The cancellation of the massive annual SXSW festival due to fears over coronavirus has affected several corners of the entertainment industry. It’s a critical time of year for service workers in the city to make money, and it is also a crucial opportunity for new and emerging filmmakers to debut their work on a big stage, build hype for eventual audiences and perspective buyers, and try to get as much good press as possible. Thanks to a collaboration with the streaming platform Shift72, filmmakers can opt in to having their films available in a screening library, which will be accessible to “press, buyers, industry, or combinations of these audiences,” according to IndieWire. Screeners will be open starting today and will expire after March 21. The preselected program judges (which includes Vulture’s own Bilge Ebiri and Alison Willmore) will vote for winners in the usual awards categories, including best Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, and Texas Shorts, among others.
The festival’s director of film, Janet Pierson, said organizers are still “continuing to explore other ways to support the paths of the SXSW 2020 Official Selection films and filmmakers in this new environment.”