The 2020 South by Southwest festival is the latest event to be canceled due to the continuing spread of the coronavirus.
On Friday, city and county officials in Austin, Tex. announced that the multimedia event was canceled in the interest of public safety. SXSW was scheduled to kick off next week.
Kumail Nanjiani, whose film “The Lovebirds” had been scheduled to screen at the festival, had already announced he would not be attending the event and praised the move as “the responsible thing” to do.
“SXSW is one of my favorite festivals,” Nanjiani said Friday on Twitter. “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.”
Soledad O’Brien, executive producer of the documentary “Hungry to Learn,” was also among those on the SXSW programming lineup to express disappointment and understanding at the move.
SXSW is said to bring more than 250,000 people to the Austin area annually and $350 million in revenue. This is the first time in its 34-year history that the event has been canceled.
Filmmakers including Mark Duplass, Greg Pak and Jim Cummings chose to use their platforms to help support artists and businesses relying on SXSW to boost their projects.
“My heart goes out to all those affected by the SXSW cancellation,” Duplass tweeted. “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.”
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
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
Thinking about how much my SXSW screenings meant to me.
If you’re a filmmaker who was going to screen at SXSW this year and your film is online, or if you have a website/trailer, please hit me with the link and I will share it on Twitter and in my email newsletter.
— Greg Pak (@gregpak) 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