Olivia Wilde has wanted to direct movies at least as far back as 2003, when she began acting at age 19. “When I was on set, I found myself drawn to the cameras,” she says, recalling the desire to explore the cathartic experience of acting from the other side of the lens.
Wilde then took every opportunity to give herself what she calls “the film school education I never had.” In the ensuing years, she directed a short film and a pair of music videos, and produced a handful of projects in which she also starred.
After years of attending SXSW Film as an actress, Wilde is thrilled to return this year as the director of the feature film Booksmart, a high school comedy about two best friends who decide to spend the evening before graduation cramming four years of partying into one wild night. “My dream since we were shooting this movie was to premiere at SXSW, so this is a huge deal for me.” Wilde explains.
“I remember feeling like it was this great sort of life moment of knowing that I was really proud of something that I had achieved,” she recalls about her past visits to the festival. “SXSW has this significant place in my life as a marker of evolution.”