SXSW 2014 Kicks Off: From Lady Gaga to Edward Snowden, Something for Everyone

Source: Alexandra Leigh

Source: Alexandra Leigh

The almighty South by Southwest Interactive, Film, and Music Festival is upon us: the fest responsible for unveiling such buzzworthy flicks as Bridesmaids and the HBO series Girls, as well as musical acts like Of Monsters and Men and John Mayer (that’s right — a performance at the fest earned him his first record deal in 2000.) It’s a magical place where obscure filmmakers get distribution deals and promising new start-ups make it or break it, from Twitter’s banner year back in 2007 to the boom in social discovery apps like Highlight in 2012.

The year 2014 is already shaping up to be another big one, as over 70,000 media junkies and creative professionals descend on the capital city of Texas. Over 130 features will be screened, including the worldwide debuts of new Seth Rogen comedy Neighbors, Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, and the Kickstarter-funded big screen adaptation of teen espionage cult favorite Veronica Mars. More than 2,000 musical acts will flock to stages throughout Austin in the hopes of getting their big break, in addition to big ticket acts like Lady Gaga, Kelis, and Kendrick Lamar. March 11 marks the U.S. premiere of Apple’s iTunes Music Festival (already a staple in London), featuring performers like Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Keith Urban, and Pitbull.

While he can’t set foot on U.S. soil for fear of arrest, former CIA employee and NSA consultant Edward Snowden will speak on Monday, March 11, in a much buzzed about live video conference from Russia. He will discuss surveillance culture and government intrusions into privacy with the American Civil Liberties Union’s chief technologist, Christopher Soghoian, and the panel will be moderated by Snowden’s legal advisor, the director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Pathology Project Ben Wizner.

The Interactive portion runs from March 7-11, the Film segment from March 7-15, and the Music segment from March 11-16. We’ll keep you posted on Snowden’s talk, must-see films, must-have apps, and the next John Mayer as the days proceed.

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