The SXSW Film Festival is more than just screenings. There’s a DYI meets the cutting edge ethos that pervades the entire fest, and a huge part of exploring that is often through their well-curated panel discussions. Over the course of just eight days, SXSW’s deep section of panel picks basically provides an up-to-date film school, covering a wide range of topics, taught by industry experts. Here are seven panels and conversations at this year’s festival that you won’t want to miss.
SXSW can be overwhelming. You look through the program and everything looks like it might be some new discovery or hidden gem. Throw into the mix the big premieres, secret screenings, Sundance holdovers, sneak peaks of hot new television shows, panels, the Obamas, cool activations… and there’s just a lot going on, which is why we recommend that if you are new to the fest you start your SXSW getting tips from some of our favorite veteran film writers – Alicia Malone, Amy Nicholson, Erik Davis and Jen Yamato – about how to use your time wisely while you’re in Austin.
The connection between crowdfunding films and SXSW is strong, but what are the consequences of building your movie off the back of a Kickstarter campaign? What do filmmaking teams need to keep in mind in terms of the long term outlook of their film? How do you launch a successful campaign and not jeopardize the potential of future sales? This is an important discussion and SXSW has exactly the panelists you’d want to hear from on this topic.
The TV landscape is rapidly changing and has become a real home to indie voices. But if you are curious how independent content creators break into TV and how they find their audience, then these back-to-back Saturday panels are vital 101 courses. In “Breaking into TV,” the smart folks from Big Vision Empty Wallet will teach you about the importance of immediacy and shareability. In “The New TV Launchpad,” the pioneering social media company VaynerMedia will share their secrets for helping shows like “Mr. Robot” find their audience.
Two incredibly unique filmmakers who have Austin filmmaking roots and have carved out extremely interesting careers for themselves. As Bujalski’s last two films (“Results” and “Computer Chess”) prove, he is never going to let that “mumble core” label stick to him, while Lowery (“Ain’t Them Body Saints”) is about to release a major studio film, “Pete’s Dragon.” There really might not be two filmmakers we’d rather hear chat filmmaking and SXSW than these two.
You ever feel like there’s basically ten minutes of hard information in a 60 minute panel? Then “90 Minute Film School” is for you. Six boiled down lessons and insights packed into a brisk 90 minutes. How festival exposure opens the door for DYI theatrical distribution, how do get your film on iTunes and Netflix, why is Hollywood getting away with making bad movies…these are just three of the six topics that will be covered.
The Big Short Monday, March 14 3:30PM – 4:30PM Austin Convention Center
The explosion of streaming video coupled with the prevalence of smartphones and tablets has created a demand and new marketplace for short films. Virtually every major media company is investing money in short form video content and as a result the short film is no longer just a calling card, but a hot commodity. SXSW has pulled together four plugged-in panelists from this new short world, and with Indiewire’s Anne Thompson moderating, you can guarantee this won’t be some fluff discussion.
What is the future of VR? It’s probably the biggest question in the entertainment world and for many no one has come closer to answering that question than pioneer artist Chris Milk. One year ago Milk made the case that VR could be used for good because it was the ultimate empathy machine. It was an argument so clear-eyed and passionate it literally framed the VR conversation for the entire year. One year later, many want to know what’s on Milk’s mind now.