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Greece’s Thessaloniki Doc Festival Postponed by Coronavirus — Will Other Fests Follow?

Thessaloniki organizers are hoping the 2020 festival can be carried out in late May or early June.

A woman wears a protective face mask as she exits Attiko hospital, where the first confirmed, in Athens and the third in Greece coronavirus COVID-19 case is being treated, in Athens, Greece, 27 February 2020.The first coronavirus case in Athens is confirmed, Greece - 27 Feb 2020

A woman in Greece wears a face mask amid coronavirus outbreak

ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The 2020 Thessaloniki Documentary Festival is being postponed amid the coronavirus outbreak. The administration behind the upcoming 22nd edition of the non-fiction-focused event issued a statement saying, “The safety of the working staff, the audience, the city’s residents, and the festival’s guests from both Greece and abroad are our top-notch priority.” The 2020 festival was set to begin March 5 in Greece and run through March 15. Organizers are hopeful the event can be rescheduled and are eying a potential new date sometime in late May or early June.

In the festival’s statement, organizers said that some parts of the 2020 festival will continue online: “A significant part of the initiatives and projects hosted by Agora, the development branch of the Festival, will be carried out via the Internet, providing the chance to accredited professionals from all over the world to watch and evaluate Greek documentaries so as to include them in their future financing projects and festival programming.”

The Thessaloniki International Film Festival is one of the first film festivals to be postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. Organizers from the SXSW Film Festival announced last week the event is still on despite coronavirus fears. “The SXSW 2020 event is proceeding as planned,” the festival said. “Safety is a top priority, and we work closely with local, state, and federal agencies year-round to plan for a safe event.” This year’s SXSW Film Festival runs March 13-22.

As for the Cannes Film Festival, a spokesperson told IndieWire on February 28 the festival was “monitoring” the outbreak and would access the status of the 2020 festival at a later date. “As of today, it is still premature to express assumptions on an event scheduled in two months and a half,” the spokesperson said.

Read the official statement from the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (organized by the Thessaloniki Film Festival, which took place in the fall) in its entirety below

The administration of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival decided the postponement of the 22nd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.

Following the latest announcement issued by the World Health Organization, which updated its estimation concerning the spreading of the coronavirus, and in accordance with the Ministry of Culture & Sports, the administration of the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, with a feeling of responsibility, decided to postpone the 22nd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.

The safety of the working staff, the audience, the city’s residents and the Festival’s guests from both Greece and abroad are our top-notch priority.

We are considering the prospect of hosting the 22nd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival at the end of May/beginning of June and we’ll keep you up to date as soon as there’s more news to share.

Nevertheless, a significant part of the initiatives and projects hosted by Agora, the development branch of the Festival, will be carried out via the Internet, providing the chance to accredited professionals from all over the world to watch and evaluate Greek documentaries so as to include them in their future financing projects and festival programming.

Furthermore, the Docs in Progress segment will be carried out online so that awards and cash prizes are bestowed without any delay.

We would like to sincerely thank all our partners and collaborators who contributed to the preparations and groundwork for the festival and actively support our decisions.

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