SXSW 2024 Film Curtain Raiser

Having attended the first SXSW in 1987, several years before the film festival was spawned, the origins of SXSW took place in a single hotel conference room with tables set up promoting regional bands.

I was at a table pushing bands from Houston next to a table from Norman, Oklahoma promoting the long forgotten heavy metal rockers Angus Magnum.

Flash forward 37-years and the SXSW 2024 Film Festival is part of the largest conference in the world and includes music and interactive sections.

The whole point of a film festival is to achieve maximum buzz by connecting with live audiences. In 2024 the SXSW Film & TV Festival offers one of its strongest years marked by the addition of streamer movies and virtual reality demonstrations.

With over 100 premieres taking place from March 8 through March 16, 2023 it’s impossible to see everything. No matter how many great films you experience you’ll always read about something you missed the next day.

Recommended with extreme prejudice

Star power takes the front row with actors like Ryan Gosling (The Fall Guy, opening May 3) and Sydney Sweeney (Immaculate, opening March 22) scheduled to make appearances promoting their new films.

The SXSW website has director Doug Liman listed as appearing at the world premiere of Road House even though he’s distanced himself from the Amazon release.

Multiple documentaries offer unique perspectives on controversial personalities and musicians including Alex Jones, Stormy Daniels, Dory Previn, Cheech & Chong, and Billy Preston to name but a few.

Expect the unexpected at film festivals seems to be the modifier.

  • The Antisocial Network -Intriguing documentary about 4chan, conspiracy theories, and the people who habitat said websites. Rapid style editing and information overload provides watchable momentum.
  • Timestalker – Director and star Alice Lowe explores the eternal return of reincarnation in this story told over multiple time periods. Lowe will introduce the film.
  • The Idea of You – Anne Hathaway is now playing cougar roles, here falling in love with the lead singer of August Moon. Based on the novel by Robinne Lee. Is the double-standard still a thing?
  • Sasquatch Sunset – Story of a family of Bigfoots who must adjust to encroaching society. Riley Keough and Jesse Eisenberg star.
  • Clemente – Documentary traces the life and death of baseball great Roberto Clemente who died on a humanitarian mission.
  • Ren Faire – First episode premiere of a three-part HBO doc on the Texas Renaissance Festival .
  • Backspot – Teen All Star Sports competition told through the eyes of a queer athlete.
  • An Army of Women – Engrossing doc focuses on class-action lawsuit brought by rape victims in Austin.
  • Grand Theft Hamlet – Dissolute youths stage a theater production within the confines of game Grand Theft Auto.
  • Secret Mall Apartment – Rhode Island set documentary  about a hidden space in a mall where people secretly lived for several years.
  • Resonator – Alison Tavel’s father invented the “Resynator” a synthesizer that takes an instrument and changes its voice. Cameos from rock stars as well as people you’ve never heard of along with many unexpected emotional moments give the doc heft.
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