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Festival Preview: Exploring SXSW's 2022 Online Offerings

An overview of highlights from SXSW Online 2022 with documentaries, talks and more.
SXSW Wall Copy of Red Riyer Wall,

Copy of Red Riyer Wall SXSW

While SXSW 2021 was held virtually, this year's festival, slated for March 11-20, 2022, will be a hybrid event featuring opportunities to partake of interactive, film, comedy, and music offerings both in person and online.

For those who cannot make it to Austin, Texas this year, the SXSW Online Pass enables one to partake in this festival via their electronic devices. The SXSW digital experience includes select offerings from:

  • Conference Keynotes, Featured Speakers, and Sessions
  • Music Festival Showcases & Events
  • Film Festival*, Screenings, and Q&As
  • Comedy Festival Showcases and Podcasts
  • SXSW Online XR
  • SXSW Online Exhibition
  • Networking Meet Ups and Other Opportunities
  • Professional Development
  • Mentor Sessions & Workshop

In building my SXSW schedule, here's some programming available online that I'm looking forward to catching on my iPad/iPhone.

Connecting Post-Covid

When I caught Priana Parker's chat at SXSW Online 2021, I found her insights regarding how to host events during an age of Covid to be insightful and on target. As the world opens up in 2022, I look forward to her reflections about how we can regain connections after an extended period of self-isolation.

Brene Brown

Brene Brown

Also, I'm looking forward to previewing HBO Max's new series Brené Brown: Atlas of the Heart. I listened to Brené's podcast at the start of the pandemic and found her words comforting for a spell.

Music Documentaries

Keynote addresses by Lizzo and Beck will be available for online viewing, along with the extensive lineup of musical documentaries is on par with SXSW's reputation as an international showcase for musical acts. Here's a few documentaries that stood out for me in particular.

1. I Get Knocked Down describes itself as a punk version of A Christmas Carol follows Dunstan Bruce, the former front-man of the anarchist band Chumbawamba, as he searches into his past for his long-lost anarchist mojo.

2. Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story celebrates the 50th anniversary of this festival by featuring some legends of the music industry along with archival footage of prior festivals.

Jazz Fest

Jazz Fest

3. Really Good Rejects highlights Rueben Cox, a creator of custom guitars for some of rock's biggest legends. Among the artists featured in this documentary include Jackson Browne, Carrie Brownstein, Aaron Dessner of The National, Jim James, Andrew Bird, and Perfume Genius.

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4 & 5. Still Working 9 to 5 and Seriously Red both pay tribute to musical legend Dolly Parton. In Seriously Red Rose Byrne portrays a woman who left her 9 to 5 job in a real estate to pursue a career as a Dolly impersonator. For a contemporary take on the role of women in the workplace, Still Working 9 to 5 explores why workplace inequality 40 years later is no longer a laughing matter.

Other profiles of musicians that caught my eye include Getting It Back: The Story Of Cymande, The Return of Tanya Tucker-featuring Brandi Carlile, The Mojo Manifesto: The Life and Times of Mojo Nixon, Santos-Skin to Skin, and Sheryl.

Other Selected Documentaries and Feature Films

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While most of the red carpet magic will place in Austin, here's a selection of online offerings with Hollywood star power.

1. Kids In The Hall: Comedy Punks chronicles the group's 40-year journey that encompasses their TV series, feature film, and tours, as well as their recently announced reboot for Prime Video.

2. The Last Movie Stars directed by Ethan Hawke offers a glimpse into the life and career of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, one of Hollywood's iconic power couples. The first chapter in this film, broken up into chapters, will be premiered at SXSW.

3. They Call Me Magic is a four-part docuseries unpacking the global impact of Earvin “Magic" Johnson’s life, both on and off the court. The first episode will be screened at SXSW before debuting on April 22, 2022 via Apple TV.

4. Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off offers an in-depth look at Hawk's life and career as a pioneer of modern vertical staking.

5. The Man Who Fell To Earth, based on the Walter Tevis novel and the iconic 1976 film starring David Bowie, features Chiwetel Ejiofor as a new alien character arriving on Earth.

6. Set in the near future DMZ, directed by Ava DuVernay, chronicles the journey of medic Alma Oretga (Rosario Dawson) as she sets out to find her son following the evacuation of New York City as a result of a bitter civil war.

Content Creation

As a writer, a major benefit for me in attending SXSW is discovering new ways of presenting my work within the context of an ever evolving media universe. Hence, I have a particular interest in these sessions: Connecting Web3 With the Real WorldCreating in a Shit Storm, The Future of Content, and Go Beyond Big 5 Streamers - Funders/Buyers Abroad. Other topics available at SXSW Online include climate change, psychedelics, gaming, health & medical tech, startups, and transportation for those looking to explore these subjects further.

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For those interested in exploring SXSW's online fare, the SXSW Online Pass is available for $489 and can be purchased here.

For those who missed out on SXSW Online, the SXSW After Pass available for $149. From now until April 17th, this after pass will give folks access to video on demand (VOD) for Conference Keynotes, Featured Speakers, SXSW Studio interviews, and over 100 Conference Sessions, select content from 59 Official Music Festival Showcases, review of the offerings at the SXSW Digital Creative Industries Expom, and access to SXSW Social to network with other attendees. 

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