Flicker of Hope
Amazon Prime to stream SXSW 2020 films for free for first time ever
And now, for some good news. Among the many victims of SXSW's last-minute cancellation in Austin was the loss of its 10-day film festival, a cinema celebration ranging from Hollywood blockbusters to sleeper indies to Academy Award-winning documentaries. (Seriously, if you still haven't seen For Sama, put it on your confinement must-watch list.)
SXSW Film is part of a small but important network of festivals that help artists find distributors and get onto screens. Its loss means the end of a years-long dream for some filmmakers and deprives audiences of their work.
But now, thanks to a new partnership between SXSW and Amazon Prime, these films will be screened for audiences across the country for the first time ever.
On April 2, the Austin-based festival and the tech giant announced the creation of a one-time online film festival where filmmakers slated to debut their work at SXSW 2020 can do so on Amazon's streaming platform. Running the length of SXSW itself, the fest will stream for 10 days in the U.S. and is available for free, with or without an Amazon Prime membership.
“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," said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, in a release.
Though the dates are to be determined, the release says it could begin by late April. The exact lineup is also still unknown, but filmmakers slated to appear at SXSW have been given details on how to take part, and they will receive a screening fee for the 10 days of the festival.
“I’m thrilled that these two great champions of indie film ... are teaming up to resurrect this year’s canceled film festival,” said Jay Duplass, independent filmmaker and SXSW alum, in a release. “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.”
On March 24, SXSW Film announced the 2020 Jury and Special Award winners of what would have been the 27th festival.