Film festivals are great places to meet people and network, but the COVID situation has made many of them cancel or have to drastically change. This year, SXSW is determined to still make an impact. That's why it's moved its festival to the internet. 

SXSW Online is a digital experience that brings you the benefits of sessions, film festival screenings, music showcases, networking, and exhibitions. The dates for SXSW EDU Online are March 9 - March 11, 2021 and SXSW Online will take place March 16 - March 20, 2021.

SXSW CEO and co-founder Roland Swenson said, “The challenge of building a new future is one that we’re excited to tackle. This has been such a year of change and we, like the entire world, are reshaping our perspective on how we connect. We’re pleased to introduce SXSW Online as part of our program for 2021, and regardless of platform, we will continue to bring together the brightest minds from creative industries worldwide."

So how does it work? 

Entries for the 2021 online event will open on Tuesday, October 6 with PanelPicker®. What's PanelPicker? It is the official SXSW user-generated session proposal platform. This easy, two-step online process allows the SXSW community to have a voice in what sessions are programmed at SXSW. 

SXSW Chief Programming Officer Hugh Forrest explains how PanelPicker works: "PanelPicker connects us with the thousands of creative professionals, experts and decision-makers from the many disciplines in the global SXSW community. This interface helps us identify the most compelling new ideas within the many different industries we serve and, in so doing, keeps SXSW exciting, timely, and relevant."

In lieu of the standard showcase application process, the Music Festival will be curated by programming staff with priority given to showcase presenters and artists who were scheduled for the 2020 event.

So, there will still be some fun jams to discover at home. 

SXSW is working with the City of Austin and public health authorities on plans for a 2021 physical event, and we will provide updates as more information becomes available.