Janet Pierson to head SXSW

Matt Dentler moving to new Cinetic venture

Janet Pierson has been named producer of Austin’s South by Southwest Film Festival and Conference. Former fest head Matt Dentler is ankling the post to run the marketing and program operations of Cinetic Digital Rights Management, an offshoot of John Sloss’ Cinetic Media.

As a producers’ rep with her husband, John, Janet Pierson was instrumental in launching such films as “Roger and Me,” “Clerks” and “Slacker.” She joined the board of the Austin Film Society in 2004 and served on the screening committee of SXSW.

Pointing to the event’s burgeoning interactive section, Pierson highlighted its focus on new media angles for filmmakers. “The core has always been that I love talent,” she said. “I’ve been a huge fan and supporter of SXSW Film since its inception.”

SXSW Film co-founder Louis Black said: “Saying that Janet will hit the ground running as head of SXSW Film is truly an understatement considering her knowledge and accomplishments.”

Black continued, “SXSW has been privileged to have Matt Dentler working for it; the event has benefited extraordinarily from his leadership.”

In his new position, Dentler will push and market client content to online portals. “I’ll be helping indie filmmakers find the best possible home for their films from a strictly digital perspective, like VOD or online downloads,” he said. “It goes hand in hand with what I was doing at SXSW.”

Dentler took the reins of SXSW Film in 2003. He is largely credited for elevating the film fest out of the shadow of the event’s massive music festival. Under his tenure, the film festival established itself as a launch pad for studio pictures such as “Knocked Up” and “21” while also launching independent fare, including Joe Swanberg’s ultra-low-budget “Nights and Weekends,” which was acquired by IFC at this year’s fest.