The SXSW film festival starts on Friday … yep, that’s tomorrow. I am going to cover some of the films for Cinematical. It has been kind of a crazy week for me, getting my other freelance work in order, sifting through dozens and dozens of PR emails, each informing me that such-and-such film is THE film to see for SXSW, continually tweaking my calendar schedule of films and panels, designing a shirt to wear to promote Celluloid Eyes, redesigning my business cards, dusting off my digital voice recorder, wondering how long it takes to drive from the Austin Convention Center to Alamo on South Lamar.
I am looking forward to seeing a lot of movies—I have currently scheduled about three a day. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to keep up that pace, but it’ll be great fun to try. I’m also looking forward to seeing the film blog panel, finally meeting Karina in person, seeing LB and FPP, running into Chris at the B-Side booth, enjoying the Blazing Saddles pizza at Alamo, and writing about everything I can.
I am worried that I will be a lousy interviewer (untrue, although I could use more experience), that my sad little old digital camera will give out halfway through the festival, that I’ll wear the wrong clothes (yes, I realize this is dumb), that I’ll get a migraine at the worst time possible, that I am a lousy networker/schmoozer (we all feel this way, I suspect), and that I won’t recognize any of the other film writers and bloggers whom I know only by their writing. I’ve been emailing back and forth with Blake from Cinema Strikes Back this week, and I hope we won’t pass within inches of one another without any recognition.
So here’s what I’m doing to try to remedy the problem of non-recognition.
First of all, if you are looking for me, here’s a photo:
I don’t normally travel with the cow, but you get the idea.
And here’s a list of some of the films I plan to see through Tuesday. (I have a schedule for the rest of the festival, but it’s more tentative … I may post parts of it later.) The midnight films are mostly wishful thinking; in case I miss another screening during the day, I can try to catch one of the late-night movies. Midnight movies are usually quite crowded and always fill quickly, so don’t count on my being there. Hell, don’t count on my being at anything, because you never know when you might change your mind or something irresistable might occur. But for the moment, these are the choices I’ve pencilled in for the first half of the film festival.
- The Last Western—I’m planning to pick up my badge on Friday afternoon, then find somewhere to hang out (preferably with wireless) near the convention center because that’s where this film is showing at 7 pm.
- Letters from the Other Side—Also at ACC. I’m fond of not running from theater to theater if I can. I’m looking forward to this documentary from Austin filmmaker Heather Courtney.
- S&Man—This is a midnight screening and I bet I’ll be too tired to go, but who can tell? At least it’s at the Alamo on S. Lamar, which has good parking and isn’t scary late at night. Plus, you can get a decent meal there. I strongly advise seeing SXSW movies at an Alamo theater around mealtimes, but I just looked at this schedule and realized I haven’t taken my own advice. I’ll be sorry later.
- Crazy Again—I am terribly intrigued by the idea of Zalman King making a documentary, particularly about Texas musician Dale Watson.
- Brothers of the Head—This looks good and weird.
- This Film is Not Yet Rated—A midnight showing at Alamo Downtown on a weekend? I would have to be insane to try this. Not to mention that everyone and their Aunt Mabel is planning to see this film.
- Gretchen—Another made-in-Austin film; I like the idea of seeing as many of these as possible.
- Summercamp!—I liked Bradley Beesley’s Fearless Freaks so much last year that I cannot resist seeing another film of his. This time he co-directs (with Sarah Price) a documentary about a kids’ nature camp.
- The Cassidy Kids—I liked Dear Pillow and I’ve been reading Bryan Poyser and Jake Vaughan’s blogs about making this movie, and I am looking forward to seeing how it turned out.
- Live Free or Die—This looks like a fun comedy.
- 2 AM—This feature is directed by Korey Coleman, whose illustrations I often see in various publications around town.
- Disappearances—SXSW is honoring Kris Kristofferson this year by showing a number of his films; this is the one I hadn’t seen before and thought I might enjoy.
- Jam—John Pierson showed the first five minutes of this rollerderby documentary before the UT Master Class this week. I’m intrigued and want to see the rest of the film.
- 51 Birch Street—Personal documentary in which the director examines his parents’ relationship. I’m already hearing good buzz about this one and the festival hasn’t started yet.
- Hard Candy—We saw a trailer for this movie last week and I thought it looked good and suspenseful.
I may also post more about my schedule at Cinematical, so keep an eye out there. And that’s where my SXSW reviews will be this year. You can keep track of the Cinematical entries I write in the right-hand sidebar. Karina also will be reviewing SXSW films, so you can keep up with all the Cinematical SXSW coverage.
Hope I see some of you … please stop me and say hi (or shout it as I run past you from one theater to another).