Ace Advice: Anna Higgs’ SXSW Film Agenda

Written by Christina Wiese | Friday, Mar 7, 2014
Film 4's Anna Higgs

Since SXSW Film screens more than 240 films and hosts over 150 sessions, we realize there is a ton of great content for Film registrants to dig through. To help digest all this information, members of the SXSW Advisory Board have highlighted their tips and not-to-be-missed events during the festival. First up, Anna Higgs breaks down what she’s most excited for on March 7, the first day of the Film Festival & Conference!

Anna Higgs’ SXSW Film Agenda for Friday, March 7

Breakfast at The Hilton
SXSW is always a juggle of meetings, dashing to screenings and trying to make even a small percentage of the brilliant panels. But The Hilton is a great landmark for downtown navigation and so very useful to meet people in the lobby (and check your mail thanks to the free wifi) then head out to breakfast. I start every day at the festival with a breakfast meeting, talking to filmmakers, other financiers or sales and distribution folks as it's a really useful way to hit the ground running.

The SXXpress Pass Line
This isn't an event, but if you want to be sure to get into a film and it's in a small cinema, this is the place to be straight after breakfast! Get in line, pick your films on a little slip of paper and you'll get an SXXpress Pass into up to 2 films of your choice. Don't say I didn't warn you!

The Secret Sauce of Real Time Storytelling
I love the Interactive conference panels in the Convention Center as they help me see what others are trying in the area of innovation. This panel, from digital team Tool, looks at how real-time storytelling can allow the audience to actively participate in the making of a story and will discuss the unique creative, social media and production methods used to create this type of show.

The Legend of Shorty This year Film4 has three films at the festival: Paul Wright's elegiac For Those In Peril; Lenny Abrahamson's brilliantly funny and fresh Frank; and The Legend of Shorty which premieres on Friday night.

It's the story of a journalist's search for El Chapo, the leader of the biggest drugs cartel in history.

Spurred on by specially composed songs by Jackson Scott, and Tyrone Power as Zorro, the filmmakers set out to find "EL CHAPO” who is known by his friends as Shorty. To some, he is a revolutionary hero and a latter-day Robin Hood, the powerful peasant who looks after his people. To others, he is Public Enemy No.1, the first since Al Capone. He has been on the run for over a decade from the US and Mexican governments. In the middle, over 80,000 Mexicans have been murdered.

The film takes us into a world few outsiders have ever been, knocking on the door of the most wanted man in the world - who, in a surprising turn of events, has just been caught and so I can't wait to see the filmmakers talk to SXSW about making something so timely.

Opening Night Film - Chef
The opening night film at SXSW is always a treat. The packed Paramount Theatre, a whooping and cheering audience of fanatical film go-ers, queues right around the block (so get your SXXpress Pass!).

The energy and passion with which they meet the film and filmmakers really sums up what I love about this festival and have to come back every year.

Thanks Anna! Follow her on twitter at @AnnaEHiggs.

Anna will participate in FRANK: A Twitter Prequel by @jonburroughs83, part of SXSW Film's Digital Domain section.

Photo courtesy Anna Higgs