South by Southwest is returning for a hybrid event after canceling with a one-week notice in 2020 and pivoting to fully online 2021. With Omnicron changing plans for Sundance, like the trendsetters they are, SXSW will be one of the first internationally recognized, large, in-person festivals and online film festivals in the United States.
The 2022 SXSW Film Festival runs from March 11th to the 19th and always brings a collective mix of exciting events, spontaneous moments, and entertaining movies. I am eager to attend an in-person SXSW. Besides fleeing the nippy Colorado winter, I appreciate spending time in Austin, TX. It is like a Spring Break for this tech-savvy, trend-forward film nerd like me to discover a new movie (Except the first day when it is rainy and highs in the low 40s!). Here is what I am eagerly expecting from this year’s SXSW event, with a flashback to previous years with photos.
The Movies Obviously
Where to start? There are many movies to watch, from splashy world premieres at the Paramount Theatre, festival favorites looking to continue their buzz, and smaller movies waiting to be discovered. My first year was when Short Term 12 and 12 O’Clock Boys won awards, so I’m looking forward to true indies.
I am looking forward to the smaller films (The Pez Outlaw, Gabby Giffords Won’t back down, Spin Me Round, Linoleum, I Love My Dad, Still Working 9 to 5, Spaz) just as much as the bigger movies (Apollo 10 1/2, Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Lost City, The Unbearable Weight of Mass Talent). I try to keep my eye on breakouts that I could miss by scanning Letterboxd and Twitter, too.
Socializing and Networking
As someone who is extroverted, SXSW is the festival to connect with old friends or new people. Meeting people from Film Twitter “IRL” is always a highlight of in-person film events, and I appreciate it more as Covid subsides. I have had some of the best conversations with film writers at events. From my experience, it is a way to de-escalate any tension from online discourse. Also, a conversation with people in the movie industry and brand marketing is an excellent opportunity to network or catch up.
After working in conference planning, I never looked at panels, breakout discussions, and keynote speakers the same way. They are consistently engaging, thought-provoking, and inspiring. I recommend people in the movie industry attend a few talks. Imagining what the future of technology could hold and the movie viewing practices usually garner my attention! Subjects arrange from marketing trends, data, new journalism trends, distribution, inclusivity, pop culture, etc.
As an event geek with a marketing background, I love the immersive way of going experiential. You take back swag and memories. The sponsors and other brands have a way of incorporating their products and taking them to the next level. I anticipate visiting some of the more distinctive campaigns (related to movies, media, TV, or pop culture, of course). We will see what things like Peacock, Amazon, Warner Media, or National Geographic might have in store, too. And I will see what this blockchain NFT thing is about.
I am very excited to be in Austin for another SXSW.