Karlovy Vary Cancels 2020 Film Festival Over Coronavirus Fears

But the long-running film festival from the Czech Republic will still show select films for local audiences and allow buyers to participate in a virtual program

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
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The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, an annual event that has been taking place in the Czech Republic since 1946, has decided to cancel its 55th annual festival in light of the coronavirus, KVIFF organizers announced on Tuesday morning in Prague.

The festival would have taken place on July 3-11 in Karlovy Vary, a spa town outside Prague.

“We strongly believe that seeing a movie with other people in a theater is a powerful and irreplaceable experience,” KVIFF President Jiří Bartoška said in a statement. “And because the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is one of the most important cultural events in the Czech Republic and in Europe, we have decided that holding an alternative version would go against the festival’s main mission: to bring together audiences, filmmakers, and people from different walks of life in order to collectively enjoy works of cinema.”

The festival will, however, show some of the films it has chosen for select audiences. The Czech Republic is planning to relax its restrictions on June 8 and allow movie theaters to screen films for audiences of fewer than 50 people – so during the dates when the festival would have been held, it will instead screen some of the festival films at theaters around the country.

The tour will be a special version of the “KVIFF at Your Cinema” program, which takes festival films around the country each year.

At the same time, KVIFF organizers will also offer a virtual version of the “KVIFF Eastern Promises” presentation, in which films in various stages of development and production can be presented to international buyers and festivals. Those projects will be from Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and North Africa.

Karlovy Vary has also joined the We Are One: A Global Film Festival project, which was announced on Monday.

The 55th annual Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will now take place on July 2-10, 2021.