by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA
A TOTAL of 16 movies scheduled to be showcased during the 19th edition of the French Film Festival has been cancelled following the closure of cinemas in view of the Movement Control Order (MCO) to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chief executive officer of GSC Sdn Bhd, Koh Mei Lee, said all the movies for the festival were supposed to be screened at selected movie theatres of Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) from March 19 to April 26.
“The only scheduled international film festival that was set to take place in April was the French Film Festival. No other Film Festivals are affected at this point,” she told Bernama.
She said the movies for the film festival are of various genres with titles such as “Spread Your Wings”, “The Royal Exchange”, “Prince’s Voyage”, and many more.
In view of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic and the extension of the MCO until April 14, the Malaysian Association of Film Exhibitors (MAFE) has decided to keep local cinemas shuttered.
MAFE, in a press statement yesterday, said that keeping the cinemas here closed is in line with the efforts of film exhibitors across the ASEAN region, which have and are also closing their cinemas to prevent mass gatherings to control the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Koh said over 37 cinemas operated by GSC were closed after the MCO started on March 18 and will remain closed until the end of April.
Asked how the global pandemic affected the business of GSC as a leading cinema operator, Koh said this year will be extremely challenging for the cinema business financially as most movies scheduled for release in April-June have been postponed to the later part of the year as well as next year.
She said it will also take time for movie-goers to develop the confidence to return to the cinemas after this global health crisis, and the spending power of consumers is also likely to be impacted.
“We are optimistic, however, that once the supply of movies is back and with time, consumers will return to our cinemas for the immersive movie-watching experience, which will help us recover the losses during this period,” she added.
The French Film Festival is the film portion of the Le French Festival (LFF) 2020, a platform showcasing various French arts which also include performing arts and gastronomy, among others. The LFF has also been cancelled due to the MCO.
LFF 2020 was supposed to be held at four cities in Malaysia which are Kuala Lumpur (March 19 to April 5), Penang (April 9-19), Johor Baharu (April 16-19) and Kota Kinabalu (April 23-26).