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Friday, September 20, 2019
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Emerson Heads to SXSW

Emerson College alumni and friends gather for a party following the premiere of Best and Most Beautiful Things at SXSW 2016 in Austin, Texas. From left: Sean Bradley '99, Alyssa H., Alexander Lehmann '04, Emerson College Los Angeles Vice President and Founding Director Kevin Bright '76, Jordan Salvatoriello MFA '12, Garrett Zevgetis MA '05, Emerson College Director of Programming Anna Feder, faculty member Shaun Clarke MFA '12, Sarah Bordelon '15, CosPlay party talent, and faculty member Jean-Paul DiSciscio. File photo/Eugene Lee.

A group of Emerson College students, staff, and faculty will travel to Austin, Texas this week for the SXSW film festival, where they will attend screenings, give and hear talks, and network.

SXSW is the second of three major film festivals at which Emerson will have a presence this semester. Visual and Media Arts Programming Director Anna Feder took a group of graduate students to the Sundance Film Festival in January as part of a program that focuses on women in film. In May, Feder and some students will fly to the Cannes Film Festival.

Two students from a class that worked with a major fashion house on a film project will travel to Texas with Senior Distinguished Director-in-Residence Reggie Life, who co-taught the class with Associate Professor Harlan Bosmajian. Seven other students, some of whom were at Sundance, will join Feder.

Feder will give a talk about submitting your short film to festivals at SXSW’s 90-Minute Film School, alongside speakers from Pixar Animation Studios, Netflix, StudioCanal UK, and Short of the Week. She does a lot of advising of students on the subject, she said, including what kinds of films are festival-friendly.

She said she’s spoken at SXSW before, on topics ranging from putting on film exhibitions and series to the communal experience of watching films. This year’s talk should be popular.

“With these folks from companies people would have heard of [speaking], I feel like that will get more attendance,” she said.

This is the first year that Emerson has had a program at SXSW, so Feder said she’s been reaching out to alumni she finds in the SXSW social directory.

A group of Emersonians is going to the opening night screening of Terrence Malick’s Song to Song, a film set amidst the Austin music scene and produced by alumna Sarah Green ’81.

Robert Grigsby Wilson '04 will be there with Fits and Starts, the Grand Jury-nominated film he associate produced and edited. 

And a number of alumni across multiple industries are speaking during SXSW, which includes festivals in film, music, comedy, and interactive:

Melissa Abbott, vice president of culinary insights at The Hartman Group, speaking on “We Love Technology…Why Not When It Comes to Food?

Alden Fertig ’03, MA ’07, vice president of product for Ustream, on “Lessons from a Decade of Livestreaming”

Darian Symoné Harvin ’13, editor, BuzzFeed News, on “Stay Hungry: Increasing Diversity with Food and Hip Hop.”

Liss LaFleur ’14, artist and educator, University of North Texas, on “Virtual Life is a Drag: Queering VR.”

Daniel Moretti ’05, senior manager of engagement and impact, ITVS, on “Proven Approaches to Film Impact Campaign Design”

Helen Todd MA ’08, CEO, Sociality Squared, on “How Do You Keep Your Company Human in 2030?”

Nick Weiss ’04, senior vice president of creative advertising, Sony Pictures Entertainment, on “From Inception to Exodus: Music in Movie Marketing”

Sylvia Desrochers ’97, president and founder, Big Time PR & Marketing; and Beth McPhee MA ’04, executive vice president of international marketing and publicity at Bloom, will be Publicity and Marketing Mentors. Landon Zakheim ’05, short films programmer at Sundance Film Festival, will be a Programming Mentor.  

SXSW takes place March 10-19.