SXSW 2011 Guides: Film Festival Theaters/Venues
Believe it or not, this is the fifth annual Slackerwood SXSW Venue Guide. I can't believe we've written five of these, and they get better every year. SXSW has a handy video with info on each theater, which we've embedded below because we like it so much. Our guide includes details on the best seats, the least crowded theaters, transportation options and decent food and wireless access between or even during the movies.
Keep an eye out for our Dining Guide next week. We joined forces with SXSW this year to create a printed Dining Guide that you should be able to find at SXSW venues and at the Beginner's Guide to SXSW Film panel ... and I'll be on that panel, so I hope to see you there. We're also updating our guide for local filmgoers who want to enjoy the fest on a film pass, or just buy a few individual tickets (pssst: you can buy tickets now for many SXSW screenings at The Paramount).
The festival has added several new theaters for 2011, and enlarged the ACC theater capacity considerably. Local festgoers with film passes can head over to Westgate or Arbor. Out-of-towners who like staying downtown can find the State Theatre right next door to the Paramount, and cross Lady Bird Lake to the Rollins Theatre at the Long Center.
The best news of the fest is that the SXSW Film Shuttles will run all week long. They've added a stop at Rollins Theatre this year, too (it's between downtown and Alamo on South Lamar). Westgate and Arbor are not on the shuttle route -- they're labeled as "SXSatellite" venues and are primarily intended for local filmgoers. You can walk to Rollins if you're feeling hardy, but Alamo on South Lamar is too far from downtown for walking unless that's your planned cardio workout for the day. (Although you could walk from Rollins to Alamo South if you weren't in a hurry.) If you're feeling energetic, you can always rent a bike.
In addition to the venues listed below, SXSW will use The Hideout as a lounge for film badgeholders during the film conference portion of the fest, and will hold free screenings of Texas high-school shorts on Saturday, March 12 at the Carver Museum theater.
You should be able to bring and use cameras -- not during the movies, of course -- in all venues, although the Paramount sometimes is restrictive about non-press camera use. Some preview screenings of big studio films have studio-hired security that won't 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.
Special thanks to Jenn Brown, who helped provide a great deal of info for some of the venues. In particular, Jenn is a Cap Metro expert and if you're interested in getting around the fest by bus -- as she does -- find her and she'd love to help you out. I'd also like to thank our webmaster Chip Rosenthal, who has made our venue guides a snap to assemble. Finally, the SXSW Film team has provided us with lots of useful info and answered all our questions quickly and helpfully.
If I've missed some tips and tricks, please add a comment or contact me and I'll be happy to update this guide.