Watsonville Film Fest Executive Director Consuelo Alba and the event's Board of Directors have decided to cancelled this year's festival. — contributed

WATSONVILLE—The Watsonville Film Festival (WFF) announced Wednesday that it will be cancelling its 2020 festival, which was scheduled to start tomorrow and run through Sunday.

A letter from WFF Executive Director Consuelo Alba and the Board of Directors said that the festival has been cancelled due to recommendations issued by the Santa Cruz County Health Department over growing concerns about the coronavirus.

Yesterday, County officials declared a local emergency, as two cases of the virus have been confirmed in Santa Cruz County since Saturday. The City of Watsonville followed suit at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The Health Services Agency has recommended the cancellation of all large gatherings.

“This was such a difficult decision,” Alba said, “all of us at the WFF have put so much work and love into this year’s festival, but the right [decision] to make is to keep everyone safe.”

Festival organizers held an emergency board meeting on Tuesday to discuss and review the recommendations of both county and city leaders, and decided that the cancellation was necessary.

The Board of Directors wrote an open letter to supporters explaining its decision.

“We want to be responsible and thoughtful about the events we host and the ways we bring the community together,” the letter stated.

WFF organizers thanked the community for their support and expressed disappointment in the situation, but also said they hoped that scheduled screenings and talks will eventually take place later in the year.

“As soon as we know when and how we might bring the festival to life this year, we will celebrate that moment with you,” the letter stated.

Those who have pre-purchased festival tickets will be contacted individually. For more information go to watsonvillefilmfest.org.

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Reporter Johanna Miller grew up in Watsonville, attending local public schools and Cabrillo College before transferring to Pacific University Oregon to study Literature. She covers arts and culture, business, nonprofits and agriculture.


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