It was a music festival first, kicking off its inaugural edition in Austin, Texas, in 1987 and bringing bands from all over the States (and eventually, the world) to the boho capital of the Lone Star State. Once the South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival added an interactive component and a film festival in 1994, however, it started to establish itself as free-for-all media hotspot, one that prided itself on bridging the gaps between movies, technology and the rock/punk/rap/anything-goes sounds of the bands they'd book.
Not surprisingly, the connection between film and music at SXSW has always been especially strong: The film fest has an entire section devoted to the "sounds, culture and influence of music and musicians"—the "24 Beats Per Second" sidebar—and you can always find music-related and/or inflected movies in the Narrative and Documentary sections. Here's 12 films playing at this year's SXSW that turn the lens on some real (and some semi-fictional) musicians, from guitar heroes and country-and-western legends to next-gen hip-hop superstars. By David Fear