Television and Film Festivals Cancelled Due to Coronavirus Concerns

Amazon Studios has announced its withdrawal from participation in the 2020 SXSW, an Austin, Texas film festival consisting of “parallel film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences”. The announcement comes just 10 days before March 13, when the festival begins.

Amazon executives have voiced concerns for employee safety after an Amazon employee in Seattle tested positive for the coronavirus. While notices were sent out to employees, the company seems to be taking extra precautions.

What does this mean for SXSW? 

All Amazon activities at the festival have been cancelled. This includes the premieres of episodes from Greg Daniels’ Upload, a sci-fi comedy that tackles the issues of technology and life after death, and Nathaniel Halpern’s Tales From the Loop, another sci-fi series centered in futuristic technology and set to premiere in April. It also has produced a domino effect, in which Amazon Prime Video has additionally cancelled collaborations with Entertainment Weekly. 

. . .

Following in Amazon’s footsteps, French festival organizing company Reed MIDEM has cancelled MipTV, their leading film and media festival in Cannes, France. The cancellation is hypothesized to be because of France’s recent ban on indoor gatherings that surpass 5,000 people. The ban was announced by the French health minister after 212 cases of coronavirus were found in France. This was certainly of concern for Reed MIDEM, as MipTV’s participant count last year exceeded 9,500 people. The brand has also experienced setbacks with planning their annual drama sidebar, Canneseries, due to coronavirus concerns.

Clearly, the TV industry is taking a hit amid the coronavirus panic, but hopefully film festivals will begin to re-ensue as international authorities gain more control over the virus’s containment.

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