SXSW Finds New Talent And Quietly Embraces Its Industry Fans

Once an addendum to the overlapping music event, the SXSW Film Festival solidified itself in the top tier of U.S. film events in the mid-2000s after specialty distributors made it an annual mainstay. And they have been coming back.

SXSW’s not-so-secret trump card may be its overlapping music and tech-centric Interactive events. The throngs of people who attend all three big events certainly exacerbate the annual challenge of finding hotel rooms, making flight reservations and even getting a place to eat in downtown Austin, but the energy of thousands who come to the city has not only been a boon to the festival’s bottom line (it is a for-profit enterprise), but it has developed a creative dynamic that is rarely matched. And clearly so-called Indiewood and beyond have embraced the festival.

“(SXSW) almost always has the most recent innovation and all of a sudden, in the post-Twitter blow up, there were huge groups of people who had never been there going to these three siblings, Music, Film and Interactive,” said Tom Quinn, co-president of new Weinstein Company label Radius. “On any given night it’s hard to tell what is the lifeblood, but from a distributor POV it’s fascinating to see.” Quinn first attended SXSW eight years ago as an exec at Magnolia Pictures, picking up sci-fi feature Monsters at the festival in 2010, one of a number of watershed moments that has kept the event on the map.

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