SXSW 2010 Guide: Film Festival Venues

SXSW 2009

Welcome to the fourth annual Slackerwood guide to SXSW film festival venues. SXSW now has a handy video that shows you a map of the venues, but we've got the details: the best seats, the least crowded theaters, and decent meals and wireless access between or even during the movies. A few changes have occurred since our 2009 guide, and with help from my Slackerwood colleagues and the SXSW staff, I've included all the new info I could find.

While I've included a few nearby options for coffee or meals, you'll want to check our Restaurant Guide next week. We'll have more details on places to get a variety of things to eat and drink near all the SXSW film-festival venues. We're also working on a general SXSW Survival Guide as well as a guide for locals with film passes or who want to buy individual tickets for films.

While downtown, you can walk to/from any of these venues in this guide except Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. Even if you are from NYC and walk everywhere, it's too far. (I tell y'all this every year and yet someone always staggers up to me beet-faced and in danger of collapse, panting to me that they wish they'd believed me.)

Fortunately, during the conference, you can take the SXSW Film Shuttle to the South Lamar theater. Just like in 2009, SXSW will run a shuttle for SXSW Film/Gold/Platinum badgeholders from Friday 3/12 through Tuesday 3/16, 10 am to 2:30 am (except on Friday, when it starts at 4 pm), which stops at Austin Convention Center (ACC), the Paramount, and Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. Allow plenty of time, especially during rush hour -- if you're too early, you can always go play skee-ball at The Highball while you wait.

Venue listings include bus routes in case you want to use Capital Metro when the shuttle isn't running; you also can rent a bike if you're feeling especially energetic and healthful during the fest.

In addition to the theaters listed below, SXSW will have a special screening at the IMAX Theater at the Texas State History Museum, and will host a day of screenings at the Carver Museum theater. Neither of these theaters is in easy walking distance of the downtown venues, but they are a short cab ride away.

About parking: I strongly suggest drivers resign themselves to paying for parking during SXSW. Pick a spot downtown, and leave your car there until the end of the day (or night). The ACC parking garage is your best bet if you can find a space -- the price is reasonable throughout the festival, it doesn't close, and other people are often around so it's not spooky. In fact, most downtown parking is fairly affordable until the Music Conference begins. Don't park at Alamo South and then take the shuttle downtown for the day; parking is getting tight there and it's not fair to people who actually want to see movies at that theater, either for SXSW or on the other screens.

You should be able to bring and use your camera in all venues for SXSW, although the Paramount sometimes is restrictive about non-press camera use. Some preview screenings of big studio films have studio-hired security that will not let anyone bring cameras, cameraphones, etc. into the theater -- you'll need to check your camera with them, but it's better if you can hide it in your car or hotel room. However, this is something that happens maybe three times during a given festival, tops.

Here are the SXSW 2010 theaters, with info on location, nearby food, and nearby wireless access. For info on the admission process, watch this video from SXSW. If I've missed some tips and tricks, please add a comment or contact me and I'll be happy to update this guide.

Venue Type: Theater

320 East Sixth Street, Austin TX 78701
1120 South Lamar Blvd., Austin TX 78701
500 E. Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78701
713 Congress Avenue, Austin TX 78701
617 Congress Ave., Austin TX 78701
(512) 443-3688


What sucks for me is that I attend mostly interactive stuff until the Tuesday, and then try to catch screenings at night and free music day parties. I don't understand why the shuttles stop running even while the screenings continue for another four or five days.

Does anyone know how often

Does anyone know how often the shuttles run? Also, what is a good approximate time to show up per theater to see a movie... rough average