The 23rd edition of Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, which attracts tens of thousands of filmmakers and film lovers each year, was canceled on Wednesday afternoon due to concerns about the coronavirus.

On Tuesday, Duke University announced that it would extend spring break a week and adopt “long-distance practices” for the remainder of the semester. It also canceled all university-sponsored events through April 20—including Full Frame, which is a program of Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies.

Nationwide, festival organizers have faced increased pressure to pull the plug on cultural events amid fears of coronavirus outbreaks. Most recently, SXSW and Big Ears Festival were both called off. The city of Raleigh, however, has not yet called canceled major upcoming events, including Dreamville and Brewgaloo. 

A premier cultural event in the Triangle with an international reputation, Full Frame presented 83 films in 2019. While this year’s full lineup had not yet been unveiled, Full Frame announced on February 27 that the filmmakers Jessica Edwards and Gary Hustwit would curate the 2020 thematic program. 

Festival officials are still in the process of notifying filmmakers, sponsors, donors, ticket buyers, and stakeholders. 

“Know that we remain committed to our mission of celebrating and enhancing the documentary art form and now look ahead to next year’s festival, running April 8­-11, 2021,” Full Frame officials wrote in a press release. “Our hearts go out to all of the people and communities impacted by COVID-19.”

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