Cinetopia Film Festival canceled over safety concerns

The filmmakers of the 2018 Detroit Voices Short Film Competition gather on stage at the Detroit Film Theatre. (Credit: Cinetopia Film Festival)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Cinetopia Film Festival has announced that this year’s festival will be canceled due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The film festival was rescheduled for Aug. 21-30 after being postponed from its original dates in May.

In a statement, the film festival said that the decision was made for the wellbeing of audience members, filmmaker guests and Cinetopia Film Festival staff.

“We are all deeply saddened to have to take the step of cancelling this year’s festival. The Cinetopia team was hopeful that, by pushing back to August, we would still be able to hold an in-person event this year,” Cinetopia Film Festival Director Sarah Escalante said in a statement.

“However, we have decided that it is in everyone’s best interests to instead look forward to next May. In the meantime, we are excited to be able to offer some of our special programs as virtual events throughout the summer, and encourage everyone to take part.”

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Community members who have already purchased passes or tickets will be contacted about refund options. Virtual Cinetopia Presents events are currently being developed, according to the statement.

The festival is slated to return May 14-23, 2021.

Currently, the Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival-Cinetopia collaboration “A Summer of Film” is available through the Michigan Theater Virtual Movie Palace until Aug. 31.

Cinetopia’s two short film programs, A2 Tech Film Showcase and Detroit Voices Short Film Competition, are anticipated to take place virtually.

The Cinetopia Film Festival was started in 2011 by the Michigan Theater Foundation, a nonprofit organization created by Ann Arbor’s Michigan Theater. The festival screens over 120 films in 10 days every May to Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit audiences.

Learn more about the film festival and its events through

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Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.