The situation surrounding the COVID-19 novel coronavirus virus isn’t getting any better and the uncertainty it generates is just as bad. There is no assurance of how long the threat will remain, increasing the risks involved in large gatherings and events. To lessen such risks, Apple has decided against pushing through with its SXSW Film Festival plans this year, even as the event’s own organizers seem bullish in continuing.
Apple is hardly the main organization in the upcoming film and culture festival but it is definitely one of the highest-profile participants to pull out. That growing list has so far included Amazon Studios, Facebook, Twitter, and even the popular yet also controversial TikTok. The list will undoubtedly keep growing even as SXSW looms ever so closer.
Apple’s SXSW events have admittedly been big and its withdrawal could deal a huge blow to the annual SXSW. It was scheduled to reveal three new Apple TV Plus exclusives, host a discussion on a docuseries, and screen a political coming-of-age documentary. Whether Apple plans on holding its own online event in lieu of the cancellation, it isn’t saying yet.
SXSW 2020, however, will push through on March 13 to 22 even without these key participants. Officials of the city of Austin where the event is held yearly doubt that canceling the week-long event will do any good. Or in the words of the city’s own Public Health interim medical director, they find no evidence that canceling it will make the Austin community safer.
That, of course, flies in the face of many global events that have already canceled their shows for those very same reasons. Those include MWC last month, GDC, Google I/O, some of which are still two months away. The petition for SXSW organizers to cancel the fest has already reached 45,000 signatures.