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SXSW film festival revives digital screenings after cancellation announcement

The festival had announced its cancellation following the growing coronavirus outbreak in the United States of America. 

Our Correspondent

A week after the announcement of cancellation, the South by Southwest International Film Festival (SXSW) has opened up for digital screenings of films. While the festival might not take place, the competition section will be reviewed by judges through digital links.

The festival was set to take place in Austin, Texas between 13 and 22 March. However, the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic across the United States led to a cancellation. 

The Hollywood Reporter's online website stated that festival organizers have now revealed that the juried selection and review of films submitted to the festival will take place through digital screenings. The winning independent films submitted to the festival are eligible for the upcoming Independent Spirit Awards, while the winners of the narrative, documentary and animated short films reviewed at the festival will be eligible for the Oscars next year.

The report quoted Janet Pierson, director of the festival saying, "This was going to be a transformative event, and with the cancellation, the filmmakers were left stranded and scrambling."

The festival was cancelled in view of the World Health Organisation (WHO) advisory to cancel or avoid all public gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The pandemic has already spread across the globe affecting sporting and entertainment events in China, India, UK, Italy, Germany and the United States of America, among other countries. 

The SXSW festival would have seen the American premiere of Indian filmmmaker Arati Kadav's sci-fi feature, Cargo (2019). 

The festival is one of many, including the Beijing International Film Festival, the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, and the Indian International Film Awards (IIFA) which have been cancelled in view of the growing pandemic across the world. 

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