7 March 2012 7:00 AM, PST | NextMovie | See recent NextMovie news »

South by Southwest starts on March 9, and Sundance had better watch its back.

Although Park City's film festival still reigns supreme as America's preeminent independent film event, Austin's SXSW is running a close second. The reason? It's cooler. And we're not talking the temperature.

Unlike Sundance, SXSW is not only a film festival, but it also sidelines as one of the hottest music festivals of the year. And let's face it; Austin's got a lot more going on than Park City. When SXSW isn't in full swing, the city remains a movie lover's haven thanks to the celebrated Alamo Drafthouse, run by indie film's coolest cat, Tim League. Austin also boasts a thriving music scene all year round, and is commonly referred to as the live music capital of the world.

Oh, and the film festival? It falls in line. The past few years have seen SXSW premiere such indie hits as "Tiny Furniture, »

- Nigel Smith

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