The 46th annual Seattle International Film Festival, scheduled to run May 14 though June 7, has been canceled. Organizers announced the news in a statement Wednesday.
“While the core of the Festival takes place mid-May into early June, pre-events and activities begin up to six weeks earlier,” it said. “The looming uncertainty of this crisis, and the huge amount of work that would have to be done now, makes it impossible to continue as scheduled.”
SIFF, which is billed as the largest film festival in North America, generally shows more than 400 films to more than 140,000 attendees over its 25 days, in multiple theaters in and around Seattle.
The organization announced that it would be unable to hire the more than 100 seasonal workers required to run the festival, and has been “placed in the untenable position of furloughing the majority of our staff.” This is in addition to furloughs announced last week, when SIFF temporarily closed its five Seattle year-round movie screens.
“SIFF will be on hiatus for the next few months while the board and a minimal leadership crew, working reduced hours, regroup,” the organization announced. Patrons who have already purchased passes or ticket packs are asked to consider donating them back to SIFF.