At the beginning of March, the 2020 SXSW Film Festival was canceled, one of countless events and productions waylaid by the global health crisis that continues today. But the show must go on — especially for independent productions still hoping their work can make an impact.
Starting today, Vimeo will host six of the festival’s episodic TV pilots via the SXSW 2020 Pilot Showcase, a streaming release allowing anyone to preview these diverse projects for free via the Vimeo streaming service. SXSW has allowed the episodes to stream on different platforms with no fees or sign-in requirements, and you can watch all six episodes now.
Coral Amiga and Nicole Hartley, co-creators of the pilot “Bored,” were the first to reach out to Vimeo and fellow SXSW filmmakers to create a special showcase for this year’s batch of pilots. “We saw a need to pivot on the cancellation of SXSW and open up conversations with online platforms about how to now connect with an audience — at a time when connection feels more important than ever,” Amiga and Hartley said in a statement.
“Vimeo is proud to offer creators of all kinds a platform to share their stories, now and always,” Courtney Horwitz, Head of Brand and Content at Vimeo, said.
In addition to the U.K. comedy-drama “Bored,” other included episodes are the LGBTQ documentary “Bananas,” a sitcom titled “Cooper’s Bar” (co-starring “Better Call Saul’s” Rhea Seehorn), Yuko Shiomaki’s documentary on a cardboard artist, “Homecoming: The Journey of Cardboard,” a comedy of errors titled “This Isn’t Me,” and IndieWire’s selection for best of the fest, “The Dream,” a scripted look at the nitty-gritty of Hollywood productions directed by Ron Najor.
“It’s about people’s dreams — sometimes we go after them and sometimes we don’t,” Najor, who was last at SXSW as a producer on “Short Term 12,” said in a statement to IndieWire. “In some ways, maybe we are better for not pursuing those dreams, but I like the idea of looking into that world and seeing what happens in our attempts to make those decisions in our lives. After all, we are all chasing something.”
Each pilot will be available to stream on Vimeo for at least one month.
The Vimeo release is far from the only additional exposure offered to this year’s batch of festival entrants. IndieWire and other outlets provided review and editorial coverage for projects that wanted coverage now, and earlier this month, SXSW also partnered with Amazon to release select 2020 titles via its Prime Video service. Programs that opted in were available for 10 days on Amazon Prime, and filmmakers who choose to participate received a screening fee for streaming their film over the period.