The Austin Chronicle's Screens Editor,
SXSW Film Festival 2020 Cancellation
On March 6, the City of Austin canceled this year’s SXSW for public health and safety reasons related to the coronavirus. This will be the first time in 34 years SXSW will not be held. The decision had an immediate impact, with SXSW laying off more than 50 people—one-third of its staff—as a result of the financial difficulties it will face in the coming months. In addition, SXSW Film Festival official venues scrambled to fill programming gaps while other Austin and regional film and TV festivals contemplated whether to hold their celebrations in April and May. The City of Austin, which jointly declared with Travis County a local state of disaster on March 6, also will prohibit events with 2,500 or more attendees through May 1 unless approved by health officials. The 2019 SXSW had a reported economic impact $355.9 million, so the ramifications of the cancellation of this year’s festival to be felt long and hard in the City of Austin and throughout Travis County. Whether SXSW returns in 20201, and in what form, remains to be seen. The Austin Chronicle's Screens Editor Richard Whittaker also is a regular contributor to The Austin Chronicle Show, which can be heard 3-3:30 p.m. every Friday on KOOP 91.7 FM.
Aired: March 12, 2020