SXSW 2020 was one of the biggest events canceled this year, given the situation the world is facing right now. Now, Amazon has stepped up and partnered with the organizers to host a virtual version of the festival, which will play host to a collection of titles that were scheduled to play at SXSW in Austin, Texas this year. Specific selections have not been announced at this time, but the online version of the festival is expected to launch in late April.

Officially titled Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection, the event offers filmmakers in the 2020 SXSW Film Festival lineup an invitation to participate in this online film festival. The selections will play exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S. for 10-days. The one-time event will be free to anyone with an Amazon account. The content will not be exclusive to those with an Amazon Prime membership. Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, had this to say in a statement.

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"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 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."

Filmmakers who opt-in will receive a screening fee for streaming their movies during the 10-day period. This is particularly important, as many of the filmmakers were hoping to land distribution deals, or get some much-needed attention for their respective projects. SXSW has shared details with the 2020 filmmakers, who can opt into the virtual festival now. Janet Pierson, Director of Film at SXSW, had this to say in a statement.

"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 is one of the biggest festivals in the world. Covering movies, music, tech and gaming, it takes over downtown Austin with nearly 100,000 participants. This year was the first time in the event's history that it was canceled. SXSW was originally scheduled to take place March 13 to 22.

It is stressed that this is expected to be a one-time thing, but Amazon is open to possibly teaming with other canceled festivals for similar online offerings. We'll be sure to keep you posted as more details, such as the lineup and start date, are made available. This news comes to us via the official SXSW.com website.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott