China’s most prestigious film festival, the Shanghai International Film Festival has been officially canceled for this year. The festival is normally held in mid-June. The 25th edition of the festival will instead be held next year, in 2023, reports Variety.
The decision to cancel this year’s festival outright is a sign of the continuing difficulties under which the film industry currently operates in China.
In 2020, the festival moved its dates from June to August, after cinemas suffered a five-and-a-half-month closure period from late January to early July. In 2021, organizers considered moving the festival to July, but ultimately continued with its normal June slot, despite the country operating under significant travel restrictions.
These involved two-week quarantine periods paid for by travelers and potentially intrusive virus testing regimes, Variety reports.
Shanghai festival organizers say they will try to hold film events in the second half of this year, conditions permitting.
“Due to the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Shanghai International Film Festival Organizing Committee has decided that the 25th Shanghai International Film Festival originally scheduled for June 2022 will be postponed to next year. “, said the organizers in a press release. We would like to hereby express our sincere thanks and apologies to people from all walks of life who care about and support the Shanghai International Film Festival. If conditions permit, we will plan and hold relevant film festivals and thematic events in the second half of this year to share the enjoyable experience brought by film art and film activities.”
China’s economy was quick to rebound from the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, and in 2020 and 2012 China overtook North America to become the world’s largest box office market.
But, with the arrival of the delta variant of COVID-19, Shanghai, China’s largest city and its economic capital, has been placed in a difficult and dramatic lockdown that began in April.
The city was not officially allowed to reopen until June 1, 2022, causing millions to pour onto the streets and onto public transport.
But, significantly, cinemas were not part of the first wave of reopenings. And city health officials have reported a rebound in the number of cases since reopening last week.
Reopening continued in other major cities, including parts of Beijing and Shenzhen.
Cinemas in Beijing are to be allowed to reopen at 75% capacity to fully vaccinated patrons from Monday (June 6, 2022).
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Post expires at 4:08pm on Thursday June 16th, 2022