Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2020 cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic

The 2020 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival has officially been cancelled due to ongoing anti-coronavirus measures in the Czech Republic and the complicated situation surrounding the pandemic worldwide, organizers announced this morning. 

Alternative options for moving the annual film festival to a later date this year were also nixed, meaning the 55th edition of the festival has officially been postponed until next summer, where it is now scheduled to take place July 2-10, 2021.

Festival organizers consulted with Czech Minister of Culture Lubomír Zaorálek and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš before coming to their decision, and agreed that holding the festival in its familiar format, even at a later date, would still pose health risks.

“We strongly believe that seeing a movie with other people in a theater is a powerful and irreplaceable experience,” Jiří Bartoška, president of the Karlovy Vary IFF, stated in a press release.  

“And because the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is one of the most important cultural events in the Czech Republic, 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.”

While this year’s festival has been cancelled, organizers have still promised film fans in the Czech Republic an alternative program to be projected in select cinemas across the country later this summer.  

The KVIFF Eastern Promises Industry Days 2020, previously scheduled for July 5-8, 2020, will also take place online this year. 

While the Czech Republic currently emerges from its coronavirus lockdown, effects and restrictions for large-scale events like the Karlovy Vary film fest are still unknown; many of the country’s large music festivals, such as Rock for People, have also been cancelled for 2020. 

The Czech government has begun a plan for re-opening shops, restaurants, and services within the country, with small stores now open and most venues in the country set to reopen by May 25. 

Cinemas have been conspicuously absent from the government’s plan, though Health Minister Adam Vojtěch has stated that they can be expected to open during the last phase later next month.


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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