• Organisers of the Sydney Film Festival have cancelled the planned 2020 event due to social distancing restrictions, in a bid to limit the spread of Coronavirus. (SFF)
"This is the only responsible decision – albeit a devastating one".
By
Staff writers

18 Mar 2020 - 3:13 PM  UPDATED 18 Mar 2020 - 3:20 PM

In a devastating sign of the times, the 2020 Sydney Film Festival has been cancelled due to public health and safety concerns about limiting the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Sydney's premier film event is a highlight of the winter calendar and was due to take place from 3 - 14 June.  

The joint statement from its leadership team, issued this afternoon, appears below.

 

A message from Sydney Film Festival Chair Deanne Weir,
CEO Leigh Small, and Festival Director Nashen Moodley

It is with deep regret that, for the first time in its history, the Sydney Film Festival board and management must announce the cancellation of this year’s Festival, planned for June 3rd to 14th.
 
The decision to cancel this year’s Sydney Film Festival follows a review of the most up to date advice regarding ways to minimise the spread of the Coronavirus, and the New South Wales Public Health (COVID-19 Public Events) order banning events of 500 people, which is in place until 14 June. In this rapidly evolving and unknown environment, the SFF board and management know this is the only responsible decision – albeit a devastating one. However, the health and safety of our community is our first concern.
 
Sydney Film Festival plays a vital role in the Australian screen ecosystem and the Festival recognises the immense impact the cancellation will have on the filmmaking, exhibition and distribution community, as well as audiences, volunteers, sponsors, donors and staff.
 
“Sydney Film Festival will return in 2021 with a more crucial role than ever before. In changing and challenging times, the Festival is proud to be the forum where we collectively discover and discuss the world and our times through the medium of film,” says Festival Director Nashen Moodley.
 
The Festival stands in solidarity with the filmmaking, festival and arts communities during this tumultuous time.  
 
In the days to come Sydney Film Festival will be in contact with 2020 ticket holders to offer 2021 replacements or to process returns. In the coming months we will also be looking at opportunities to continue to celebrate film and filmmakers. Keep an eye on our website and social media. 
 
The Festival is immensely grateful for all of the support and trust our audiences and partners place in us. With your help the Festival will be back in 2021 as vibrant as ever.