The virtual festival will be broadcast from April 27 to May 6, outside the Amazon Prime payment wall, which means that anyone with an Amazon account can access the content.
“SXSW has always stood for creators who have charted their own path to success, often with just the right mix of passion, vision and radical experimentation to make their dreams come true,” said Janet Pierson, SXSW film director. “There is no single solution, especially in these uncertain times, and we knew this opportunity would appeal to filmmakers who wanted to be in front of a large audience now. “
The SXSW was canceled by local authorities just a week before its launch in Austin, Texas in March. Amazon intervened shortly after with a virtual hub, which generated noise in the independent film community. Giving any Amazon user access to independently funded and unsold content for more than a week was seen by many as a deterrent to buyers, who need exclusivity to motivate customers to watch new movies.
Participants in the virtual festival have received fees for screening their titles, but many are still looking for distribution.
Amazon Studios director Jennifer Salke said her group understands that “each film has its own strategy and we know this opportunity may not make sense for every filmmaker. However, for those who wish to share their stories now and with as many people as possible, we are delighted to provide them with this platform. “
Notable films participating in the virtual festival include “My Darling Vivian” by director Matt Riddlehoover, about Johnny Cash’s first wife and the mother of his four daughters. The film includes unreleased footage and appearances by Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix, Tim Robbins, Whoopi Goldberg, John C. Reilly and more.
In addition to the online panels and questions and answers produced by SXSW, the streamer also committed to highlight Free the Work, a non-profit organization led by the director of “Honey Boy” Alma Har’el. The group is dedicated to identifying systemic inequalities in film, television, advertising and the media, and to finding concrete solutions to increase access for under-represented creators.
Read the selected program:
Cat in the Wall / Bulgaria, United Kingdom, France (Directors, screenwriters and producers: Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova) – This dramatic comedy drama takes place in a council area in south-east London, which is torn apart by divisions social and economic and threatened by the force of devouring gentrification. Irina, a Bulgarian woman lives there with her grandson and brother. The elevator serves as a toilet, multicultural residents exchange cries rather than jokes, and an expensive renovation is not desired but must be paid for. And in the middle of that: a seemingly ownerless cat who has had enough of the heated atmosphere barricades itself “in the wall”, forcing residents to collaborate. Cat in the Wall is a startling critic of society, a whirlwind of emotions ranging from despair to the joy of life conveyed by highly defined characters. This comforting tale, shot in a documentary style, is the equivalent this year of director Ken Loach I, Daniel Blake. Performers: Irina Atanosova, Angel Genov, Gilda Waugh
Gunpowder Heart / Guatemala (Director and screenwriter: Camila Urrutia, Producer: Inés Nofuentes) – Claudia and Maria fell in love. They live in Guatemala City, a city full of stories of abuse, ruthless police and charming secret corners. Everything changes one night when they are attacked by three men. They manage to escape but now have to choose if they want revenge. Performers: Andrea Henry, Vanessa Hernández
Le Choc du Futur / France (Director and screenwriter: Marc Collin, Co-screenwriter: Elina Gakou-Gomba, Producers: Marc Collin, Nicolas Jourdier, Gaelle Ruffier) - In Paris in 1978, the old formulas no longer charm listeners and the news music must be born. In a male-dominated industry, Ana uses her electronic gadgets to be heard, creating a new sound that will mark the decades to come: the music of the future. Performers: Alma Jodorowsky, Philippe Rebbot, Clara Luciani
Selfie / France (Directors: Tristan Aurouet, Thomas Bidegain, Marc Fitoussi, Cyril Gelblat, Vianney Lebasque, Writers: Giulio Callegari, Noé Debré, Hélène Lombard, Julien Sibony, Bertrand Soulier, Producers: Mandoline Films, Chez Georges Productions) – Algorithms, Technophobes, addicts to dating apps, Vloggers, breach of cloud security… each of us can relate to the wire folly happening on the screen. In five subversive and hilarious black mirror stories, Selfie takes into account our digital gaps and shows how the new era 2.0 drives us all crazy! Performers: Blanche Gardin, Manu Payet, Elsa Zylberstein
I’m Gonna Make You Love Me / US (Director and producer: Karen Bernstein, co-producer: Nevie Owens) – Fellini meets Motown in I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, the tragicomic tale of the search for a man for self – acceptance, a journey that included a tabloid celebrity, Tupperware parties and two outings – first as a straight woman, then as the gay man he was born to be. Performers: 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, first wife of Johnny Cash and mother of four daughters. Includes unpublished images and photographs of Johnny Cash and Rosanne Cash, as well as images featuring Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix, Tim Robbins, Whoopi Goldberg, John C. Reilly and many others.
TFW NO GF / US (Director and 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) – Born On the Internet, the expression “TFW NO GF” was originally used online to describe a lack of romantic fellowship. Since then, it has evolved to symbolize a greater state of existence defined by isolation, rejection and alienation. The protagonist of the meme, “WOJAK”, has become the mascot of a large online community made up of “twenty hyper-anonymous years” and “guys who have slipped through the cracks.” TFW NO GF asks: How could the zeitgeist have supported a generation alienated by the “real world”? Meet the lost boys who have reached the majority on the Internet in places like 4chan and Twitter, where they find companionship in despair.
Cursed Films / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Jay Cheel, Producers: Andrew Nicholas McCann Smith, Laura Perlmutter, Brian Robertson, Jay Cheel) – Cursed Films is a five-part documentary series by Shudder exploring the myths and legends behind some of the famous Hollywood people . “Cursed” horror film productions. From plane crashes and bombings during the creation of The Omen to the supposed use of human skeletons on the set of Poltergeist, these stories are legendary among moviegoers and filmmakers. But where is the truth?
Homeland: Fort Salem / United States (Creator: Eliot Laurence) – Located in another America where witches ended their persecution by concluding an agreement with the government to fight for the country, Homeland: Fort Salem follows three young women from deployment training, as they fight terrorist threats with supernatural tactics.
Tales from the Loop / United States, Canada (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 acclaimed art by Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, Tales from the Loop explores the city and the people who live above “The Loop”, a machine designed to unlock and explore the mysteries of the universe. In this fantastic and mysterious city, poignant human stories tell naked universal emotional experiences while being inspired by the intrigue of genre narration. Performers: Rebecca Hall, Paul Schneider, Daniel Zolghadri, Duncan Joiner, Jonathan Pryce