In a move that we’re going to assume is all about magnanimously supporting the art of film and not about eradicating the basic concept of a film festival, Amazon has announced that it’s teaming up with SXSW to put together what it’s calling a “film festival collection,” which sounds like an online catalog of things that would’ve screened at SXSW if the event hadn’t been canceled because of the coronavirus. This comes from The Hollywood Reporter, which says filmmakers were going to be a part of SXSW were notified earlier today that they could “opt in” to making their films part of this collection, with the films being hosted on Amazon’s Prime platform for a “10-day virtual fest” that will most likely be held at some point in “late April.” Filmmakers who take part will get a screening fee, and the films themselves will be held in front of the paywall—meaning they’ll be free to U.S. viewers.
Amazon will not be automatically acquiring any of the films selected, so filmmakers won’t necessarily be signing anything away by taking part, and they will still have the option to sign distribution deals with other companies that are not Amazon—though THR notes that films that already have deals with other companies probably won’t be agreeing to take part in this virtual festival. The THR story also says that this is a “one-off event,” but an “insider” says that Amazon might use this as an opportunity to do similar events in the future… which does kind of sound like an attempt to eradicate the basic concept of a film festival.
The Hollywood Reporter doesn’t mention any specific films that might be a part of this thing just yet, but Amazon is probably going to sit on that information for an announcement of its own later this month. Oh, also, they stole this idea from us. Just saying.