South by Southwest was supposed to happen in Austin, Texas, this March. Instead, it was one of the first major events in the U.S. to be canceled due to COVID-19. As a workaround, the event’s film festival has partnered with Amazon to show some movies without a paywall.
The virtual festival will stream from April 27 through May 6, and almost 40 short films and features have signed on.
“For younger filmmakers, the exposure is priceless,” said Chuck Tryon, associate professor of film and media studies at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. “They might be able to gain interest in their work so that they can create future projects.”
He said people who make documentaries and short films will likely be more receptive to the Amazon platform, as opposed to theater screenings, because it could expand their audiences. But Mark Litwak, an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles, said filmmakers who spent money on feature films should be worried about giving their exclusive viewing rights away.
“If you want to be a filmmaker, you’re a businessperson,” Litwak said. “You need to make some money to pay back your investors if you hope to get them to invest in your next film.”
Filmmakers will be able to charge Amazon a screening fee, but the amount wasn’t disclosed.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?
The latest: President Donald Trump signed an executive action directing $400 extra a week in unemployment benefits. But will that aid actually reach people? It’s still unclear. Trump directed federal agencies to send $300 dollars in weekly aid, taken from the federal disaster relief fund, and called on states to provide an additional $100. But states’ budgets are stretched thin as it is.
What’s the latest on evictions?
For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.
Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?
Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.
You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.
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