South by Southwest (SXSW) was supposed to take place March 13-22 in Austin, Texas, but even though it was canceled last month because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the popular event will still see the light of day.
Amazon is partnering with the conference’s organizers to launch a virtual film festival. Filmmakers scheduled to screen films at SXSW in 2020 will be able to participate, showing their films exclusively on Prime Video. The event will take place over 10 days in late April and will be free for viewers in the US — all they need is an Amazon account.
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Those who do participate in the virtual festival will be paid a screening fee and Amazon will not own the rights to the films.
Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said, “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. 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.”
According to Pierson, “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.”