As we mentioned previously, it is best to plan ahead and know the capacity of the Film venue where a screening is taking place, but if you want that little edge over most of the other people in line, you should know about SXXpress.
From the SXSW website:
SXXpress (South by Express) PASSES
The SXXpress Pass offers Film, Gold and Platinum Badgeholders the ability to pick up two tickets per day that allow them to go to the head of the line at specific screenings. A limited number of tickets are available the day of the screening only and must be used in combination with a registration badge.
The SXXpress pass does not guarantee you a seat, so you should still plan on arriving to the theater at least 30 minutes prior to a screening to be sure you get in. SXXpress passes will be distributed March 11-15 from 10:00 am- 5:00 pm, on the upper level of the Austin Convention Center near the Film panels rooms.
Usually the “limited number” is about 10% of the seating capacity, so for the Alamo Ritz 2, with 90 seats, only 9 SXXpress passes will be given out. Since you can only get two of these per day, make sure you pick those screenings that will be over crowded, or that you will not have time to stand in line for an hour to get in to. Make sure you get to the screening before the 30 minute mark (we’d say 45 mins. at any Alamo location), or you may lose your seat. These SXXpress passes are a hot commodity and cannot be transferred, so make sure you are in line first thing in the morning to get yours, they go fast!
As a general FYI, there are four “waves” of seating at any screening:
The Queue Card System
SXSW 2012 will continue to build on the success of the Queue Card system, first used at SXSW 2011. If you have a badge, and you want to ensure you get a seat at the State Theatre, Rollins Theater or any Alamo Theater, show up early (45 minutes -1 hour before screening time) to get a numbered Queue Card. This will ensure your admission as long as you stay in line at the venue. Basically this is a pacifier and great stress reducer. If you’ve arrived in time to receive a queue card, you’re in. This is another tool that SXSW is using to better understand available seating while folks are still in line. They use this info to update their Venue Status Boards.
Venue Status Boards
SXSW will updating large info boards at all downtown venues throughout the event with the line statuses for every screening at the festival. Here is what to look for:
GREEN means GO! Lots of seats available
YELLOW means HURRY! It’s filling up fast, so hustle.
RED means FULL! No need to try this one, it’s sold out.
Keep in mind these boards only show status for the next screening at each venue, they are useful, but remember, always have a backup plan.