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Canadian awards, Tribeca, Upfronts nixed

This month’s Canadian Screen Awards have been cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic, while New York’s ban on gatherings of more than 500 people has led to the postponement of the Tribeca Film Festival and the cancellation of several Upfronts.

Tribeca organisers today confirmed the festival, slated for April 15 to 26, would now be postponed, with no revised date yet set for the event.

“We have made the difficult decision to postpone the 19th Tribeca Film Festival… We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of the public while also supporting our friends, filmmakers and storytellers who look to Tribeca as a platform to showcase their work to audiences. We will be back to you shortly with our plans,” said Tribeca Enterprises co-founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal.

The move follows New York governor Andrew Cuomo today announcing a ban on gatherings of 500 people or more across the state “for the foreseeable future.” The ban comes into effect tomorrow at 17.00 EDT as American officials try to contain the spread of coronavirus.

In addition, US networks CBS, Fox and NBC as well as Discovery and WarnerMedia have cancelled their planned Upfronts live presentations in New York in May in favour of video presentations. Other companies, including AMC Networks, A+E Networks and YouTube, have already canned their live Upfronts scheduled for later in March and April.

“We are reimagining our presentation to engage our clients using a new format that will highlight the quality content the industry expects from Fox,” said Fox Corp president of advertising sales Marianne Gambelli.

In Canada, meanwhile, less than a week after the Canadian Academy – and many other event organisers – told C21 that Canadian Screen Week (March 23-29) would be going ahead, the organisation has been forced to reverse course.

“In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Canadian Academy is deeply saddened to announce the cancellation of all Canadian Screen Week activities in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, including the national broadcast gala on Sunday March 29,” the organisation said.

“Following a thorough review of Canadian Screen Week events and an assessment of the potential risk to our attendees, we feel this is the only responsible decision at this time. We are committed to the celebration of our Canadian Screen Award nominees and Special Award honorees and will share an update in the coming weeks.”

The cancellation of the Canadian Academy’s five awards galas, which celebrate excellence in film, TV and digital content, raises significant questions for upcoming Canuck events such as the Canadian Film Fest (March 24-28), the Writers Guild of Canada Awards (April 27), Hot Docs (April 30-May 10) and the Banff World Media Festival (June 14-17).

The news comes as cancellations and postponements of industry events continue to stack up. The Full Frame Documentary Festival in North Carolina and Copenhagen’s CPH:DOX became the latest non-fiction fests to cancel on Wednesday, with the latter attempting to continue as an online-only event with digital screenings.


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