SXSW 2021: SXSW Film Festival Goes Virtual


After last year’s edition got wiped out due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 SXSW Film Festival will take place entirely online.

If you’re looking to fully recreate the SXSW experience, make sure to have a day where you pretend to lose it to traffic issues. I missed out on a film in 2018 because neither Uber nor Lyft would take my card and the taxi service wouldn’t respond to a pickup request. It can be frustrating but it’s all apart of the experience!

There’s nothing like walking around Austin, especially E 6th Street, to find a place to eat. That’s certainly not an option this year. I’ll really be missing it this year but can’t wait to return in 2022. If you like barbecue, I certainly encourage supporting your local restaurants. Personally, I’ll be supporting Milt’s Barbecue for the Perplexed here in Chicago.

I’m also going to be honest about this year’s festival. Because of depression, it’s certainly not going to be my best SXSW in terms of coverage. I had a few transphobic attacks in February and I haven’t quite recovered from them. Throw in the sub-zero wind chills over President’s Day weekend and well, there were entire days where I just stayed under the covers in my pajamas. The transphobia plus weather (minus this past week’s 60 degree temps) are not a great combo when one has depression. Neither is the increasing anxiety leading into Passover starting following the end of Shabbas on March 27. I’m going to do my best but because of Jewish guilt, I’m frequently apologizing to publicists. You know depression is also bad when you’re watching older films for comfort rather than preparing for SXSW.

The SXSW experience itself is certainly bound to be different this year. A number of films are also geolocked to the US (sorry to our friends up north in Canada and around the world). I’ll certainly be curious to see how the app itself compares to the Sundance experience. Unfortunately, I missed out on a film because the app had tech issues.

A few films also have a very limited window to watch them. Unfortunately, this also means not being able to watch nor cover Under the Volcano. It’s only available on Saturday afternoon during a time when my electronics are completely shut off.

Depending on what depression allows, I currently plan to watch and cover the following:


  • Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil
  • Alone Together
  • Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free

Narrative Feature Competition

  • I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking)
  • Our Father
  • Potato Dreams of America
  • The End of Us
  • The Fallout
  • Women is Losers

Documentary Feature Competition

  • Introducing, Selma Blair
  • Kid Candidate
  • Lily Topples the World
  • The Oxy Kingpins
  • United States vs. Reality Winner

Narrative Spotlight

  • The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson
  • Language Lessons
  • Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break
  • Recovery
  • See You Then

Documentary Spotlight

  • Fruits of Labor
  • The Hunt for Planet B
  • Hysterical
  • WeWork: or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn
  • Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America


  • Inbetween Girl

24 Beats Per Second

  • Under the Volcano


  • Fucking with Love

2020 Spotlight

  • Clerk
  • Violet

Episodic Premieres

  • Made for Love

Narrative Shorts Competition

  • The Mohel
  • Sisters
  • The Other Morgan

Documentary Shorts

  • Sophie and The Baron

The 2021 SXSW Film Festival runs March 16-20, 2021 from the comfort of your preferred electronic device.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.