Breaking down SXSW Film's newest programming track
Technically, the name SXSW Film is a misnomer. There was already a TV component when Janet Pierson became the Festival's film director in 2009, but her team's viewing habits began changing even more in 2012, when SX alumna and this year's keynote speaker Lena Dunham premiered the pilot of her HBO series, Girls. Pierson said it "was a perfect storm of accomplishment, with our filmmaker discovery who had this incredible, cutting-edge show."
After that, the Festival was inundated with pilot submissions, but Pierson's team was still cautious about having too many TV shows, instead taking time to create something that reflected their curatorial vision. This year, they launch the Episodic track, which Pierson described as "six series premieres that absolutely spoke to our sensibilities and what our registrants would be interested in."
COSMOS: A SpaceTime OdysseyFriday, March 7, 10pm, Paramount
Broadcast: March 9 on National Geographic and Fox
Neal deGrasse Tyson revives Carl Sagan's defining science series for PBS, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, with a new 13-part exploration of the wonder of physics.
Halt and Catch FireSaturday, March 8, 11am, VCC*
Broadcast: June on AMC
Breaking Bad Executive Producer Mark Johnson swaps meth vapors for solder fumes and Albuquerque for North Dallas' Silicon Prairie at the beginning of the PC boom in this 10-part series.
From Dusk Till Dawn: The SeriesSaturday, March 8, 4:30pm, Vimeo*
Broadcast: March 11 on the El Rey Network
Robert Rodriguez expands his 1996 horror-crime-comedy speedball into a 10-part horror.
Penny DreadfulSunday, March 9, 2pm, Vimeo*
Broadcast: May 11 on Showtime
The Victorian literary tradition of lurid shockers is resurrected with Josh Hartnett as a gentleman running afoul of Gothic icons, including Dorian Gray and Victor Frankenstein.
Silicon ValleyMonday, March 10, 1:30pm, Vimeo*
Broadcast: April 6 on HBO
The first two episodes of the new live-action series from Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis and Butthead) set in the high-pressure weirdness of modern tech start-ups.
DeadbeatTuesday, March 11, 2pm, Vimeo*
Broadcast: April 9 on Hulu
Tyler Labine, of cult comedy-horror hits Reaper and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, stars as New York's most inept medium in this new show produced by Brad Pitt.
* World Premiere