SXSW 2020 Is Cancelled…How Can We Help?

As of about 5pm eastern today SXSW, the 10 day festival in Austin, TX which put a spotlight on tech, gaming, activism, music, and film, was officially cancelled due to the state of emergency caused by the coronavirus. While there were signs of this possibility looming—many other events in other states being shut down, a growing list of companies and talent that weren’t going to attend the festival for fears of the pandemic—it was never a certainty considering the fact that SXSW brings in close to half a billion dollars to the city of Austin every year, helping local businesses and workers (while also playing hell with traffic). Additionally, while there are a lot of big names and titles that headline SXSW Film Festival every year, it’s also a chance for smaller features to make a big splash on the scene.

US, READY PLAYER ONE, PET SEMATARY, A QUIET PLACE, THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA and other marquee moviees have played to booming audiences at SXSW in just the past few years. But SXSW is also a place where indie filmmakers can shine a light on their works. And unlike many other respectable film festivals out there, SXSW actually places an importance on genre fare to the delight of all of us Daily Grindhouse folk who have attended. Last year brought VILLAINS, SNATCHERS, PORNO, LITTLE MONSTERS, BOYZ IN THE WOOD, and more.

SXSW 2020 Midnighters icon

SXSW 2020 promised such intriguing midnighters and genre fare like PSYCHO GOREMAN (from Steven Kostanski, director of THE VOID), Australia’s RELIC (from co-writer/director Natalie Erika James), THE TOLL (from writer/director Michael Nader), YUMMY from Belgium (directed by Lars Damoiseaux), LUCKY (directed by IMITATION GIRL‘s Natasha Kermani, written by and starring Brea Grant), and a slew of other titles that we would have loved to have seen and written about—because we love to spread the word about lesser known or overlooked films that deserve more praise and love.

That is one of the lesser discussed aspects of cancelling SXSW—the fact that smaller acts (be they bands, games, start-ups, or films) still use SXSW to buoy their projects into distribution and better funding. Many artists over the years have made connections, financing deals, and lifelong fans at SXSW over the past 34 years that propelled them to greater popularity and helped them grow creatively. SXSW being cancelled this year won’t hurt the major studio pictures that were scheduled to premiere there, but it can hurt and diminish the buzz that many of these filmmakers were hoping for in order to help their careers and further their visions.

SXSW 2020 Some of the Midnighters titles

So that’s where Daily Grindhouse comes in.

Are you an indie film that was looking to play SXSW in hopes of securing distribution or just getting more people to see and talk about your film? Or maybe your independent genre film didn’t make it to SXSW 2020, but you still want to get the word out about it? Obviously we can’t promise we will love your movie or rave about it unless the writer genuinely enjoys it with a review—but we are happy to help spread the word about your film. Contact us here and let us know about your indie film project and we’ll share a clip, trailer, poster, or whatever. We are more than happy to watch and review your film and do what we can to draw a greater spotlight to your work.

SXSW 2020 cancelling is the wise thing to do in the midst of a pandemic. But it will have (and has already had) major effects on people’s lives—from totally changing people’s plans, to travel, to loss of money, to loss of exposure, to missing out on a good time, or even just seeing some old friends. Too often in this life, the right thing to do is a hard Thing to do—and it’s usually an action that brings with it a fair amount of pain in some form or another. We can’t take away most of that pain, but please let us help in whatever small way we can.

Please email us here and let’s figure out how to best get your stories out to the world:


Rob Dean
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