The Palm Springs International Film Festival has canceled its 2021 event due to coronavirus concerns.
The announcement was made in a letter to its board members and signed by Board Chair Harold Matzner, Managing Director Rhea Lewis-Woodson, and Artistic Director Lili Rodriguez. The action was set to be formalized in a board meeting.
"As we reach the end of the year, it is clear that it will not be possible to mount the film festival the way we envisioned it. This has not been an easy choice but we have made the decision to skip the 2021 edition. Rest assured that we plan to be back in 2022 when we can safely be together again in the theaters. Until then, we will continue our mission to share the very best in cinema through our Member and Community programs," the email read.
The statement continued by saying the COVID-19 pandemic, "has affected our lives in profound ways but we have not stopped believing that cinema has the power to change our hearts and minds. We stand by that truth and commit to continue our efforts in bringing film to our community."
The email stated that plans to celebrate this year's award contenders in February would continue. That event is set for February 25, honoring award recipients. The annual short film festival scheduled for June 22-28, 2021 will also remain on the calendar.
The film society's memberships were also set to be extended to February 2022 at no additional cost. The email stated that memberships which include festival benefits will receive the festival benefits in January 2022.
"Memberships that include Film Awards Gala benefits will receive those benefits in either 2021 or 2022. Our year-round member screenings and events will continue virtually until we are able to safely be in theaters," the statement continued. And once physical member screenings resume, virtual screenings would end.
The statement concluded by saying, "The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lives in profound ways but we have not stopped believing that cinema has the power to change our hearts and minds. We stand by that truth and commit to continue our efforts in bringing film to our community."
Stay with KESQ News Channel 3 for continuing coverage as we learn more about the Festival plans moving forward.