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Cannes Weighing Pre-Festival Virtual Market Screenings

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Potential online events in May or June will be based around industry screenings of market titles sprinkled with certain festivals. As the ongoing epidemic continues to challenge for an ongoing Physical Cannes Film Festival in July, Cannes Marsh, which markets section traditionally runs alongside the festival, weighs in on pre-festival market screening plans in May and June Is doing, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

“We are evaluating this option, talk ing with vendors and distributors,” Jerome Pillard

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, executive director of Cannes Marché du Film, told THR in an email on Tuesday. It is understood that the pre-festival event will be virtual and most of the industry will offer screenings, with no traditional physical market.

The official festive event will also feature a handful of films with potentially market titles. The news of a possible pre-festival market comes after Cannes responded to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic by rescheduling dates for the 2021 edition.

This year’s event has run from 6 to 17 from 11 May to 22 July. And while Domino’s influence will compete with Venice and Toronto for the world premiere, it has also disrupted the traditional market in Cannes for international and French film buyers and sellers.

Cannes was forced to cancel the festival last year amid the first wave of a coronavirus pandemic, and the continuing COVID-19 crisis may yet jeopardize July dates for the marquee film event.

But even if a physical, person-to-person ears move, July is a very late date for the Cannes market. Producers and sales agents want to establish projects – and sell them – for summer shoots and for early films, allowing for premiere films in the major summer months.

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This year has special significance, with many indie distributors expected to capitalize on the release window in early summer, followed by – COVID-inclined – theaters in many states will reopen but screen smaller films before Hollywood’s blockbusters taken off.

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