As just announced by Austin Mayor Steve Adler, SXSW 2020 has been canceled due to concerns related to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, which is now responsible for over 3,000 deaths worldwide (with over 90,000 folks infected across a number of different countries). Adler said he was declaring a "local disaster in the city" which would "effectively cancel" the event for this year.
Team BMD's been debating whether or not the city would cancel SXSW all week, with most of us erring on the side of "Probably" (after a certain number of sponsors and studios dropped out, it seemed all but guaranteed). But now that the decision's actually been made, it's pretty shocking. If you're not from Austin, it's hard to overstate what a gigantic deal SXSW is: it basically turns the entirety of downtown into a sprawling music, tech, film and comedy festival for a full week. It's a big deal for travelers, a big deal for local businesses, and a big deal for all the artists - from musicians to filmmakers to the people putting together those impossibly elaborate "activations" that dot the downtown landscape each year. A shame it's being shut down, to be sure, but better safe than sorry!
We haven't thrown much coverage to the coronavirus situation since it began. By and large, we'd prefer BMD to be a place you can come to focus specifically on movie news, trailers and the opinions of the various contributors we have writing here. But given that SXSW is an event we very much planned to cover this year, and given the fact that this is only the latest film-related domino to fall under the pressure of coronavirus-related concerns, it felt worth sharing the above with our readership.
Be safe out there, everyone. These are wild, kinda frightening times!