crazy film festival month

I’m trying to make some movie-watching decisions weeks or even months in advance. I don’t mean last-minute choices like “Should we see March of the Penguins or Broken Flowers (aside: I keep wanting to call it Broken Blossoms) this weekend?” or “Should we see Bad News Bears at Highland or at Alamo Lake Creek?” Or even “Should I see The Safety of Objects next Monday at Alamo South with Rose Troche in attendance, or go to an important film-related volunteer meeting instead?” (Admission is free. Y’all should go even if I don’t.)
I am talking about the decisions on which film festivals to attend and for how many movies and whether I should actually take time off work and how much time I can take off work “just to see movies” before my manager gives me funny looks.
A bunch of film festivals are overlapping in Austin in late September/early October: the Quentin Tarantino Film Festival (Sept. 9-17), aGLIFF (Sept. 30-Oct. 8), Fantastic Fest (Oct. 6-9), and Austin Film Festival (Oct. 20-27). So I know there are film geeks all over town trying to do the same kind of schedule juggling.

I found out yesterday that my employer’s internal conference for tech writers is occurring smack in the middle of Austin Film Festival. I’ve done some volunteer work for AFF so I could get a free pass, and I’ve been looking forward to the festival. How am I going to balance these things? Very carefully. Hopefully better than I did during SXSW.
Passes for Austin Film Society’s nine-day 6th annual Quentin Tarantino film festival go on sale this Friday, August 12. The nine-day pass is weirdly tempting. The QT festivals work like this: Mr. Tarantino programs nine days of films. Usually every night has a theme, like Female Blaxploitation Films or Sixties Roughies or Forgotten Kung Fu Classics (I am totally making these themes up, by the way). He provides some background about these films and why he selected them. The schedules aren’t available yet for the 2005 festival, but I remember hearing about past years and it does sound intriguing. It would certainly be a great learning experience.
On the other hand, I’m not sure if I could deal with nine straight nights of Tarantino favorites. I mean, I can’t watch the ear scene in Reservoir Dogs without taking off my glasses and peeking through my fingers. It also means a lot of late nights, which are difficult to manage with my day job. So I think perhaps I should wait for more information on specific themes or films and then see if I can get tickets for a few of the evenings that sound appealing.
And I thought I had decided after I wrote the above paragraph earlier today, but I just reread the festival info carefully and learned that I can’t get single-day or single-film tickets in advance. A limited number will be available at the box office before every movie in the series, which means a lot of waiting in line, which is torture when you have sciatica. Maybe I should buy the nine-day pass after all.
Also, I looked at the films from previous years and they sounded even more interesting than I thought they would be. i confess that I gained a lot more respect for Quentin Tarantino’s taste in film when I noticed he showed Junior Bonner (a particular favorite of mine) one year.
But … nine days of parking downtown and potentially eating dinner at Alamo? Y’all know I love Alamo but their fare is not terribly low-cal (and I can’t eat salads in the dark). And I probably wouldn’t want to eat during some of these movies … and … but … and …
Have any of you been to the previous QT festivals, and if so, do you have any advice? I’m feeling a bit stuck. Help me out here.
On top of all this, my boyfriend and I are planning a vacation in late September or early October. I suspect one festival or film weekend will probably have to go by the wayside. It’s just a question of picking which one.
“Hi boss. Is it okay if I just take a month off from mid-September to mid-October?” I’m sure she’ll understand.
[Edited to add: This week’s Austin Chronicle has a a very good list of the Austin festivals with information on where to buy tickets and passes. Unlike me, the Chronicle remembered Cinematexas … thanks also to Chris for the reminder. More decisions.]

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