After many high profile companies and guests had pulled out of this year's South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, it was announced today that long-time film, music, and art festival SXSW has been cancelled as a response to the coronavirus outbreak spreading across the country. SXSW has long been a staple of the film world for years, marking an occasion for independent movies to make a name for themselves and the world premiere of highly anticipated films. Since the festival has been cancelled many of those that were planning to attend or know the importance of the event have sounded off with messages of support for the filmmakers left in a bind by the cancellation.
Films that were set to headline the festival this year included Judd Apatow's Pete Davidson comedy The King of Staten Island, the Issa Rae & Kumail Nanjiani comedy The Lovebirds, the Eric Andre and Tiffany Haddish hidden camera comedy Bad Trip, and David Lowery's A24 fantasy-drama The Green Knight starring Dev Patel.
"The City of Austin has cancelled the March dates for SXSW and SXSW EDU. SXSW will faithfully follow the City's directions," the official statement about the cancellation reads. "We are devastated to share this news with you. 'The show must go on' is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place."
The festival adds, "We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation. As recently as Wednesday, Austin Public Health stated that 'there's no evidence that closing SXSW or any other gatherings will make the community safer.' However, this situation evolved rapidly, and we honor and respect the City of Austin's decision. We are committed to do our part to help protect our staff, attendees, and fellow Austinites."
The coronavirus — or COVID-19 — outbreak has infected at least 250 people in the United States as of the writing, resulting in 15 deaths. Worldwide, more than 95,000 have been infected by the virus, resulting in over 3,2000 deaths.
The cancelling of SXSW is a devastating blow to a lot of indie filmmakers who were set to finally premiere their hard work. My heart goes out to you all.— N O S ⋊ Ɔ I ᴚ ᴚ Ǝ ᗡ ⊥ ⊥ O Ɔ S (@scottderrickson) March 6, 2020
C. Robert Cargill
SXSW is such a vital part of the film culture. The number of films that count on it to jump start their lives, and the careers tied to those films...Jesus.
Not gonna lie, folks. I'm fucking shook.— C. Robert Cargill (@Massawyrm) March 6, 2020
Sxsw is one of my favorite festivals. Canceling it was the responsible thing to go. I know this sucks for many people for whom this was a massive opportunity. But we’re kind of in an unprecedented situation here and caution is key. Thank you for the making the right decision.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) March 6, 2020
We’re so sorry for our SXSW friends and all the filmmakers who have worked so hard to get this far.
If you had a film at the fest, reply to this with the details so we can celebrate your efforts. 📣🎥
And everyone: please watch and share a great indie film today.— Letterboxd (@letterboxd) March 6, 2020
Help me support the filmmakers who will no longer be having their world premiere at SXSW due to the city of Austin’s fight of the Coronavirus. Please send me your film’s info and I will signal boost your efforts. My love to all of you and I’m so sorry. Long live SXSW and film.— Jim Cummings (@jimmycthatsme) March 6, 2020
My heart goes out to all those affected by the @sxsw cancellation. So vital to so many artists, organizations, businesses, etc. Let's order from local Austin businesses. Let's support the SXSW artists. Let's take care of each other.— Mark Duplass (@MarkDuplass) March 6, 2020
SXSW is cancelled. So sad for the filmmakers and my brother @DavidArquette Who was premiering his amazing documentary “You Cannot Kill David Arquette”— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) March 6, 2020
Disappointed about #sxsw. Was excited to launch our doc Hungry to Learn there, but fully understand safety and health first.— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) March 6, 2020
SXSW CANCELLED! I am absolutely sick for every single filmmaker who busted their ass to make their movie, who got into sxsw, and who’s “break out” or chance to shine was just squished. Please reach out if there is anything I can do to help you or your film long game. ... crushed.— Tara Ansley (@TaraAnsley) March 6, 2020
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