Outside the Frame: South by Southwest 2009

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Amanda HirschFreelance writer Amanda Hirsch, former editorial director of PBS Interactive, blogs about documentaries and the Web in her weekly column, Outside the Frame.
2009 SXSW festivalSouth by Southwest (SXSW) is an annual event in Austin, Texas. Part festival, part conference, “South by” — as the regulars call it — encompasses three strands of programming: Interactive, Film and Music. I’ll be attending the Interactive and Film strands this year, and writing about them here on the POV Blog, along with POV’s director of development, Anne del Castillo.

I’ll be interpreting the panels, screenings and other events I attend through the same lens I apply to everything I write about here: intersections between documentary storytelling and the Web. With that in mind, here are some of the panels I’m planning to attend — let me know if you have questions you’d like me to ask, or if there are other sessions you recommend:

Not the Same Old Story: If the web provides so many ways to connect with audiences, why are we all stuck telling the same story with our designs? Hear from a panel of storytelling experts on the importance of narrative and art direction online to break away from static and boring experiences.

Who Will Check My Email After I Die? Ever wondered what will happen to your digital existence after you die? Email, images, domain names, social networking content — do you want to leave it behind, “bequeath” it or delete it? Come discuss legal, technical and philosophical issues that will define your death and your digital afterlife.
IM (Instant Message) Video Journalism: With award-winning video journalist David Dunkley Gyimah (read this article for insight into Gyimah’s storytelling approach)

The Future of Visual Storytelling is Interactive — Or Is It?: Clickable culture and evolving technology enables new ways to display and interact with cinematic content and narrative. What happens next? Victoria Ha (Stitch Media), James Milward, moderator (Secret Location inc.), Mark Pytlik (Stink Digital), Phil Stuart (Preloaded) and Rick Webb (The Barbarian Group) talk about the future.

From Heroes to Hellboy — Inside Transmedia Storytelling: Listen to an Emmy-Award-winning producer talk about developing transmedia content for programs such as Heroes, Lost, Alias, The Simpons and Jason Bourne. Keith Boesky and Matt Wolf (Double Twenty Productions) participate.

Share any questions or session/screening recommendations using the comments feature below and stay tuned here and on Twitter for my updates from the fest, March 13-18.
Related links:

For those who won’t be in Austin — in addition to following updates here and from PBS Engage, you can follow official online video coverage on the SXSW website. You can also follow the fest on Facebook or via Twitter.

Fellow attendees: PBS is hosting a number of cool events at SXSW, including live interviews with “digital and social media influencers,” conducted by Zadi Diaz of EPIC FU fame, and a concert with one of my favorite musicians, Alejandro Escovedar. Get the details here.

Amanda Hirsch
Amanda Hirsch
Amanda Hirsch is former editorial director of PBS Interactive.