Friday, March 8, 2013

Atlantans head to Austin for SXSW

Posted By on Fri, Mar 8, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Atlanta Councilmen Kwanza Hall (left) sent James Harris (right) and other entrepreneurs off during a Wednesday morning meeting
  • Max Blau
  • Atlanta Councilman Kwanza Hall (left) sent James Harris (right) and other entrepreneurs off during a Wednesday morning meeting
South by Southwest officially kicks off today, bringing together thousands of start-ups, filmmakers, and bands in Austin, Texas.

After riding aboard a start-up charter chariot bus for nearly 20 hours, I'm hitting the ground running today as I follow an Atlanta musician, filmmaker, and start-up through each of the SXSW's three conferences. In addition, I'll also document the organized chaos of the 10-day festival in all its weird Texan glory.

Behold, the startup chariot

Here's a brief introduction to the three people I'm following:

Phil Jones: Dog Bite's frontman heads to SXSW nearly a month after the release of his debut album, Velvet Changes. The lush and ethereal indie rockers recently finished a national tour with fellow Carpark Records labelmates Toro Y Moi. At the moment, Jones is spending some time in Los Angeles before heading to Austin to play six shows in four days.

Danny Madden: The Peachtree City native and director will premiere his new film, euphonia, tomorrow night. The captivating 53-minute feature, which depicts an adolescent male's growing obsession with a handheld audio recorder, looks at how technological dependence can adversely affect personal relationships. It's a theme that parallels Madden's personal lifestyle and in many ways runs against the social-media haven that SXSW has become. It'll be interesting to see how he makes it through his first in-person appearance at the Austin film festival (though he did win Best Animated Short last year with (notes on) biology).

James Harris: The 46-year-old Atlantan co-founded his latest venture N4MD, a third-party Flipboard publisher, after attending the SXSW Interactive in 2011. He returns this year with nine other SXSW rookies involved in Atlanta's start-up scene, guiding them like a Sherpa on the bus he's chartered. He'll also network and pitch his company to other notable companies while in Austin.

James Harris (left) debriefs nine other first-time SXSW attendees
  • Max Blau
  • James Harris (left) debriefs nine other first-time SXSW attendees that rode to Austin on the start-up charter bus

Check back next week for daily posts on how these three Atlantans fared at SXSW. I'll also be tweeting throughout the festival over at @MaxBlau.

SXSW-bound Atlantans: We'll be using the #SXSWATL hashtag. You should, too.

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