The 37th Jerusalem Film Festival, which had been postponed from the beginning of July until August 20-30, is now canceled due to the surge in coronavirus cases over the past few weeks.
The management announced the change on Monday in light of the Health Ministry’s recent guidelines prohibiting cultural events, presumed to continue for the next few weeks or months.
Instead, the JFF will be holding online programs and showcasing selected festival titles on a new streaming platform launched by the Jerusalem Cinematheque-Israel Film Archive.
The Film Festival management hopes to hold a winter edition of the event over the Hanukkah holiday, December 10-20, including films that would have been screened during the planned summer festival.
It was a difficult and painful decision to cancel the festival, wrote Noa Regev, director of the Jerusalem Cinematheque and Jerusalem Film Festival, and Elad Samorzik, artistic director of the festival, in a statement.
The festival program had already been finalized with more than 150 films from 60 countries, ten competitive categories awarding prizes in the amount of NIS 1 million, screenings throughout the city’s neighborhoods, special programs and a selection of new film ventures.
“The August festival would have provided an important opportunity to spotlight the art of film, nowadays experiencing a major shakeup, as well as the Israeli film industry,” wrote Regev and Samorzik. “We were hoping to offer a note of encouragement to the filmmakers, to film enthusiasts throughout the country, and to Jerusalem.”
Regev and Samorzik said they would continue to invest their efforts to promote the art of film in Israel, since they believe there is no replacement for the physical encounter created by a film festival and its audience, filmmakers, and film on the big screen.