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11 Beautiful and Creative SXSW Film Posters

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The 2013 SXSW Film Festival is showing 133 features and 109 shorts; some of those films are displaying one-sheet posters across town and at a gallery in the Austin Convention Center. Here are 11 SXSW film posters that creatively and beautifully capture the essence of their films—and would look great on anyone’s wall.

1. Old Man


Category: Animated Shorts
Synopsis: For more than 20 years Charles Manson has refused to communicate directly with the outside world. Until now. These are the actual never-before-heard phone conversations between Canadian bestselling author Marlin Marynick and Charles Manson.

2. Improvement Club


Category: Narrative Feature
Synopsis: A hybrid narrative film with doses of mockumentary, musical comedy and dance film, "Improvement Club" traces a rag-tag Seattle performance group’s attempt to expose the American Revolution’s fatal flaws. When the ensemble loses their shot at a New York premiere, their desperate wish for an audience takes them into the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest on what becomes a surreal pursuit of trust, togetherness and the true motivation behind their work. Loosely based on the making of director Dayna Hanson’s real-life performance, "Gloria’s Cause."

3. Grow Up, Tony Phillips


Category: Narrative Spotlight
Synopsis: Who doesn't love Halloween? All of Tony Phillips' (Tony Vespe) high school friends, apparently. It's senior year and they've now decided that they’re too cool for Halloween. When his older cousin (AJ Bowen) returns home right before the holiday, Tony starts to wonder if he really is the dork everyone thinks he is, or if he’s just ahead of the curve.

4. William and the Windmill


Category: Documentary Feature
Synopsis: Young Malawian William Kamkwamba teaches himself to build a power-generating windmill from junk parts, successfully rescuing his family from poverty and famine. He becomes an energy icon for the developing world and meets American entrepreneur and mentor Tom Reilly, who helps him imagine a new future. Fame, opportunity, stress and isolation follow his invention, and his life is transformed. As William struggles with the potential of his promising future, he privately yearns to distance himself from his windmill, that which made him famous. This is a story about a complex young man straddling two cultures, carrying the burdens of his past achievements while boldly pursuing a bright future.

5. The Gold Sparrow


Category: Animated Shorts
Synopsis: Set in a crumbling black-and-white futuristic metropolis, void of creativity and color, the city is traversed by The Gold Sparrow and her nefarious side kick, The Ring Leader. Together they scour the gray-scale streets, stealing the color from anyone daring enough to bring art back into their bleak world. Our heroes, The Strongman, The Fool, and The Monk, perform in the streets as they are hunted. The two sides clash through intense chase scenes and battles for the souls of our artists. Two-dimensional animation rotoscoped over live action creates a living graphic novel, a breathtaking and unique action-packed short film.

6. Again


Category: Texas High School Shorts
Synopsis: A woman sings to her child as her village is attacked.

7. Sci-Fly


Category: Animated Shorts
Synopsis: A journey through time & space, and the fight for existence. A dark premise contrasted with the divine imaginary creates a hypnotic ride of tone and emotion. Only "in-camera effects" were used to capture "Sci-Fly". The wonders of our own world were filmed in order to create another. I've always been a big believer in practical effects. Capturing visual effects "in camera" is starting to become an afterthought. "Sci-Fly's" main goal was to create a journey solely on experimenting with new techniques that we had never done before. Those new methods would shift the storytelling arch. "Sci-Fly" would evolve organically, just like the effects created.

8. Maidentrip

Category: Documentary Feature
Synopsis: Fourteen-year-old Laura Dekker sets out—camera in hand—on a two-year voyage in pursuit of her dream to be the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone. In the wake of a year-long battle with Dutch authorities that sparked a global storm of media scrutiny, Laura now finds herself far from land, family and unwanted attention, exploring the world in search of freedom, adventure, and distant dreams of her early youth at sea. Jillian Schlesinger’s debut feature amplifies Laura’s brave, defiant voice through a mix of Laura's own video and voice recordings at sea and intimate vérité footage from locations including the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, Australia, and South Africa.

9. Everyone's Going to Die


Category: Narrative Feature
Synopsis: Two lost souls. One last chance. Melanie's life in a seaside town is going nowhere until she meets Ray, back in town with a shady job to do. A moment's escape becomes a chance to save themselves, and each other. "Everyone's Going To Die" is a modern British story about coming home, getting by and the redemptive power of feeling you're not alone. A story where porn hotlines rub shoulders with sexy beavers on rollerskates; where the past is laid to rest, two lives are changed and nobody, finally, is going to die.

10. The Blue Umbrella


Category: Animated Short
Synopsis: It is just another evening commute until the rain starts to fall, and the city comes alive to the sound of dripping rain pipes, whistling awnings and gurgling gutters. And in the midst, two umbrellas—one blue, one not—fall eternally in love.

11. Lunarcy!


Category: Documentary Feature
Synopsis: With wry humor and affection, Simon Ennis’ "Lunarcy!" follows a disparate group of dreamers and schemers who share one thing in common: they’ve all devoted their lives to the Moon. From the former ventriloquist who’s made millions selling Moon lots to the young man who’s resolved to depart for Luna (permanently), "Lunarcy!" is a touching and comic portrait of passion, creativity and quixotic dreams.

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iStock
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The Simple Optical Illusion That Makes an Image Look Like It's Drawing Itself
iStock
iStock

Artist James Nolan Gandy invents robot arms that sketch intricate mathematical shapes with pen and paper. When viewed in real time, the effect is impressive. But it becomes even more so when the videos are sped up in a timelapse. If you look closely in the video below, the illustration appears to materialize faster than the robot can put the design to paper. Gizmodo recently explained how the illusion works to make it look like parts of the sketch are forming before the machine has time to draw them.

The optical illusion isn’t an example of tricky image editing: It’s the result of something called the wagon wheel effect. You can observe this in a car wheel accelerating down the highway or in propeller blades lifting up a helicopter. If an object makes enough rotations per second, it can appear to slow down, move backwards, or even stand still.

This is especially apparent on film. Every “moving image” we see on a screen is an illusion caused by the brain filling in the gaps between a sequence of still images. In the case of the timelapse video below, the camera captured the right amount of images, in the right order, to depict the pen as moving more slowly than it did in real life. But unlike the pen, the drawing formed throughout the video isn't subject to the wagon-wheel effect, so it still appears to move at full speed. This difference makes it look like the sketch is drawing itself, no pen required.

Gandy frequently shares behind-the-scenes videos of his mechanical art on his Instagram page. You can check out some of his non-timelapse clips like the one below to better understand how his machines work, then visit his website to browse and purchase the art made by his 'bots.

And if you think his stuff is impressive, make sure to explore some of the incredible art robots have made in the past.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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Tessa Angus
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Surprising Sculptures Made From Fallen Feathers
Kate MccGwire, Orchis, 2012
Kate MccGwire, Orchis, 2012
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire is a British sculptor with an unusual medium: feathers. Her surreal, undulating works often take the form of installations—the feathers spilling out of a drain, a stove, a crypt wall—or stand-alone sculptures in which antique bell jars, cabinets, or trunks contain otherworldly shapes.

MccGwire developed her obsession with feathers after moving to a studio barge on the Thames in 2006, as she explains in a video from Crane.tv recently spotlighted by Boing Boing. The barge was near a large shed full of feral pigeons, whose feathers she would spot on her way to work. "I started picking them up and laying them out, collecting them," she remembers. "And after about two weeks I had like 300 feathers." At the time, concerns about bird flu were rife, which made the feathers seem "dangerous as well as beautiful."

When not supplied by her own next-door menagerie, the feathers for her artwork come from a network of racing pigeon societies all over the UK, who send her envelopes full every time the birds molt. Farmers and gamekeepers also send her fallen feathers from birds such as magpies, pheasants, and roosters.

The cultural associations around birds are a big part of what inspires MccGwire. “The dove is the symbol of peace, purity, and fertility," she told ArtNews in 2013, "but it’s exactly the same species as a pigeon—which everyone regards as being dirty, foul, a pest.”

The same duality is present in her own work, which she frequently shares on her Instagram account. “I want to seduce by what I do—but revolt in equal measure. It’s really important to me that you’ve got that rejection of things you think you know for sure.”

You can see some pictures of MccGwire's work, and watch the video from Crane.tv, below.

Kate MccGwire's installation "Evacuate"
Evacuate, 2010
J Wilde

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Convolous"
Convolous, 2015
JP Bland

Kate MccGwire's installation "Gyre"
Gyre, 2012
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Gag"
Gag, 2009
JP Bland

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Writhe"
Writhe, 2010
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Quell"
Quell, 2011
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Taunt"
Taunt, 2012
Tessa Angus

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