In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the Cannes Film Festival won’t take the virtual route if it can’t be hosted as a physical event, festival director Thierry Fremaux has confirmed.

“(For) Cannes, its soul, its history, its efficiency, it’s a model that wouldn’t work. What is a digital festival? A digital competition? We should start by asking rights holders if they agree,” Fremaux tells Variety.

“Films by Wes Anderson or Paul Verhoeven on a computer? Discovering ‘Top Gun 2’ or (Pixar’s) ‘Soul’ elsewhere than in (a) theater? These films have been postponed to be shown on a big screen; why would we want to show them before, on a digital device?” said Fremaux, teasing some titles that have been in the mix for the upcoming edition.

There has been a giant question mark around the 2020 edition of the Cannes Film Festival since early March, when the coronavirus outbreak became a global issue. After weeks of speculation, organizers postponed the event on March 19 from its initial May unspooling to possibly late June or early July — firm dates still have yet to be set.

“Directors of ‘films’ are driven by the idea of showing their movies on a big screen and sharing them with others at events like festivals, not for their works to end up on an iPhone,” said Fremaux.

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