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Demi Lovato, Tom Petty docs topline SXSW Film Fest

2021 film slate announced

South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals has announced the full program for the 28th edition of the SXSW Film Festival running March 16-20th. This year, the acclaimed program will be online, where it will draw thousands of fans, filmmakers, press, and industry leaders to immerse themselves in the smartest, most innovative and entertaining new films of the year, as well as giving access to hundreds of Conference Sessions, Music and Comedy Showcases, Creative Industry Exhibitions, Mentoring, Meetups and Special Events that define the cross-industry event.

“It’s been a year unlike any we’ve experienced, first marked by the cancellation of SXSW 2020,” states Janet Pierson, Director of Film. “We feel privileged to have been able to pivot to SXSW Online and present a fantastic treasure trove of programming, including a pared down and wonderful selection of films that we know will delight, entertain and move our attendees. SXSW Online will bring attendees a multifaceted event that speaks to so many areas of creativity in one five-day experience that everyone can access on their laptops, phones and TVs. While we won’t have the wonderful in-person SXSW that we know and love, we can gather together to be inspired by the work.”

This year’s Headliners include Demi Lovato and Tom Petty.

Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil opens the SXSW Film Festival with its world premiere. Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil is a powerful YouTube Originals documentary event, exploring every aspect that led to Lovato’s nearly fatal overdose in 2018, and her awakenings in the aftermath.

Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free will make its world premiere as a Centerpiece Film. Drawn from a newly discovered archive of 16mm film showing Petty at work on his 1994 record Wildflowers, considered by many including Rolling Stone to be his greatest album ever, Somewhere You Feel Free is an intimate view of a musical icon.

The Film Festival will launch seven films at a time in two-hour increments from 10 am – 8 pm CT, with most of the films launching during the first three days (Tues-Thurs) of the event, starting with the films with global access and no audience capacity limits. Once a film is available, it remains available on-demand until it hits its audience capacity or the event ends. Many films do not have a capacity limit and will be available for the duration of the event. While SXSW is a global event, certain films will be restricted to access in the United States due to rights and/or filmmaker or distributor discretion.

Several platforms are integrated to create the SXSW Online experience across web, mobile and premium viewing from your TV. A dedicated Connected TV app using Brightcove can be accessed via Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Android TV and Samsung TV. This is a dynamic way to experience video content, freeing up your smartphone, tablet and computer to connect with registrants or browse the schedule. With four concurrent channels that are curated by SXSW Programmers in addition to over 600+ on-demand Films, Conference Sessions, Comedy and Live Music Showcases. A fifth channel will host partner programming. Swapcard is the online platform, accessible through web browser and mobile app, for attendee networking and facilitating business connections, as well as viewing channels and all on-demand content.