WIFF cancels 2020 festival

WIFF Alley unveiled, November 1, 2019. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Canada’s largest volunteer-run film festival has fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to protect the well-being of film-goers, staff, and volunteers, the Windsor International Film Festival (WIFF) announced Wednesday that it has cancelled the 2020 festival, set for this coming November.

WIFF’s executive director and chief programmer, Vincent Georgie, said safety and comfort were tantamount to the idea that the show must go on.

“Was this a difficult decision? Yes. But, it was also in many ways an easy decision,” said Georgie. “WIFF is about bringing people together through film. WIFF is about watching and discussing the best Canadian and international films, seeing old friends in the theatres, making new friends in the lineups and celebrating at the parties all over downtown Windsor. Anything short of this is simply not the WIFF we all want and love.”

The past 12 months have provided some epic moments for WIFF. The 2019 festival featured screenings at the Capitol Theatre, the St. Clair College Chrysler Theatre, and the University of Windsor Armouries. A record of 42,000 tickets were sold for screenings of 165 films.

One film shown in November, the darkly-comic South Korean thriller Parasite, was a festival favourite, and it went on to make history at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles by becoming the first non-English language feature to win the award for Best Picture. Another WIFF film, Marriage Story, garnered a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Laura Dern.

WIFF was also honoured as the top volunteer-run film festival in Canada.

Georgie said organizers will use this time to build on the current run of success and use that energy toward next year’s festival.

“In 2019, we had an exceptional year and we look forward to using this time to build on that momentum to plan the most incredible edition of WIFF 2021,” said Georgie.

Movie buffs are encouraged to stay connected with WIFF through its weekend watch lists and WIFF 365. Complete information can be found on the festival’s official website.