The US festival – which covers film, music and technology – takes place in Austin, Texas every year, with this year’s event due to run from Friday 13 March to Sunday 22 March.
They announced the cancellation yesterday, after several studios had already withdrawn – Apple pulled out along with their Beastie Boys Story documentary, directed by Spike Jonze. Netflix had also recently decided against attending.
The City of Austin actually cancelled the event, with the festival website issuing their own statement that included its commitment to try to find another way to ensure some form of festival takes place:
“We are exploring options to reschedule the event and are working to provide a virtual SXSW online experience as soon as possible for 2020 participants, starting with SXSW EDU.”
SXSW was founded in 1987 and this is the first time it has had to be cancelled.
On Twitter many freelance journalists were expressing their devastation at what it would mean for them and the city – while they and others offered coverage to independent filmmakers who were meant to present their movies at SXSW.
It remains to be seen if other film festivals will feel the need to cancel or postponer their own programmes. Tribeca Film Festival is due to take place in New York in April, with the Cannes Film Festival running 12 to 23 May.