South by Southwest (SXSW)

South by Southwest (SXSW)
Photo: sxsw.com
South by Southwest (SXSW) is a series of festivals and conferences dedicated to film, music and interactive media. The event takes place every March in the city of Austin, Texas. It features showcases, sessions, exhibitions, screenings, and networking opportunities for global professionals.

The history of the South by Southwest festival began in 1986, when the organizers of the New Music Seminar, a music conference and festival held in New York City, contacted Ronald Swenson, a journalist at The Austin Chronicle. They asked him to organize a daughter festival in Austin. Their plan fell through and the New Music Seminar Southwest never happened, but Swenson was already hooked on the idea of a new music festival held in Texas.

Swenson got two other people on his team and came up with the name South by Southwest, as a play on the name of the film North by Northwest by Alfred Hitchkock. The first festival took place in March 1987 and attracted over 700 attendees, although the organizers had expected about 150 people to show up.

In 1994, the program of SXSW expanded to include film and other media. The new component was named the SXSW Film and Multimedia Conference. As of 2017, the program of the festival consists of several main events: the SXSW Interactive Festival (formerly known as the SXSW Multimedia Festival), the SXSW Film Festival, the SXSW Music Festival, the SXSW Conference, and SXSW Comedy.

The SXSW Music Festival is one of the world’s largest and most influential music festivals. For example, its 2016 edition featured over 2,200 official performers and attracted about 30,000 music lovers. The festival lasts for a week and features a mix of up-and-coming and established artists. There are no genre restrictions so audiences can enjoy an impressive variety of musical styles in numerous venues around Austin. The program of the festival includes live performances, panels with musicians, parties, industry events, and more.

The SXSW Film Festival is known for the high quality and diversity of the films presented. Lasting for nine days, the festival focuses on celebrating emerging talent. Its programming ranges from independent films by up-and-coming filmmakers to genre standouts and high profile features. The program is divided into several sections such as Narrative Feature Competition, Documentary Feature Competition, Narrative Spotlight, Documentary Spotlight, Headliners, Visions, and more. Along with film screenings, the festival hosts seminars, discussions, workshops, and other events featuring film industry professionals.

The SXSW Interactive Festival is a five-day event focused on innovation that provides networking opportunities. It includes lectures, meetings, talks, exhibitions, award ceremonies, parties, and everything in between. The SXSW Conference is an event for global professionals dedicated to the latest in technology, culture and entertainment. Finally, SXSW Comedy is SXSW’s latest addition. It’s a series of events aimed to showcase exceptional emerging and established comedic talent.

South by Southwest (SXSW)

Photo: sxsw.com



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