Artificial Intelligence, Politically-Charged Storytelling, and Virtual Reality: Film & TV Industry Track Sessions for SXSW 2018

From distribution to financing, the Film & TV Industry Track dives into the inner workings of these ever changing industries. Learn more about the business side of things with a taste of what our 2018 Film & TV Industry sessions have to offer.

"The Film & TV Industry Track surveys the film and TV industries through the independent and cultural lens of SXSW," says SXSW Programmer Austin Nauert. "When we're bombarded by content on all sides, this track covers everything from distribution strategies (both old and new) and technological advancements, such as VR and machine learning, to important industry topics like inclusion and diversity."

"Do you have an old film that that you consider an absolute favorite, but upon watching it in the modern day felt conflicted about how it handles certain issues? Is it ok to still like these movies? Don’t worry, you are not alone," says Nauert on the session, Pre-Woke Watching: Your Faves Are Problematic, where panelists discuss how their tastes have evolved over time. Led by Aisha Harris and Dana Stevens of Slate Magazine, who have a recurring segment on their podcast Represent, the session also includes Jenny Yang and Jeff Yang.

Take a deeper dive into the Film & TV Industry Track as we showcase different sessions that highlight artificial intelligence, virtual reality, issues surrounding the world of media, and more. Film & TV Industry Track sessions are held March 9-13 with primary access to Film and Platinum Badges; secondary access to all other badges.

Film & TV Industry Session Highlights

Making Ends Meet: Paying Bills and Making Films

Speakers: Don Hardy (KTF Films), Ana Asensio (Palomo Films LLC), Bradley Beesley (Roadside Media), Doug Blush (MadPix Inc)

It's a jungle out there for independent filmmakers. Grant money is hard to find and relationships with investors, donors and distributors take time to develop. Even if you've had some success, nobody is backing up the money truck to finance your next project So, what do independent filmmakers really do to survive? Corporate work, commercials, weddings, porn? Ok, maybe not porn, but everything else is fair game, yet nobody really talks about it. Let's change that.

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Sex & Text: Breaking Down Movie Stereotypes with AI

Speakers: Grace Lin (StoryFit) and Monica Landers (StoryFit)

Bad boy, home-wrecker, damsel: why is every hit movie and TV show home to at least one sad, sexist cliche? Are they storytelling tropes, or cultural symptoms? Applying AI models to box-office hits and misses unearths intriguing details about some of society’s most polarizing and sexist stereotypes. This talk will look at what machine learning reveals about the hidden forces at play in male/female character dynamics, how we perceive stereotype in dialogue, and good or bad, what it says about us.

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Film + Storytelling in a Politically-Charged Era

Speakers: Chris Albert (National Geographic), Laura Kim (Participant Media), and Matt Heineman (Filmmaker)

Americans are currently lacking support from their governing body, so the private and nonprofit sectors have stepped up to take on an important responsibility: telling the stories of those affected by White House actions and reigniting empathy + activism throughout the US. This panel features creative industry pros – top Hollywood directors and execs – to speak on the ways we can partner the profit-bearing potential of the business world with visionary storytelling to make waves on Capitol Hill.

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Surviving VR Wave 1 - Lessons + Insights

Speaker: Daniel Burwen (Jaunt VR)

Wave 1 of VR industry had its day and is now starting to die off. Wave 2 of companies pioneering storytelling within immersive media are taking shape with a different approach. After 2 years on the front line of wave 1 VR, I am here to share the hard lessons learned and show you how next generation companies are taking a different tact bridging the culture gap between Hollywood + Silicon Valley to build the next generation of immersive storytelling.

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Pre-Woke Watching: Your Faves Are Problematic

Speakers: Aisha Harris (Slate), Dana Stevens (Slate), Jeff Yang (They Call Us Bruce), Jenny Yang (Disoriented Comedy)

On her hit Slate podcast Represent, Aisha Harris has a recurring segment, Pre-Woke Watching, where guests talk about films they grew up with and loved, but can no longer view through an uncritical eye. (Like coming to terms with how totally sexist Pretty Woman is, or discovering the prevalence of colorism in Eddie Murphy's Coming to America.) The panelists will have a hearty discussion around evolving tastes, opening up the floor to audience members to give their own PWW examples.

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Browse All Film & TV Industry Sessions

Crossover Track Recommendations

Step out of your area of focus and explore SXSW sessions across all 24 Tracks of Conference programming. While the following sessions are not a part of the Film & TV Industry Track, the topics will interest anyone with a Film Badge!

Also, don't forget about our Film & TV Industry Mentor and Round Tables sessions which allow for attendees to get intimate access to important veterans of the industry.

Grab your Film Badge today for primary access to all SXSW Film events. Register to attend by Friday, January 12 and save. Book your hotel through SXSW Housing & Travel for the best available rates.

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2017 session "The Female Lens: Creating Change Beyond The Bubbley" - Teaser Photo by Nicola Gell Photography/Getty Images

By Neha Aziz