Festival

National Geographic Channel heads to Austin for 2015 SXSW Interactive Festival

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With all the excitement building up with all the films premiering at 2015 SXSW Film Festival, let’s not forgot that happening around the same time is the 2015 SXSW Interactive Festival. The Interactive Festival is the perfect event to showcase emerging technology advances and how it can improve our lifestyle. One of the companies showcasing at this years festival is the National Geographic Channel.

Next week, March 14-17, National Geographic Channel heads back to Austin, with multiple events during SXSW Interactive tackling a wide range of topics, all under the banner of adventure and exploration. Boasting the network’s biggest presence at the conference to date, NGC will spotlight four of its most exciting new and returning programs: new late-night talk series StarTalk With Neil deGrasse Tyson, new big data series The Big Picture With Kal Penn, hit series Life Below Zero and the miniseries event American Genius.

March 14-16: “Escape the Cold” with Life Below Zero’s Sue Aikens

First up, March 14-16, NGC will test the ingenuity of SXSW-goers with a race against the clock in an effort to “Escape the Cold” (307 East 2nd Street; 11-7 p.m. daily), sponsored by AT&T U-verse®. Inspired by the NGC hit series Life Below Zero, this immersive adventure will plunge groups of players into the icy conditions of the Alaskan landscape and test them to connect clues, complete challenges and solve puzzles in an effort to escape back to the warm south Texas sun. For those who headed south to beat the cold, the experience will also include an open bar and outdoor DJ lounge from which passers-by can cheer on the competitors. Though “Escape the Cold” is free, advance sign-up for time slots is encouraged (http://escapethecold.eventbrite.com).

Life Below Zero star Sue Aikens will join the fun all the way from her home at the Kavik River Camp in Alaska, nearly 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Aikens will also be on site Sunday, March 15, to mingle with fans. Regardless of your location, everyone can be a part of the Life Below Zero SXSW experience by following the hashtag #EscapetheCold.

March 15: “Are You Smarter Than Your Brain?” panel with Kal Penn

Next up, on Sunday, March 15, actor Kal Penn, host of the new NGC series The Big Picture With Kal Penn will take the stage for a panel called “Are You Smarter Than Your Brain?: The Big Picture of Big Data,” (3:30-4:30 p.m.; Convention Center, Room 12AB; badge required). The panel, like the forthcoming show, is about exploring the unexpected and sometimes surprising realities in both the world at large and our own backyard, revealed by crunching the numbers and finding new ways to visualize data. Attendees will learn about big data and the people around them on topics that will range from how people spend their free time, to sex, to personality and character … and perhaps even something surprising about themselves.

March 17: “StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson” sneak peek

On Tuesday, March 17, at 5 p.m., NGC will go deep into the galaxy with an exclusive first-look screening of StarTalk With Neil deGrasse Tyson, the network’s first-ever late-night talk series (North Door, 502 Brushy Street; doors open at 4 p.m.). Based on Tyson’s incredibly popular podcast of the same name, the new series, premiering in April, will bridge the intersection between pop culture and science as it brings together celebrities, comedians and scientists to discuss the latest developments in our vast universe. SXSW attendees will be the very first to get a look at the new show outside the walls of National Geographic, including a special guest Skype appearance and Q&A from Tyson, when he will also announce the show’s NGC premiere date.

March 17: Nerd Nite

And finally, later that evening at 8 p.m., also at North Door, NGC and Nerd Nite Austin have teamed up for the second year to present a special SXSW edition of the monthly gathering of nerds (doors open at 7 p.m.). Nerd Nites are monthly events held in more than 80 cities across the globe during which experts give 18-to-21-minute fun-yet-informative presentations across all disciplines — while the audience drinks along.

For the SXSW edition, NGC and Nerd Nite have lined up three impressive speakers to celebrate the network’s upcoming programs StarTalk With Neil deGrasse Tyson, America Genius and The Big Picture: Joel Green, a project scientist at the Space Telescope Institute; Joe Hanson, a Ph.D. science writer and biologist; and Lillian Pierson, author of Data Science for Dummies.

“Escape the Cold,” the StarTalk screening and “Nerd Nite” are free and open to anyone; “Are You Smarter Than Your Brain?: The Big Picture of Big Data” is open to SXSW Interactive badge holders only.

The 2015 SXSW Interactive Festival will run from March 13 to March 17 in Austin, Texas.

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