SXSW starts today, and if you have found yourself badge/pass/ticket-less like so many others, don’t fret!  We have some great recommendations to keep busy during one of Austin’s most magical times of the year. So, grab your walking shoes (cause let’s face it, you’re going to be lucky to park a mile away from downtown) and get yourself to these great SXSW activities!

Community Screenings

Wanted to spend Spring Break catching some movies, but all your local theaters are full of SXSW programming?  No problem! A little known fact about SXSW is that they coordinate with a handful of local film organizations to run a series of community screenings + events during the festival.  Many of these are short film programs featuring local up-and-comers. So, while your pals may be able to brag that they saw Isle of Dogs a couple days before the rest of the world, soon enough you’ll be able to brag about how you saw so-and-so’s first premiere of their first short film ever!

ASoF is one of the lucky organizations that has featured our student work for the past decade. This year, you can catch our SXSW Community Screening at AFS Cinema at 11AM on the 11th, featuring selected works from over 45 filmmakers and in such categories as: Narrative, Experimental, and Documentary.

To check out the full schedule, click here!

While these screenings are completely FREE and open to the public, they are still first-come,  first-served. So arrive early! All 6 community screenings are also in the first weekend of the fest (March 10 & 11), which is exactly the best time to be downtown to grab some free swag and be amid the chaos.  

Outdoor Music

Photo: John Gusky, KVUE

Photo: John Gusky, KVUE

What could be more picturesque and positively #sxsw? A beautiful outdoor stage overlooking Ladybird lake featuring some badass musicians from Shakey Graves, Los Lobos to legends like Roky Erikson! This is totally free and open to the public, and runs March 15-17, which puts you right in the heart of SXSW Music. So, afterward, take the scenic route over the walking bridge and head over to 6th for the free music that just flows into the streets and feel the pulse of the city coming to life!   You can check out the lineup and get more info about the free concert series here.

Flat Stock

Photo by Lauren Lindley

Photo by Lauren Lindley

Flatstock is a huge & glorious screen printing convention put on by the American Poster Institute -- becoming one of our most favorite features of the festival over the year!  If you’ve ever needed some art for your walls at home, this is a one-stop shop. They cram hundreds of highly talented artists in the space hawking their wares. There’s usually live music (cause, duh.), but something special about Flat Stock, is that many of the artists are present in their booths talking about their works.  With the vast variety of styles and content means there’s something there for everyone. Just be sure to set a budget for yourself before you enter, cause it’s a challenge to get out of there empty handed. Flatstock runs March 15-17 at the Austin Convention Center. For more info and to grab your FREE guest pass, click here.

Meow Wolf

Photo by Kate Russell, courtesy of Meow Wolf

Photo by Kate Russell, courtesy of Meow Wolf

The Santa Fe based art collective, Meow Wolf (if you haven’t heard of them, go look them up now!)  is holding a scavenger hunt, and that can only mean one thing: an immersive, insane experience unlike any other.  They opened up sign-ups online and have already texted out their first clue, which features one of their biggest fans, George R. R. Martin (yeah, that one).  So, straight out of the gate, we’re excited to see what this journey is going to entail. They promise “immersive art attractions” all along the way, so even if you’re not dropping everything to be the first to get to the end, there’s certainly some sights to catch either way.  They say the prize is a cube that grants you entry to ALL Meow Wolf events and exhibitions for forever.  Now that you’re aware of them, if you haven’t already texted a friend to start planning a pilgrimage to their mecca in New Mexico, why are you even reading this list?!  To check it out and sign up, hit up their site here.

Showtime x Shameless Bar

As a non-profit that runs a year-round film school - we can get down with some themes - especially if they’re based off films! Something that caught our eye this year is the recreation of the U.S Shameless TV series BAR! If you watch Shameless, you know the Clive bar is an integral part of the show -- a meeting place for the characters where some wild wild adventures have their beginning. If that wasn’t enough for ya - Kevin & V ( actors Shanola Hampton & Steve Howey) will be present at the bar! It’s free, there will also be music, and maybe some other surprises?

Learn more and RSVP here.

Alright, that’s it!  If you’re still reading this hoping we’d tell you my top-secret-always-open parking spot during the fest - sorry to break your heart. We’ll never tell. BUT if you’ve made it this far -- take an extra 5% off our site-wide class catalog sale! Use code: SXSW18 for a total of 25% off!

PS. If you do run into an ASoF Director next week at the fest - mention this article and you’ll receive an exclusive coupon code good for a discount on any ASoF classes….and maybe by next year you’ll have a film in the fest yourself (and a badge so that you can hit up everything).