One of the first events to get cancelled due to coronavirus was SXSW (AKA South by Southwest), Austin’s biggest celebration of movies, music, technology, culture and the arts. This also includes the Film Festival, an event that premieres some of the biggest titles in cinema, with last year’s producing the likes of Booksmart and Us.
Whilst these film screenings obviously cannot go ahead anymore physically, there’s still a virtual option. SXSW has teamed up with the Amazon Prime giants to release the SXSW Film Festival Collection online on 27 April for 10 days (finishing on 6 May). The catch? It’s only on Amazon US.
However, they are accessible through using a VPN. This is the same method we use for watching the likes of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
It's worth noting that SXSW originally stated that the films would be available to everyone free of charge without the need for a Prime membership. Right now this doesn't appear to be the case - but you can still watch them for zero cost through using a free trial on the site.
Wondering what other things in the world of cinema have been affected? Read our piece on every film delayed because of coronavirus.
How to watch SXSW films on Amazon using a VPN
First things first, you’ll need a VPN to overcome Amazon’s geo-targeting. VPNs (virtual private networks) allow you to surf the web as if you’re based in another country. For watching the SXSW Film Festival, this would be the US.
There are various VPN providers out there, but for the best user experience and affordable prices we recommend either NordVPN (currently offering 70% off) or ExpressVPN (currently offering 3 months free and a 30 day money back guarantee).
Once you’ve downloaded your VPN of choice, choose a US server and then simply head on over to the Amazon US SXSW playlist (not Amazon UK) and click on the film you want to watch. You should be able to use your usual login details for Amazon on the US site - but the next part will differ depending or not if you have Prime.
If you're a Prime UK user, you should be able to sign in and watch with no problem. If you're not, you'll need to sign up for a 30 day free trial - you can still use your UK billing address and details. Even if you've used a free trial for Prime in the UK, you'll still be eligible for a US trial.
If you don't have an Amazon account, simply create one on the US site and sign up to Prime video with the method above. Once you've watched all the films you want, be sure to cancel your membership before your free month is up.
What films are in the SXSW Amazon lineup?
It’s worth noting that filmmakers have the option of being hosted on Amazon, and some that are in the official festival lineup will not be streaming their movie here. They'll most likely wait for next year’s festival, or host an alternative premiere at a later date.
Here's all the films that are available on Amazon for SXSW. You can find out further details on the SXSW website.
- Cat in the Wall - The true story of how a cat, stuck in a wall, changes the lives of aspirational migrants, benefit fraudsters and gentrified Brexiteers.
- Gunpowder Heart - In a chaotic Guatemala City two naive girlfriends have to make a radical decision on how to cope with the events of a fateful night: is violence the solution, or are there other ways?
- Le Choc du Futur - Set in Paris of 1978, in a male-dominated industry, Ana uses her electronic gadgets to create a new sound that will mark the decades to come: the music of the future.
- Selfie - Five interconnected stories explore the extremities of human behavior in the digital age.
- I’m Gonna Make You Love Me - One man’s search for self-acceptance, a journey that included tabloid celebrity, Tupperware parties, and two coming outs.
- My Darling Vivian - Follow the dizzying journey of Vivian Liberto, Johnny Cash‘s first wife and the mother of his four daughters. Featuring unseen footage and photographs.
- TFW NO GF - A generation of disaffected young men searches for meaning in the dark corners of the internet, through the metaphor of an iconic meme.
- A Period Piece
- Broken Bird
- Face to Face Time
- Father of the Bride
- Reminiscences of the Green Revolution
- Still Wylde
- Summer Hit
- The Voice in Your Head
- Affurmative Action
- Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business
- Broken Orchestra
- Call Center Blues
- Hiplet: Because We Can
- Lions in the Corner
- Mizuko (Water Child)
- Modern Whore
- No Crying at the Dinner Table
- Quilt Fever