SUDBURY -- Greater Sudbury's film festival is planning a hybrid event this year, with some online programming and other in-theatre films, assuming the COVID-19 pandemic allows for in-person movies.

In a news release Thursday, Cinefest said it has been working on a way to hold the festival safely.

"Based on feedback from Cinefest patrons and guests gained from our COVID-19 Event Intentions Survey, and following the guidance of health professionals, government and industry partners, the 2020 edition of Cinefest Sudbury International Film Festival will consist of a selection of in-theatre screenings, combined with virtual online festival programming," Cinefest said.

"These plans are contingent on federal, provincial and municipal public health mandates, and based on continued success of our region and province's mitigation of COVID-19 outbreaks."

The festival will run Sept. 19-27 featuring about 30 films in-theatre, along with a series of virtual screenings using an online viewing platform.

"The in-person and post-screening introductions and Q&As will involve local film guests and will be conducted in accordance with physical distancing guidelines," Cinefest said. "The festival will also incorporate ‘In Conversation’ as pre-recorded interviews with filmmakers and actors and host live online Q&A sessions and special events."

To ensure audiences are familiar with the new online system being introduced, trial events will be scheduled prior to the main September festival. Cinefest Sudbury also will hold its inaugural online festival programming media conference in mid-August.

"Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is an opportunity to invite audiences to escape and explore the stories, experiences, places and emotions that cinema brings to life —even in a virtual setting."

Leading up to the festival, patrons can head to Cinefest offices at 40 Larch St., Unit 103, to purchase tickets. Cinefest will provide frequent updates in the coming months on how to purchase tickets online and in-person.

"PPE and physical distancing guidelines will be implemented when necessary to ensure the safety of all guests and staff," Cinefest said.

Audiences should also stay tuned as Cinefest Sudbury begins to announce its 2020 film lineup in July and August.