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A fourth wave of Covid is starting to sweep across Europe’s events circuit. The European Film Awards have canceled their in-person edition, which was due to take place in Berlin on December 11, and uncertainty is growing around winter festivals.

The European Film Awards, where a record five animated features are nominated this year, will instead take place online, with both live and pre-recorded components. The decision comes as Germany grapples with rising Covid cases, which has led the federal government to ban the unvaccinated from non-essential shops and events.

Germany is one of the countries to have reported cases of the new Omicron variant, about which much is still not known. The variant, which has been designated as “of concern” by the World Health Organization, has now been detected in many countries, including the U.S.

It comes as Europe is grappling with a surge in cases, which has seen several nations return to lockdowns in recent weeks. In the Netherlands, which is in a partial lockdown, the International Broadcasting Convention has cancelled its in-person event, which was due to start in Amsterdam on December 3.

The fate of the Berlin Film Festival is also in question. The festival, which is scheduled for February 10–20, 2022, is planning for an onsite edition. But sources have told Variety that contingency plans are being discussed as a result of Omicron. A delay to spring would be preferable to a virtual festival, they say.

Meanwhile, the global film industry is keeping a close eye on box-office disruption. Takings across Europe have been falling over the past three weeks, notes The Hollywood Reporter. So far, big-studio release schedules remain unaffected, with upcoming tentpoles like Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Matrix Resurrections — and, in animation, Sing 2 — sticking to their dates.


Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Deputy Editor of Cartoon Brew.