March 10, 2020

SXSW May Be Canceled, but There's Another Way to Screen Your Film

COVID-19 has shut down SXSW 2020, so where can you watch the films and read the reviews? 

SXSW was canceled last week over concerns about the spread of coronavirus. It was a blow to indie filmmakers everywhere. Lots of people were waiting to have their life's work debut there. 

Now, there might be a shot at having an even bigger audience to screen their work. 

Stage 32, an online platform for creators in the entertainment industry, announced it will offer filmmakers whose work was set to screen at SXSW an opportunity to have their films made available for streaming on the site.

The CEO of Stage 32, Richard "RB" Botto, said, "As filmmakers, producers, screenwriters, and actors ourselves, all of us at Stage 32 are devastated for everyone impacted by the cancellation of SXSW. Given the sad reality that the Coronavirus will likely cause more festival cancellations, we want to assure that these filmmakers and their connections get the exposure their work and efforts so richly deserve."

This is great news. 

We make movies and TV shows for audiences. With so many people self-quarantining, it's scary to see how the industry is suffering. Ticket prices are down and Hollywood is projected to lose more than $5 billion... 

Still, as established films and filmmakers suffer, many of the SXSW movies don't have distribution deals yet. 

Botto conveyed to CNN his hopes that giving SXSW filmmakers the opportunity to exhibit their work on Stage 32, which has a "global community" that is 600,000 strong, will "help facilitate connections with key figures, like sales agents, distributors, and agents." 

So, how do you get your film on the platform? 

Stage 32 is accepting applications now until March 23rd through its registration portal. The goal is to have the films up in April. 

What About Reviewers? 

The hugely popular and respected site, IndieWire, has promised to cover all the films they planned on seeing at this year's festival, one way or another, saying, "Despite the unprecedented decision by the mayor of Austin to cancel the SXSW Conference last week due to coronavirus fears, IndieWire will proceed with much of its planned coverage of the movies in its lineup. This will include overviews, features, and reviews, with many films seeking distribution." 

Their reviews will have original embargo dates and they will try to be amenable to any and all studio demands. 

Other websites, including our own, are going to attempt similar things. 

One of the wildest byproducts of this situation is how we're all learning to live and watch things at home. There was even talk that events like SXSW may never happen again, especially when people can just click to stream the movies in the safety and comfort of their own homes. 

We are in uncertain times. 

But hopefully, the power of the cinema will soldier on. Just make sure to wash your hands. 

More to come. 

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