Update (12:10 a.m.): Jeff Nichols’ latest film, “Midnight Special,” has premiered at SXSW. Starring Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton and Kirsten Dunst, it is a grounded and imaginative science fiction picture about parenthood and letting go. See what makes it truly special in our review.
Update (7:30 p.m.): To the film community, Mark and Jay Duplass are pioneers of mumblecore film. But Mark and Jay just see themselves as two brothers making art.
“Honestly, I feel like we are two bros just trying to make something good,” Jay said.
Producers Mark and Jay Duplass spoke at the Austin Convention Center Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
The duo moved to Austin in the early 90s and began making a “a shit ton of short films” for 10 years before breaking into the circuit with 2005 indie comedy “The Puffy Chair,” which won the Audience Award at South By Southwest that year.
Since then, they’ve started a production company, Duplass Brothers Production, and directed films from the 2011 understated drama “Jeff Who Lives at Home,” to HBO series “Togetherness," which Mark also stars in.
At the event, the brothers discussed their their past, their love for Austin film and how they approach their work.
Mark said he and his brother were inspired by filmmakers like iconic Austin-based directors Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez, who don jeans and t-shirts rather than suits.
“It was so exciting to us that normal people were making art about normal stuff,” Mark said. “I think we figured out who we were by watching Rick and Robert Rodriguez.”
Over twenty years after moving to Austin and getting inspired by Linklater and Rodriguez, the Duplass brothers have joined their ranks as two of Austin’s most iconic filmmakers.
Jay said they chose movies they personally connect to and make them happen on a low budget.
Where Hollywood directors make one out of 20 films they say they are going to, Mark said he and Mark make 19 out of the 20.
“We really don’t take anything on unless it’s very obvious to us and personal,” Mark said. “It needs to matter on so many levels to us a lot for us to take it on."
The duo are at SXSW this year to promote two films, “Aspergers R Us” and “Rainbow Time."
- —Katie Walsh
Update (7 p.m.): YouTuber Casey Neistat began his Saturday at 5:30 a.m., flying his drone over Austin to get footage for his daily vlog. Later, he gave a talk at Samsung's Live Lounge about Virtual Reality and 360° video.
His recent collaborations with Samsung have taken him to the Oscars and now to South By Southwest. Neistat said that while the new filmmaking formats allow for more creative opportunities, they also bring their own unique challenges.
"Not everywhere is interesting," Neistat said. "To actually communicate something that's compelling in a fully immersive environment - that's the challenge: How to make it interesting."
Neistat said as more people get access to camera and video equipment, and filmmaking becomes democratized, making creative content becomes more challenging.
"Dealing with the struggle for interestingness is extremely challenging when anyone can hit the record button," Neistat said.
After experimenting with VR and 360°, Neistat clarified the difference and explained the benefits of the two mediums.
"VR allows you to immerse yourself in someone else's perspective," Neistat said. "With 360°, it's not about seeing someone else's experience necessarily, it's about a completely immersive experience."
- — Cat Cardenas
Update (5:40 p.m.): 15 years after Donnie Darko, Jake Gyllenhaal spoke to promote his upcoming film “Demolition,” which premieres tonight at South By Southwest. Check out our write-up of the actor’s discussion here.
Update (5 p.m.): To promote their new series “Gaycation,” actress Ellen Page and filmmaker Ian Daniel spoke at a Keynote speech at the festival this morning. Find out about their show in our write-up here.
Update (1:45 p.m.): Bust out your bikes or lace up your walking shoes because day two of SXSW is kicking off with sunny skies and 70-degree weather.
If you missed talks from actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Ellen Page earlier this afternoon, make sure to catch Australian actor Joel Edgerton at 2 p.m at the ACC Four Seasons San Jacinto Ballroom or screenings of documentaries "Mr. Gaga" or Lewis Black's "Richard Linklater - Dream is Destiny" at 3:30 p.m. at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar and Paramount Theater, respectively.
Here’s our schedule for the day:
- 11 a.m. — Ellen Page and Ian Daniel Keynote
- 12:30 p.m. — A Conversation With Jake Gyllenhaal
- 2:30 p.m. — Samsung Galaxy Live Lounge with Casey Neistat
- 3:30 p.m. — A Conversation With the Duplass Brothers
- 6 p.m. — Midnight Special
- 7 p.m. — Samsung Galaxy Life Fest
— Katie Walsh