SXSW PODCAST: Are Festivals Old-Fashioned?


The Google Village in Downtown Austin today.


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Are film festivals old-fashioned? According to Film Threat's Mark Bell they are. He joined today's roundtable for our third Film Society of Lincoln Center & KUT podcast at SXSW to share his views on the direction of indie film.

Bell said that the availability of digital distribution platforms is enabling filmmakers to forego the festival circuit to reach an audience directly. He's reviewing films that he likes often ahead of festival exposure. If you just follow films at festivals, you aren't getting the full story, Bell explained. You have to follow social media.

"The independent festival film world today -- whether it's in America or worldwide -- it's kind of everywhere," Mark Bell elaborated today, "Just look around and follow Twitter, follow Facebook," he added, "Keep your ears open. For the most part it's so much more than a festival focused scenario."

Of course, this conversation happened at a bustling festival and conference that grows each year. People are clearly still relying on the festival model.

Weaving the jammed SXSW Interactive conference into the conversation, Brian Clark from GMD Studios noted that the gathering is crucial for the individuals who are travelling here to Austin for the event. Especially if they are lone creatives who are working to build products, programs or just their own social networks.

"Digital entrepreneurs and storytellers are coming together and realizing they aren't alone," Clark noted, calling this moment "a creative revolution unlike any we've seen in 100 years." He reiterated, "People are coming here to find like-minded souls," Brian Clark said, even as he worried that the proliferation of corporate brands that have set up shop here in Austin without enough of a connection to that creative spirit.

So how is the SXSW experience still valuable to a veteran like Clark, who came to SXSW for the first time in 1990 when it was doing the same thing for the music community? The answer? New people.

"It's all the new faces that are the reasons why we're here," Brian Clark said referring to those emerging on both the film and tech sides of SXSW.

"That's what I am trying to do here at South By," Clark elaborated, "Finding opportunities to put myself in rooms full of people that I don't know to ask them what they do. And every single time I walk away amazed."

Eugene Hernandez is the Director of Digital Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and a founder of indieWIRE. Follow him on Twitter from SXSW (@eug)

The Daily Buzz crew at SXSW: Eugene Hernandez | Irene Cho | Lansia Wann | Matthew Young | Kevin Arthofer | Melissa Mobley

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The Daily Buzz With Eugene Hernandez is in Austin to capture the latest from the South by Southwest Film Festival, including a taste of this year’s bustling Interactive conference.

Produced with the support of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, The Daily Buzz is presented daily in Texas with KUT 90.5 FM and the Alamo Drafthouse. Recorded at the Alamo’s newest venue, Midnight Cowboy (313 East 6th Street) the show features conversations with filmmakers from SXSW, as well as insights from industry veterans and journalists.

The Daily Buzz is supported online by KUT, Austin’s local NPR affiliate, as part of their daily online coverage of SXSW at kut.org and hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center at FilmLinc.com.

Daily Buzz guests for March 11

Hot Topic Roundtable
Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
Mark Bell, Film Threat
David Hudson, Mubi.com
Farihah Zeman, Huffington Post

Filmmakers
Director Jonas Akerlund, Small Apartments
Actor Johnny Knoxville, Small Apartments
Writer Chris Millis, Small Apartments
Ashley Sabin, Girl Model
David Redmon, Girl Model

Veteran
Brian Clark, GMD Studios

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