The 2014 South By Southwest Film Festival concluded in Austin, Texas on Sunday after a full week (and then some) of engaging, interesting, experimental and provocative programming. As in years past, SXSW mixed the mainstream with the Midnight faves, the genre-pushing documentaries with the music-based stories. SXSW exists as a three-pronged fest, with fingers in film, music and technology, and the movie slate usually reflects those diverse interests.
It’s hard to say that a film can actually "win" at a festival. Sure, there are Audience Awards, but as you can see in my column, the movie that actually takes home that prize isn’t always the right choice. Instead, a movie "wins" a festival when it emerges with valuable buzz – a swirl of chatter surrounding a release that has audiences putting it on their radar so that it can be screened, when it reaches a local theater.
A recent study published at the tail end of SXSW singled out several expected titles as the leaders in what they call "Intent To View." Way to Blue conducted the survey, and determined that the film adaptation of Veronica Mars secured the biggest buzz from its Austin stop, while Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and Nicholas Stoller’s Neighbors also gathered raves at South By.
Those films likely were on your radar even before SXSW. In this week’s Monday Movie Memo, I went ahead and highlighted five films you might not have been that familiar with, but are Must See titles as we shuffle on through the rest of the year. Some, we have talked about already. Three, however, are smaller films I took a gamble on in Austin and liked what I saw. Give the video above a spin.
Looking for the rest of our SXSW coverage from this year? Be sure to catch up on:
- Our Chef review, filmed inside an actual food truck!
- The best stories we brought back from the Veronica Mars cast and crew Q-and-A!
- A brief, funny Neighbors review.
- The Godzilla (2014) footage that screened!
- And my reaction to The Raid 2 … once it finally screened.