As it turns out, South by Southwest 2020 will see the light of day… virtually, that is. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amazon Prime Video has teamed with the festival to bring the event to U.S. audiences for free. It will be made available in front of the Prime Video paywall.
"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," says Jennifer Salke, head, Amazon Studios. "It's been a privilege collaborating with [SXSW director, 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."
SXSW was scheduled to run March 13-22, but Steve Adler, mayor, Austin, Texas, cancelled the festival on March 6 due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic. The festival was anticipated to draw more than 200,000 people, and its cancellation was a blow to both the Austin community and the filmmakers involved in the festival
"Ever since SXSW was cancelled 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,” says Janet Pierson, head, films, South by South West. “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."
Details on whether or not SXSW will continue with its scheduled panels have not been revealed.