History

Pee Wee Herman at SXSW 2011

South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival - For the Working Filmmaker, Industry Pro and Film Fan Alike.

    "The festival is a place where emerging artists grow up, speak out, and try new experiences. It's a party thrown by the same people who crash it — not just a haven for distinctive American creativity but an arena to unleash its id.

IndieWIRE, March 7, 2014

Film and Austin

In March of 1987, the SXSW Music Conference and Festival kicked off its first year in downtown Austin. While SXSW Film was officially launched seven years later in 1994 (as the “SXSW Film and Multimedia Conference”), the spirit behind it was born much earlier. The prolific and passionate Austin film community was a solid foundation for SXSW Film, and it continues to nourish the Festival and Conference today. Since its inception, SXSW has maintained a steady agenda: to provide a forum for new voices in filmmaking, a community where filmmakers can celebrate and support one another, and a source of discovery for the future of film. Having become the destination for the game-changing buzz every filmmaker dreams of, SXSW has hit its stride with a distinct identity that sets it apart from other film festivals.

    “The South By Southwest film festival is a story within a story, a film festival that continues to grow in size and influence within a larger festival that itself grows exponentially larger and more influential with each passing year.

The Dissolve, March 14, 2014

The Film Conference & Festival

The Conference portion of SXSW Film has been described as a five-day crash course on filmmaking and marketing for every level of filmmaker, from novice to veteran. Keynotes, Featured Conversations and group sessions and are peopled with knowledgeable experts and entertaining speakers, offering unique access to the best and the brightest in the industry. Specialized sessions such as hands-on workshops and one-on-one meetings in the Mentor Program further distinguish the intimacy and access of the SXSW experience.

Simultaneously, the internationally acclaimed Film Festival program runs nine full days and celebrates raw innovation and emerging talent both behind and in front of the camera, featuring provocative documentaries, comedies, genre standouts and more. Highly anticipated and prestigious-without-being-stuffy event, SXSW Film Festival has become known for both the high caliber and diversity of films presented and for smart, enthusiastic audiences.

The SXSW Film Awards take place on the final night of the conference, and honor films selected by the Feature and Short Film Juries. Recent years have seen the introduction of the SXSW Film Design Awards, honoring Excellence in Poster and Title Design, and Louis Black Lonestar and Gamechanger Special Awards. On the final night of the Festival we announce the Audience Awards in each category, chosen by ballot (excluding Headliners & Special Events categories).

    “While South by Southwest seems to get bigger ... each year, the intent of the festival, to honor a wide array of genres and give midnight movies and marginal, nerdy fare as much attention as prestige pics, has remained strong. This is a festival where Lena Dunham can give a keynote address on how her micro-budgeted independent movies led her to crossover to mainstream success and at the same time gore-covered geeks can stomp around a convention center pretending to be zombies. There’s something beautiful about that. Something calming. Something that can only be described as distinctly… South by.”

Studio System News, March 18, 2014

It Doesn’t Stop There!

In addition to presenting the best in new independent films and providing informative panels, workshops, and mentor sessions, SXSW provides an industry trade show exhibition. This unique, four-day exhibition connects leaders in the Music, Film and Interactive industries with the companies and agencies crucial to success in modern media.

    In a saturated festival landscape, SXSW has long distinguished itself through a grounding sense of community and accessibility .”

Filmmaker Magazine, September 3, 2013

Photo by Jay Conlon