SXSW REDUX: Film Fest Moves Online For Free Streaming

In a bit of good news for for quarantined, film-famished fans of independent cinema, Amazon Prime and South By Southwest have announced an online resurrection of their recently COVID19-aborted 2020 film festival. This was the first-ever cancellation for the Austin Texas-based film/music/interactive forum that has been a prime showcase (and career launchpad) for independent artists/filmmakers since its inception back in 1987.

Janet Pierson, Director of Film, SXSW:

“SXSW has always championed creators forging their own paths to success, often with just the right mix of passion, vision and radical experimentation to make their dreams happen. There is no one-size fits-all, especially in these uncertain times, and we knew this opportunity would be of interest to those filmmakers who wanted to be in front of a large audience now. We believe people will be captivated by this selection of intriguing work that would’ve been shown at our 2020 event.”

This years presentation will include a staggeringly diverse selection of 39 films from around the world, including:

Gunpowder Heart - A love/retribution story set on the hardscrabble streets of Guatemala from writer/director Camila Urrutia.

Selfie - Technology-based Black Mirror-esque anthology movie detailing the madness/absurdity of today’s algorithmic, app-saturated world and its effect on the human condition.

Blocks - A comedy short about (obviously) a mother of two kids who begins spontaneously puking up toy blocks (as one does).

Modern Whore - A documentary short from Canadian filmmaker Nicole Bazuin, chronicling the world of the increasingly organized and regulated sex-work trade.

SXSW is also featuring episodic and streaming offerings, like the (streaming on Shudder) docu-series Cursed Films (which has recently traumatized several viewers by its controversial inclusion of the infamous Twilight Zone-movie helicopter-accident footage that captured the gruesome decapitation deaths of Vic Morrow and two child actors in 1982).

Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios:

We understand every film has its own strategy and we know this opportunity may not make sense for every filmmaker. However, for those who want to share  their stories right now and with as many people as possible, we are excited to provide them this platform. Until we are able to be together in person again, we hope this program allows these wonderful stories to virtually reach film lovers everywhere in the country.”

South By South West will also be having online panels and Q&As; all of which be getting a signal-boost from the FREE THE WORK non-profit organization that promotes diversity/equality across media platforms.

Prime Video Presents The SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection will be launching on April 27 to May 6, in front of the Prime Video paywall, but it’s totally free. No Amazon Prime membership required, just a free Amazon account, so jump onboard and do your part to Keep Austin Weird (and indy-films alive).

Check back here with The Movie Sleuth for articles and reviews as South By South West happens in your living room (pants optional)!!!