Danny Madden and Yen Tan – SXSW Film Festival Alumni Stories

At SXSW 2018, we celebrated the 25th Edition of the SXSW Film Festival and had the pleasure of sharing stories, memories, and reflections from our distinguished alumni. We had a blast telling these tales and want to keep the party going! Today we spotlight Danny Madden and Yen Tan.

Danny Madden

Madden is a filmmaker and sound designer and has directed, written, produced, and edited numerous films at SXSW. In 2012, he won the Animated Shorts Jury Award for (notes on) biology and in 2018 he received the Vimeo Staff Picks Award for his short Krista. Additionally, Shirley Chen received a Special Jury Recognition for her acting. Other films directed by Madden include his debut feature euphonia (World Premiere, 2013), Confusion Through Sand (World Premiere, 2013), All Your Favorite Shows! (World Premiere, 2015), and David Gilmour - "The Girl in the Yellow Dress" (2016).

"The thing that amazes me about SXSW is that it's become this massive event but manages to keep the spirit and feeling of 'Hey, we're just some people who love film and here's what's excited us lately'. It's such a welcoming, encouraging place and I've been able to make good friends and find collaborators because the environment makes it so organic. And just being down there, you're in constant contact with makers and film lovers. I've learned so much even just walking between venues with people I met in line at the last show.

One of the most life changing experiences I've had at SXSW is when some of the folks who run Skywalker Sound came up after a screening and invited us to show the film in their theater at 'The Ranch.' For a sound geek it was an overwhelming dream come true and has since led to many collaborations with those lovely people."

Yen Tan

The SXSW Film Festival has screened four films by Tan, three of which were world premieres: Deadroom (2005), Pit Stop (2013), and the short and feature of 1985 (2016 and 2018). In addition to being a filmmaker, Tan is a poster designer and has created posters for numerous SXSW alumni world premiere selections like Manson Family Vacation (2015), which he won the Excellence in Poster Design Jury Award, Slash (2016), and Come & Take It (2018) to name a few.

"SXSW has an extra-special place in my heart as it was what brought me to the great city of Austin in 2005, where a little anthology film I made with a bunch of Dallas friends premiered. Thanks to SXSW, several of the peers I met then have gone on to bigger and better things, but I'll forever cherish those scrappy, magical days where we bonded over our struggles and cheered each other on.

When I finally moved to Austin five years later, it naturally felt like moving closer to a place that felt like home. Because of SXSW, I get to see the same peers from all over every year, like an annual reunion I don't have to travel to. And because of SXSW, both my career in filmmaking and in poster design have been legitimized beyond my wildest dreams. For a queer immigrant of color like me, this means the world. THANK YOU!"

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See you in March!

Danny Madden at the SXSW Film Awards - Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW
World Premiere of 1985 - Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW

By Neha Aziz