COVID-19

SXSW films to stream on Amazon without a paywall

Andy Uhler Apr 27, 2020
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The SXSW film festival marquee in 2016. This year, the festival goes virtual. Mike Windle/Getty Images for SXSW
COVID-19

SXSW films to stream on Amazon without a paywall

Andy Uhler Apr 27, 2020
The SXSW film festival marquee in 2016. This year, the festival goes virtual. Mike Windle/Getty Images for SXSW
Share Now on:
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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

Which businesses are allowed to reopen right now? And which businesses are actually doing so?

As a patchwork of states start to reopen, businesses that fall into a gray area are wondering when they can reopen. In many places, salons are still shuttered. Bars are mostly closed, too, although restaurants may be allowed to ramp up, depending on the state. “It’s kind of all over the place,” said Elizabeth Milito of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Will you be able to go on vacation this summer?

There’s no chance that this summer will be a normal season for vacations either in the U.S. or internationally. But that doesn’t mean a trip will be impossible. People will just have to be smart about it. That could mean vacations closer to home, especially with gas prices so low. Air travel will be possible this summer, even if it is a very different experience than usual.

When does the expanded COVID-19 unemployment insurance run out?

The CARES Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in March, authorized extra unemployment payments, increasing the amount of money, and broadening who qualifies. The increased unemployment benefits have an expiration date — an extra $600 per week the act authorized ends on July 31.

You can find answers to more questions here.

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