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Telluride Film Festival has canceled its 2020 event

(Image credit: Paul Best/Getty Images)

Another event joins the graveyard of canceled 2020 film festivals. This time the casualty is Telluride Film Fest, an event that takes place in the small town of Telluride, Colorado annually. This year's event was set to take place September 3-7th, but organizers decided things were still too uncertain to put their festival goers at risk. 

Telluride Film Festival released this statement today: 

After months of intense due diligence around physically holding an event, we’ve come to the heartbreaking but unanimous conclusion to cancel this year’s Labor Day celebration of film in Telluride. 

While there will be those who might say they’re not surprised by it, that this was inevitable, we beg to differ. It didn’t have to be this way. Until the past week or so, we had a very good plan to put on the SHOW safely. But with a seemingly unending number of new cases of Covid-19 and the national chaos around it, even the best strategy is threatened by this out of control environment. No matter how much many of us wear our masks and observe social distancing protocols, the pandemic has worsened rather than improved and the health and safety of you – our passholders, filmmakers, the people of Telluride and its surrounding areas – cannot be compromised.  

As you may know, we have been working cooperatively with our fellow fall film festival partners to champion global cinema and its artists. We hope that many of you will seek out and discover the titles we’ve selected for this year’s program at the New York Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, or Venice Film Festival, or when they’re made available on a wider basis. We will announce soon what we have carefully programmed in the hopes that you will experience as we did, the best in film this year. There are some incredible, powerful, and beautiful gems and we’re excited to extol their virtues when the time is right. Follow these titles, support them. We intend to champion them outside of the festival as best we can. 

For those who have supported us and believe in what we are trying to do, our gratitude is enormous. Thank you. We will need you in the coming months in many ways. Let’s light candles now to conjure a better 2021 and Labor Day weekend in Telluride, together, under the stars in the mountains doing what many of us love the most. The way we prefer to experience cinema will return.  Let’s make it so.

We wish you good health, peace and may we collectively move forward to a better world." 

Though Colorado is managing to keep their new cases in the low hundreds per day, it's still too much to risk the lives of their attendees for this year's festival. While this news is disappointing to hear, it remains absolutely necessary as we continue to strive to get this pandemic under control. 

Telluride was yet to release its lineup of films, but keep an eye on the horizon. As the statement says, we should be seeing a full list soon. When we do, please join the festival and other film fans in doing your best to championing these films. It takes a lot to get accepted into a film festival, and many of these teams no longer know what the future looks like for art that they all put their blood, sweat and tears into.