April 21, 2020
The following is a press release from South by Southwest Conference and Festivals:
Amazon Prime Video and SXSW are joining forces to launch “Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection,” following the unprecedented cancellation of the SXSW Conference and Festivals by the City of Austin due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
“Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection” offers filmmakers in the 2020 SXSW Film Festival lineup an invitation to opt in to take part in this online film festival, which will play exclusively on Prime Video in the U.S. for 10-days. The one-time event will be available in front of the Prime Video paywall and free to all audiences around the country, with or without an Amazon Prime membership, all that is needed is a free Amazon account.
Filmmakers who choose to participate will receive a screening fee for streaming their film over the 10-day period. The launch date is yet to be announced, but SXSW and Prime Video are targeting a late April date. SXSW has shared details on the opportunity with 2020 filmmakers, who can opt in starting today.
Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, said, “We’re honored to be able to provide a space for the SXSW filmmakers to share their hard work and passion with audiences for the first time. It’s been a privilege collaborating with Janet Pierson and the SXSW team to bring these diverse and inspiring films to viewers around the country. 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.”
“Ever since SXSW was canceled by the City of Austin, we’ve been focused on how we could help the incredible films and filmmakers in the SXSW 2020 Film Festival lineup,” said Janet Pierson, Director of Film at SXSW. “We were delighted when Amazon Prime Video offered to host an online film festival, and jumped at the opportunity to connect their audiences to our filmmakers. We’re inspired by the adaptability and resilience of the film community as it searches for creative solutions in this unprecedented crisis.”
“I’m thrilled that these two great champions of indie film (SXSW and Amazon Prime Video) are teaming up to resurrect this year’s canceled film festival,” said Jay Duplass, independent filmmaker and SXSW alum. “These are unprecedented times, 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.”
April 27, 2020 UPDATE:
Announcing the April 27 launch of the Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection from Amazon Prime Video and SXSW with 39 films, composed of narrative and documentary features, short films, and episodic titles.
Filmmakers in the official 2020 SXSW Film Festival lineup were invited to opt in to take part in this online film festival, which will play exclusively on Prime Video in the U.S. from April 27 to May 6. The one-time event will be available in front of the Prime Video paywall, free to all U.S. audiences with or without an Amazon Prime membership — all that is needed is a free Amazon account.
“SXSW has always championed creators forging their own paths to success, often with just the right mix of passion, vision, and radical experimentation to make their dreams happen,” said Janet Pierson, Director of Film at SXSW. “There is no one-size-fits-all, especially in these uncertain times, and we knew this opportunity would be of interest to those filmmakers who wanted to be in front of a large audience now. We believe people will be captivated by this selection of intriguing work that would have been shown at our 2020 event.”
“We understand every film has its own strategy and we know this opportunity may not make sense for every filmmaker. However, for those who want to share their stories right now and with as many people as possible, we’re excited to provide them this platform,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “Until we are able to be together in person again, we hope this program allows these wonderful stories to virtually reach film lovers everywhere in the country.”
In addition to online panels and Q&As produced by SXSW, FREE THE WORK is collaborating with Prime Video to promote and raise awareness for this program, organizing hosted panels featuring films and filmmakers from the lineup. Founded by filmmaker Alma Har’el, FREE THE WORK is a nonprofit initiative dedicated to identifying systemic inequalities in film, television, advertising, and media, and finding actionable solutions to expand access for underrepresented creators.
Explore the list below of 2020 SXSW Film Festival titles streaming on Prime Video from April 27 to May 6 at amazon.com/sxsw.
Cat in the Wall (Bulgaria, United Kingdom, France)
Directors/Screenwriters/Producers: Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova
This terriﬁc comedy-drama is set on a southeast London council estate, which is riven by social and economic divisions and threatened by the all-consuming force of gentriﬁcation. Irina, a Bulgarian woman lives there with her small son and her brother. The lift serves as a toilet, the multi-cultural residents exchange shouts rather than pleasantries, and an expensive refurbishment is undesired but must be paid for. And in the midst of this: an apparently ownerless cat which has had enough of the heated atmosphere barricades itself ‘in the wall’, requiring the residents to collaborate. Cat in the Wall is an arresting critique of society, a whirlpool of emotions from despair to joie de vivre conveyed by strongly delineated characters. This heart-warming tale, shot in a documentary style, is this year’s equivalent of director Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake. Cast: Irina Atanosova, Angel Genov, Gilda Waugh
Gunpowder Heart (Guatemala, Spain)
Director/Screenwriter: Camila Urrutia; Producer: Inés Nofuentes
Claudia and Maria have fallen in love. They live in the city of Guatemala, a city full of stories related to abuse, unforgiving police officers, and charming secret corners. Everything changes one night when they are attacked by three men. They manage to escape but they now have to choose if they want revenge. Cast: Andrea Henry, Vanessa Hernández
Le Choc du Futur (France)
Director/Screenwriter: Marc Collin; Co-Writer: Elina Gakou-Gomba; Producers: Marc Collin, Nicolas Jourdier, Gaelle Ruffier
In the Paris of 1978, old formulas do not charm listeners anymore and new music must arise. In a male-dominated industry, Ana uses her electronic gadgets to make herself heard, creating a new sound that will mark the decades to come: the music of the future. Cast: Alma Jodorowsky, Philippe Rebbot, Clara Luciani
Directors: Tristan Aurouet, Thomas Bidegain, Marc Fitoussi, Cyril Gelblat, Vianney Lebasque; Screenwriters: Giulio Callegari, Noé Debré, Hélène Lombard, Julien Sibony, Bertrand Soulier; Producers: Mandoline Films, Chez Georges Productions
Algorithms, Technophobics, Dating App addicts, Vloggers, cloud security breach… each one of us can relate to the wired madness happening on screen. In five subversive and hilarious Black Mirror-like tales, Selfie takes on our digital shortcomings and shows how the new 2.0 era is driving all of us nuts! Cast: Blanche Gardin, Manu Payet, Elsa Zylberstein
I’m Gonna Make You Love Me (United States)
Director/Producer: Karen Bernstein; Co-Producer: Nevie Owens
Fellini meets Motown in I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, the tragi-comedic tale of one man’s search for self-acceptance, a journey that included tabloid celebrity, Tupperware parties, and two coming-outs — first as a straight woman, then as the gay man he was born to be. Cast: Brian Belovitch aka “Tish,” Gloria Walker, Michael Musto
My Darling Vivian (United States)
Director: Matt Riddlehoover; Producers: Dustin Tittle, Matt Riddlehoover
The story of Vivian Liberto, Johnny Cash’s first wife and the mother of his four daughters. Includes never-before-seen footage and photographs of Johnny Cash and Rosanne Cash, as well as footage featuring Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix, Tim Robbins, Whoopi Goldberg, John C. Reilly, and many more.
TFW NO GF (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Alex Lee Moyer; Producers: Adam Bhala Lough, Cody Wilson, Ariel Pink, Alex Lee Moyer, Michael Reich, John Eisenman, Matt Ornstein, Claire Bargout, Deagan White, Barrett Avner
A generation of disaffected young men searches for meaning in the dark corners of the internet. TFW NO GF examines the subculture through the metaphor of an iconic meme.
A Period Piece (France, United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Shuchi Talati; Producer: Esra Saydam; Co-Producer: Claire Chassagne
Geetha, a control and order loving Indian-American woman, finally has sex with Vehd one afternoon but things quickly turn messy, causing a fight to erupt mid-coitus. Cast: Sonal Aggarwal, Nardeep Khurmi
Basic (United States)
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Chelsea Devantez; Co-Producer: Kevin Walsh
Basic is a very, very, very short film about a dumb lil’ ho doing lil’ ho things. Starring Nelson Franklin (Veep, Abby’s, Blackish), Georgia Mischak (Arrested Development, Love), and Chelsea Devantez (Bless This Mess, Abby’s), who also wrote and directed. It’s a darkish comedy exploring the insecure lil’ ho in all of us.
Blocks (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Bridget Moloney; Producers: Kate Chamuris, Kristin Slaysman, Valerie Steinberg
An existential comedy about the mother of two young children who begins to spontaneously vomit toy blocks. Cast: Claire Coffee, Mark Webber, Ruha Taslimi
Broken Bird (United States)
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Rachel Harrison Gordon
Birdie, a biracial girl raised by her Jewish mom in a New Jersey suburb, spends a rare day with her father while preparing for her Bat Mitzvah. She overcomes her doubts, and decides to risk inviting him back into her life. Birdie confronts what independence means as she steps into adulthood on her own terms. Cast: Indigo Hubbard-Salk, Chad L. Coleman
Daddio (United States)
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Casey Wilson; Co-Writer: Laura Kindred; Co-Producers: Ursula Camack, Laura Kindred, Adam Silver
Daddio is a comedy about death. A year after the sudden passing of their beloved wife and mother, a dad and daughter grapple with life after loss. Grief looks very different on both of them. Paul, played by Michael McKean (Better Call Saul, Spinal Tap), is manic. He gets a perm and begs neighbors to hot tub with him. Abby, played by Casey Wilson (SNL, Happy Endings, Black Monday) is depressed. She sleeps in her closet and uses a shopping cart for a laundry basket. At its heart, Daddio is a love story between a father and daughter after the unimaginable has happened. Based on real death events. Cast: Michael McKean, Casey Wilson, June Diane Raphael, Adam Pally
Dirty (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Matthew Puccini; Producers: Cecilia Delgado, Jeremy Truong, Matthew Puccini
Marco cuts class to spend the afternoon with his boyfriend. Things do not go as planned. Cast: Morgan Sullivan, Manny Dunn
Face to Face Time (United States)
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Izzy Shill
Claire takes the bold step of initiating a FaceTime call, only to discover Danny’s flaccid enthusiasm for her. Cast: Izzy Shill, Sean Patrick McGowan
Father of the Bride (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Rhys Marc Jones; Producer: Alex Polunin
The best man attempts to keep face and deliver his speech at his brother’s wedding, following an advance in the hotel bathroom by the father of the bride. Cast: Jay Lycurgo, Dominic Mafham, Marcus Rutherford, Isabelle Connolly
Figurant (France, Czech Republic)
Director/Screenwriter: Jan Vejnar; Producers: Origine Films / Silk Films
A man follows a group of workers coming for daywork in an industrial area. Soon, he’s stripped from his clothes and identity, dressed in a military uniform and armed. His determination not to fall behind the others is then tested by a series of unsettling events. Cast: Denis Lavant
Reminiscences of the Green Revolution (Philippines, United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Dean Colin Marcial; Producer: Armi Rae Cacanindin
A ghost story about love and eco-terrorism in the Philippines. Cast: Annicka Dolonius, Sid Lucero, Abner Delina Jr.
Runon (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Daniel Newell Kaufman; Producer: Lizzie Shaprio
All Luke and his mom have are two garbage bags full of clothes, and two tickets out of town on the midnight Greyhound. Like he’s assembling a puzzle, Luke has to figure out the why of it — all before the person they’re running from puts together the pieces. Cast: Erin Markey, Luke Visiage, Mike Alonzo
Single (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Ashley Eakin; Producer: Connie Jo Sechrist
A girl born with one arm goes on a blind date with a guy who has one hand…and she is pissed! Cast: Delaney Feener, Jordan Wiseley
Soft (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Daniel Antebi; Producers: Casey Bader, Reid Hannaford, Nicole Quintero Ochoa
Sam — 16, queer, and falling in love — struggles to untangle himself from his abusive martial arts coach. Cast: Josh Lerner, Benicio Franqui, Alex Kramer
Still Wylde (Canada, United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Ingrid Haas; Producers: Devin Lawrence, Katie White
Gertie and her sometimes boyfriend, Sam, are faced with a major life decision only to realize that even when they know what they want, life has other plans. Cast: Ingrid Haas, Barry Rothbart, Sabrina Jalees
Summer Hit (Germany)
Director/Screenwriter: Berthold Wahjudi; Producers: Melissa Byrne, Philipp Link
Laia from Spain and Emil from Iceland are Erasmus students in Munich. After having sex for a couple of times, Emil professes his love to Laia — but she panics and runs away. Now the two have to figure out whether they are more than just a summer fling. Cast: Martina Roura, Atli Benedikt, Katrin Filzen
The Voice in Your Head (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Graham Parkes; Producer: Brendan Garrett
A surreal comedy about an office worker who has resigned himself to spending every waking hour tortured by the negative voice in head, until a concerned co-worker decides to take action. Cast: Lewis Pullman, Mat Wright, Trian Longsmith
Vert (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Kate Cox; Producers: Nick Rowell, Sophie Reynolds, Gabriele Lo Giudice
Emelia (BAFTA Nominee Nikki Amuka-Bird) and Jeff (Nick Frost) are an open-minded couple celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary by venturing into the Virtual world of “Vert” together. Vert presents them with a character that is their ‘ideal self’ and what is supposed to be re-awakening for them as a couple becomes the unearthing of Jeff’s secret. Cast: Nikki Amuka-Bird, Nick Frost, Olivia Vinall
Waffle (United States)
Director: Carlyn Hudson; Screenwriters/Producers: Katie Marovitch, Kerry Barker; Co-Producers: Pamela Robison, Bridgett Greenberg
Kerry is at a sleepover with the socially awkward, mysteriously orphaned heiress Katie. Friendship — in a society that grows ever isolating — is explored as Kerry learns the hard way that Katie always gets what she wants. Cast: Katie Marovitch, Kerry Barker, Raphael Chestang
Affurmative Action (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Travis Wood
An exploration of workplace diversity through “meet the team” pages.
Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Christine Turner; Producer: Erin Wright
At 93, there’s no stopping when it comes to the legendary artist Betye Saar.
Broken Orchestra (United States, Canada)
Director: Charlie Tyrell; Screenwriter: Josef Beeby; Producer: Julie Baldassi
A documentary short about the Symphony for a Broken Orchestra, which collected hundreds of broken instruments from the Philadelphia public school system, fixed them and then returned them into the hands of students.
Call Center Blues (United States)
Director: Geeta Gandbhir; Producer: Jessica Devaney
Call Center Blues is a lyrical portrait of an unlikely community of US deportees and their loved ones struggling to rebuild their lives in Tijuana, Mexico.
Dieorama (United States)
Director: Kevin Staake; Producer: Ryen Bartlett
Abigail Goldman spends her work days as an investigator for a public defender’s office in Washington state, helping people who are seriously in trouble—which can mean hours of staring at grisly pictures of crime scenes, visiting morgues, even observing autopsies. By night, she dreams up gruesome events, which she then turns into tiny, precise dioramas. Rife with scenes of imminent death and brutal dismemberment, the fruits of Goldman’s painstaking labor would be adorable … if they weren’t so disturbing. In this new documentary short, we follow along as Goldman brings her miniature worlds of murder and mayhem to life with tweezers, paint, and resin, and meet the people who just can’t get enough of her twisted visions—where the final touch is always, in the artist’s words, “two or three brushstrokes of red paint.”
Hiplet: Because We Can (United States)
Director/Producer: Addison Wright
Created with the intention to inspire young Black women, this film brings the Hiplet™ [hip-lay] ballerinas to center stage. With elements of a Short Film, Music Video, and Documentary, this artistic work showcases not only the talent of the Hiplet ballerinas, it also gives them a platform to discuss the challenges they have faced with giving traditional ballet a hip new twist. Cast: Homer Hans Bryant, Jayda Perry, Nia Parker
Lions in the Corner (United States)
Director: Paul Hairston; Producer: Jake Ewald
In Virginia, Scarface started Streetbeefs in his backyard to combat gun and knife violence in the area. Soon it turned into something much more for the men involved. Cast: Chris Wilmore
Mizuko (Water Child) (United States)
Directors: Katelyn Rebelo, Kira Dane; Screenwriter: Kira Dane; Producer: Amy Hobby for Tribeca Film Institute
In Japan, there is a special way to grieve after having an abortion. This Buddhist ritual, called the water children memorial, allows people to metaphorically return their lost children to the sea. Told through the Japanese American filmmaker’s personal story of abortion in the US, Mizuko (Water Child) is a partially animated, intimate reckoning with the impact of this cultural context.
Modern Whore (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Nicole Bazuin; Producer: Lisa Baylin
Former escort Andrea Werhun shares the ins and outs of escort review board culture, exposing the complexities of sexual power and social stigma in a post-#MeToo world. Cast: Andrea Werhun, Chester Brown, Michael Cuddy
No Crying at the Dinner Table (Canada)
Director: Carol Nguyen; Producers: Carol Nguyen, Aziz Zoromba
Filmmaker Carol Nguyen interviews her own family to craft an emotionally complex and meticulously composed portrait of intergenerational trauma, grief, and secrets in this cathartic documentary about things left unsaid.
Quilt Fever (United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Olivia Loomis Merrion
Every year, thousands of quilters descend upon Paducah, Kentucky for its annual quilt competition, doubling the town’s population. “The Academy Awards of quilting” is a weeklong spectacle in which quilters from all over the world vie for the coveted Best of Show award. Beyond the competition, the film weaves through stories of individual quilters to reveal deeper motivations behind the art.
Cursed Films (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Jay Cheel; Producers: Andrew Nicholas McCann Smith, Laura Perlmutter, Brian Robertson, Jay Cheel
Cursed Films is a five-part documentary series from Shudder exploring the myths and legends behind some of Hollywood’s notoriously “cursed” horror film productions. From plane accidents and bombings during the making of The Omen, to the rumored use of human skeletons on the set of Poltergeist, these stories are legendary amongst film fans and filmmakers alike. But where does the truth lie?
Motherland: Fort Salem (United States)
Showrunner/Screenwriter: Eliot Laurence
Set in an alternate America where witches ended their persecution by cutting a deal with the government to fight for the country, Motherland: Fort Salem follows three young women from training to deployment, as they fight terrorist threats with supernatural tactics.
Tales from the Loop (United States, Canada)
Director: Mark Romanek
Creator/Writer: Nathaniel Halpern; Director: Mark Romanek; Executive Producers: Nathaniel Halpern, Matt Reeves, Mark Romanek, Adam Kassan, Rafi Crohn, Mattias Montero, Samanthan Taylor Pickett, Adam Berg and Simon Stålenhag
Based on the acclaimed art of Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, Tales from the Loop explores the town and people who live above “The Loop,” a machine built to unlock and explore the mysteries of the universe. In this fantastical, mysterious town poignant human tales are told that bare universal emotional experiences while drawing on the intrigue of genre storytelling. Cast: Rebecca Hall, Paul Schneider, Daniel Zolghadri, Duncan Joiner, Jonathan Pryce