One of the cool side benefits of going to the Interactive portion of SXSW is that you get exposed to the Film and Music festivals. Unless you purchase a gold passport, your Interactive badge won’t get you into those events, panels and parties…well, maybe the parties but they have armed guards preventing the film geeks from mingling with the web geeks (and vice versa) inside the convention center.
In previous years that I’ve attended, and hopefully this time around, there has been downloads of music from all the bands playing during SXSW and a huge torrent of trailers for all the movies showing during the film portion. This amounts to exposure to a ton of new music and cool new films you might not otherwise be exposed to. So even if you’re not going to Austin, you can still benefit since the downloads are free and open to anyone. Looks like this year, they have a trailer site with a videoplayer to browse through all the films. They still haven’t posted (or at least I couldn’t find) the music downloads but they do have a list of all the bands performing. I’m going to have to see about getting into the Moby session.
This year, the first trailer that I’ve come across, for a documentary about online gaming/virtual worlds called Second Skin, looks very interesting and just happens to be free for Interactive attendees:
Speaking of games, another nice benefit of going to Interactive is the Screenburn Festival which happens at the same time. They also have their own arcade tradeshow with game companies showing their wares with demos and giveaways. It’s free and open for the public as well.