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By Mark Bell | October 15, 2013

The 2014 SXSW Film Conference and Festival, taking place March 7–15, 2014, has announced its keynote speakers and first wave of panel programming. From the official press release:

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival revealed today that daily Keynote sessions, offered for the first time, will feature visionary filmmakers Lena Dunham, Jason Blum and Casey Neistat. Also announced were the first batch of confirmed panels, workshops and Digital Domain sessions for 2014, and the all-new Future 15 track. These sessions join the previously announced content for the new SXsports, including Mandalay Sports Media’s Peter Guber and ESPN’s Bill Simmons & Nate Silver in conversation. The SXSW Film Conference and Festival will take place March 7 – 15, 2014 in Austin, Texas.

“Though our conference has long featured dynamic speakers, we’re kicking it to a new level this year. By adding a daily Keynote, we aspire to further highlight and draw all eyes to creators who impact our culture in diverse and fascinating ways,” said Head of SXSW Film Janet Pierson. “Our first three keynotes epitomize the root of what SXSW Film stands for: singular vision, DIY creation, and gleefully coloring outside the established lines.”

In addition to nine full days of film screenings, SXSW Film will ultimately feature over 150 informative and entertaining featured Keynotes, Conversations, panels, workshops and mentor sessions. The program presents topics that cover the film spectrum, with an emphasis on the intersection of the Film and Interactive worlds. 2013 participants included creative leaders and industry experts, as well as talent like Joss Whedon, Matthew McConaughey and Danny Boyle. The final Film Keynote speaker and complete Conference lineup, additional major featured Conversations and a multitude of Convergence sessions (open to both Film + Interactive registrants) will be announced in early 2014. For more information visit

Keynote Speakers (NEW FOR 2014)
These speakers embody the DIY spirit, ingenuity and entrepreneurial drive that SXSW uniquely cultivates.  Each Keynote session, held at 11:00am from Saturday, March 8 – Tuesday, March 11, 2014, aims to galvanize and empower our audience to do the same.   

Jason Blum
Jason Blum is the founder and CEO of Blumhouse Productions, a multi-media production company that has pioneered a new model of studio filmmaking – producing high-quality micro-budget films for wide release. Since its launch in 2000, Blumhouse has produced more than 30 feature films including the highly-profitable Paranormal Activity and Insidious franchises, The Purge and Sinister. Blumhouse’s recent films include The Purge, under its first-look deal with Universal Pictures, which opened to more than $34 million with a budget of just $3 million and Insidious: Chapter Two which opened to over $ 40 million with just a $5m budget.

Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham stars in the HBO series, Girls, which she created and serves as executive producer, writer, and director. A two-time Golden Globe winner, Dunham made history as the first female director to win a DGA Award for “Television Comedy Series.” Additionally, for Girls she received 7 Emmy® nominations, was honored by AFI as one of the best “TV Programs of the Year,” and won a WGA Award for “Best New Series.” In 2010, her feature Tiny Furniture world premiered at SXSW, winning the Jury Award, and ultimately earning her an Independent Spirit Award for “Best First Screenplay.”

Casey Neistat
Casey Neistat is a New York-based filmmaker. He is the writer, director, editor and star of the series The Neistat Brothers on HBO and won the John Cassavetes Award at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards for producing the film Daddy Long Legs. His main body of work includes dozens of short films he has released exclusively on the Internet. His first job in New York City was as a bike messenger.

Submitted and selected in part via the SXSW PanelPicker™, the first confirmed Panel, Workshop, Future 15, Meet Up, Digital Domain and SXsports sessions for the 2014 SXSW Film Conference are:

Offer essential insight into the art, business and industry of film and media, delivered by the people in the trenches. Generally consist of two to four panelists and a moderator, and range from beginner to advanced level, across a range of subjects.

  • 5 Lessons Learned from Movie Studios on How to Market Your Movie
    (Organized by Kevin Winston / Digital Wellbeing Labs)
  • All About Hidden Camera & Investigative Reporting (CLE Session)
    (Organized by Nels Jacobson)
  • After Wrap: Finding The Right Distribution Partner
    (Organized by Elizabeth Sheldon / Kino Lorber)
  • Building A Social Media “Duck” Dynasty
    (Organized by Elizabeth Lloyd / A&E Networks)
  • Coogler & Vogt-Roberts process WTF just happened
    (Organized by Jordan Vogt-Roberts / No-Sleep-A-Thon)
  • A Discussion on Viral Content with RSA Films
    (Organized by Ed Wise / RSA Films)
  • How NOT To Produce Movies
    (Organized by Matthew Mills / Spacestation Media)
  • Parlay Your Skills Beyond the Screen
    (Organized by Erin Essenmacher / National Association of Corporate Directors)
  • The Smartest Dumbass: Interactive vs. Film
    (Organized by Myles Bender)
  • Sound & Story with Skywalker Sound
    (Organized by Zoe Leverant / Skywalker Sound)
  • Stories wanted. An explosion of opportunity.
    (Organized by Eric Shamlin / TCX)
  • What Filmmakers Can Learn From the Music Industry (CLE Session)
    (Organized by Nels Jacobson)
  • Working remotely – making films across states
    (Organized by PJ Raval / Unraval Pictures)

Future15 (NEW FOR 2014)
Related to a single theme and grouped into blocks of one to two-hour sessions, these 12-minute solo presentations feature the wisdom of top industry experts. After the speaker’s 12-minute timeframe has expired, the next speaker takes the stage three minutes later. Popular at SXSW Interactive for years, this is the first time Future 15s will be offered at SXSW Film.

  • The Art of the Hustle/Hustling for Art: Kickstarter + Indie Filmmaking
    (Organized by Elisabeth Holm / Kickstarter)
  • Crowdfund a Simple Idea to the Silver Screen
    (Organized by John Trigonis / Indiegogo)
  • The Digital Recession
    (Organized by Jim Cummings / Ornana Films)
  • How Subscription VOD Changed the Distribution Game
    (Organized by Chris Horton / Sundance Institute)
  • Small Time Theatrical Distribution
    (Organized by Benjamin Crossley-Marra / Zeitgeist Films)

Digital Domain
With an eye on the future, exploring web series, interactive documentaries, apps, rich media projects, data visualization and infographics, web generated content and many other innovative avenues of creation.

  • Interview with The Goggles: Immersive Storytelling
    (Organized by Swanna MacNair / Electric Yarn)
  • McLaren Workshop:  From catalogue to KILLER App
    (Organized by Lorne Price / National Film Board of Canada)
  • New Narratives: Building An Interactive Storyworld
    (Organized by Karim Ahmad / The Independent Television Service)
  • Unbranded: Whole Foods and Mission Driven Docs
    (Organized by Caitlin Riley / Whole Foods Market)

Sessions providing access to industry experts and offering practical knowledge and inspiration in the form of hands-on experience.

  • How To Book Your Next Audition
    (Organized by Rochelle Rose / Screen Actors Guild)
  • How to Shoot Stunts and Action on a Budget
    (Organized by Val Gameiro / TXSTAR Entertainment Inc)
  • U.S. Immigration Options for Film Professionals
    (Organized by Sharon Brenner / Surowitz Immigration P.C.)

SXsports (NEW FOR 2014)
The Convergent sports-focused track is open to all Film and Interactive registrants, and will take place Friday, March 7 through Sunday, March 9, 2014 in Austin. SXsports will incorporate film screenings and panel elements, and touch on all aspects of sports through the SXSW lens of culture, media and innovation.

  • Arena vs. Couch: The Battle of Game Day Experience
    (Bob Morgan, SportStream, Jordan Maleh, University of Michigan, Bryan Srabian,San Francisco Giants)
  • The End Game: Storytelling Through Sports
    (Panelists TBA)
  • Fanalytics: How to Get Moneyball on Anything
    (Organized by Lee Mooney / Barclays)
  • Innovation in Big-Time College Football
    (Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech University & George Schroeder, USA TODAY Sports)
  • Media & the Personal Brand: Grantland & 538
    (Bill Simmons, Grantland & Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight)
  • Notre Dame and Spotify: Our Playlist, Our Story
    (Organized by Jordan Gremli / Spotify)
  • Opening Featured Speaker: Hunting for Elephants: Creating Enterprise Value in Sports Media
    Peter Guber, Chairman, Mandalay Sports Media
  • The Printed Athlete: Sports Embraces 3D Printing
    (Jeff Beckham & Mike Vasquez, Tribal Sciences)
  • What’s New in Fantasy Sports
    (Organized by Clay Walker / USA TODAY)

Meet Ups
These popular and highly- focused sessions are typically identified by a skill-set or by a particular interest.

  • Alt distribution: let’s build a network in 60 min
    (Organized by Don Downie / Small Medium Extra Large)

Additional categories of SXSW Film Conference programming still to be announced include:

Featuring iconic filmmakers, actors and industry leaders, moderated by a noted journalist, academic or fellow creative.

Whether exploring the future of television, the nature of entertainment or expanding channels of distribution and more, these sessions embrace and highlight the interaction of the film and digital worlds. Open to Film and Interactive registrants.

Meet the Insiders
Vital discussions on the innovations and developments within the world of Film. Each hour-long session will feature two industry insiders: Moderators will start with a 40-minute Q&A with both participants, followed by 20 minutes of open discussion and questions from the audience with both Insiders.

Valuable one-on-one interaction with a range of experts, and the opportunity to gain essential insight into burning questions to help advance your career.

Come & Capture Film Factory
Allows participants to explore and interact with the newest tools for capturing and creating content. Each day will begin with panel discussions, workshops, and demos, and round out with the opportunity for registrants to tinker with a pavilion of products.

Film Startup Alley
Meet the entrepreneurs and investors shaping the future of the entertainment industry. Featuring engaging panels and unique networking opportunities with trailblazing entrepreneurs and expert investors as well as demos from new entertainment startups.

The SXSW PanelPicker™ is an innovative online tool that allows the SXSW community to have a significant voice in programming Music, Film, and Interactive conference activities (panels, presentations, discussions, etc.) through an open proposal and voting process.  Votes from the community, along with feedback from SXSW Advisory Boards and the SXSW staff, help determine programming for the 2014 event.  For more information on the SXSW PanelPicker™, visit

SXSW Film is still accepting film submissions from filmmakers hoping for the opportunity to screen their films at this renowned destination for discovery. Submissions are only accepted online via the official SXSW website at and in the following categories: Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Narrative Short, Documentary Short, Animated Short, Music Video and Title Sequence. The drop-dead submission deadline is Thursday, November 14, 2013. Complete rules and regulations can be found at

SXSW is proud to be an official qualifying festival for the Academy Awards® Short Film competition. The Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short and Best Animated Short winners become eligible for the Academy Awards.

As always, to take full advantage of the full range of sessions at SXSW Film, you must register for a Film, Gold or Platinum badge at Join us March 7-15, 2014 for unparalleled access to these energetic panels, exceptional films, exciting parties, the SXSW Trade Show and, of course, a creative and inspirational experience that only SXSW can deliver. Be sure to register soon, and gain access to conveniently located hotels. Register by 11:59pm CST on Friday, October 18 and save up to 30% off the walk-up rate.

SXSW 2014 is sponsored by Miller Lite, Monster Energy, Esurance, Chevrolet, AT&T and The Austin Chronicle.

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