Review Of SXSW 2022- Top 6 Highlights 

by Guy Frum

The South by Southwest Festival showcases film, music, and other interactive media. It is an internationally recognized event that takes place every year. SXSW 2022 was a hybrid event with a virtual following also, taking place from March 11-20 in Austin.

This year, it had over 100+ short films, movies, and documentaries available both virtually and in person. This article looks at highlights from the festival, the biggest winners, and the movies you have to watch. So, readers, strap in and let’s begin.


Last year, it made its rounds in Europe, but it debuted in North America at the festival and is now available on the Oculus headset for free.
Gene Murphy and May Abdalla directed it. It is a 25-minute VR exploration of a child with schizophrenia. With headsets, the viewer is immersed in the child’s life at a psychiatric hospital and cut away from the entire world.
With the headset, the viewer can't look away. The child uses video games to tackle life’s challenges, and with an added twist, there is a recording of your voice, so it truly seems like a personal experience.
The experience helps relate to psychological and complex psychiatric disorders. And as Tilda Swinton, the narrator, said at the end of the video, “All realities are imagined. It’s the ones we share that endure.”

On the Morning You Wake (To the End of the World) 

What would you do if you received an emergency broadcast message telling you to prepare for a ballistic missile heading straight at you?

This 360VR documentary which five people created, was the winner of the SXSW's XR competition. It looks back on the incident in Hawaii in January 2018 when an emergency message broadcast to most of the citizens told them to brace themselves for an imminent missile attack. The result of this is a society plunging itself into chaos and conflicts as telephone lines crashed and the psychological toll on the citizens was humongous.

Though the message wound up being a mistake, the immersive nature of the experience increased the dread and panic of the viewers as the filmmakers blended in vibrational cues and holograms of real people to make the experience all the more immersive.

(Hi)Story of A Painting: The Light in The Shadow

The Special Jury Recognition for Immersive Storytelling went to this documentary about a woman who was a baroque artist. It narrates her resistance to the patriarchy and her struggles with getting accepted.
This artist was not well known but was determined, strong and unyielding even in the face of barriers and adversity.

The SXSW’s festival was not just about VR experiences but also combined with some movies and documentaries that people could access physically. Below are some of the movies that won awards at the festival in Texas.

Audience Award: Documentary Feature
Bad Axe

The pandemic in 2020 changed the world, and the lives of many people were affected by the global lockdown.

The documentary was about filmmaker David Siev and his family’s struggles to keep their restaurant open and afloat during the lockdown.
Brian Tallerico said the documentary “feels essential when we tell the story of how 2020 shaped this country, revealing both strengths and weaknesses in small towns across the United States.
”The name of the town where the documentary was set in? Bad Axe, Michigan.

Jury Award: Best Documentary Feature
Master of Light

Directed by Rose Boesten, this tells the story of George Anthony Mason and how he tries to fend for his partner and daughter using his artistic talents.
Mason could paint like Old Dutch Masters, which made him unique in a world where black ex-convicts were looked down upon.
This documentary got huge reviews from critics and viewers alike.

Audience Award: Best Narrative Feature in Competition
I Love My Dad

A comedy film written and directed by James Morosini. It stars Patton Oswalt, Morosini, and Claudia Sulewski.

Franklin blocks his father, Chuck, on social media. Finally, Chuck decides to catfish his son, impersonating a waitress named Becca.
Chuck later agrees to drive his son to meet Becca in Maine, knowing that this might be the last straw in their father-son relationship.