Have you ever sat in a theater with Spielberg?  Welp, we have.

Last week, MMAC team members roamed the streets of downtown Austin, Texas with thousands of others in anticipation of experiencing new films, art, music, and creative works for South by Southwest 2018! As we scrape ourselves off our beds and into the office this morning - we bring you the good, the better, and the best -- MMAC’s 2018 SXSW REWIND.

Before we get into it, we want to let you know -- we’re feeling inspired (like really inspired) after the festival and have extended our 20% off site-wide class & camp catalog sale until Friday (3/23). No code needed! Check it out before our spring catalog sells out and get inspired to create, learn, and work with us!

Now back to it!

We started off the festival with Eighth Grade Directed by Bo Burnham. Before his directorial debut, Burnham was first a Youtube star that had branched out to become a professional musician and stand-up comedian serving up albums and videos to millions of fans across the globe. His feature is a bit different than his usual work, following Kayla - an eighth grader who spends her time looking at screens and posting stream of conscious self-help videos. We follow her through ups, downs, all-arounds, and it never becomes cliche or played out. No matter your age she is relatable character and that’s all due to the honest and brave performance of Elsie Fisher. A slice of millennial angst life that will surprise and delight.

Instructor  Rhitu Basu  with her students from ASoF film course,  Minority Lens . 

Instructor Rhitu Basu with her students from ASoF film course, Minority Lens

Next, we attended our own beloved ASoF Official SXSW Film Showcase highlighting 50 local filmmakers and their shorts. The theater was packed with ASoF students, their friends, and fellow filmmakers from across Texas -- filling every single seat in the theater. In an hour and a half, we showcased everything from narrative and documentary shorts to experimental films shot on both Super 8 + 16mm film. Something we strive for at MMAC is to showcase our students' work created in our classes as a way to empower, support, and nurture new work by real-life students. If you haven’t already gathered, we do multiple screenings each year from our Official SXSW Showcase to specialty showcases at local businesses like Alamo Drafthouse and Cheer Up Charlie’s. P.S. you can learn more about those events riiiigghhht here. 

We then trekked down to Cheer Up Charlie’s, local favorite (and past host of our ongoing experimental film series, Cinema Obscura) for the Hyperreal Film Club DREAM DATES Video Zine release + screening. This screening featured new work by local filmmakers - including our lead instructor for our Avant Garde & Experimenal Filmmaking + Programs Director, Faiza Kracheni. Held outdoors under the moonlight, stars, and chattering voices of many talented artists of all mediums, this event highlighted film + creative media highly experimental shorts under the theme curated by HFC centering around the concept of dream dates. One of our favorite parts? They include and sell copies of the entire screening dubbed to old VHS tapes with custom covers created by local artists. So run down to your local thrift store and rummage through to find an old VHS player & get to watchin’! 

Dream Dates VHS Zine Compilation via HFC instagram 

Dream Dates VHS Zine Compilation via HFC instagram 

One of our most memorable highlights was getting to sit down for the world premiere of Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One with cast in attendance! The energy and the hype in that theater made it probably the best movie going experience we’ve ever had. This film reminded us why we love the things we do. Movies, video games, music, all these things matter and are on glorious display in ultimate appreciation. Some may argue the human drama is lacking, but the spectacle and magic at work here makes this an event movie for all to enjoy.

Over the remaining days of SXSW, we were able to see so many exciting films including: Prospect - a bleak and harrowing western, Perfect - a scifi thriller not for the faint at heart, The Ranger - punk rock midnight horror flick, Ghost Stories - based on the stage play Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson following a skeptic challenged by a mysterious colleague, A Vigilante - starring Olivia Wilde is incendiary as a victim of abuse and loss at the hands of an extreme survivalist husband, Break Uppers - a fun New Zealand comedy, and lots more.

 You can view all our micro-reviews from our SXSW Film adventures here, featuring guest bloggers Kyle Cates (Austin-based filmmaker), Spencer Mirabal (MMAC Community Manager), Jeremy Nelson (ASoF student + intern), and more!


There's something beautiful about sitting among hundreds of strangers watching some badass films from around the world. We hope, if anything, this inspires you to seek out new work and maybe even create your own.