During this scary time, festivals are being postponed and some, canceled altogether. Some institutions need to make adjustments. Luckily, SXSW got the memo and they’ll be hosting a virtual/online festival instead of an in-person one.

Amazon Prime Video is teaming up with SXSW to make this film festival possible. Filmmakers were notified on Thursday and can choose to participate in the online event. It’s expected that some will choose to not opt-in, but for those who choose to opt-in, their movies will play exclusively on Prime for a ten-day virtual fest. This will be exclusive in the U.S. and most likely occur in late April. It will also be free to U.S. Audiences.

Previously, SXSW was meant to run from March 13th to March 22nd, but had been canceled on March 6th by Austin Mayor Steve Adler. This is due to the fact that the festival normally draws in crowds up to 200k+ people. Not the kind of gathering you want happening during a pandemic. I’ve been championing for festivals to go in the route of virtual conferences and hopefully, SXSW will show that others can do it too. We can social distance and enjoy great new movies!

Amazon Studios’ head, Jennifer Salke, expressed:

“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.”

Pierson added:

“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.”

SXSW alum and indie director Jay Duplass also expressed:

“I’m thrilled that these two great champions of indie film 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.”

What do you think about SXSW moving into a virtual space?

Source: THR

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