South by Southwest in Austin was one of the first big events to cancel this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. This broke the hearts of many indie filmmakers, for whom SXSW is their chance to get their films in front of as many eyeballs as possible. But now there is a ray of hope for those creators who were hoping to get their movies seen. Amazon Prime is joining up with SXSW for Prime Video Presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection. This will begin at a currently-unnamed date later in April.
South by Southwest
The collaboration will offer filmmakers in the 2020 SXSW Film Festival lineup an invitation to opt in to take part in this online version of the festival, which will play exclusively on Prime Video in the U.S. for 10 days. The one-time-only event will be available in front of the Prime Video paywall and free to all audiences around the country, with or without an Amazon Prime membership. All that one needs is a free Amazon account.
All of the filmmakers who choose to participate in this virtual version of the festival will receive a screening fee for streaming their film over the 10-day period. SXSW has shared details on the opportunity with 2020 filmmakers, who can opt in as of April 2. The hope is that via this online route, the talent whose indie films might not ever get another chance like this will be able to play their movies for audiences. In fact, this will be an even bigger audience than it would have been before. So from this crushing disappointment, there might be some positive fallout.
SXSW alum Jay Duplass said in a statement, “These are unprecedented times, and it’s going to take unprecedented solutions to carry on and celebrate these great films and the people who worked so hard to make them.” This seems like the best solution overall, and here is hoping it inspires other big conventions and festivals to take a similar route this year.
Featured Image: SXSW/Amazon Prime