SXSW Film Awards

SXSW may be canceled due to coronavirus fears, but some vestige of the fest will live on this year in the form of the film awards. The SXSW Film Festival will be handing out awards to films set to premiere at the fest. While this might seem a little odd, it’s also bound to be helpful to filmmakers who have been broadsided by the cancelation. All films will still be eligible for the Independent Spirit Awards, and the shorts will be eligible for Academy Awards nominations.

The coronavirus continues to spread, canceling one event after another. SXSW was one of the first major cancelations, and the move, while understandable and even necessary, has caused more than a few problems. The city of Austin is losing millions of dollars, as is the fest itself. Things are so bad, in fact, that SXSW has started laying off staff, and there’s a real concern the fest will never be able to recover from this setback. On top of all this, filmmakers who were about to premiere their new work to packed audiences, all with the hope of generating buzz, are now missing out on that opportunity.

But here’s some good news! According to IndieWire, the SXSW Film Awards will still happen. This Is good news for filmmakers, as winning an award will increase the profile of their respective films. It’s not as good as a successful premiere, but it’s better than nothing. SXSW’s Director of Film Janet Pierson said that after the cancelation, “the SXSW Film Fest immediately hunkered down to figure out what could we do to help and support the filmmakers whose work we love so much, and who put their trust and faith in SXSW for their launch. Many of them have spent years on the work they were bringing to SXSW.” She added that “with the cancellation, the filmmakers were left stranded and scrambling.” The decision was also made to “continue and expand to all the juried competitions, if the majority of the filmmakers opted in and juries were available. We know it’s no substitute for the live SXSW event with its unique and fantastic audience, but at least it’s some way to get attention for these wonderful films.”

Juries will watch films via screening links, and filmmakers will have to option to make their movies available for “press, buyers, industry, or combinations of these audiences.

SXSW will announce its winners on Tuesday, March 24. Here are the categories:

Juried Awards
NARRATIVE FEATURE: Grand Jury Award
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Grand Jury Award
DOCUMENTARY SHORTS: Jury Award
NARRATIVE SHORTS: Jury Award
ANIMATED SHORTS: Jury Award
EPISODIC PILOT COMPETITION: Jury Award
MIDNIGHT SHORTS: Jury Award
MUSIC VIDEOS: Jury Award
TEXAS SHORTS: Jury Award
TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHORTS Jury Award
EXCELLENCE IN POSTER DESIGN Jury Award
EXCELLENCE IN TITLE DESIGN Jury Award

Special Awards
ADOBE EDITING AWARD
ADAM YAUCH HÖRNBLOWÉR AWARD
FINAL DRAFT SCREENWRITERS AWARD
LOUIS BLACK “LONE STAR” AWARD
VIMEO STAFF PICK AWARD
ZEISS CINEMATOGRAPHY AWARD

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