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SXSW Sydney begins

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SXSW Sydney begins
The first full South by Southwest (SXSW) festival to be held outside of North America kicked off in Sydney yesterday, with activity concentrated in and around ICC Sydney.

The opening ceremony for the festival was held in Tumbalong Park, which borders the convention centre, as were several events for the music and gaming festivals and the SXSW conference.

ICC Sydney hosted the opening night screening of the SXSW Sydney Film Festival in its Darling Harbour Theatre – the same venue in which it hosted the Australian premiere of the latest instalment of Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible series in July, when it made special modifications to the space to augment the cinematic experience for attendees. Last night’s event had thousands of attendees.

ICC Sydney is hosting more than 400 sessions for the SXSW Conference, which features over 850 speakers. The conference has its first full day of sessions today and runs right through until Saturday. The venue is also hosting the Tech and Innovation Expo that’s part of SXSW’s festival of festivals as well some of the screenings for the film festival, including the world premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s Faraway Downs – an extended version of his 2008 film Australia – on the closing night of the festival.

The rest of the SXSW Sydney is being hosted in a tight footprint for an event of its size, mostly contained between ICC Sydney and Cleveland Street in Chippendale, extending out to the city side of the Central Station precinct.

“Straight from Austin, Texas to Sydney, our city will be the centre of the music, screen, gaming and tech world this week as we welcome locals and visitors to enjoy the inaugural SXSW Sydney,” said the NSW minister for tourism, the arts, music and the night time economy, John Graham.

“I’m very pleased that people attending SXSW will have the chance to see Sydney at its best after dark, soaking up music, ideas, and culture.  It’s the first time this event is being held outside of its Texas origins.

“SXSW Sydney will be a game-changing event for NSW. It is just the beginning of an unrivalled cultural events calendar over the coming months showcasing Sydney’s local talent, creativity, culture and natural beauty that draws people in from across the country and around the world.”

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