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 Mailchimp 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 Mailchimp 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.
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
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