sxsw crowd 2013
[Photo by: Anna Hanks/Wikimedia Commons]

After cancelling their 2020 event due to concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, SXSW is revealing a new partnership with Amazon Prime.

The event’s films will now be streaming on the site as a replacement to the physical screenings that typically happen.

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The festival cancelled their 2020 edition as one of the earlier events to do so during the mass of cancellations. Fans initially launched a Change.org petition to cancel the event before it was made official on March 6.

Ozzy Osbourne and Trent Reznor both cancelled panel appearances, and sponsors such as Apple, Netflix, WarnerMedia, TikTok and more pulled out. You can read their full statement on cancelling here.

Then, they revealed they would be moving the films that were screening at the event online and would still be allocating awards.

According to Variety, SXSW Director of Film Janet Pierson made the announcement on the same day the event would be starting.

“This was going to [be] a transformative event, and with the cancelation, the filmmakers were left stranded and scrambling,” she said. “We had several Special Awards juries already in place via links. Since we are not able to present the event, we decided to continue and expand to all the juried competitions, if the majority of the filmmakers opted in and juries were available. We know it’s no substitute for the live SXSW event with its unique and fantastic audience, but at least it’s some way to get attention for these wonderful films.”

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Now, the festival is partnering with Amazon Prime to launch what they’re calling a film festival collection.

Filmmakers who were set to screen their films at the event are being given the chance to opt-in for the event according to The Verge.

Luckily, The event is free to any U.S. audiences on Amazon Prime. SXSW’s virtual event will be free even to people without a subscription and only requires an Amazon account.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amazon won’t own the films and filmmakers will be able to pursue other distribution options.

“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.

What do you think of SXSW moving their film festival to Amazon Prime for a virtual event? Let us know in the comments below.

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