The Tribeca Film Festival made an announcement on their website this Thursday, stating that due to the coronavirus and New York Governor Cuomo banning gatherings of over 500 people they would be postponing the event indefinitely.
“We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of the public while also supporting our friends, filmmakers and storytellers who look to Tribeca as a platform to showcase their work to audiences. We will be back to you shortly with our plans,” Co-founder and CEO of Tribeca Enterprises,Jane Rosenthal, stated.
This is the first time that the Tribeca Film Festival has been postponed. The festival was founded in 2002 by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff, who started it in response to the September 11 attacks, aiming to bring back and shine a light on the spirit of Tribeca.
No date was given in terms of when the festival will reschedule, and at this point it is unclear if it will even happen at all. Tribeca is just one of many film and arts festivals across the country and the world that have been affected by the novel coronavirus, which has now been named a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
The first film festival to close due to the coronavirus was South by Southwest on March 6. This shuttering left many indie filmmakers and creators heartbroken, as the event is a vital platform for them. The cancellation of SXSW has now left the future of their films up in the air, with no guarantee of what will happen next. The cancellation of the festival has also harmed the local small businesses and journalism outlets in Austin, Texas where it is usually held. The local economy relies on this event to bring in revenue and without it Austin is now facing economic shock.
The one major festival that seems to be holding on and leaving everyone waiting with bated breath is the Cannes Film Festival. The festival has yet to announce plans to close and seems cautiously optimistic that it will go on with business as usual. If Cannes is canceled, it would certainly rock the film industry. With “Parasite’s” recent Oscar wins, many were looking to the festival with a new outlook on its influence in both the American film market.
As these festivals close, the impact these closures will have on the film industry is unknown. Many have now lost the opportunity to share the work they had been looking to either find a distributor for or premiere for the first time. Tribeca was slated to have 95 world premieres. The features program was supposed to include 124 filmmakers from 33 different countries, and by the looks of it, these artists may not get the opportunity to share their work until much later than expected.
Tribeca Film Festival included in their postponement announcement a message of resilience, seemingly as a way to assure both attendees and filmmakers that the festival will find a way.
“We founded the Tribeca Film Festival as a way to heal our community after the devastation of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. We were determined to overcome our fear and anxiety by joining together,” Rosenthal said. “It is in our DNA to march forward while caring about our community.”
Email Kaylee DeFrietas at [email protected]