email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on LinkedIn share on reddit pin on Pinterest

SXSW 2023

Immersive European works prevail in the SXSW 2023 line-up

by 

- Most of the XR titles picked for the renowned US event hail from the UK, although European narrative and documentary features are also on the menu

Immersive European works prevail in the SXSW 2023 line-up
In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats by Darren Emerson

Since the start of the year, European productions have been on a roll at US festivals. After Sundance (see the news) and Slamdance (see the news), a fresh batch of European premieres has been announced for the imminent 30th edition of the celebrated Austin-based SXSW (10-19 March). The Texan festival enters its post-pandemic era with an in-person-only edition, which will open with a big-screen adaptation of the popular RPG Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. “[The line-up] is an amazing collection of films, TV series and XR experiences that promise to inspire, entertain and challenge our audiences. We’re also proud to open with Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, a raucous and engaging fantasy-adventure, and look forward to welcoming everyone to Austin for what promises to be an unforgettable event,” says Claudette Godfrey, VP Film and TV.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Films hailing from Europe include Paris Zarcilla’s UK-produced coming-of-age horror Raging Grace in the Narrative Feature Competition, following an undocumented Filipina immigrant caring for a terminally ill old man in order to secure a better life. However, a dark discovery threatens to destroy everything she and her daughter have been striving for. The Documentary Feature Competition will welcome Agniia Galdanova’s Queendom [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
, which focuses on a queer artist from a small town in Russia as she stages radical public performances, putting herself in danger with her “artivism”. The Austrian doc Riders on the Storm sees a young horseman keeping the tradition of buzkashi alive as the Taliban resurges in Afghanistan. The film, directed by Jason Motlagh, will also debut in the Documentary Feature Competition. Tünde Skovrán’s latest work, Who I Am Not [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
, will screen in the Documentary Spotlight section – the film sees “a beauty queen and a male-presenting activist break the intersex taboo through a personal and intimate exploration of truth, faith and belonging”. Some European films have also been selected, such as Northern Comfort [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, the English-language debut by Icelandic director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson (Under the Tree [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
film profile
]
, Either Way [+see also:
trailer
interview: Hafstein Gunnar Sigurdsson
interview: Hilmar Gudjônsson - Shootin…
film profile
]
), a comedy starring Timothy Spall which is having its world premiere in the Narrative Spotlight section, as well as the Spanish titles Upon Entry [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Alejandro Rojas and Juan Se…
film profile
]
, directed by Alejandro Rojas and Juan Sebastián Vázquez, screening in the same section, and Tobacco Barns [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rocío Mesa
film profile
]
, directed by Rocío Mesa, screening in the Visions section.

However, the immersive arts are the format where European works will really dominate at SXSW. The XR Experience Competition boasts seven titles from the continent that will be vying for the prize. The line-up of oeuvres utilising this new medium includes an app with a biased form of AI watching its users, Consensus Gentium by Karen Palmer (UK); a music-driven, virtual live-entertainment experience for VR headsets featuring a virtual twin of Berlin, The District VR by Dennis Lisk, Ioulia Isserlis and Max Sacker (Germany); a reimagining of Bram Stoker’s most famous novel, Dracula, with a handcrafted fine-art pop-up book including augmented-reality animations, in Davy and Kristin McGuire’s The Invited (UK); a French-US VR documentary chronicling the assassination of JFK, JFK Memento by Chloé Rochereuil; and Victoria BousisStay Alive, My Son, a Greek-US project reliving the tragic past and the loss of a child during the Cambodian genocide. Fresh Memories: The Look by Ondřej Moravec and Volodymyr Kolbasa (Czech Republic/Ukraine), and Jailbirds The Eye of the Artist by Thomas Villepoux (Belgium/France) round off the European titles in this section.

More European immersive projects are slated to take part in the XR Experience Spotlight, which features Clarice Hilton and Neal Coghlan’s mocap dance performance Figural Bodies (UK), reimagining “the normative and ableist way in which the body is understood and represented”; a multisensory experience of the beginnings of the acid house movement, in In Pursuit of Repetitive Beats by Darren Emerson (UK); and Mrs Benz, a VR experience about the untold story of Bertha Benz and how she changed the course of history, by Eloise Singer (UK). The remaining titles hailing from the continent and set to get an airing in this strand are Behind the Dish by Chloé Rochereuil (France/USA), Shib the Metaverse by Marcie Jastrow and Sherri Cuon (UK), Spring Odyssey by Elise Morin (France), Temporal World: A Haptisonic Virtual Reality Memory World by Chloé Lee (Germany), UnEarthed by Jamie Davies (UK), and You Destroy. We Create. by Felix Gaedtke and Gayatri Parameswaran (Germany).

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.

Privacy Policy