The Festival

This year’s SXSW online took place March 16th-20th. So, I bought a pass and was very distracted trying to juggle fifty sessions that all aired at 11:15 a.m. on Day 1 and then played catch up all week trying to fit the ones I missed in between other very interesting sessions which thereby resulted in missing nearly all of the movies I wanted to see but I got to see a few good bands! So, ya know, pretty similar to in person!! Great diversity of panels this year – many on the state of the music industry and what’s next for our venues, and I really enjoyed the streaming channel guide format on the app. Looking forward to next year and hoping they keep this around, especially the accessible price point which I’m sure allowed more folks to join the fun who maybe have been pushed out for years due to the high cost 🙃

Something I’d like to see next as we find a happy hybrid between the virtual and IRL – live panel broadcasts alongside the recorded Zooms. Because there’s nothing like watching the team up there on stage in their chairs or standing around, holding mics, laughing and remembering and being friends, ya know. So, here’s to the future of festival making 🥂

The Films

Usually, when I’d attend in person like ten years ago, I bought a film pass. So, I’d go see bands and panels during the day but the film schedule took priority over everything else. However, considering this year’s virtual pass was all-encompassing (film, interactive, and music), I wanted to fit in as much learning as possible which resulted in mostly catching the interviews with the filmmakers speaking on their process of creating during COVID, but then didn’t get to see all of their films in time because by nighttime my brain and eyeballs were too tired :/ So, I made a list on Letterboxd and now I have my own mini-festival to look forward to! Maybe next year they can keep the films around until Sunday? Anyway, psyched for:

#1. How it Ends

Writers, Directors: Zoe Lister-Jones, Daryl Wein / DPs: Daryl Wein, Tyler Beus / Editors: Daryl Wein, Libby Cuenin / Composer: Ryan MillerStarring: Zoe Lister-Jones, Cailee Spaeny, Whitney Cummings.

What’s it About?: “On the last day on Earth, one woman goes on a journey through LA to make it to her last party before the world ends, running into an eclectic cast of characters along the way.” – via Letterboxd.

#2. Language Lessons

Writers: Mark Duplass, Natalie Morales / Director: Natalie Morales / DP: Jeremy Mackie / Editor: Aleshka Ferrero / Composer: Gabby MorenoStarring: Natalie Morales, Mark Duplass, Desean Terry.

What’s it About?: “A Spanish teacher and her student develop an unexpected friendship.” – via Letterboxd.

#3. Recovery

Writers: Mallory Everton, Whitney Call / Directors: Mallory Everton, Stephen Meek. / DP: Brenna Empey / Editor: Mallory Everton, Stephen MeekStarring: Whitney Call, Mallory Everton, Julia Jolley.

What’s it About?: “Two directionless sisters brave a cross-country road trip to rescue their grandmother from a COVID outbreak at her nursing home.” via Letterboxd.

#4. Islands

Writer, Director: Martin Edralin / DP: Diego Guijarro / Editor: Bryan AtkinsonStarring: Vangie Alcasid, Rogelio Balagtas, Esteban Comilang.

What’s it About?: “Joshua, a shy Filipino immigrant on the cusp of 50, has lived in the comfort of his parents’ home his entire life. With his parents now in old age, he pleads with God for a companion, terrified of being alone after they pass.” via Letterboxd.

#5. Introducing, Selma Blair

Director: Rachel Fleit. Starring: Selma Blair.

What’s it About?: “In a quest to take control of her personal health, actor Selma Blair adapts to new ways of living while pursuing an experimental medical procedure, after revealing her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in 2018.” via Letterboxd.

The Music

The music lineup was stacked and very cooly produced with bands playing out of various garages and driveways and landscapes across the world. I really didn’t get to see as many bands as I’d hoped 😭 but here are other live performances of the best bands I did catch:

#1. Blushing

#2. Van Mary

#3. Grrrl Gang

#4. Drinking Boys and Girls Choir

#5. Otoboke Beaver

Stay tuned for a special edition of New Digs this weekend featuring the full list of bands we’re into from this year’s festival on Spotify and Apple Music.

Thanks for reading. Hope to see you next year!



Posted by:cj

One thought on “SXSW 2021: 5 Films to see, 5 Bands to Watch.

  1. Pingback: New Digs – March

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