SXSW’s coronavirus cancellation was perhaps the first major sign that none of our plans would pan out for spring 2020. The annual festival held in Austin, Texas was also one of the first to move their festival online, where interested filmmakers could still have editorial coverage of their films and the chance to award jury prizes to films in the competition. Now, Amazon is helping SXSW 2020 have an even further reach—the streaming platform will host “Amazon Prime Video Presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection,” a plethora of films from this year’s SXSW competition free for all viewers over a TBD 10-day period.
While there is no word about what films will be featured, all filmmakers who competed at SXSW 2020 are eligible to take part in Prime Video’s online film festival, which will be exclusive to the U.S. Filmmakers who participate will receive a screening fee for the 10-day period.
There is also no set timeline for the Prime Video festival, however Prime and SXSW are “targeting” a launch sometime in late-April, per a statement on SXSW’s website. Filmmakers can opt-in starting today. You don’t need an Amazon Prime subscription in order to view the films; access will be granted via the creation of a free Amazon account.
“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,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios in an official statement. “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, SXSW’s director of film, also expressed her excitement about the venture in her own statement: “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.”
The series will focus largely on feature films, however many of the short films from this year’s SXSW are already free to stream online. More details will be given when updates arrive.