- Associated Press - Saturday, May 2, 2020

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) - “Quilt Fever,” a documentary short filmed during Paducah’s QuiltWeek, is included in Amazon’s SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection, a one-time festival collecting films that were going to be included in the Austin, Texas, music, film and tech festival’s slate before it’s cancellation due to COVID-19 in March.

The 39-film collection launched Monday (April 27) and runs through May 6.

California-based documentarian Olivia Merrion directed the 15-minute short filmed during the 2018 QuiltWeek.

“The reason I wanted to do the film about the quilt world in general is that it’s obviously a hub of women power and I love telling stories about art and artists,” Merrion told The Sun. “I actually really wanted to make a film about the quilt world and once I started doing research it was pretty clear that Paducah was the place to make this film.

“The idea of a town for a week basically doubling in population with quilters just made me smile.”

The festival’s cancellation was heartbreaking for filmmakers and bands around the world, but with her film having premiered in 2019 Merrion gladly accepted her film’s inclusion in the collection.

“Everybody’s trying to band together and do something to help these films that are not going to get seen by audiences now,” the Virginia native said. “Nothing’s going to replace those three screenings that I would have had at SXSW so it’s been kind of heartening seeing everybody just trying to make something happen.

“It was a no-brainer for me to be included. It made a lot of sense for me and my film.”

Each of the 39 films will be available in front of Amazon’s paywall to anyone with a free account on the website. To see a full list of films included, visit www.amazon.com/adlp/sxsw.

The director of the film portion of SXSW, Janet Pierson, spoke at length on the importance of being able to showcase the filmmakers who lost out on the opportunity to exhibit their work in front of the festival in a release on the SXSW site.

“Ever since SXSW was canceled by the city of Austin, we’ve been focused on how we could help the incredible films and filmmakers in the SXSW 2020 Film Festival lineup,” Pierson said. “We were delighted when Amazon Prime Video offered to host an online film festival, and jumped at the opportunity to connect their audiences to our filmmakers.

“We’re inspired by the adaptability and resilience of the film community as it searches for creative solutions in this unprecedented crisis.”

Jennifer Salke, the head of Amazon Studios, spoke in support of the festival in the release as well.

“We’re honored to be able to provide a space for the SXSW filmmakers to share their hard work and passion with audiences for the first time,” Salke said.

“We are supporters of SXSW and other independent film festivals, and hope this online film festival can help give back some of that experience, and showcase artists and films that audiences might otherwise not have had the chance to see.”

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