SXSW film festival will be streaming free for all, thanks to Amazon Video

Amazonsxsw2020 Blog
Amazonsxsw2020 Blog (Image credit: SXSW)

What you need to know

  • Amazon and SXSW will be hosting the 10-day SXSW Film Festival online.
  • The event is scheduled to take place sometime near the end of April, with a solid date to be announced at a later time.
  • This event will be free for anyone in the U.S. with an Amazon account and does not require a paid Amazon Prime membership.

When the March SXSW Film Festival was canceled earlier this month, event-goers and filmmakers were, understandably, crushed. The annual event gives fledgling filmmakers an important platform to present their films for the opportunity to get a wider distribution, including awards and accolades. Big names like Jon Favreau, Joss Whedon, Sarah Green, and Amy Schumer tend to show up, so it's a big deal to get your film out there for these folks to see. Imagine filmmakers surprise, then, when Amazon announced that it would be hosting the 2020 SXSW Film Festival online for free all to see?

Originally slated to take place between March 13-22, 2020, Amazon is aiming for a late-April date to begin airing as many of the films in the lineup as possible. This isn't an automated process though, as filmmakers who were already scheduled in the lineup will need to opt in to take part in this new online film festival. Just as it would be if it were hosted in a physical space, Amazon is going to be airing the entire festival for a 10-day period on its Prime Video platform. The big difference here is that you won't need to be an Amazon Prime subscriber to be able to watch it, as it will be available free to all audiences around the country. You'll just need a standard Amazon account to log in and watch.

This is a huge opportunity for filmmakers at the festival, who usually only have their films viewed by people who are physically there. That opens up the audience and the potential for success for each of these filmmakers and provides a great opportunity for viewers to experience some incredibly interesting content that might otherwise not see a commercial release. After all, it's not often that any film festival releases the films shown for public consumption, and here Amazon and SXSW will be airing all of them for everyone to see.

SXSW isn't the only festival or gathering that's been canceled, by any means, but it's one that's seeing a restructuring into an all-digital medium for this year. Whether or not offering digital tickets will become the norm is anyone's guess, but it likely depends on how popular these offerings are and whether or not this proves to be a lucrative opportunity for all involved. Either way, it's great to see people coming together, even when they can't physically get together.

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Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu