We previously reported that South by Southwest and Amazon Prime Video planned to team up for "Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection," a virtual film fest, of sorts, filling the void left by the Austin festival’s March cancellation.
On Tuesday, SXSW and Amazon announced the virtual fest will launch on April 27, with 39 films originally slated to screen as part of SXSW Film Festival, composed of narrative and documentary features, short films and episodic titles.
Filmmakers in the official 2020 SXSW Film Festival lineup were invited to opt into the online showcase, which will play exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S. from through May 6.
SXSW was canceled in early March due to concerns about the possible spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, at the fest.
The one-time event will be available in front of the video platform’s paywall, free to U.S. audiences with or without an Amazon Prime membership.
In addition to online panels and Q&As produced by SXSW, the nonprofit initiative Free the Work is collaborating with Amazon Prime Video on panels featuring films and filmmakers from the lineup. Founded by filmmaker Alma Har’el ("Honey Boy"), Free the Work is dedicated to discussing and finding solutions for systemic inequalities in media.
Related: What is Austin without SXSW?
During the virtual fest, the following titles will stream on at amazon.com/sxsw, where you can check out the full slate of titles, including shorts. Highlights are listed below with official descriptions; films are U.S. productions unless otherwise noted.
"Cat in the Wall" (Bulgaria, UK, France)
(Directors, screenwriters and producers: Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova) — A 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 gentrication, shot in a documentary style. Cast: Irina Atanosova, Angel Genov, Gilda Waugh
"Gunpowder Heart" (Guatemala)
(Director and screenwriter: Camila Urrutia, Producer: Inés Nofuentes) — Claudia and Maria have fallen in love. They live in the city of Guatemala. 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 and 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. Cast: Blanche Gardin, Manu Payet, Elsa Zylberstein
"I'm Gonna Make You Love Me"
(Director and Producer: Karen Bernstein, Co-Producer: Nevie Owens) — 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/Tish, Gloria Walker, Michael Musto
"My Darling Vivian"
(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"
(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 from the internet, the phrase "TFW NO GF" was originally used online to describe a lack of romantic companionship. Since then, it has evolved to symbolize a greater state of existence defined by isolation, rejection and alienation. The meme's protagonist, "WOJAK," has become the mascot to a vast online community consisting of self-described "hyper-anonymous twenty somethings" and "guys who slipped between the cracks." Meet the lost boys who came of age on the internet in places like 4chan and Twitter, where they find camaraderie 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 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 among film fans and filmmakers alike. But where does the truth lie?
"Motherland: Fort Salem"
(Creator: 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. This is already streaming on Freeform.
"Tales from the Loop" (U.S., 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 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