The 2020 edition of the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado is still happening, despite growing concerns in an industry that has this year seen festivals shutter left and right. This year’s 47th edition of the festival will kick off on Thursday, September 3, the festival confirmed to press on Friday. That’s a day earlier than its usual launch on the first month of September in Friday, over the Labor Day weekend. The festival was originally set to take place September 4 through 7.
“We’re contacting you today to let you know we’re hard at work to provide a safe and joyous environment that will include an extra day to allow more space within and between screenings, along with all of the necessary safety tweaks and adjustments you’ve become very familiar with, regardless of where you call home,” said a festival email sent to media.
The email spells out why Telluride thought it was necessary to proceed saying, “…there has been a determination to proceed, in large part fueled by the voices in our community. This community understands that movies really are empathy machines, that when we assemble to witness the glories of cinema together, something magical happens. We humbly suggest that our world needs the light of cinema and its beautiful by-products of compassion and emotional storytelling alchemy like never before.”
But safety will be the festival’s top priority.
“We are not ignorant of the devastation facing the world. We feel the fear and distress too. This is why we are committed to observing all guidance as suggested by the consensus of voices of the scientific community with whom we are consulting now. This will not be a business as usual event. Things will look and feel very different… Your comfort and safety are the most important things to us. A defining characteristic of our community and especially of the dedicated volunteers who bring you the SHOW, is remarkable willpower – and grit. We promise to marshal these qualities to create the most secure environment possible for all of us.”
There was also an acknowledgment that many regular attendees may choose not to travel to the festival this year.
“For those of you who opt to not join us, we absolutely understand and support this decision. Your reasons surely involve heightened personal health concerns and you must do what is the very best for you. We trust and hope you’ll be back with us the next time we can provide optimal conditions for the SHOW. May that be soon.”
This year’s edition of the festival will include an additional day of free film screenings at the Herzog Theatre. The closing picnic, however, is still set for Monday, September 7.
The festival is still working in tandem with Telluride Parks and Recreation to create best practices for this year’s edition. The news comes as festivals the world over remain canceled, or postponed.