The coronavirus pandemic has upended the entire business of producing, distributing and exhibiting movies, with film festivals taking a particularly hard hit.
That's because the whole idea of a festival goes against the Japanese government's appeal to avoid the “three Cs”: closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places and close-range conversations. Here and abroad, seeing films in crowded theaters, mingling with filmmakers and engaging in other festival activities that don’t align with social distancing protocols are now ill-advised.
Organizers of film festivals scheduled for the spring and summer months have responded to the crisis by canceling, going online or postponing in the (probably vain) hope that the number of infections will recede enough to make their new dates feasible. Even Cannes, the world’s biggest festival, announced this week that it will not hold a physical edition. However, it has joined with Berlin, Venice, Toronto and other major film festivals to present We Are One: A Global Film Festival, an online program streaming from May 29 to June 7 to raise money for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.