SXSW to hold canceled film festival on Amazon streaming

South by Southwest films will have a chance to screen on Amazon Prime Video. (Courtesy photo, SXSW)

AUSTIN/SEATTLE (UPI) — South By Southwest and Amazon announced Thursday that they would provide a chance for filmmakers scheduled for the 2020 festival to stream their films on Amazon Prime. Officials in Austin, Texas, canceled the SXSW Film, Music and Interactive Festival scheduled for March 13-22 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection will be a one-time streaming version of the festival, according to an SXSW press release. It will be accessible for free to anyone with an Amazon account. Subscription to the Prime premium service is not required.

The SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection will be live for 10 days to be determined, but it is expected to be in late April.

Filmmakers whose films were scheduled to screen in Austin will have the chance to opt into the streaming festival. The will receive a screening fee for participating in the event. Amazon and SXSW opened the opportunity to filmmakers Thursday.

Janet Pierson, SXSW director of film, said the festival has been looking for an opportunity to support the filmmakers who lost out on their premieres since the cancellation order.

“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,” Pierson said in the press release. “We’re inspired by the adaptability and resilience of the film community as it searches for creative solutions in this unprecedented crisis.”

Amazon Studios Head Jennifer Salke hopes Amazon’s platform can provide filmmakers a valuable forum.

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“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,” Salke said.

Reporting by Fred Topel

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