Independent Lens goes to SXSW 2015

By Elisabeth Copper, Independent Lens social media manager

Independent Lens is packing up and heading down to Austin for what’s going to be our busiest SxSW yet. I know, I know, I say that every year. But take a look at what we have in store and you’ll see why we’re so excited for our time in Texas.

PBS Party at the Parish

Parties at SxSW are a dime a dozen but trust me when I say the annual PBS event is not to be missed. On March 15th at 9pm, come help us celebrate independent film on PBS with BBQ, drinks, and live music by Best Coast.

Film Screenings

If you have a Film, Gold, or Platinum badge, here’s your chance to preview three films before they appear on Independent Lens next season.

T-Rex (World Premiere)
T-Rex is an intimate story about a new kind of American heroine. For the first time, women’s boxing is included in the 2012 Olympics. Fighting for gold is 17-year-old Claressa “T-Rex” Shields. From the streets of Flint, Michigan, Claressa is undefeated and utterly confident. Her fierceness extends beyond the ring. She desperately wants to take her family to a better, safer place and winning gold could be her only chance.

Welcome to Leith
Welcome to Leith chronicles the attempted takeover of a small town in North Dakota by notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb. As his behavior becomes more threatening, tensions soar, and the residents desperately look for ways to expel their unwanted neighbor. The unsettling underpinning of the film is how we wrestle with our democratic principles when they’re pushed to the limit.

Best of Enemies
Best of Enemies, co-directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville, is an account of the storied debates in 1968 between two great public intellectuals, liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley Jr. Intended as commentary on the issues of their day, these vitriolic and explosive encounters came to define the modern era of public discourse in the media, marking the big bang moment of our contemporary media landscape when spectacle trumped content and argument replaced substance.

We’ll be hosting filmmaker meet-and-greets Friday  (3/13)  through Monday (3/16) at the PBS Anywhere Lounge. Stop by from 4:30-5:30pm to chat with the directors, as well as for a chance to win some PBS swag.

Panels

Finding a TV Partner in a Digital World
Monday, March 16th 12:30PM-1:30PM

In the digital era of Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, and many other OTT portals, how valuable is a broadcaster for your doc? Come find out at this panel moderated by Elizabeth Sheldon, SVP Kino Lorber, along with Lois Vossen from Independent Lens, Jill Burkhart of EPIX Documentary Programming, Cynthia Kane of Al Jazeera, and Jennie Morris from Participant Media.

Doc Distribution: Get Up to Speed with PBS Indies
Tuesday, March 17th 11:00AM-12:00PM

Are you a filmmaker interested in showcasing your film on PBS? Then you don’t want to miss this panel. Filmmakers Byron Hurt, Yance Ford, and Marshall Curry will be joined by Donald Thoms (VP Programming/General Audience, PBS) and Liz Cheng (GM, World Channel) to share why public media might be the distribution channel you’ve been searching for.

Last but certainly not least, we’re looking forward to meeting with filmmakers, storytellers, and innovators who are passionate about film, TV, and social good. Is that you? Tweet me @eacopper and let’s get together over some of that famous Austin bbq.

If you can’t make it to Austin this year, you can follow along with our adventures on Twitter and Instagram. Texas, here we come!