A City Fit for Movies
Far from Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and New York City, SXSW hosts one of the year’s biggest events for entertainment and tech junkies alike. Holding true to the state’s mantra, “everything’s bigger in Texas,” SXSW is much more than one particular type of festival; it’s a music festival, movie festival, and interactive conference.
Is Austin an unlikely city for such an event? Of course not. From a filmmaker’s perspective, Austin is a vibrant market as well as a proven city to produce movies. Do ‘True Grit,’ ‘Dazed and Confused,’ The Tree of Life’ ring a bell? That’s right, they were all made in Austin. Need more proof the city is an important force in the movie industry? Check out the Austin Film Commission’s website.
A Festival in Three Acts
As mentioned before, SXSW is essentially three festivals rolled into one. The music portion begins tomorrow and ends the 16th. The film festival spans from March 7-15. Ending tomorrow, the interactive festival took place from the 7th to the 11th.
Arguably the most talked about moment of the festival thus far, Edward Snowden spoke to crowds via videocast in a recent event. Though the quality was reportedly lousy, Snowden managed to answer intriguing questions that were submitted via Twitter. Despite the highly controversial nature of his actions, and all around “bleak” revelations of our Nation’s privacy, the discussion revealed some optimistic moments. As reported in an online article by TIME magazine,
“Snowden’s revelations have led companies such as Google and Yahoo to bolster their security measures, which helps protect online data from being watched by government eyes.”
In addition to Snowden’s virtual appearance, the interactive festival offered a tremendous amount of wisdom and information from a series of events, speakers, and brilliant minds. From web design to dinosaurs, SXSW-Interactive never ceased to inspire.
Spanning almost every genre, the 2,200 acts performing at this year’s SXSW offer something for every music fan. From Hip-Hop giants Wiz Khalifa and Kendrick Lamar (Kendrick is headlining the I-tunes sponsored show) to the Irish hard-rock group Strypes, Austin promises to tear the roof off. Check out The Wall Street Journal’s guide to 20014s music festival.
Keep in mind, the music portion of SXSW is much more than just live shows. For instance, Lady Gaga will be the much talked about Keynote speaker this year. Read more about it here.
“You go in, it all goes dark, and you put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see through their eyes. That’s just mega, it’s so powerful. Even a painter, who can do it, only can do less. A painter at one time is showing you one frame, but a filmmaker can take you into an experience and an existential atmosphere that may be a trip for you.” – Tilda Swinton on How She Feels About Cinema
It’s moments such as Tilda Swinton’s hour-long talk at SXSW that inspires the next generation of great actors, actresses, and filmmakers. Whether it be talks, screenings, or events, the SXSW film portion is sure to get things going for spring.
World premieres include director Carlos Marques Marcet’s Spanish flick ‘Long Distance,’ Shawn Christensen’s ‘Before I disappear’ and five other fantastic projects all up for competition. In addition to indie, world, and documentary cinema, this year hosts five headliners.
With a movie budget of $6 million dollars, director Rob Thomas’ ‘Veronica Mars’ has already received much media attention from its screening.
Other headlines include: Nicholas Stoller’s ‘Neighbors’ starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, David Gordon Green’s ‘Joe’ starring Nicolas Cage, John Favreau’s ‘Chef’ starring Scarlett Johansson, and Michael and Peter Spierig’s ‘Predestination’ starring Ethan Hawke. For a full list of the festival’s screenings click here.
And the Winners Are
A great time was undoubtedly had by all, but none more so than the winners. Here’s a brief rundown, courtesy of Indiewire.com, of this year’s best. Congrats, filmmakers!
Grand Jury Winner in the Narrative Feature Competition: ‘Fort Tilden’
Grand Jury Winner in the Documentary Feature Competition: ‘The Great Invisible’
In what Variety describes as a “deeply sobering and sympathetic new documentary,” The Great Invisible reveals the aftermath of the tragic 2010 BP oil spill.
Special Jury Recognition for Courage in Storytelling: ‘Animals’
Screenwriter David Dastmalchian’s story of two drug addicts in love.
Special Jury Recognition for Best Acting Duo: 10,000 km (Long Distance)
Natalie Tena and David Verdauger.
Special Jury Recognition for Political Courage: ‘Vessel’
Director Diana Whitten’s documentary about the travels of Dr. Rebecca, who provides abortions on the high seas.
The Best (and Worst) of the Rest
Though there may not be an official award for ‘Good Music Moviemaking,’ Flavorwire’s article SXSW Film 2014: The Best and Worst Films of SXSW reveals, in their opinion, the winners and losers of more specific categories. Check it out!
Need inspiration? SXSW hosts a wealth of discussions, interviews, and panels. In fact, they’re even hosting a discussion on how to be successful at other festivals. An indie-filmmaker’s dream.
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