Sydney Film Festival called off over coronavirus

Los Angeles, Mar 19 (PTI) The 2020 edition of Sydney Film Festival stands cancelled amid the spread of coronavirus.

The movie gala, which was scheduled to be held from June 3 to June 14, has been called off for the first time ever, reported Deadline.

'It is with deep regret that, for the first time in its history, the Sydney Film Festival board and management must announce the cancellation of this year's festival.

'The decision to cancel this year's Sydney Film Festival follows a review of the most up to date advice regarding ways to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, and the New South Wales Public Health (Covid-19 Public Events) order banning events of 500 people, which is in place until 14 June,' chairperson Deanne Weir, CEO Leigh Small, and festival director Nashen Moodley said in a statement.

Weir and Moodley said in this rapidly evolving and unknown environment, the health and safety of the community is 'our first concern”.

'Sydney Film Festival will return in 2021 with a more crucial role than ever before. In changing and challenging times, the festival is proud to be the forum where we collectively discover and discuss the world and our times through the medium of film,' they promised.

In the wake of the cancellation, the organisers said, they will assess options to 'continue to celebrate film and filmmakers'.

Many film and music festivals across the world have been cancelled.

Organisers of Cannes, which is due in May, are 'optimistic' about going ahead with its prestigious film gala despite the spread of the COVID-19 in France, one of the worst hit countries in Europe. PTI RDS RDS