Amazon to stream SXSW movies as part of free virtual film festival

South by Southwest (SXSW) has inked a deal with Amazon Prime Video to stream movies that were slated to screen at the festival.

The event was supposed to kick off in Austin, Texas, on March 13 but the coronavirus outbreak forced its cancellation.

Prime Video will stream selections from the festival in front of its paywall for 10 days. In other words, anyone in the U.S. with an internet connection can watch the movies for free, though you will need to have an Amazon account.

A launch date is yet to be announced, though organizers are hoping to begin the online event toward the end of this month.

SXSW is currently contacting this year’s filmmakers to ask if they want to get involved. Those happy to have their movie added to the collection will receive a screening fee for streaming their work over the 10-day period.

A huge number of movies — from shorts to full-length features — had been lined up for this year’s SXSW festival, the vast majority of them world premieres. But just five days before the event was due to start, and for the first time in its history, organizers called it off. due to concerns over the coronavirus.

Commenting on the one-off arrangement, Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said: “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. [We] 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.”

Janet Pierson, director of film at SXSW, said that. after the event was called off, her team started to look at ways to help the filmmakers whose work had been scheduled to screen at the festival. “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,” Pierson said.

Here’s hoping those behind the productions support Amazon’s streaming event to give movie fans the chance to enjoy their work, while at the same time providing many people in lockdown with some welcome entertainment.

When the launch date for SXSW’s streaming event is set, we’ll be sure to update this story.

In the meantime, if you happen to be signed up to Prime and are looking for some movies to stream, Digital Trends has 50 recommendations that are on the service now. And here are some ideas for Netflix, too.

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