Major film festival SXSW has been cancelled for its 2020 season, making it a difficult time for those whose films that were scheduled to have screenings where potential buyers and critics gather to assess the films with the greatest potential. The festival announced that the jury will still be distributing awards as planned to the winning films, but only today did they announce a way to get the films out to the public and to buyers.
SXSW has partnered with Amazon Prime to show the films, with the filmmakers permission, on the streaming site for a 10 day period. This will allow anyone with or without a Prime membership in the US to view the films online during that window, which is planned for late April.
Starting today, the year’s selected filmmakers can opt in to this digital film festival and would receive some compensation for participating. This program gives added exposure to the films beyond Austin, and also provides a unique entertainment source for the many Americans staying at home during this pandemic.
Festival head Janet Pierson also stated that she would like to include conversations with the filmmakers, imitating as close as possible the film festival feeling. Pierson made the following statement on how SXSW has been adapting to the many rapid changes in the entertainment industry brought about the COVID-19 pandemic:
“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.”