Anthony Onah
Anthony Onah

After picking up SVOD rights to about 12 different feature films at the Sundance Film Festival this year, via its Film Festival Stars initiative, Amazon has done the same for 40 more films that screened at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival (including several award winners), shelling out around $2 million in total.

Amazon’s Film Festival Stars program offers cash bonuses to filmmakers who choose to deliver their movies through Amazon’s year-old Video Direct program. And as Amazon is only interested in SVOD exclusivity, the filmmakers who participate in its program are free to shop other release platforms for their films (theatrical, DVD, Blu-ray, Digital Download, etc). Amazon gives filmmakers a year before their films must be published to Amazon Video Direct.

Among the 40 SXSW titles that opted in is Anthony Onah’s “Dara Ju,” his feature directorial debut which is based on his short film of the same name.

The story: A young Nigerian-American financier struggles with love, family, and a prescription drug dependency as his ambitions steer him down a criminal path.

The film stars Aml Ameen and Lucy Griffiths, with Michael Hyatt, Peter Vack, Hope Olaidé Wilson, Souléymane Sy Savané, Craig muMs Grant and Bill Sage rounding out the cast.

Aramide reviewed the film at SXSW for S&A; read her thoughts here.

Amazon plans to take its Film Festival Stars initiative to other top film festivals, including Toronto in the fall.