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SXSW looking for talent on Hawaii Island

SXSW 2019

KONA—TUESDAY, JULY 24, 6-8pm—Honua Studios, 73-4855 Kanalani St.  RSVP info below!

The world’s largest and most prestigious, Interactive, Music, Tech and Film Conference and Festivals–SXSW (South by Southwest)–is seeking Hawaiian talent across all sectors of Creative Content to continue the state’s escalating momentum in the 32nd annual event to be held March 8-17 in Austin TX. In 2018, 0ver 40 delegates from the various sectors attended from the islands and top musical artist Makana performed in four concerts along with Maui’s Lukas Nelson featuring in the nightly showcases.

“We’re looking for contemporary Musicians and Bands to enter our 2000 artists showcase program March 12-17, Film Makers to submit for juried screenings March 8-16 and Interactive Multimedia Developers, Imagineers, Start-Ups, Internet/App/Software Entrepreneurs, Gamers, Venture Capitalists, Advertising and Marketing Pros, Incubators and Coders to join other propeller-heads from 60+ countries March 8-13. SXSW Pacific Regional Development Manager Phil Tripp outlines. “Our three major Festivals and Conference are a great opportunity for Hawaiians to network, broaden contacts and show their wares to an eager audience of global delegates.” Tripp explains. “And over the past few years, we’ve added an EDU educational Conference and evolved a week long Comedy Festival.”

Hawaii’s first showcase artist at SXSW was HAPA in the late 90s. So far the largest presence at SXSW for Hawaiian music was in 2009 when John Cruz, Anuhea, David Tamaoka, Pimpbot and One Right Turn played a series of showcases while in 2010, Anuhea & The Green and Pimpbot returned with Kona, Tavana, Sabrina and Yahiowa 13. As well, there was a trade fair stand organised by World Sound / One Hawaii and supported by Roy’s Restaurants and DBEDT.

But in the past few years the 30-40 annual attendees from Hawai’i have mirrored the direction of SXSW from its strictly music beginnings into the convergence of technology, creative content and film where the mix of over 80,000 SXSW total attendees from 50+ countries is 60% Interactive, 30% Music, 5% Film and 5% Other. These have included: Occupop, Hawaiian Intl. Film Festival, POW!WOW!, Lux, Wremix,, Spotify, University of Hawaii, Maui County Film Office, Hawaiian Electric, Kamehameha Schools, Servco, Maui County Film Office, Makaha Studios and WorldSound among a hundred other island companies over the past decade.

“But we want to open SXSW more to the rich variety of tech resources from the islands hence these meetings introducing both invited veterans and potential first-timers.” Tripp reveals. “Hawaii has developed their own unique base of online and technological hubs—Silicon Islands, if you will—which are creating new applications, high tech businesses and creative talent that promise to eclipse the former agricultural exports base of revenue.” Tripp explains. “ Supplanting the sugar, pineapple and mac nut, brainpower is the renewable and sustainable export of Hawaii’s future as its inventions and tech trends plus its bounty of film and TV facilities. SXSW has been evolving with the times and Hawaii can catch the content wave in Austin as well as expanding its tourism footprint through VR and AR worlds on display.”

Hawaiian government creative content departments have followed the experience of the Australian government export arm AUSTRADE in 2002 kickstarting a long line of over 500 music acts in 15 years in showcase performances, 12 trade fair stands and special events with 850 paid delegates attending this year. AUSTRADE and G’DAY USA in 2018 created an ‘Australia House’ venue in a large house and function center which hosted 10 days of various promotions, product activations, TED-style talks, networking and brunch meetings as well as concerts nightly. This massive Aussie interactive tech presence was also supplemented with a major trade fair stand, start-up pitch events, gaming investment and many other initiatives including tourism promotion through virtual reality headsets. Equally, the Australian film industry has taken advantage of the juried Film Festival to premiere and market a long line of features, documentaries and shorts over the years. “Hawaii just happens to be another major Rock in The Pacific like Australia and New Zealand and it faces the same challenges of other emerging countries—distance, time lag and visibility in the market–even though it is a state of the US.” Tripp, who also handles Australia and New Zealand, concludes.

The Meet ’n’ Greets listed below with venues and times are aimed to make it easier for those who wish to submit their works to succeed, interface with veterans who have blazed a trail in the past and also prepare for the logistics of attending. There is no charge but attendees must RSVP as space is limited. Either by email at or text 512 669 3321.

KONA—TUESDAY, JULY 24, 6-8pm—Honua Studios, 73-4855 Kanalani St. Kailua-Kona,

KAHULUI—THURSDAY, JULY 26 5:30-8pm–University of Hawaii Maui College, Kupa’a Bldg Rm 104, 310 W Kaahumanu Ave.

SXSW (South By Southwest) dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. The event, an essential destination for global professionals, features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together.


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