Music, film, technology rule SXSW

Written by Sarah Rank, Kirby Franze

During the week of spring break, Austin held its 25th annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival.

The 10-day event showcases different facets of emerging talent from several areas. Each year, the festival provides plenty of material over three basic divisions: music, film and interactive.

Hundreds of musicians from around the world travel to the city to be a part of the festival’s tradition by spreading their individual sound to thousands of attendees. The musicians share the same dream of becoming discovered because of their unique style.

SXSW contains more than 80 stages in downtown Austin for maximum entertainment around every possible corner.

The film aspect of the festival gives prospective film makers valuable information and experience to put toward their future careers. Aspiring film makers dive into SXSW to absorb new trends and methods happening in the film industry.

Design Cru members (left to right) Joshua Benitez, Daniel Ruezga, Elizabeth Hauser and Lizzi Covert spend the day at SXSW. Photo by Nicole Ballenger

Design Cru members (left to right) Joshua Benitez, Daniel Ruezga, Elizabeth Hauser and Lizzi Covert spend the day at SXSW. Photo by Nicole Ballenger

The festival showcases information and examples on almost every type of film.

SXSW focuses on experts who share their intelligence on innovative technology, ideas and gaming for the interactive   portion.

UMHB’s own Design Cru  attended the five-day interactive segment of SXSW.

Director of the computer graphics design program Donna Teel traveled to Austin along with six students to hear from industry experts in the fields of Web, film and 3-D.

“The students went to five or six seminars each day, took notes and will be sharing their findings and experiences at the next Design Cru meeting,” she said.

Teel also returned to SXSW on her own for several day-trips to attend additional seminars and workshops as well as the tradeshow where much of the networking with businesses occurs.

This was Teel’s ninth year attending SXSW.

Senior computer graphics design major Josh Benitez traveled with   Teel and the rest of the Design Cru to SXSW.

Benitez explained how this year’s interactive portion was the largest to date.

“There was an estimated 18,000 people in the interactive areas alone,” he said.

Benitez favored mingling with the crowds of the convention where he passed out his own business cards to heavy hitters in the design and development field.

“I met one of the lead programmers for Facebook. He was there for the interactive section to pick up new tips and tricks for development. This was just one of the interesting people I met in the hallway or waiting for a panel to start,” Benitez said.

He looked at the event as a hands-on learning experience.

“It’s one thing to sit in a classroom with a professor, but it is different than going out in the world and applying what we have been taught.  SXSW gives students the chance to listen to people of all backgrounds discuss upcoming trends, technology and application of our degree,”Benitez  said.

Freshman computer graphic design major Nicole Ballenger elaborated on some of the perks the Design Cru experienced during their visit to SXSW.

“We got to sit down in a huge trailer full of PS3’s and play the new Mortal Kombat, which won’t even be released for another month,” she said.

Teel enjoyed sharing her love for the festival with students.

She said, “My favorite part about the trip was seeing their enthusiasm and hearing about what they learned, the networking opportunities and new ideas that were inspired.”

Author: The Bells Staff

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