During SXSW, parts of our city seem unrecognizable. And sometimes, the festival itself can be downright confusing. Luckily, Janet Pierson, Head of SXSW Film, provided us with helpful answers to some of the most common SX questions. Below is valuable information from Pierson and the SXSW website.
Where Can I See the SXSW Film Schedule?
The SXSW Film Festival takes place from March 11-19, 2016. The SXSW website and SXSW GO app both have searchable schedules.
Can I Get In?
SXSW Badget Pickup at Austin Convention Center
SXSW badge pick-up at Austin Convention Center
Badgeholders get first priority (after filmmakers) when it comes to entering the theater, and those who snagged a SXXpress pass will be let in first. (SXXpress passes can only be requested and obtained at the Austin Convention Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the day of the film showing.)
Moviegoers with wristbands are allowed entry next. The full $95 SXSW Film Wristband is good for all screenings for all nine days of the festival. This year, a 2nd Half Film Wristband is also available. This pass is good from March 15-19 and can be purchased for $65. As of this writing, wristbands are still available here.
Finally, individual tickets (priced at $12) become available roughly 15 minutes before showtime. Look for the Rush/Tickets line at the venue.
But Can I Actually Get In?
Paramount Theatre Line During SXSW Film
Moviegoers stand in line at the Paramount Theatre during SXSW Film (Credit: Steve via Flickr CC)
The Virtual Venue Status Board is online, on the SXSW GO app and on monitors at some venues. By using a red, yellow and green light system, the board lets hopeful viewers know what their odds are of catching the film. There will also be cue cards you can look for while checking the lines at the venue.
Conan O'Brien SXSW Film
Conan O’Brien outside Paramount Theatre during SXSW Film (Credit: Steve via Flickr CC)
Pierson shares: “We’re showing films in a lot of different venues, which gives you plenty of opportunities. And remember, the film festival lasts for nine long days, with screenings starting around 11 a.m. in the morning and running through midnight. Except for the hottest few shows, the Paramount often has plenty of room, as does the Topfer [at Zach Theatre] and Vimeo. Note that the Vimeo is now in the Austin Convention Center by the corner of Red River/Cesar Chavez. Make sure to check out films at the Rollins, the Long Center and four screens at the Alamo South Lamar. The Alamo Ritz tends to be the theatre that sells out first, but if you plan ahead, or decide to check it out last minute on the fly, you might get lucky.
“We also screen films at two venues outside the downtown footprint especially for Austin residents who don’t want to come into the downtown area. The Alamo Slaughter and Marchesa each have a great range of SXSW Film Festival programming and usually plenty of seats are available.”
Is Anything Free?
March 12-14, free films open to the public will play on the Long Center Terrace (701 W. Riverside Dr.). This includes a showing of the cult classic “Darkon,” “Smokey and the Bandit” introduced by Burt Reynolds himself, and a celebration of the “Powerpuff Girls” reboot.
More free events can be found here.
SXSW: Part of Home
Alive and Kicking Swing Dance Film
Still from “Alive and Kicking,” a film about swing dancing that was shot in Texas
Despite the crowds, Austin is still our loveable home during SXSW. Coincidentally, a major theme in SXSW Film this year is “going home,” as the notion of finding or returning to one’s roots occurs in many of the selected films.
As Pierson shares: “The part of SXSW that feels quintessentially Austin to me is the [combination] of creatives (music, film, tech) mixing it up together in an informal, democratic fashion. And when we’re lucky, it’s with the sun shining down.”
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