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Amazon Teams Up With SXSW For A Free Online Film Festival


Almost a month ago, the cancellation of SXSW rocked the festival circuit. In the days that followed, other prominent film festivals began to fall victim to the unprecedented global pandemic. SXSW attempted to collaborate with filmmakers by providing a digital screening room during the festival’s planned run, but many of the selections opted out. Now, filmmakers who were planning on traveling to Austin to unveil their work will have a second opportunity to do so.

Amazon Prime and SXSW just announced they are joining forces to launch “Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection.” Amazon is inviting filmmakers from the SXSW 2020 Official lineup to participate in a 10-day online film festival exclusively on Prime Video in the U.S. The event will be available in front of the Prime Video paywall and free to audiences across the country, with or without an Amazon Prime membership.

Over the course of the 10-day period, filmmakers who choose to participate will receive a streaming fee. The amount of the fee has yet to be announced by the company. No official launch date has been announced, but SXSW and Prime Video are eyeing a late April slot for the festival. In the meantime, SXSW is already reaching out to filmmakers invited to the 2020 festival and offering them an opportunity to opt-in starting today.

Head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke said:

“We’re honored to be able to provide a space for the SXSW filmmakers to share their hard work and passion with audiences for the first time. It’s been a privilege collaborating with Janet Pierson and the SXSW team to bring these diverse and inspiring films to viewers around the country. We are supporters of SXSW and other independent film festivals and hope this online film festival can help give back some of that experience and showcase artists and films that audiences might otherwise not have had the chance to see.”

Janet Pierson, Director of Film, SXSW thanked Amazon for stepping in and lending a hand stating the following:

Ever since SXSW was cancelled by the City of Austin, we’ve been focused on how we could help the incredible films and filmmakers in the SXSW 2020 Film Festival lineup. We were delighted when Amazon Prime Video offered to host an online film festival, and jumped at the opportunity to connect their audiences to our filmmakers. We’re inspired by the adaptability and resilience of the film community as it searches for creative solutions in this unprecedented crisis.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article stated that other fall festivals are exploring online options. This has not been confirmed by any representative from any of the festivals. Awards Circuit apologizes for the error.

What do you all make of this news? Do you think it’s a smart decision for independent filmmakers to opt-in to online festivals such as this? Let us know in the comments below!

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