From Venice to Toronto: 10 international film festivals still set to go ahead this year

Some have chosen to create all-digital programmes, while others are hoping to hold physical events towards the end of the year

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 28, 2019 an employee works outside the Palazzo del Cinema on the opening day of the 76th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido. The decision to hold the 2020 Venice Film Festival despite the coronavirus pandemic is being hailed a "sign of hope" for the movie world after months of closed cinemas, shuttered film sets and cancelled galas. / AFP / Alberto PIZZOLI
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The coronavirus pandemic hit the film world hard. Cinemas shuttered, productions were halted and film festivals were cancelled. The latest among these cancellations was Cannes, which announced in March it was calling off its May festival.

But the rest of the year is starting to look a little more hopeful, with a number of big film festivals still aiming to go ahead as planned.

Here is a look at which ones are still expected to take place in 2020, whether in a virtual or physical format.

1. Sydney Film Festival (Wednesday, June 10 to Sunday, June 21)

The 67th Sydney Film Festival will be a virtual event this year, for the first time in its history. The festival will feature 33 films across four main categories in a slimmed-down programme: Australian documentaries, Europe: Voices of Women in Film, Screenability and Australian short films.

2. Melbourne International Film Festival (Thursday, August 6 to Sunday, August 23) 

The Melbourne International Film Festival has put together a digital version of its event this year, which will be streamed on its original 2020 dates. The programme is comprised of around 40 events, including films, shorts and virtual social events. The full programme will be announced on Tuesday, July 14.

3. Sarajevo Film Festival (Friday, August 14 to Friday, August 21)

The 26th Sarajevo Film Festival is still on schedule to take place this summer. French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius, the Academy Award-winning director behind the The Artist, will also preside over the competition programme for feature films.

4. Venice International Film Festival (Wednesday, September 2 to Saturday, September 12)

epa08105995 Cate Blanchett arrives for the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California, USA, 05 January 2020. Dress by Mary Katrantzou. EPA-EFE/NINA PROMMER
Actress Cate Blanchett will preside over the 77th iteration of the Venice Film Festival. EPA

Although the Venice Biennale of Architecture has been pushed back to 2021, the 77th edition of the Venice International Film Festival, the world's longest-running film festival, is still set to go ahead in September. In January, Cate Blanchett was announced as the president of the festival's international jury.

5. Telluride Film Festival (Thursday, September 3 to Monday, September 7)

The Telluride Film Festival, which traditionally begins in Colorado on the Friday of Labour Day weekend, will take place on Thursday, September 3, a day earlier this year due to safety measures, IndieWire reported.

6. Toronto International Film Festival (Thursday, September 10 to Sunday, September 20)

The 45th edition of the Canadian festival is expected to run as scheduled. In a message on their website, organisers said that there is still uncertainty about what the festival will look like in September. "This is why we are looking at both onsite and digital innovations, which will provide options that will deliver for our audiences, support filmmakers and our partners, and bolster the industry," the statement said.

7. New York Film Festival (Friday, September 25 to Sunday, October 11)

The 58th New York Film Festival, which only celebrates shorts of 40 minutes or fewer, is now accepting submissions. It's expected to take place as scheduled.

8. BFI London Film Festival (Wednesday, October 7 to Sunday, October 18)

This image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows Scarlett Johansson, left, and Roman Griffin Davis in a scene from the WWII satirical film "Jojo Rabbit." On Monday, Jan. 13, Johansson was nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in the film. (Larry Horricks/Fox Searchlight Pictures via AP)
Scarlett Johansson, left, and Roman Griffin Davis in a scene from 'Jojo Rabbit'. AP

Submissions for the 64th BFI London Film Festival are now open and the festival is expected to go ahead as scheduled in October. Last year, the festival saw the screening of Oscar-worthy films such as Jojo Rabbit and The Irishman.

9. Tokyo International Film Festival (Saturday, October 31 to Monday, November 9)

The 33rd Tokyo International Film Festival will be held for 10 days from Saturday, October 31 to Monday, November 9. The programme is yet to be announced.

10. Mumbai Film Festival (Thursday, November 5 to Thursday, November 12)

The 22nd Mumbai Film Festival is on schedule to take place in November. Details about the festival are yet to be announced.