Canceled SXSW will stream film fest on Amazon Prime for free

There’s a silver lining for the silver screen after the industry came to a halt at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.

South by Southwest film festival, which was previously scheduled to kick off March 13, will stream many of its movies on Amazon Prime instead of the IRL event.

Films that were slated to premiere at the fest included Judd Apatow and Pete Davidson’s “King of Staten Island,” as well as Kitao Sakurai’s hidden camera comedy “Bad Trip” with Eric Andre, Lil Rel Howery and Tiffany Haddish. They haven’t yet been confirmed for the virtual film festival though.

The annual gathering was among the first large events to announce cancellations in early March over COVID-19 fears. But in a move sure to give self-isolators something to stay home for, the organizers announced an online film festival.

The movies will stream on Amazon Prime for 10 days, starting at a yet-undetermined date in late April, and will be available to anyone — whether they have an Amazon Prime membership or not. All they need is a free Amazon account.

The organizers are still working on getting filmmakers on board for the virtual fest. They’re incentivizing participation with a screening fee, according to a statement from Amazon.

“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.

Salke added that the festival is a happy solution to the unfortunate cancellation.

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

In a statement, filmmaker Jay Duplass said he was thrilled at the opportunity. 

“These are unprecedented times,” he said, “and it’s going to take unprecedented solutions to carry on and celebrate these great films and the people who worked so hard to make them.”

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