It was announced last week that the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW), which was scheduled to begin this week, had been cancelled due to Coronavirus risk. Many similar events where multiple people would be sharing space have been cancelled in the wake of growing concerns over the spread of COVID-19. 

Soon after the cancellation announcement, it was revealed that the cancellation is not covered by insurance and, as a result, refunds would not be issued to those who have gotten tickets. Ticket-holders are given the option to defer their registration to SXSW in 2021, 2022, or 2023 instead. 

It is clear that the cancellation of SXSW, one of the first festivals of film festival season, is hurting many. Filmmakers whose films were set to premiere at the festival now have to find other ways to get their films out to the public. SXSW employees have also been affected heavily by the cancellation, as the company laid off about 50 employees, which makes up about one-third of its staff, to cover some of its losses. 

By Oorie Garabedian

Photo: Paul Hudson