The much-awaited Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFes), which was scheduled to be held from March 24 to March 31, has been postponed indefinitely due to surge in COVID-19 cases in the city, an official said on Monday. The decision to defer the festival was taken by members of the Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy on the advice of the state health experts, as the atmosphere is not congenial to hold it this month.
"The 8-day 13th edition of the annual film festival has been put off till further notice due to rising COVID-19 cases in the city," said the official of the state information department. As the epicentre of the coronavirus in the southern state, Bengaluru reported 550 fresh cases on Sunday, taking the city's COVID-19 tally to 4.11 lakh, including 6,454 active cases, while 4.01 lakh recovered so far, with 198 discharged on Monday.
As COVID-19-induced guidelines have restricted large gatherings in public places and limited the number of people who can participate in functions, the academy has decided to hold the festival at a later date, as about 7,000 people were expected to participate from across the state, country and overseas.
The festival will be held at four venues where 200 Indian and international films will be shown on 14 screens when normalcy returns, post-pandemic, authorities said.
In the 12th edition of the fest, which was held from February 26 to March 4, 2020, about 220 films from 60 countries were shown on 14 screens. About 10,000 delegates participated before the pandemic broke out in the state on March 8, 2020.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa in February had unveiled the logo of this yearâ€™s edition of the film festival and it was decided that the event will be conducted from March 24 to March 31. However, the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases forced the organisers to seek an opinion from the Health and Family Welfare Department on conducting the event.