The BFI has cancelled the 2020 Flare Film Festival in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The LGBTIQ+ festival was due to start this week on March 18 and run until the 29th, though the BFI confirmed in a statement today (March 16) that it will now no longer go ahead.
“It’s with heavy hearts that we announce that, because of the scale and complexity of running a large international film festival with filmmakers due to travel from across the world, the BFI has taken the very difficult decision to cancel the 2020 edition of BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves,” they said in a statement.
— BFI Flare (@BFIFlare) March 16, 2020
“BFI Flare is a very special and long standing festival with a loyal and dedicated following and we realise that this is a very disappointing situation for audiences, our staff and Festival teams and all of the incredibly talented and passionate filmmakers involved.”
They revealed that they still hoped to share some elements of the festival through digital means, and that the BFI Southbank would still remain open unless government advice changed.
“We know this decision affects individuals in different ways and we respectfully ask people to please bear with us over the next days as we work through the impacts of cancellation and also look at ways of sharing some elements of BFI Flare digitally,” they added.
The Flare Film Festival has run since 1986 and was due to show more than 50 features, 85 shorts and a wide range of events for its 2020 edition. Among this year’s films were Kieran Mulcare’s Cicada and Summerland starring Gemma Arterton and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
At the time of writing, 1,372 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK, with 35 deaths.
Meanwhile, in New York, all movie theaters, concert venues, nightclubs and small theatres have been closed in an effort to tackle the virus.