This is Part II of my SXSW 2017 podcast coverage. Part I includes the film-related interviews I did while attending the festival. On this episode I share my interactive and music-related interviews. Then I share my takeaways from the music, interactive, and film aspects of the festival that I experienced.
The episode concludes with my own personal SXSW story. In it, I explore some of the big questions that the festival evoked, meet Tim Ferriss and a few other luminaries for the first time, and share my struggles in attempting to navigate the festival without a drop of alcohol. Some complications ensue.
The interviews and my concluding thoughts are interconnected, which is why I kept them together in one episode, but we cover a lot of ground so you might want to reference the start times below if you have a particular area of interest.
Note: The length of the episode seems to affect how the web player displays the time. If you are trying to get to a certain section and aren’t hearing it, try going back a few minutes, up to 10 minutes or so as you get towards the end of the episode.
Guests in this Episode
- Gregory Kallenberg, founder of the Louisiana Film Prize – starts at [6:15]. He has been attending SXSW since year one and has been on the board for the interactive side of the festival for 20+ years. We discuss some of the changes that the festival has undergone throughout the years, notable aspects of the interactive portion of the festival, and some of the Louisiana Music Prize alumni who have gone on to play at SXSW.
- Merisa Torneo & Josh Volkov, the friendly husband and wife duo behind the country-rock band Lovella – starts at [17:57]. Merisa and Josh played daily at the SXSW Registrant Lounge right across from the Austin Convention Center. They also played a showcase at Cooper’s BBQ towards the end of the festival. We discuss the origins of the band, their experiences at the festival, and what they consider to be a successful show.
I interviewed Merisa and Josh on this balcony at the Austin Convention Center.
- Michael Bonfiglio, co-director of May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers – starts at [32:40]. His music doc (and/or the musicians and the filmmakers) got three standing ovations when it premiered at SXSW 2017. It went on to win 24 Beats Per Second audience award at the festival. Mike explains how they captured vulnerable moments from the band and what it was like to collaborate with co-director Judd Apatow.
- Mark Falgout, owner of Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette, Louisiana – starts at [45:20]. He put together a showcase at Antone’s, a storied music venue in Austin, to help close out the music portion of the festival. Three of the bands in his Louisiana themed showcase have received Grammy nominations, one has appeared on NBC’s The Voice, and one has recorded music for HBO’s True Blood. He explains what he looks for in bands and shares some tips to musicians trying to make a living from their music.
My Take on Things
- Music – starts at [1:00:25]. Here I talk about some of the music shows and keynotes that caught my attention.
- Interactive – starts at [1:07:26]. This includes some of the brands, panels, and keynotes dealing with technology and politics that I experienced.
- Film – starts at [1:32:38]. Here I give some recommendations to filmmakers trying to navigate the festival and share some of the films, shows, and keynotes that I got to check out.
- My SXSW Story – starts at [1:57:55]. Here I share some of the ups and downs that I experienced at the festival while doing podcast coverage and trying to figure out why I had a sense that I should attend the festival this year.
The profiterole I ordered at Chez Nous
Listen to the Episode
Sponsor for this Episode
This is the playlist I put together of some of the bands performing at SXSW 2017. It is a sort-of soundtrack to my festival experience.
- This keynote from National Geographic photographer and Canon shooter Cory Richards had a big influence on how this episode turned out.
- Writer and film critic Ben Parman also influenced this episode and provided feedback on it. Thanks for that, Ben.
- pollstar.com – the site Mark mentioned for tracking band touring numbers
Other Notable Keynotes & Q&As from SXSW 2017
- The Big Sick Q&A with Judd Apatow, Emily Gordon, Barry Mendel, & Kumail Nanjiani
- Cory Booker | Interactive Opening Speaker
- Film Keynote: Gareth Edwards
- Film Keynote: Lee Daniels
- Joe Biden on his Cancer Initiative
- Music Keynote: Nile Rodgers
This keynote from Joe Swanberg in 2016 is also worth a watch.
Films & Shows Discussed
- American Gods
- The Big Sick
- California Dreams
- Dara Ju
- David Lynch: The Art Life
- Hush (2015)
- Kings of Atlantis
- The Light of the Moon
- Long Strange Trip
- Lucky (2017)
- May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers
- Muppet Guys Talking – Secrets Behind the Show the Whole World Watched
- Patti Cake$
- Person to Person
- Walk With Me
- Win It All
Update: METH STORM: Arkansas USA is another film I saw at the festival. It was difficult to watch, but it deals with a challenging topic in an evenhanded way and is worth seeing.
I overlooked it when going through my notes for this episode, possibly because parts of it were so searing, but it was not an intentional omission. That said, it would take me a few minutes to expand on my reactions to it. Considering that this episode is already over 3 hours long, it is probably best that I save that discussion for another time.
METH STORM is directed by Brent and Craig Renaud. A few months ago, Craig came on the show and discussed some of the other films he has directed with his brother.