Guide to SXSW (2015) Film Panel Picker



With the deadline fast approaching (5th Sept) to vote for which panels should be featured at SXSW Film 2015, we took the time to look through the 183 posted panels available for voting.

Below is our our top picks for potential panels for SXSW Film 2015.

YouTube Stars in Film: Rooster Teeth & Indiegogo

Rooster Teeth Productions, the Austin based production team, turned to Indiegogo to fund their first ever feature length movie, Lazer Team. Rooster Teeth is the team behind the longest – running YouTube series “Red vs. Blue,” which has been running since 2003 with more than 7 million subscribers. After raising over $2.4 million on Indiegogo, Rooster Team will be able to finance bigger and better visual effects, cast and crew, and locations, locations, locations for their feature film.

Rooster Teeth will speak alongside Mark Hofsttater, the Head of Film at Indiegogo, the world’s largest crowdfunding platform, about the future of the film industry and YouTube stars. Rooster Teeth will also premiere footage from their first ever feature length film during this session.

The questions that would feature in the 2015 panel include:

  1. What are the best practices for running an Indiegogo campaign for film projects?
  2. Why would a filmmaker choose to finance their project on Indiegogo?
  3. Is the rise of YouTube stars in traditional media, film, and television, a trend that will continue?
  4. Is crowdfunding the future of the film industry? If so, what are the differences between financing a film through a platform like Indiegogo vs. seeking traditional funding from a studio or producer?
  5. Are YouTube stars the future of film content? Does this mean the YouTube community is growing up?

The speakers for the 2015 panel would be:

Deadline to vote is September 5, 2014 (11:59 PM CT). To vote for this panel visit

Online Success Without Cat Videos or Crotch Hits

The production and marketing team behind online juggernaut Rooster Teeth (Red Vs Blue, RWBY, Achievement Hunter, Rooster Teeth Shorts, A Simple Walk Into Mordor, Immersion) teams up with one-man band YouTube star Zach Anner (Workout Wednesday, Have a Little Faith, Riding Shotgun) to discuss how making creative content for the Internet can be both profitable and fulfilling whether you’re on your own or part of an established company. They’ll talk through how to make videos that appeal to the masses but don’t pander to them, and detail how to market your content and build your brand to a sustainable level. And finally, they’ll discuss how to monetize a creative product without losing your soul… IE How to find success on YouTube without cat videos or hitting your friends in the crotch.

The questions that would feature in the 2015 panel include:

  1. Since pre-roll ads aren’t enough to pay the bills, what are other ways to effectively monetize video content?
  2. If you have a video go “viral” how do you maintain that momentum and translate it into subscribers and a long-term audience?
  3. If you have a show or video that is high quality but doesn’t have a “hook” (like many short films), how can it be successful online and find an audience?
  4. How can I find sponsors or distributors to pay me to make my content?
  5. What’s the best way to make high quality content on a low budget on a weekly basis?

The speakers for the 2015 panel would be

Deadline to vote is September 5, 2014 (11:59 PM CT). To vote for this panel visit

To Window Or Not To Window:Film Release Strategies

Releasing a film isn’t as cut-and-dry as picking a date and encouraging fans to spend money to watch it. Elements to consider include screening in theaters, video-on-demand, rentals, streaming, DVDs and digital purchases, and more. In this panel, they will discuss the new and emerging opportunities for film distribution and the unique windowing methods that companies are experimenting with.

They will look into the different strategies available depending on a film’s goals, audience and genre, and panelists will give concrete examples of what has (and hasn’t) worked for them, for instance in the case of panelist Neil Berkeley’s documentary, Harmontown, which premiered at SXSW in 2014.

The questions that would feature in the 2015 panel include:

1. Is day and date distribution the right decision for every film?

2. How does day and date distribution impact the lifetime revenue opportunity for a project?

3. How can filmmakers use digital websites like VHX to enhance their film’s reach and leverage the social graph?

4. Are there specific windowing strategies that only work for certain genres?

5. How do filmmakers view the day and date digital opportunity?

The speakers for the 2015 panel would be:

Deadline to vote is September 5, 2014 (11:59 PM CT). To vote for this panel visit

Building Buzz at the Box Office

Resourceful filmmakers and smart studios have leveraged the power of social media to introduce their films to huge box office numbers. This panel will reveal best practices in using the hottest social platforms and top social media influencers to build buzz and drive ticket sales. Moderated by Fandango’s social media guru Dana Robinson, the panel brings together insiders from Facebook, Twitter, the studios and social media influencers to address word-of-mouth social campaigns, the latest movie marketing tools, fan engagement mechanisms and instant movie reviews and ratings from consumers.

The questions that would feature in the 2015 panel include:

  1. What is your current social strategy for building buzz around your upcoming movie?
  2. What is your approach to creating digital content that increases visibility for your movie?
  3. Do you use different social platforms to reach different audiences? What is your approach to each platform and/or each audience segment?
  4. What are your tactics for promoting a movie on the mainstream social platforms, i.e. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram? And what about newer platforms, such as SnapChat or Vine?
  5. What do you consider when working with influencers on big releases? Social footprint? Demographic fit? And as an influencer, what do you consider when working with big brands and sponsored posts?

The speakers for the 2015 panel would be:

  • Dana Robinson fandango
  • Jennifer Prince, Head of Entertainment, Twitter
  • Kay Madati, Head of Entertainment & Media, Facebook
  • Danielle De Palma, SVP, Digital Marketing, Lionsgate
  • Rebecca Woolf, blogger/influencer, Girl’s Gone Child

Deadline to vote is September 5, 2014 (11:59 PM CT). To vote for this panel visit

Alfred Molina’s Shakespeare Workshop for Everyone

Hosted by the highly regarded, award-winning actor Alfred Molina, this session is dedicated to performing Shakespeare.

Bring any piece of Shakespeare (song, sonnet, line, monologue) that is 2 minutes or less and immerse yourself in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Text must be memorized and a hard copy brought for Mr. Molina. One piece per performer. The moderator will time you so remember, “Brevity is the Soul of Wit”.

Mr. Molina will lead an in-depth and interactive seminar on Shakespeare. Taking questions from the audience while directing, he will explore audition etiquette & approaches to enrich the Shakespeare text as well as provide advice on how to choose a monologue for your type and skill level. Mastering a Shakespeare monologue is a great way to enhance your repertoire, show your range & exercise your handle of the language. Every year filmmakers embark upon modern interpretations of these classic stories. All of the methods Alfred teaches can be applied to any text.

The questions that would feature in the 2015 panel include:

1. Questions Answered Am I interpreting the text correctly?

2. How do I find the truth in the text?

3. Does Alfred Molina approach classical pieces differently than modern day movies?

4. What are some successful methods for memorizing difficult or long monologues?

5. How does text inform character development?

The speakers for the 2015 panel would be:

Deadline to vote is September 5, 2014 (11:59 PM CT). To vote for this panel visit

Mobile Moviemaking with iPad and The Padcaster

With mobile devices becoming ubiquitous, anyone can create hi-quality videos. This presents an opportunity for moviemakers everywhere to create content affordably by harnessing the power of inexpensive mobile devices.

Filmmaker Josh Apter invented a device to do just that. The Padcaster is a sturdy iPad frame with threaded holes to accommodate camera accessories, turning the consumer device into a professional all-in one production, editing and distribution tool – perfect for moviemaking, video journalism and livestreaming.

In this session, Apter will discuss best practices for mobile moviemaking livestreaming, drawing upon his experience with Padcaster.

The questions that would feature in the 2015 panel include:

1. How can someone create high quality content with a mobile device?

2. What are the ten most common mistakes that people make when first starting out as mobile moviemakers?

3. What the heck is the Padcaster and how can it help me make better movies with my iPad?

4. What are the best practices for mobile production?

5. Being that you can also edit, color correct, score, mix and even distribute your film from the iPad, what are the best post-production techniques for mobile production?

The speakers for the 2015 panel would be:

Deadline to vote is September 5, 2014 (11:59 PM CT). To vote for this panel visit

What Big Data Can Tell Us About Big Movie Trailers


What makes a movie trailer a hit? Why do some get millions of viral views online, while others are ignored? Most importantly, do big trailer views translate into box office success? With the ability to easily promote and share brand content on YouTube, fans play a huge role in driving the success of a film – now more than ever. This session will explore how the popularity and fan engagement of YouTube trailers and videos relate to box office numbers.

Leading software platform ZEFR is analyzing the countless movie trailers on YouTube and uncovering what makes certain movie trailers go viral. The company has noticed a distinct correlation between the amount of fan-uploaded content to the ultimate visibility of a film franchise online. In fact, views of fan-uploaded content often outnumber views of official content by a ratio of 10:1. How much does this fan engagement impacts the overall success of a film, and what that means for filmmakers?

The questions that would feature in the 2015 panel include:

  1. Why do certain movie trailers succeed while others fail?
  2. What are the components of a successful movie trailer?
  3. Why does fan-uploaded content matter to a movie?
  4. Why are YouTube views of trailers growing so rapidly?
  5. Do big trailer views translate into box office success?

The speakers for the 2015 panel would be:

Deadline to vote is September 5, 2014 (11:59 PM CT). To vote for this panel visit

Not Everything Has Been Done

“Everything has been done”, is a cynical phrase spoken among artists and creatives.

Once you accept this notion it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. If you look outside your artistic field, to science and technology, you’ll find that innovation is infinite. Every new technology presents a way to create that hasn’t been done before. Using technology in ways it wasn’t intended can provide even more variables to explore.

Filmmaking is the only artform that is both reliant on and freed by technology. Each decade films take new forms and formats. However, good ideas don’t stand on technology alone, it’s the story and emotion that carries the audience. We must look beyond the innovation of technology and see what new stories it allows us to tell.

The talk will look to the future of filmmaking–everything from the the use of robotics to lens-less cameras.

The questions that would feature in the 2015 panel include:

  1. Should we resign to the notion that everything has been done? Why this is a problematic mindset.
  2. Does creative thinking lead to better technology or does technology lead to better creative?
  3. Getting past the gimmick. How technique can only get you so far. What the human brain desires more than cool tricks.
  4. Why now is a better time than ever to be a filmmaker and harder than ever to get noticed.
  5. What’s left to do? What are emerging technologies and how can this influence and develop new filmmaking techniques?

The speakers for the 2015 panel would be:

Paul Trillo Big Block Live

Deadline to vote is September 5, 2014 (11:59 PM CT). To vote for this panel visit

Acting & Performance: Directors Share Their POVs

Independent filmmakers have a special relationship with actors. They can be their neighbors, their peers, their friends, their family; sometimes filmmakers are even actors themselves. This panel will bring together four award-winning independent filmmakers who helped establish Austin’s internationally-recognized filmmaking community: Andrew Bujalski (Computer Chess, Mutual Appreciation, Funny Ha Ha), Kat Candler (Hellion, Cicadas), Todd Rohal (Rat Pack Rat, The Catechism Cateclysm, The Guatemalan Handshake) & David Zellner (Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter, Kid Thing, Goliath). These directors will talk about their unique experiences & perspectives on working with actors; developing characters from script to screen; unconventional casting; working with non-actors vs. pros; collaboration, improvisation & surprises on set; tips for first time filmmakers on getting the performances you want; how their own acting has influenced their directing; and the actor s/he most wants to direct.

The questions that would feature in the 2015 panel include

  1. You all start by writing a script. Do you write with specific actors in mind? How does the script generally evolve for you? Is improvisation part of the process? Tell us about a script change that was driven by the actors you chose.
  2. Indie film is fertile ground to tell stories that are more edgy and don’t adhere to type casting. Can you talk about diversity in your casting or casting unlikely characters? What were the kinds of stories that brought you to independent filmmaking?
  3. Since there isn’t a lot of money for indie films and the time to shoot is often short, how do you prep your actors? How hands on are you? How do you rehearse?
  4. Indie film is a great place to discover new talent. Can you tell us about an actor you cast who you took a risk on and why? What struck you about that person? Did you audition others? Along those lines, do you use casting directors? How do you find a great cast with no budget?
  5. You all hold multiple credits as directors/writers/producers/actors. What is it like to wear so many hats? How do you switch from one role to another? For those who have acted in their own films, what is it like when you watch the takes? Have your experiences acting influenced the way you direct?

The speakers for the 2015 panel would be:

Deadline to vote is September 5, 2014 (11:59 PM CT). To vote for this panel visit

The Paradox of Interactive Cinema: Screening + Q&A

We really like seeing films on the big screen. But has cinema lost its magic? We haven’t seen anyone dive out of the way of a Lumière train shot in a while. And even David Lynch needs to vent about the migration of film to pocket-sized screens.

Why haven’t the worlds of film and interactivity collided? What is the fate of the big screen? Why can’t we find a festival to play our film? Two young filmmakers scratch the surface of these questions by screening their crowd interactive film and leading a discussion about interactive stories.

Co-directors Nolan and Máté are excited to share a revolutionary cinematic experience with folks at SXSW. Their film is called Two Strangers Meet in a Bar: audiences use their cell phones to seamlessly interact with the big screen plot in real time to affect the meeting of two complete strangers, whose lives are mysteriously connected.

Alon Benari from Interlude may attend the panel to answer questions.

The questions that would feature in the 2015 panel include:

1. Questions Answered Is interactive cinema a paradox?

2. Does transmedia necessitate movement away from cinema to tiny screens and the internet?

3. Are big screens the figurative dinosaurs of media, doomed to a dust-covered death?

4. I’m a filmmaker, what platforms exist for me to write and make interactive films?

5. I’m a coder, how can I contribute creatively to interactive storytelling?

6. I want to see more films like this, who is making interactive film and how can I lend my support?

7. What challenges, specific to interactive filmmaking, arose during production? (Writing, production, editing, coding, and more)

8. What new story structures and types of audience engagement are possible on the web, in cinemas, and on tv?

9. What challenges have you faced finding places to screen your film, why don’t festivals consider it a film, and what does this mean about how we find and view media?

The speakers for the 2015 panel would be:

Deadline to vote is September 5, 2014 (11:59 PM CT). To vote for this panel visit


Jeanie Finlay: How small moments make a big story

Acclaimed British artist & filmmaker Jeanie Finlay will reveal her eclectic approaches to making work for cinema, broadcast and exhibition.
In a clip-heavy conversation with deputy director of Sheffield Doc Fest Charlie Phillips she will break down lessons learnt, not by going to film school but through making and distributing 6 feature documentaries including “SOUND IT OUT” & “The Great Hip Hop Hoax” which both premiered at SXSW and the forthcoming “Pantomime” and “Orion: The Man Who Would Be King”.

They will discuss the big power of focussing on smaller stories in film (as seen in her work) and the intimate results it elicits. Also, how making films as an artist affects her approach – from production, distribution and fundraising to audience engagement. Her latest film “Orion” uses a “wraparound” approach, creating an artwork positioned around the feature.

Lastly, how pop culture informs her practice, why she believes in Dolly Parton and how Status Quo can save your life.

The questions that would feature in the 2015 panel include:

  1. How do you know if a story has the potential to sustain a feature film? Unpicking the moment when the world stops spinning and you realise – this is an idea that could be a film.
  2. How is it possible to sustain a career as an independent filmmaker? How to juggle traditional and more maverick approaches to financing and rotating projects. The value of ‘just making the work’. How traditional routes to finance and distribution with more experimental approaches can work together.
  3. How do you find an audience for your work and hold them tight, taking them on the journey as you make more work? How can you allow them into the story as contributors and provide opportunities for them to share their passion.
  4. Do you need a “big” story to sustain a feature film? How smaller stories and microcosmic filmmaking have the capacity to connect with audiences. How uncovering or discovering a series of small moments can unravel a web of a story underneath.
  5. Why is irony the enemy of creativity? Why pleasures should never be guilty, what Dolly Parton can teach us and how Status Quo can save your life.

The speakers for the 2015 panel would be:

Deadline to vote is September 5, 2014 (11:59 PM CT). To vote for this panel visit

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