South By Southwest 2012: Part One

The South by Southwest Film Festival and Interactive and Music Conferences (SxSW), is now in its final phase. The interactive section is over, and that means the film section has been kicked out of most of its non-theatrical venues, hanging on like a ghost for the better part of a week. The awards have been given (I didn’t see any of them) already thus disqualifying a few dozen films from getting one.

That’s why I’m not there anymore. I was there for a week in Austin mostly in a small area between I-35 and Congress Avenue east and west and Second and Seventh north and south, where 80% of the screenings were.

The DVD library, which was supposed to be open the entire time, was closed, dammit!!! I couldn’t even see a few shorts the last day.

It was a sad ending to what, in fact, was a pretty good festival. I saw about 15 films during my stay there, ate lots of free food, and got into one pane (more on that later). Generally par for the course…

One of the big problems was one of my own making, I booked my hotel a bit late, and there was nothing in my price range anywhere nearby, so I had to stay at a Motel 6 about eight miles from downtown, fortunately, there was a bus stop a few blocks away, so if I got out of bed at the right time, I could actually get right there without waiting for the better part of an hour something that happened once. I was luckier most of the other days.

Most of action is supposed to be at the Convention Center, on 4th and Natches, where you get tickets for pretty much everything, they have a two day trade show, and a whole bunch of …hell it’s a con, and that means there’s plenty of panels and such on techie stuff.

It was here a few years back that they announced the invention of Twitter, and there was all sorts of people giving out advertising swag for apps of every kind. But I wasn’t all that interested in that, I was there for the movies, and to some extent the music.

The film section had about a hundred and thirty movies, most of which were features. For some reason my schedule forced me to concentrate on documentaries, and of which there were all kinds. From the history of the Sunset Strip, to tributes to dead ventriloquists to whatever happened to the legendary Paul Williams.

On the scripted side, there were the usual Indies plus a few studio films that somehow missed a proper release or were sidetracked and spent years on shelves before being finished. There was also 21 Jump Street. We’ll get to all that later.

I didn’t manage to see any of the shorts this time out. There just wasn’t time.

My schedule was simple: Get up. Spend 40 minutes to get downtown, Free food, check emails, more free food, a screening, more free food, another screening. More free food, yet another screening, and maybe a screening after that before getting back on the bus for the 40 minute ride home. It works.