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SXSW – More than a Direction

(First published on blogcritics.org)

SXSW – South by South West: It sounds like a direction or maybe a new Johnny Depp pirate movie. But, in Austin, it’s a lot more.

SXSW is an amazing combination of music, film, and interactive media (as in computer and games) which takes place in the capital of Texas each spring, this year from March 9 to 18.

As a veteran of COMDEX, CES, and the Los Angeles Film Festival, I was prepared to be LA-snooty when I started to investigate this conference in a fly-over state. My snootiness disappeared when I took a look at the schedule. I was blown away.

SXSW Interactive (March 9-13) features presentations by innovators and industry leaders and facilitates connecting entrepreneurs with investors. It also features presentations on the best new websites, digital projects, wireless applications, video games, and start-ups. This main course is surrounded by condiments that include the Interactive Awards, a trade show, and gaming tournaments at the ScreenBurn Arcade.

SXSW Film (March 9-17) will feature a total of 132 films, including 74 world premieres, 17 North American premieres, and 11 U.S. premieres, with 58 films from first-time directors. The 12 shorts programs will include 138 short films. The film festival kicks off with the world premiere of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods,

SXSW Music (March 13-18) features a keynote by Bruce Springsteen which will anchor four days of panels, interviews, workshops, peer meetings, music gear expo, and a trade show exhibition. After a full day of events at the Austin Convention Center, attendees move out to the city’s many music venues for a festival which showcases over 2,000 acts from over 55 countries on 90 stages throughout downtown Austin.

Besides that, not much is happening in Austin in mid-March.

So, it turns out that SXSW is a direction. In fact, it’s lots of new directions, for computers, film, and music. I’ll be writing articles during SXSW Interactive and SXSW Film. Music is outside my realm of expertise, but, who knows, I might sneak into a concert.

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