South by Southwest® (SXSW®) began on March 8 and will continue until March 16. As usual, the program for the annual conference in Austin, Texas, appears comprehensive, omitting almost no topic of contemporary interest, especially in the areas of the arts and science or technology.

In the Opening Session, U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón and NASA scientist Lori Glaze hosted a fireside chat on the wonders of space. Who wouldn’t be up for that? Other appealing sessions have included Snack with Purpose and Could Dogs be Key to Unlocking Human Longevity?

Of course, we’ve been enjoying the 31st edition of the SXSW® Film and TV Festival. Numerous films have been screened in world premieres, and 11 juries have given awards to feature films, documentaries,
shorts, music videos, and more. You can find the full list of award winners here.

As we look back on the festival, we want to cover some feature films and television shows from the lineup. Regardless of if they won or not, these projects appealed to our eclectic taste.

Here is our selection of highlights from SXSW® 2024.


Festival organizers slated eight feature films for the Headliner section. These star-studded world premieres will be celebrated with red-carpet fanfare.

Perhaps the most widely anticipated screening is Doug Liman’s Road House starring Jake Gyllenhaal, a remake of Rowdy Herrington’s Road House starring Patrick Swayze. As in the original, a bouncer fights small-town bullies and other jerks, repeatedly handing them their asses. What’s not to love? Also: abs!

The Headliner section includes other films from established directors. For instance, Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation) is premiering Civil War, and David Leitch (Deadpool 2, Bullet Train) is premiering The Fall Guy.

There are also several feature directorial debuts. We’ll give a few examples.

In Pamela Adlon’s Babes, Eden (Ilana Glazer) seeks advice from a married mother of two (Michelle Buteau) about her own, unconventional pregnancy. Glazer co-wrote the script with Josh Rabinowitz. They previously worked together, though not as co-writers, on Broad City. We have high hopes for another screwball comedy … especially because Adlon will receive the Comedy Director Award at Variety’s annual SXSW® event, The Power of Comedy.

In Michael Showalter’s The Idea of You, Solène (Anne Hathaway) starts dating Hayes Campbell (Nicholas Galitzine), the lead singer of her daughter’s favorite boy band. The consequences are SO much more embarrassing than when other moms drop their kids off at school. The script is based on a novel by multi-hyphenate Robinne Lee.

In Dev Patel’s Monkey Man, Patel plays an unnamed hero seeking revenge for his mother’s murder. The main character is based on Hanuman, the monkey god who helps defeat the demon Ravana in the Sanskrit epic Ramayana. Patel first rose to fame after starring in Slumdog Millionaire. His directorial debut is produced by Jordan Peele.

Television Premieres and Spotlights

Festival organizers chose seven titles for the TV Premiere section. The lineup of new series includes an adaptation of a phenomenally popular sci fi novel and a reality show about a prominent comedian, actor, and producer.

In 3 Body Problem, detectives investigate serial murders targeting great scientists. Horrifyingly, clues suggest the crimes were perpetrated by an alien force. The show is based on Cixin Liu’s novel, which won the Hugo Award in 2015. Showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss previously oversaw Game of Thrones.

In Jerrod, multi-hyphenate Jerrod Carmichael shares a behind-the-scenes view of his personal life. Carmichael was the star, co-creator, and co-writer of The Carmichael Show, a semi-autobiographical sitcom. He made TIME’s list of The 100 Most Influential People of 2023. Most recently, Carmichael played the pragmatic aristocrat Harry Astley in Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things, which was nominated for 11 Academy Awards® and won four.

Meanwhile, festival organizers chose nine ongoing shows for the TV Spotlight section. A witty comedy will launch its third season, while a beloved sci fi series will begin to say goodbye.

In the third season of Hacks, Ava (Hannah Einbinder) continues writing for her irascible but loveable boss, the stand-up comedian Deborah Vance (Jean Smart). Our office took a poll, and we agreed: None of us has ANY idea what that job would be like! For portraying Ava’s experiences so vividly, Einbinder will receive Variety’s Comedy Actress Award, presented by Smart, at The Power of Comedy.

In the fifth and final season of Star Trek: Discovery, Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and her crew must find a mysterious artifact before enemies of the Federation can exploit its destructive power. Evaluating the show’s legacy, one critic wrote, “Star Trek: Discovery was the franchise’s first foray into serialized prestige television, and it raised the bar for Star Trek series in terms of cinematic visuals and production values.”

We can’t wait to see where Discovery and other Star Trek series will “boldly go” in 2024.

Enjoy the Festival!

There are many other unique and exciting films premiering at the festival. For instance, we’re intrigued by Phoebe Jane Hart’s Bug Diner, an animated short with an irresistible premise. We’re also looking forward to Bess Kargman’s Diane Warren: Relentless, a documentary about one of Hollywood’s greatest songwriters.

We encourage you to check out the complete lineup. Soon, we’ll know which titles have won awards, but all of them look terrific, boding well for film and television in 2024.

Please join us in congratulating all the amazing filmmakers featured at SXSW® in 2024!