The cancelation of South by Southwest earlier this month was a huge blow to people across the industry, but short filmmakers whose work was set to debut there were particularly hard hit. With no festival, these filmmakers — many of them early in their careers — were suddenly without a platform to widely share their films. Now, boutique distributor Oscilloscope Laboratories and tech company Mailchimp have a solution: Today, they launched an online platform offering the vast majority of this year’s SXSW shorts online for free.
The site will feature around 75 films, all for free with no login required. Most are available now, with more to be added in the coming days.
The films will remain available for at least 30 days. Filmmakers can then choose to take them down, or leave them up for the remainder of the two-year SVOD license.
All short filmmakers with selections at the festival were offered those terms in exchange for a standard fee, as Oscilloscope and Mailchip worked to build the site from scratch and deliver the films less than three weeks after the festival was canceled. It comes after SXSW on Tuesday handed out jury awards, despite the absence of physical screenings this year.
Among the films available for streaming is Santiago Menghini’s “Regret,” winner of the Midnight Shorts category. It follows a man who, after the death of his father, is faced with surviving the manifestations of his inner demons over the course of a dreary night.
Menghini told IndieWire he’s appreciative of the efforts of both SXSW and Oscilloscope and Mailchip in the wake of the festival’s cancelation. “Their solution was the right attitude, the right frame-of-mind, very filmmaker-friendly,” he said.
Ashley Eakin, whose Special Jury-recognized “Single,” will be available on the site, agreed that the terms worked well for filmmakers. The film, which she described as “an anti-romantic comedy about dating with a disability,” benefits from the immediate platform, she said.
“It's a real perspective that I love sharing with others who have never thought about these things before — and being able to share that with more people is important,” she said. “I was worried that because of these unprecedented circumstances and time in history, that the message of my film would get lost and not seen, but this allows a place to share it. I'm excited to see what happens!”
Here are other award-winning titles that are or will soon be available. View all the shorts here.
Animated Shorts prize winner: “Symbiosis,” directed by Nadja Andrasev
Texas Shorts prize winner “Just Hold On,” directed by Sam Davis and Rayka Zehtabchi
“Dirty,” directed by Matthew Puccini, which won a Special Jury recognition for Morgan Sullivan and Manny Dunn’s performances
Midnight Shorts Special Jury-recognized “Laura Hasn't Slept,” directed by Parker Finn
Texas Shorts Special Jury-recognized “Coup d'etat Math,” directed by Sai Selvarajan
Texas High School Shorts prize-winner “Wish Upon a Snowman,” directed by Miu Nakata
Narrative Shorts Special Jury-recognized “Ultimatum,” directed by Kai Hashimoto
Documentary Shorts Special Jury-recognized “Unveiled,” directed by Sofia Bakwa
Animation Special Jury-recognized “The Orchard,” directed by Zeke French
José Luis Rebordinos, Director of the San Sebastián Film Festival SSIFF, and Christian Jungen, Artistic Director of the Zurich Film Festival ZFF, today announced plans to introduce a film market at their respective festivals.
Marking a first for both events, SSIFF and ZFF will include buyers from across the globe, with programming that includes films originally selected to be showcased at SXSW and the Tribeca Film Festival which has officially been postponed but new dates have yet to be announced and will introduce new sales projects.
Working with both entities, CAA Media Finance is supporting the initiative to transform San Sebastián and Zurich into sales markets that bring together a worldwide consortium of agencies, foreign sales companies, distributors, financiers, and buyers. The initiative is backed by major independent film companies, including Wild Bunch and Film Nation.
“For the San Sebastián Film Festival, the most important thing now is the health of film industry professionals and spectators. But we keep working with the aim of making the 2020 edition of the festival a reality next September 18-26”, said José Luis Rebordinos.
“If the festival can be held under normal conditions, because the health authorities allow it, we want this edition to serve as an opportunity for films that have not been able to be seen at the festivals for which they were originally selected, to be shown to an audience of buyers and distributors and, at the same time, for these professionals, representatives of the most important companies in the world film industry, to get to know the size of the San Sebastián Festival, its line-up and its activities focused on the film industry.”
“We live in disruptive times which also shatter the traditional festival landscape and threaten Independent cinema. Many high-profile titles are orphans of a real premiere their cast and crew deserve. So we are happy to help out holding screenings for buyers together with our friends of San Sebastián”, said Christian Jungen.
“It is important to strengthen independent cinema and to help those titles in their launch for the Award Season. Zurich is one of the worlds financial capitals and an ideal place for a film market since it has a great infrastructure where you can do business in a leisururely atmosphere”. The Zurich Film Festival takes place September 24 to October 4, 2020.
Specifics about the film screenings and programming are due to be shared at a later date.
Venice and Toronto could also be in line for busier markets should they be able to go ahead. Cannes remains a question mark, though there are various plans for online market scenarios should the physical event fall by the wayside.