Amazon Prime Video is partnering with South by Southwest to launch what it’s calling a film festival collection, which will include works from filmmakers who had been scheduled to screen at the 2020 event in Austin. Originally scheduled for mid-March, the 34-year-old tech, music, and film fest was canceled by Austin Mayor Steve Adler on March 6th due to public health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Filmmakers were notified today and given the chance to opt in to the virtual festival, slated for a 10-day run sometime later this month, according to a release from the SXSW film press office sent to The Verge. The festival will be free to US audiences on Amazon Prime video. An Amazon Prime membership is not necessary to view the films, but a (free) Amazon account is. Any filmmakers who participate will be paid a screening fee, according to the release. Amazon won’t own the films and filmmakers will be able to pursue other distribution options, according to THR.
“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,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said in a statement.