Amazon is teaming up with SXSW to give a platform and home to the films and filmmakers affected by the festivals cancelation last month. SXSW 2020 was canceled a week before the event due to concerns with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Now Amazon will host films that were to be shown at the festival over a 10 day period for free later this month. The "virtual festival" will be available to watch for Amazon Prime Video users and people with a basic Amazon account as well.
Amazon SXSW 2020
"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. "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."
The filmmaker's whose films are on the service will be payed a fee for screening the film. Others who have distribution already secured with other services do not have to opt in. No deal is made here between Amazon or the filmmaker's as well, so they are free to go ahead and seek a deal elsewhere. While the deal is just for this year, Amazon is not ruling out doing more deals with festivals like this in the future. No word if they can figure out how to host any of the scheduled panels either.
This really is a win-win. Imagine how many more people are going to see these films now. Amazon not locking the creatives into deals as well is a win for the filmmaker's. If one of the films takes off while streaming, Amazon can make them a deal, or they can create bidding wars and such. Hopefully they also make a donation to help the city of Austin recoup some of the lost revenues from the festival being canceled.