SXSW: Film, Music and Gaming

What began in 1987 as a series of conversations about the entertainment industry for a few hundred specialists has now grown into the biggest festival of its kind anywhere featuring film premieres, art installations, interactive media, gaming and, of course, music which has been central to the whole experience since the very beginning. This is South by Southwest (SXSW) which takes place every March in Austin, Texas, and we’re delighted to be part of a big British contingent heading stateside in 2018 showcasing UK culture to the world.

We’ve assembled an expert panel to discuss where the worlds of film, music and gaming converge including composing new work for live score events. To explore the emerging trends, challenges and huge opportunities available we have artist-turned-film-composer Adrian Utley (Portishead) who joins us to share his experiences, including as co-composer of the score for Arcadia (2017) with Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory. Stuart Brown from the British Film Institute will bring the commissioner’s perspective and we also have creative producer and programmer Laura Ducceschi with us to talk about live score gaming project Dear Esther. Joel Mills (British Council) will chair the panel – for the past few years Joel has been developing a programme of international collaborations championing the combination of music and visual media.


Above: Dear Esther live score performance


Bringing British music to America

There is no denying that SXSW today is one of the greatest places on earth to meet people within the creative industries, including the tech giants, and no longer the preserve of emerging US bands alone. Some say it provides a window into the future within tech and entertainment with a gathering of minds without parallel at other festivals.

And it seems to be a fantastic time to be a British artist at SXSW. In 2017, BBC Music curated a showcase of 30 emerging artists from the UK and British Underground teamed up with Jazz Re:freshed to bring some of the most exciting names in British jazz to the attention of a US audience.

In 2018, London Mayor Sadiq Khan will be delivering a key note speech at SXSW, further reinforcing the idea of a British advance on Texas. “I look forward to sharing our experiences with some of the world’s most exciting businesses and thinkers as well as to learn from them and exchange ideas,” says Khan. “London is open to innovation, talent and investment, and I look forward to carrying that message to Austin.” In recent years, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and former President Barack Obama have addressed the crowds.

Arts Council England and British Underground will also be adding to the UK presence through their joint support for a range of cross-disciplinary art and debate.

British composer Max Richter – who lent his talents to last year’s Mix The Body for the British Council UK-India season – will provide music for the opening concert of SXSW with the US premiere of his 8 hour piece, “Sleep”.


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