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Films that were set for SXSW will appear exclusively on Amazon Prime Video

Jennifer Salke at Amazon's Culver Studios.
(Chris Frawley / Amazon Studios)

Films that were slated for this year’s canceled South by Southwest festival will appear exclusively on Amazon Prime Video for 10 days this spring.

Filmmakers who choose to participate will receive a screening fee and could opt in starting Thursday.

The films will be available for free to consumers, but they will need to sign up for a free Amazon account. Both Amazon and SXSW are targeting a launch date for the streaming event for later this month.

“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.

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SXSW was slated to happen March 13-22, but the city of Austin canceled it due to concerns about the novel coronavirus. It was the first time in 34 years that SXSW, which can bring more than 250,000 people to the Austin area, was scrapped. Other live events and concerts have also been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19.

The shutdown of movie theaters has also prompted several major studios including Walt Disney and Universal Pictures to make current releases available for home viewing as consumers are shuttered in their homes. Streamers such as Amazon and Netflix also are looking to capitalize on the stay-at-home environment.

Janet Pierson, SXSW’s director of film, said her team has scrambled to figure out a way to help the filmmakers since the festival was canceled.

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“We’re inspired by the adaptability and resilience of the film community as it searches for creative solutions in this unprecedented crisis,” Pierson said in a statement.


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