South by Southwest, once known as an intimate stomping ground for tiny films, has turned into the Comic-Con of the spring. Starting today, thousands will descend in Austin for the splashy red-carpet movie and TV premieres, as well as concerts (hello, Solange
), panels and keynotes speeches ranging from Joe Biden
to Lee Daniels
. In keeping up with the political climate, there’s even a Planned Parenthood
rally, called “Never Going Back,” co-hosted by Tumblr on Sunday afternoon.
The annual gathering, which started as a music festival in 1987 and has quickly expanded from there, is now a must-stop for studios and networks. In recent years, hits like “Furious 7
,” “Sausage Party
,” “Trainwreck,” “Spy” and “Neighbors
” have all come to Texas before dominating multiplexes across the country. And in 2012, “Girls
’” debuted with a then-unknown Lena Dunham
. Here are Variety’s pick for the 17 buzziest projects at this year’s SXSW.