Michael Moore says virus prevents film festival for 2nd year

April 30, 2021 GMT

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Traverse City Film Festival is being canceled for the second consecutive year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, president Michael Moore said Friday.

“This is truly upsetting for us and for everyone here who loves the movies and sees this festival as a cultural cornerstone of the community,” said Moore, the Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker who co-founded the event in 2005.

The festival board concluded it would be irresponsible to invite thousands of visitors to the Lake Michigan resort town as the coronavirus continues to ravage the state, Moore said. As of Friday, Michigan had the nation’s highest seven-day infection rate, although numbers have been improving.

Of the 30 counties across the U.S. with the most new cases per capita in the past 14 days, 17 are in Michigan, according to Johns Hopkins University.

“We have simply run out of time waiting for this virus to be contained,” board secretary David Poinsett said, adding that it takes six months to plan and produce the event.

A shortened version of the festival could take place late this year or in early 2022 if the virus situation improves, Moore said.