Griffith film students, faculty and alumni will be in the spotlight at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas this week.

The Queensland Government through Screen Queensland is supporting a delegation to attend SXSW.It has worked closely with Griffith Film School lecturer Sue Swinburne to curate a showcase of Queensland’s best new media producers at “Australia House” as part of the festival, which draws innovators and artists in music, film, and interactive media from around the world.

Griffith lecturer leads the way

Ms Swinburne will take a group of Griffith film students and alumni to SXSW, where they will connect with industry leaders and get a first look at the innovations that will shape the screen business in years to come.

“In terms of contemporary creative and commercial innovative, there really is nothing like SXSW,” she said.

“It’s a chance to meet and mingle with hundreds of thousands of the most interesting people on the planet.

“Practitioners and businesses use the conference as an inkwell to renew, not just their practice and technology, but new forms of collaboration and creativity.

“This is an opportunity for us to show off the world-class work that Queensland produces. I’m really thrilled Screen Queensland continues with this great initiative after the success of our first official presence at South By Southwest last year.”

Over a quarter of a million people visit Austin during the festival as conference delegates, performers, or audience members.

Queensland is known for its vibrant screen industry, and Griffith University continues to contribute through its research and alumni.

“SXSW is a great exemplar for students – to do creative work that is thoughtful, meaningful and that makes business sense,” she said.

“Disruption has become the status quo, and the sharp reality for our students is that they’re working in a climate of constant change.

“I’m really excited for SXSW to ignite their curiosity about new opportunities, and to help them explore this environment with integrity and creativity.”

The showcase at Australia House at South By Southwest was part of an official presence instigated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through G’Day USA and Austrade. Queensland mission is an initiative of Screen Queensland.

Alumni push the boundaries of cinema

Griffith Film School alumni Lucas Taylor and Samudranil Chatterjee have been selected to screen their latest projects at SXSW.

Lucas has written a new sci-fi project for NBC Universal that is in competition in the virtual reality section at SXSW.

Eleven Eleven is an original storytelling experience designed for VR and AR – a science-fiction tale about characters on a race against the clock as their planet ticks down to its final moments.

“It’s a big narrative VR project – sheer entertainment and lots of fun,” he said.

“It pushes the boundaries between gaming and narrative.”

Since graduating from the Bachelor of Film and Screen Media Production, Lucas has worked on projects such as The Bourne Legacy, SALT, Dance Academyand Divergent. He co-wrote and directed Vikings: Athelstan’s Journal.

He’s also created digital and interactive content for Discovery (Voyage to the Planets), the ABC (Australia: A Time Traveller’s Guide) and the BBC.

“I’m passionate about directing in a cinema context and innovative space – VR allows you tell different stories on different platforms in a different way.

“What excites me is the ability to create alternative, new realities, rather than reflecting the existing world.”

Fellow Bachelor of Film and Screen Media Production(Honours) alumnus Samudranil Chatterjee is screening his short film, Outdooring, at SXSW.

The film is part of the festival’s Narrative Shorts Competition, the winner of which becomes eligible for the Academy Awards.

The talented cinematographer won a place at the prestigious American Film Institute after graduating from Griffith Film School, creating the short film as part of his thesis project.

“Outdooring tells the story of a young man who has to choose between wanting to be free or wanting to be with his family,” he said.

“It is amazing to have work selected for SXSW.”

Sam said his time at Griffith Film School had laid the foundations for a career in the industry.

“Griffith was a perfect place to meet filmmakers with varying voices, and artists who want different things,” he said.

“At Griffith, I definitely found room to test and shoot various projects and fail as much I needed, something I found extremely valuable.

“Without that process, you simply cannot become a cinematographer or an artist.”