The first round of programming announcements for SXSW Film 2014 features three creative minds that also embody the outsider spirit. Fans of the wildly popular HBO series Girls might want to start grabbing badges as fast a they can, because the show’s executive producer, writer, director and star Lena Dunham will be one of the featured keynote speakers.
Dunham has been nominated for —and received— nearly every possible major award for Girls. She also has a long and rewarding history with South by Southwest. Her breakthrough feature film, Tiny Furniture, premiered at SXSW 2010 and won the festival's Best Narrative Feature award that year and, co-exec-producer Judd Apatow in tow, she premiered the first three episodes of Girls at SXSW 2012 in advance of the series' HBO debut.
She also happens to be pretty good at this whole social media thing.
Get your American flag bandanas ready, folks, because Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson is coming to Austin.
Joining Dunham on the list of keynotes is Jason Blum, founder and CEO of Blumhouse Productions. A multimedia production company, Blumhouse has helped to pioneer a new model for studio filmmaking, churning out films on a microbudget but raking in huge profits at the box office, all while providing some of the best scares in theaters. Recent hits include Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge, Sinister and all of their equally successful sequels.
Independent filmmaker Casey Neistat rounds out the list of daily keynote speakers. Adding an even more indie perspective to the discussion, Neistat went from being a New York City bike messenger to an award-winning filmmaker for his work on Daddy Long Legs. He also wears multiple hats on his HBO series, The Neistat Brothers, acting as the show’s star, writer, director and editor. Neistat has also produced dozens of short films exclusively for online media, with millions of views under his belt. SXSW loves DIY, and Neistat definitely embodies that spirit.
Along with the keynote announcements, SXSW Film rolled out its first round of announced panels, workshops and Digital Domains for 2014, many of which were chosen with input from the community via the SXSW Panelpicker. Examples include “5 Lessons Learned From Movie Studios on How to Market Your Movie,” “Sound & Story with Skywalker Sound,” and “Building a Social Media ‘Duck’ Dynasty.” Get your American flag bandanas ready, folks, because that means that Duck Commander CEO Willie Robertson is coming to town.
Hopefully, these announcements will whet your appetite for now, because the rest of the SXSW Film speakers and panels won't be announced until early 2014. Only time will tell if the final film keynote speaker, as yet unannounced, will live up to the hype.