Cannes Film Festival 2021

Update 1/27/21: This year’s festival has officially been delayed until July 2021. Get more details below.

The Cannes Film Festival is usually held in May, but the 2021 fest is said to be considering a delay until July – or maybe even August. COVID-19 is still a very serious concern and organizers are said to have completely given up on the idea of holding the festival in May this year. Last year the festival was delayed and then canceled due to the coronavirus.

Last year, the Cannes Film Festival was very reluctant to vacate its May dates as the coronavirus pandemic grew and became a real problem across the world. Festival organizers finally gave in in March, announcing that the dates would be postponed while also balking at the idea of taking the festival digital. By May of 2020, the festival had been canceled entirely.

Now here we are in 2021, with the pandemic still very much a reality. How does Cannes 2021 proceed? According to Variety, organizers have already given up the idea of holding the festival in May. No official announcement has been made yet, and one is expected at the end of January. That said, sources state the festival is eyeing a run sometime between July 5-25. There was some talk of holding the fest in June, but it now looks like the Cannes Lions – the festival’s annual advertising market – will take place then, between June 21-25.

However, not even a July run is a sure thing at this point. I know it’s still only January, but I’m having a hard time believing everything will be back to normal by the summer. Summer was hailed as the mythical “all clear” time last year, too – remember? The virus took hold in the winter and everyone kept holding out hope that come the summer we’d all be going about our normal lives again. And now we all know how that plan turned out: badly.

Perhaps sensing this, there’s some talk at Cannes about pushing the fest even to August. But this would create other problems – the Venice Film Festival is typically held in August, and September is when Fantastic Fest, TIFF, the New York Film Festival, and Telluride traditionally take place. Basically, it would create a kind of festival season pile-up. Then again, who’s to say all these other festivals will be able to stick to their traditional time-frames?

I was planning on attending Cannes last year and was even accredited to cover the fest before it was canceled. I still hope to attend the festival one day but I’m extremely doubtful it will be this year, even if Cannes locks down a July or August run. We’ll all have to wait and see what happens at this point.

Update: According to a tweet from their official account, the festival has been moved to take place from July 6 – July 17, 2021.

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