SXSW might be canceled, but the SXSW Film Festival lives on. Kind of.
According to The Wrap, the 2020 SXSW Film Festival will still happen, but instead of publicly-held screenings and all the fanfare of the red carpet world premieres, the film festival is setting up an online streaming portal that will allow the films to screen. Obviously, these films are not going to be released to the public, but giving them an online portal will help independent filmmakers reach the press, buyers, industry professionals, and other audiences.
We know it’s no substitute for the live SXSW event with its unique and fantastic audience, but at least it’s some way to get attention for these wonderful films,” SXSW’s Director of Film Janet Pierson said. “We have been heartened by the efforts of so many in the film industry and wider film community to come together with offers to help SXSW projects by offering screening rooms, fee waivers, and so many ways. We are continuing to explore other ways to support the paths of the SXSW 2020 Official Selection films and filmmakers in this new environment.”
In addition, because of this new portal, the awards that were scheduled to be handed out at SXSW will still be awarded, as long as the filmmakers opt-in and the juries will still be available. Another silver lining is the fact that SXSW-selected films will still be able to qualify for Film Independent Spirit Awards and the Academy Awards Short Film Awards.
Obviously, this is great news for the majority of the films that were selected to screen at the festival, as many of them were hoping to use the platform to find distribution, build positive buzz, and give their projects the exposure that a popular film festival brings. Now, this might not be the same thing as a true film festival and the attention that those bring, with their added red carpets, press, and overall fanfare, but it’s clear that the folks at SXSW are trying to do the best possible compromise.
The awards will be handed out in select categories on March 24.