EXCLUSIVE: At this evening hour, we’re hearing that Amazon Studios is pulling out of this year’s SXSW, 10 days before the festival kicks off in Austin on March 13. The move includes all Amazon-related activities at the festival, including two world episodic premieres, Greg Daniels’ sci-fi show Upload and Matt Reeves and Nathaniel Halpern’s Tales From the Loop.
In addition, Amazon Prime Video had a marketing activation with Entertainment Weekly, specifically their Blue Room photo/video studio and a party on Saturday night. Those aren’t happening now. Amazon Studios’ film side didn’t have any product scheduled for SXSW.
Upload takes place in the future, where people who are near death can be “uploaded” into a virtual afterlife of their choice. The 10-episode series stars Robbie Amell, Andy Allo, Allegra Edwards, Zainab Johnson and Kevin Bigley.
Tales from the Loop is based on the art of Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag and explores the town and people who live above “The Loop,” a machine built to unlock and explore the mysteries of the universe. Series stars Rebecca Hall, Paul Schneider, Duncan Joiner, Daniel Zolghardi and Jonathan Pryce and premieres April 3.
Below is the note that was sent around to various press and PR folk tonight about the cancellation of Amazon Prime’s marketing activation with EW:
Due to health concerns Amazon Prime Video has decided to pull back from the festival and will be cancelling all activities including the Blue Room Photo/Video Studio over the weekend and the Entertainment Weekly party on Sat evening. We regret any inconvenience this may cause. The health of our team members and guests is our priority.
Thank you for your understanding,
Amazon joins such companies as Twitter, Facebook, Intel, China Gathering, Mashable and TikTok, who are also holding back on travel during this time to protect the health of their employees. Word is that IMDb has also canceled its video studio presence at the festival this year in the wake of coronavirus concerns.
Previously Tuesday, it was confirmed by Deadline that a worker at an Amazon office in Seattle had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“The employee went home feeling unwell on Tuesday, February 25 and has not entered Amazon offices since that time,” Amazon said in a memo to staff. The company asked anyone experiencing symptoms to stay home and seek medical attention. To date, the death toll in Washington State has risen to nine.
Despite rumors around the city of Austin that SXSW would cancel or postpone, the festival will firmly go on.
Says the festival on their attendee safety web page: “Regarding the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: SXSW is working closely on a daily basis with local, state, and federal agencies to plan for a safe event. As a result of this dialogue and the recommendations of Austin Public Health, we are proceeding with the 2020 event with the health and safety of our attendees, staff, and volunteers as our top priority.”