Together with its shareholders and partners, FILMFEST MÜNCHEN at first thoroughly considered and discussed all potentially feasible scenarios, from shortening the festival to a few days with only small gatherings, to postponing it to the autumn or shifting it into the digital realm, to the necessity of a cancellation.
The corona pandemic is preventing anyone from being able to predict what the next few months will bring. Whether Europe and the rest of the world will have returned to normal by the end of June is not foreseeable. Travel restrictions or bans, the need to maintain spatial distance between people, and the necessity of focusing on vital sectors and above all on public health will continue to have priority for the time being. In view of these circumstances, it is unfortunately not possible to continue planning a festival that depends intrinsically on filmmakers from all over the world meeting each other and the Munich audience. The safety of the festival’s staff and guests must be the top priority.
The fact that there is no option other than to cancel FILMFEST MÜNCHEN this year fills me with sadness. My team and I have been working on the 2020 edition with great dedication and passion and have already made significant progress on many of its components. But after numerous discussions with industry representatives, filmmakers, politicians, and virologists, we and our supervisory board have come to the conclusion that any other scenario would be either irresponsible or simply not feasible. We will now be acting to ensure that the FILMFEST MÜNCHEN brand remains visible this year and is energized for the coming year.
Festival director Diana Iljine
Corona is changing all our lives. For us, the Bavarian state government, protecting people and battling corona together are the top priority. That’s why we had to make this decision. But we also understand the disappointment of all those who have put their heart and soul into planning the film festival. That is why I will continue to give my full support to the film festivals in Bavaria. We will continue to support FILMFEST MÜNCHEN sustainably, so that solutions can be found for all employees and the core team can continue to work. The next objective is organizing FILMFEST MÜNCHEN anew, so that next year, hopefully with renewed strength, it can again hit the ground running.
Minister of Digital Affairs Judith Gerlach, chairwoman of the supervisory board
I deeply regret the cancellation of the film festival on a personal level. However, it is unavoidable in view of the current health hazard. The top priority now is to contain the coronavirus. I am certain that together we will master this challenge — and afterwards, in 2021, be able to enjoy a film festival that we’ll value all the more. My thoughts are also with the staff of FILMFEST MÜNCHEN. We will do everything we can to ensure that they get through these times without any hardship.
Mayor Manuel Pretzl, deputy chairman of the supervisory board
FILMFEST MÜNCHEN thrives on encounters; they are what give the festival its flair. We cannot justify putting the health of the audience at risk. This, along with the need to plan with certainty, the festival’s commitment to quality, and economic considerations, make cancellation necessary. We can already start to look forward to Filmfest 2021: we want it to be another magnificent event that inspires people and brings them together.
Anton Biebl, Cultural Affairs Officer of the City of Munich