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SXSW partners with Amazon to put its film festival online

It was just announced that Amazon Prime will debut Prime Video Presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection later in April. It will be a 10-day initiative that will stream SXSW 2020 films. It’s set to replace the abandoned SXSW festival that had to be canceled due to COVID-19

This is incredible news for filmmakers who wanted the world to see the movies, TV shows, and shorts they worked so hard to produce, and had anticipated screening them at SXSW.

It is possible that filmmakers who have already signed VOD deals or theatrical orders will not showcase here, but those who choose to will also be paid an undisclosed screening fee.

The launch date has not been announced, but SXSW and Prime Video are targeting a late April date. SXSW has shared details on the opportunity with 2020 filmmakers, who can opt-in starting today.

Amazon offers the widest opportunity to get viewers on their projects. 

Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke told Deadline that she saw this “not as a business opportunity, but an effort to be supportive of filmmakers and talent in this trying time…We saw this festival being canceled and I’ve been there many times and we had a huge financial and emotional investment, and we wanted to find a way for the community to be able to come together and celebrate that work. This was about wanting to create a doorway for filmmakers to platform their work.”

SXSW festival head Janet Pierson said, “Ever since SXSW was canceled 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. We’re inspired by the adaptability and resilience of the film community as it searches for creative solutions in this unprecedented crisis.”

So what are the next steps? 

Indie filmmaker and actor Jay Duplass is helping both sides reach formal agreements and filmmakers transition their work to Amazon. 

He also spoke with Deadline, saying “I’m thrilled that these two great champions of indie film (SXSW and Amazon Prime Video) are teaming up to resurrect this year’s canceled film festival. 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 is a great step to help filmmakers. Hopefully more outlets like this will become available for filmmakers from other festivals that were also cancelled. Stage 32 has also made great strides to help SXSW and other festivals stream their projects. We will update more once it becomes available.

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