After needing to cancel the annual event last month due to concerns over the global coronavirus pandemic, South by Southwest (SXSW) has found a new avenue by partnering with Amazon to stream films that were set to screen at this year’s festival, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
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Amazon Prime Video will offer filmmakers a part of the event to opt in to present their projects via the streaming service, while those who have already set distribution deals with Amazon rivals are not expected to be a part of the new 10-day virtual fest that is likely to launch in late April.
“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,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “It’s been a privilege collaborating with [SXSW director of film] 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.“
In addition to Amazon partnering with the event, Mailchimp and Oscilloscope Laboratories have teamed up to create a digital home for the slate of 64 short films that were set to premiere at SXSW, including eight “Midnight” shorts such as Stucco written, directed, executive produced by and starring Janina Gavankar (The Way Back). The full list of shorts can be viewed here!
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The full slate of films set to stream on Amazon will be available in front of the Prime Video paywall and free to general U.S. audiences. SXSW was originally scheduled to run from March 13-22 before being shut down by Austin Mayor Steve Adler due to general health concerns.
“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,” Pierson said. “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.“
Inside sources are also reporting that while the SXSW partnership may be a one-time event, it could very well lead to Amazon Prime Video teaming with other cancelled festivals in the future.