Janet will be in Sydney August 6-9 for industry meetings before heading to Melbourne as a guest of the Melbourne International Film Festival August 9-12 where she will see new Australian films and have meetings with filmmakers and creative talent. Submissions open in early August for screening films in the SXSW Festival for Narrative and Documentary Features, Shorts, Music Videos & Title Designs.
In 2012, Australian projects invited to screen at SXSW included documentary Scarlet Road and short films Perished, The Hunter, Bear, The Maker and Somebody That I Used to Know. Two digital projects won prestigious SXSW Interactive Awards - Goa Hippy Tribe in the Film/TV category and Big Stories, Small Towns in the Community category. In previous years SXSW has served as a launchpad for several Australian films with the logistical and funding support of Screen Australia and State film bodies.
“Every March, creatives of all kinds gather in Austin to witness, share and inspire the visions that will galvanize the filmmakers and ideas of tomorrow,” says a spokesperson. “SXSW Film Conference & Festival champions the vitality, innovation and opportunity that drives the entertainment and media landscape, and boldly tackles the evolution of all aspects of ‘film’ today, down to its very definition.”
SXSW commenced in Austin, Texas, in 1987 as a music festival and conference, growing quickly in popularity with bands and music companies. In 1994, SXSW added film and interactive components which together now attract approximately 32,000 registrants to Austin every March. The original goal was to create an event that would act as a tool for creative people and the companies they work with to come together from a wide area and share ideas. That continues to be the goal today, whether film, music or the internet.
Janet Pierson is responsible for the vision, programming, and execution of the annual event. Before joining SXSW in April 2008, Janet spent over 30 years championing independent films and filmmakers, in a variety of roles including distributor, exhibitor, producer's rep, investor, workshop producer, executive producer, documentary subject, and as co-creator and segment director of the IFC cable TV series Split Screen.
Much of this work was in partnership with her husband, the author, producer, professor, and co-president of Grainy Pictures, John Pierson. An Austin Film Society Board Member 2004-2010, she's currently on the Advisory Board, and has served on and taken part in several grant panels, festival juries, and advisory roles.