Amazon pulls out of SXSW amid coronavirus concerns
Amazon Studios has officially canceled its planned presence at March's Austin-based SXSW Film Festival, making the streamer one of the first big names from the Hollywood industry to do so as concerns over the coronavirus continue to spread.
Initially planned were screenings and panel presentations for two of its upcoming Amazon Prime Video series, Upload and Tales From the Loop. Upload, Greg Daniels' sci-fi comedy about humans uploading themselves to their preferred afterlives, was set to screen its first two episodes on March 14, to be followed by a cast panel. Tales From the Loop — featuring Rebecca Hall, Paul Schneider, and Jonathan Pryce — was then scheduled to screen on March 16 with an ensuing cast and crew Q&A.
Additionally, Amazon was in partnership with Entertainment Weekly magazine on an activation event. All plans are now canceled.
There are currently 11 confirmed cases of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19 in Texas state, according to The New York Times. At least one person in Austin is being tested for coronavirus, Dr. Mark Escott, the medical director for Austin Public Health, said on Tuesday.
Other companies to pull plans from SXSW include Twitter, which made the news official on Sunday. A spokesperson for Facebook also told CNN, "Due to concerns related to coronavirus, our company and employees will not be participating in SXSW this year."
In a previous statement on the matter to EW, a spokesperson for the fest said, "The SXSW 2020 event is proceeding as planned. Safety is a top priority, and we work closely with local, state, and federal agencies year-round to plan for a safe event. Where travel has been impacted, especially in the case of China, we are seeing a handful of cancellations. However, we are on par with years past in regard to registrants who are unable to attend. We are increasing our efforts to prevent the spread of germs per Austin Public Health’s recommendations, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide updates as necessary."