Heading to SWSX: The Ocula Round Up

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Heading to SWSX: The Ocula Round Up

The South By Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festival is one of the largest global gatherings of creative minds every year. This sprawling festival in Austin, Texas caters to the audiences of the film, music, and technology industries – all meeting in the southern city to discuss what the forthcoming year holds.

From its very first conference in 1987, SXSW has grown in size every year. In fact, the 2017 event drew in more than 400,000 direct participants.

The event’s allure is undeniable.

SXSW presents an avenue for both students and professionals from around the world to talk shop, learn from industry leaders, watch film debuts, check out innovative technology, and enjoy mind-blowing musical performances.

By South by Southwest (https://www.sxsw.com/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What’s New For SXSW 2018?

From March 8 to March 18, thousands of attendees will descend upon various locations in Austin for this year’s roster of keynote speakers and panels. Including the SXSW Interactive, screenings of anticipated movies for SXSW Film, more than 2,000 artists performing for SXSW Music, and competitors pitching for the SXSW Accelerator.

Initial projections for this year’s festival were already pegged at 300,000 attendees.

For SXSW 2018, event organisers have made significant changes to make this year the best yet, including:

  • Fully-operational Lyft and Uber rides for attendees, as last year’s ride-hailing services were not as efficient as people expected them to be
  • Audio version of some sessions available the next day, with a Podcast Stage recording the events live
  • A suite of tools to help attendees navigate and access specific conference events
  • 900 hotel rooms and more conference rooms from The Fairmont Austin, the city’s largest hotel (provided, of course, that it opens on schedule)

Theme-wise, this year will see the very first free SXSW Wellness Expo, focusing on holistic health for its attendees.

Last year, politics under the Trump administration took centre stage. This year, you can expect the #metoo movement to be a hot topic among keynote speakers.

What The Ocula Team is Looking Forward To Seeing

SXSW has been on the Ocula radar for a long time, and this year we’re finally heading out.

We’ve been planning our itinerary since we booked our flights, and although it’s been tough to pick out a few highlights from a strong schedule, here’s our round-up of what we’re most excited about seeing at SXSW 2018.

Spike Lee’s Lecture

Joining a solid line-up of amazing storytellers and creative film visionaries is Oscar-winning director, writer, and producer Spike Lee.

The acclaimed director and outspoken activist continues to push socio-political critiques in his growing body of work, questioning mainstream stereotypes of gender identity, race, and class.

One of the most exciting directorial voices in Hollywood since his debut in 1983, Lee has continued to push the boundaries of both film, and now the small screen.

Lee’s lecture, preceded by the finale of his Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have It”, is scheduled on March 11.

Darren Aronofsky’s Keynote Speech

With a catalogue of critically acclaimed and diverse titles under his belt. The director of “Black Swan”, “Pi”, and “Requiem for a Dream” Darren Aronofsky’s keynote speech was one of our easiest choices.

According to Director of Film, Janet Pierson, the “mother!” director has been “an original since his first independent work.”

Arronofsky is expected to share his success story in his hour-long session on March 10.

Talks On Editing

The ‘invisible art’ of filmmaking, editing is one of the most important processes, not only in post-production but in making a film as a whole.

Editors are responsible for bringing together the entire movie—from gathering all the raw footages, selecting shots, and combining them into sequences that will engage the audience until the credits rolled.

Good editing is necessary to craft a film into a coherent whole, but great editing is what is necessary to elevate a film beyond narrative, and into art.

And it’s also necessary for making an excellent motion graphics video too.

This year, editors who have worked on a diverse range of films – from the technically to the narratively demanding, including Mary Jo Markey of Star Wars, and Sandra Adair from Boyhood – will come together on March 11. Discussing their collaborative relationships with directors, how to break the industry and insight into their own creative processes, this is something that we felt we just could not miss.

If you’re interested in attending other film-related workshops and lectures outside the realm of editing, you can click here to see the schedules and venues.

Alien Worlds: NASA’s Quest For Life

The endless possibilities of galaxies outside our own is something that continues to fascinate and intrigue us. You only have to look at some of the most successful films of the last few decades to see how Space continues to capture our imaginations.

It’s only possible to bring these intriguing worlds to life on Earth with the pioneering work of NASA.

At this year’s SXSW, NASA scientists will present their ongoing quest to look for extra-terrestrial life—detailing their missions to icy moons and distant planets. We look forward to seeing images and visualizations, as well as how this agency is making it possible for us on Earth to imagine a life outside it.

NASA’s hour-long session on Alien Worlds is scheduled on March 10.

Film and Storytelling In a Politically Charged Era

Art has always been a medium for the voiceless to create a space in which their stories and experiences can be heard.

Storytelling, in particular, has been an act of both resistance and healing for those who can find no solace in mainstream society.

The political situation in the United States and the ripple effects it is having, not only on the people within its own borders but on the rest of the world, is dangerous and potentially dire.

This panel of Directors and Executives seeks to find out whether there is a resolution to be found within the act of filmmaking, and how to navigate the making of a film within such a politically charged time.

Chris Albert (National Geographic), Wendy Cohen (Picture Motion), and Miura Kite (Participant Media) look to discuss how to effectively and empathetically tell the stories of those who have been affected by the political turmoil in the US, and the rest of the world.

Can the private and nonprofit sectors step up to give voices to the resistant and marginalised, whilst functioning within the profit-bearing business world?

Film + Storytelling in a Politically-Charged Era is scheduled for March 10.

Barry Jenkins’ Lecture

This isn’t his first dip in SXSW waters. Barry Jenkin’s “Medicine For Melancholy” first debuted in SXSW 2008, before making the New York Times’ list of the best films of 2009.

This Academy-winning director will detail his journey from his film debut in 2008 up to present success in his speech on March 11.

Get Ready for SXSW 2018

If you’re heading to Austin and want to ensure you don’t miss a single speech, download the SXSW app to let you stay on top of the week-and-a-half schedule or refer to the SXSW online calendar.

Set your goals prior to attending so you can maximize your stay in the city, whether that is to network, to launch your product, or simply soak up some knowledge. However, do be flexible with your expectations, since you may find a more interesting event once you get to the venue.

If you’re planning on catching any talks about motion graphics and want to learn more about the medium before you go, check out our blog.