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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
HTML EMBED:
COPY

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 are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

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A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

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New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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