PanelPicker: Tapping into the Wisdom of the SXSW Community

The PanelPicker is a two-step online process that allows the SXSW community to have a voice in what sessions are scheduled at the SXSW Film Festival. First launched for SXSW Film in 2010, the PanelPicker allows the community to submit, review, comment and vote on the speaking proposals that they want to see become a part of the event. 

Got a Great Session Idea for the 2015 SXSW Film Festival?

The SXSW PanelPicker entry process for March 2015 is open from Tuesday, July 1 through Friday, July 25, 2014.

Click here for the SXSW PanelPicker FAQ.


The History – First Launched in 2007

Over the years, many of the most compelling panels and presentations for SXSW have come directly from our community. This process was formalized for SXSW Interactive in 2007 with the PanelPicker, an innovative online tool developed to offer the community the chance to become a greater part of SXSW, not only by submitting programming ideas, but also by reviewing, commenting and voting for those ideas they most want to see become a part of the event. In 2010, SXSW extended PanelPicker to include panel submission ideas for all three annual industry events (Music, Film, and Interactive), further enhancing the opportunity for the intersection of creative and professional minds at SXSW.

The Application Process

During the open application process, we encourage the community to upload proposals for panels, solo presentations, Book Readings, core conversations, etc. This application process is simple. Go to panelpicker.sxsw.com, select the correct conference for your presentation idea (Music, Film or Interactive), read the PanelPicker FAQ and fill out the form. About a month after the application deadline, all ideas received will be posted such that the online community can vote on which proposals they think are the best fit for the March event.

The SXSW PanelPicker Voting Process

During the voting process, we ask the SXSW community to weigh in on the proposals we have received for the upcoming season. Go to the PanelPicker, create an account and get ready to vote beginning Monday, August 11 through Friday, September 5, 2014. Each voter can vote once per proposal. Don't forget to leave a constructive comment about what you do or do not like about the proposals you vote on.

The Decision - Voting + Staff + Advisory Board

While voting from the community is important, these totals are not the only factor in deciding SXSW programing. Also playing a large role in the decision-making process are the SXSW Advisory Boards and the SXSW staff. As illustrated by the graph at right, each of these three channels informs a percentage in determining the content lineup.

You – 30%

Who knows what you want to see at SXSW better than you? Your input matters.

SXSW Advisory Board – 40 %

A group of more than 50 new media professionals at the forefront of the tech industry from the U.S. and around the world, the SXSW Advisory board provides significant feedback on all submissions.

SXSW Staff – 30 %

With years of experience programming this event, the SXSW staff weighs in with feedback and works to fill in any gaps in subject matter, strike a balance between new and veteran speakers, and research each presenter’s history and online presence.

The Competition

As the community continues to grow, in both size and significance, competition for panel slots in the 2015 SXSW Film Festival lineup is going to be tough. However, whatever the outcome, SXSW will be the place to be in March, providing unparalleled access to the expertise of the innovators, creatives and forward-thinkers that make the SXSW Film Conference and Festival such a powerful, influential event. Additional information about the PanelPicker can be found PanelPicker FAQ.