The Shanghai Film Festival is canceled due to the COVID crisis

China’s most prestigious film festival, the Shanghai International Film Festival, has been officially canceled for this year. The festival usually takes place in mid-June.

The 25th edition of the festival will take place next year, 2023 instead.

The decision to cancel this year’s festival entirely is a sign of the ongoing difficulties the film industry in China is currently operating under.

In 2020, the festival moved its dates from June to August after cinemas were closed for five and a half months from late January to early July. In 2021, organizers considered moving the festival to July but ended up going ahead with its normal June slot despite the country facing significant travel restrictions. These included two-week quarantine periods paid for at travelers’ own expense and potentially intrusive virus testing systems.

Shanghai festival organizers say they will try to host film events in the second half of this year, conditions permitting.

“Due to the impact of the new coronavirus epidemic, the Shanghai International Film Festival Organizing Committee has decided that the 25th Shanghai International Film Festival, originally scheduled for June 2022, will be postponed to next year,” organizers said in a statement .

“We would like to express our heartfelt thanks and sincere apologies to the people from all walks of life who care about and support the Shanghai International Film Festival. In the second half of this year, if conditions permit, we will plan and hold related film festivals and themed events to share the pleasant experiences that film arts and film activities bring.”

The Chinese economy quickly recovered from the early days of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, and in both 2020 and 2012 China overtook North America to become the world’s largest checkout market. But with the arrival of the delta variant of COVID-19, Shanghai, China’s largest city and economic capital, was put into a harsh and dramatic lockdown that began in April.

The city was not officially allowed to reopen until June 1, 2022, causing millions of people to spill onto the streets and public transportation. But, significantly, cinemas were not part of the first wave of reopenings. And the city’s health officials have reported a spike in the number of cases since it reopened last week.

Reopening has continued in other major cities, including parts of Beijing and Shenzhen. Beijing cinemas are allowed to reopen from Monday (June 6, 2022) at 75% capacity for fully vaccinated visitors. The Shanghai Film Festival is canceled due to the COVID crisis

Charles Jones

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