Last year, the Austin Music Video Festival launched with a pair of ambitious goals — to forge connections between Austin’s music and film scenes and to elevate the discussion of music videos as short form art films. This year the festival returns with a broader scope that includes more interactive events and spotlights on national and international artists.
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Programming kicks off Wednesday with a full screening of Beyoncé’s visual album “Lemonade” at the Alamo Ritz. It wraps up on Saturday with a full day of events including a Leon Bridges documentary, a “Milestones” presentation from “Austin City Limits” and the Austin Music Video Awards. In between, the fest hosts a plethora of screenings, dance bashes and a skate party.
We caught up with festival co-founder Anthony Erickson of Eye in the Sky Collective to find out more about this year’s event. (More information, schedules and festival passes are available at austinmusicvideofestival.com.)
Austin360: What was behind the decision to open this year’s festival with Beyoncé’s “Lemonade”?
Anthony Erickson: Obviously as a huge 2016 music video or “visual album” release, “Lemonade” is certainly a pinnacle of how the music video artform has evolved. As a music video festival, it was definitely at the top of our list to showcase this year. Plus part of our mission this year is to showcase the best global content in juxtaposition with the incredible work in Austin and Texas.
How is this the first full theatrical screening of “Lemonade” in Texas?
We’re the first festival to feature a theatrical screening of “Lemonade” since Cannes Festival (France). As a major artist release, “Lemonade” had exclusives with HBO, Tidal and Apple for broadcast and online release. I’m sure some theatrical plans are in the future beyond the festival circuit. We’re very honored and excited to present this in Beyoncé’s home state.
What were some things you learned about what did and did not work coming out of last year’s festival?
We learned that people love the music video community experience on the big screen and that directors and crews appreciate their much deserved time in the spot light. We’ve also learned to have fewer screenings going on at once so that more people could enjoy them all together. This year we’ve given more focus to our Videoactive Lounge which features cutting edge virtual reality and interactive videos.
What was behind the decision to open up the festival and screen more videos from national and international artists?
We always had in mind to present this on a global scale, both to award and showcase music videos from around the world. Last year we wanted to prove first and foremost that Austin has what it takes to compete on a global scale and to build or strengthen that community of music and film creatives. We want this to be Austin’s event, bringing more top-level talent and creators to our city, while at the same time giving the opportunity for Texas talent to be showcased (alongside) and network among our international peers.
How did you come up with the idea of a video skate night?
We started to notice a lot of music videos with roller skating in them (à la Chet Faker). And for us music videos and the idea of a skating rink party seemed the perfect pairing of nostalgia and fun. So it felt natural to throw a party at a roller rink (on)Thursday at AMVFest with serious #TBT vibes. Once we discovered Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex had a full movie theater as well, it all came together!
What else is new this year?
We’ve really upped the interactive content. Our “Videoactive Lounge” will feature virtual reality and interactive videos from Arcade Fire, The Weeknd, Santigold, Run the Jewels, Austin locals Major Grizz and more. Our first mobile app, powered by Thrillbox, will give a broader audience a chance to engage with these too. We’ve got some great video retrospectives with Arcade Fire, The Octopus Project and Mother Falcon as well as curated screenings from Merge Records, Sound on Sound Festival and Solstice Presents (all local!) with loads of world premieres.
What was the most exciting thing for you about last year’s festival and what are you most excited about going into this year’s event?
As our inaugural year, all of last year was exciting and had us on the edge of our seats. Especially when the confetti was falling (literally) from the sky onto the video award winners at the awards show, as well working with Okkervil River (to whom we’re forever grateful) to feature their music film debut and performance at The Ritz.
This year, bringing Beyoncé’s Lemonade to the big screen is certainly a highlight, along with the other big names, but our finely curated screenings that showcase Texas filmmakers and musicians alongside international content is the most exciting of all.