Poppy Jasper Cancels 2020 Film Festival Over COVID-19 Concerns; Considers Limited Events Later in the Year

Mar 14, 2020 (Morgan Hill, CA USA)

The Poppy Jasper International Film Festival that was scheduled for April 1-8, 2020 has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. Festival Director L. Mattock Scariot made the announcement following a Board meeting this week of Poppy Jasper, Inc., the Festival’s parent organization.

PJIFF2020 was planned as a weeklong celebration of independent filmmaking held in Gilroy, Hollister, San Juan Bautista, and Morgan Hill. Filmmakers and film and music industry leaders from around the country and around the world had made plans to attend. Over 200 films from 38 countries were to have been shown. Four topical panel discussions and a special music evening were also on the schedule.

“We had even scheduled three extra days for the Festival this year,” Scariot noted, “to highlight the filmmaking cultures of China and Mexico, and to allow our visitors to experience the wine and beauty of our area. We’re terribly disappointed to have to cancel, but just couldn’t put our audience, guests, and volunteers at risk.”

Santa Clara County, where Morgan Hill and Gilroy are located, has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in California. Hollister and San Juan Bautista are in nearby San Benito County, which as of March 13 had only three cases.

The Festival Committee hopes to arrange some smaller events later in the year, once the emergency orders are lifted.

“So much work has gone into creating this festival,” Scariot said. “We really hope to bring as much of it to the public as possible. At the same time, we need to focus on planning the April 2021 festival and continuing with our film education programs, so this cancellation means more work for all of us. Fortunately, we have a terrific, dedicated, team of volunteers to make it happen.”

“I’m devastated that we have to cancel, but I know it’s the right decision. We’ll be contacting our current ticket holders as soon as we can, and PJIFF will be back!”

For more information about the festival’s upcoming events or to donate, visit PJIFF.org.

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