the best cinema we can find. We’re here to serve the filmmakers, audiences, journalists and industry members who keep the film ecosystem thriving. We need to do that together.”