Are you going to SXSW? Are you going to SXSW? ARE YOU GOING TO SXSW! If you are in the film or entertainment business, chances are you have been asked this question or you are asking others this question. There is an ‘organized pandemonium’ brewing here in Atlanta’s film and entertainment community and excitement levels everywhere are off the charts here and across the nation.
So, just what is SXSW and why is everyone so excited about this event? It’s one thing to go to their site and discover an answer by observing the intriguing photos and videos streaming across the page; but, I thought it would be far more fascinating to hear from one of the film representatives of the SXSW festival about what this event is and what it means, particularly for those in the film industry. This week Jody Arlington, Film Press and Publicity Manager for SXSW, shares with Reel Focus readers more about this exciting event coming up in March in Austin, Texas.
Can you begin by telling us first what this festival represents generally to the entertainment community and the economy and then delve into the specifics of what this festival means to the film community.
SXSW is the premier destination to discover game-changing new technologies, films and artists while networking with some of the brightest minds. SXSW is known for showcasing the most innovative ideas and creative talent of our time.
SXSW Music, Film and Interactive Conferences and Festivals is celebrating its 30th year — and 23rd year for Film and Interactive. This year, we’ve made more sessions and screenings open to more badge types than ever before to bring together even more creatives from all walks of life and industries.
As to the economy, our overall operation directly and indirectly contributes millions of dollars to Austin’s economy.
But back to SXSW Film and what the festival provides for the film community: over nine days we screen 253 films, in 12 venues across Austin. The Feature program has 89 World, 12 North American, and 8 U.S. premieres. In our Film Conference, we have more than 200+ Film Sessions (Keynotes, Conversations, Panels, workshops, Networking Meetups and Mentors) we’ve organized them into tracks to make it easy for the filmmaking community to navigate: Influencers; Creating Your Content; Finding Your Audience; and What’s Next. Plus the additional 450+ Convergence sessions open to more than one badge.
As if we could be any more excited than we already are – give us Atlantans some exciting reasons for attending this event this year.
In this landmark year, both the President and First Lady are Keynoting our Interactive and Music Conferences, also open to Gold and Platinum Badges. We’re particularly proud of our 2016 Film Conference Keynotes: Nelson George; Gale Anne Hurd; Ellen Page and Ian Daniel; and Joe Swanberg; our VR/AR Keynotes and Sessions with pioneers like John Gaeta, Chris Milk and Nonny de la Pena; our Featured Conversations with Jake Gyllenhaal, Don Cheadle, Joel Edgerton, Gaby Hoffmann, Sarah Green, Andrew Bujalski and David Lowery; Mark and Jay Duplass; and Alia Shawkat; plus our 2016 Convergence Programming: Future of Entertainment: highlights include featured sessions with Kerry Washington, Ira Glass, the co-creators of Broad City, creators and stars of Silicon Valley and Mr. Robot, and the creative force behind Star Wars, J.J. Abrams in conversation with Andrew Jarecki.
On the screening front, there is a lot of anticipation for our opening night film Everybody Wants Some; and also for Midnight Special, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, Demolition, Beware The Slenderman, Tony Robbins: I am Not Your Guru, Don’t Think Twice, and The Bandit with Burt Reynolds himself in attendance. We were among the first to start premiering episodic programming and are excited to present Outcast, Preacher; Vice Principals, You Me Her, and Search Party.
I’m sure you have heard about Georgia’s film tax credits and various incentives to promote film here. Tell us more about the film community in Austin and what is being done to grow film there.
Too few cities and states appreciate the economic and cultural contributions of the film community.. Austin, TX has a deeply seeded film culture with the Austin Film Society, Texas Film Commission and our many passionate advocates and practitioners in all walks of life.
Are there any final remarks that you would like to add about this year’s event.