With the cancellation of SXSW 2020 earlier this month (obviously due to the COVID-19 pandemic), the Austin-based festival had to figure out how to honor the films that were originally selected but wouldn’t have the glitz and glam of an official world premiere event. And we’re not even talking about the special event premieres, such as “The Lovebirds” and “The King of Staten Island.” Those films will be fine. The real folks hurt by the cancellation were the indie filmmakers that were looking to make a splash at the annual event. Thankfully, at least for the short films, SXSW is making sure they’ll get their moments to shine.
According to Deadline, SXSW is teaming up with Oscilloscope (who is also doing its part to help cinema during the COVID-19 pandemic) and MailChimp for an opportunity to showcase the short films of this year’s canceled event on the MailChimp Presents streaming platform. Beginning today, MailChimp Presents will showcase over 70 short films, including 4 festival winners and 7 special recognition films, all for free.
Sarita Alami, Director of Programming for Mailchimp Studios, said, “The night that SXSW was canceled, filmmakers were wondering what to do next, and prominent members of the tight-knit film community offered support and a signal-boost — we wondered if we could do the same at scale. With this project, we’re trying to accomplish two things: to offer these artists a platform for exposure, and to provide access to some amazing work from artists I’m sure we’ll be hearing about for a long time to come. And, we’re excited that many people who weren’t planning on attending the festival, as well as those who were, will get to enjoy them too.”
“We have been heartened by the outpouring of sympathy and support for our filmmakers from so many corners since the cancellation of SXSW,” said Janet Pierson, Director of Film for SXSW added. “Our inboxes blew up with some variation of “I’m so sorry, what can we do to help?” In the face of this unprecedented crisis, it was exciting for SXSW to be able to pass on this lucrative opportunity for all the official short film selections for SXSW 2020.”
And while SXSW doesn’t have a streaming option for the feature films, as those are a bit more complicated, with rights issues and whatnot, the event did make sure to highlight the standout films by allowing the juries to recently hand out awards to the winning films, as they do in years past. Sure, it’s only a consolation for the fact that there are no real screenings, but it’s another way the event is attempting to make things right in this unusual time.
If you’re interested in checking out the shorts (and as film fans, we all should show our support for these projects), you can do so at the MailChimp Presents website.