The Chinese have postponed its government flagship cinema event, the Beijing International Film Festival as the coronavirus epidemic continues to spread across the globe.
The event which usually has an April window has been given a new launch date to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year and the date will be unveiled in the coming weeks or months.
The festival’s organizing committee released a statement to the effect during the weekend:
“In order to cooperate with the overall situation of the COVID-19 prevention work at the present stage, the 10th BIFF, which was originally scheduled to be held in Beijing in late April 2020, has been postponed for the sake of the safety and health of the festival guests, fans, media, partners and the public, as well as according to suggestions of the film festival guidance department, sponsor and experts from all circles.
Delaying the Beijing International Film Festival (BIFF) is no surprise considering the drastic steps China has taken to contain the coronavirus (which includes placing nearly 60 million people in the Hubei province on lockdown).
Even though it seems they are winning the fight against the deadly plague, Chinese officials on Saturday reported 99 new infections (which is an improvement from 2,000 per day weeks ago) and most movie fans are not expected to resume their theater visits till late April or early March.
In late February, China’s Film Bureau released guidelines for the eventual reopening of movie theaters but no date for implementation has been put down.
Movie theaters will be asked to record the names and addresses of all customers, check their temperatures, make them wear masks, make sure that there are empty seats between patrons in every direction and sanitize public spaces regularly.
BIFF’s postponement comes on the heels of similar scrappings of other entertainment industry events around the world, including Disney’s streaming launch in London, Hong Kong’s Filmart content market, and many others.
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