Afterthoughts on SXSW 2020, er, Going To The Dogs

Amazon cracks me up sometimes.

Some humor before getting to the true purpose of this post: to recap my thoughts and experience of the SXSW 2020 virtual film festival offered through Amazon Prime Video.

That event has, to coin a cliche, gone to the dogs.

For those looking at the Amazon internal 404 (page not found) the image above is what was seen this morning — 3 days after — when trying to return to the SXSW page that was formerly available here:

Sure, it was a limited event that ran from April 27 – May 6, but this is only May 9th and they are already showing … literally … a dog named Ike. Yeah, dogs have everything to do with the SXSW 2020 virtual film festival — not.

What we should be seeing is something like the official SXSW recap page … or at least links to this page: which looks like this …

Amazon redirects to … dogs … instead of keeping up a link to this

“SXSW has always championed creators forging their own paths to success, often with just the right mix of passion, vision, and radical experimentation to make their dreams happen,” said Janet Pierson, Director of Film at SXSW. “There is no one-size-fits-all, especially in these uncertain times, and we knew this opportunity would be of interest to those filmmakers who wanted to be in front of a large audience now. We believe people will be captivated by this selection of intriguing work that would have been shown at our 2020 event.”

Prime Video’s SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection Launches April 27

SXSW 2020 Coverage

Here are links to all our SXSW 2020 posts captured under the tag: SXSW 2020

Full-length Films

  1. My Darling Vivian ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. Gunpowder Heart ⭐️⭐️
  3. Selfie NR – Only watched one episode of the anthology

TV Series

  1. Tales from The Loop Season 1 (8 episodes) ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  2. Cursed Films Season 1 (5 episodes) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Short Films

  1. Daddio ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. Lions In The Corner ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. Figurant ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Broken Orchestra ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  5. The Voice In Your Head ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. Vert ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  7. Dieorama ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  8. Modern Whore ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  9. Quilt Fever ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. Single ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  11. Basic ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  12. Runon ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  13. Waffle ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  14. Still Wylde ⭐️⭐️½
  15. Blocks ⭐️⭐️½
  16. Call Center Blues ⭐️⭐️
  17. Face To Face Time ⭐️½
  18. Dirty ⭐️
  19. Broken Bird NR

Not Watched

Just because I didn’t watch something in the festival doesn’t mean anything from a review perspective, it merely didn’t appeal (as much) to me as much as the other works. I would have liked to have time to watch everything and maybe if I had visited the film festival in person this would be possible, but something tells me that most attendees don’t watch everything.

Here’s the list of 13 films alphabetically that weren’t watched:

  1. A Period Piece
  2. Affirmative Action
  3. Betye Saar: Taking Care Of Business
  4. Father Of The Bride
  5. Hiplet: Because We Can
  6. I’m Going To Make You Love Me – full length
  7. Le Choc du Futur – full length
  8. Mizuko (Water Child)
  9. Motherland: Fort Salem – TV Series
  10. No Crying at the Dinner Table
  11. Reminiscences of the Green Revolution
  12. Soft
  13. Summer Hit

SXSW 2020 Afterthoughts

First and perhaps most importantly: thank you to SXSW and Amazon for making this event possible. Can’t beat the cost: FREE and it was interesting covering and “attending” this event.

Now, some constructive feedback for the organizers.

The virtual experience — my first ever involved in a film festival — was lacking in terms of the social aspect. There could have been at least some organized watchalongs or some other type of social activities. Maybe these did exist, but I missed them. The films were mostly OK and I liked viewing the short films more than expected.

Most major film festivals have theater release films and something tells me this is one of the main reasons to attend. To see these movie theater films earlier than the masses. So, those covering can get reviews posted way in advance of those of us that didn’t attend.

There were none of those films made available as part of this virtual event. That’s a bummer.

There is an annual local film festival nearby that I may attend later this year, assuming it happens. Right now so many things up in the air.

Would I like to see/attend/cover more virtual film festivals? Yes. Any chance to view movies for me is at least of some interest. There is another one coming up at the end of May 2020. I’ll be posting about that soon.

What are your thoughts on SXSW 2020?

Will you attend more virtual film festivals? Would you rather go in person? Let’s discuss in the comments.

5 thoughts on “Afterthoughts on SXSW 2020, er, Going To The Dogs

  1. We agree on two key assessments: As you said, the social aspects were not transferred to the Prime Video experience, a potential difference-maker. Secondly, attending a local film festival is affirmed as an interesting idea to pursue.

    I came away from (virtual) SXSW 2020 with the uncomfortable feeling that it was not a good move for this festival. Why? Being allowed to show only a portion of the films, Amazon did not create the impression that this event is a must-do. Keys to any festival (I’ve been to just one, in NC) seem to be (a) choosing from a varied catalog, and (b) discussions with other attendees.

    Lastly, some positives. I think you see that film festivals are fun laboratories for movie-makers, that there are many perspectives on life and life captured on film, and that there is a *craft* industry around us with creative people.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t know if there was fear about organizing some live watchathons or providing a messageboard or some other basic internet area to talk about the films online, but SXSW seems to have given the impression of not wanting to emulate that in-person experience. There are many ways that interaction could have happened. Just saying, hey check out our official Twitter account, is not enough.

      Or maybe they were hoping all the virtual attendees would schedule these events in/around the event?

      Clearly Amazon was just going through the motions by completely erasing any mention from their SXSW page (a dog 404 page lololol) once the event was over. They couldn’t keep up a page that said something like “thank you for following the virtual SXSW 2020 Film Festival, the event has ended, but here is where you can learn more … (link)” ??

      You might be right that it wasn’t a good advertisement for those of us who have never been to SXSW. I’m not that compelled to shell out a $1,000+ USD + take vacation time from work to visit their 10-day event if what I experienced online is some kind of representation of the experience. In fairness, I don’t think it is, so going to just believe this was put out there as better than nothing.

      YouTube has a (bigger) one coming up on May 27. Guess we’ll see if that one does better.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I just tagged and mentioned them in a Twitter post asking why this 404 dog page exists? It sure seems very disrespectful to pretty much everybody involved. We’ll see if anybody officially or even unofficially responds, I guess and puts up a proper placeholder and redirect page that the event existed.

      Liked by 2 people

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