South By SouthWest Diary Day Four - 3/17/2010

SXSW is not one festival, but two and a half. There’s the Film Festival, the Music Festival, and the Interactive Conference. I was invited to the Film Festival only.

Each of the three events have their own separate tickets, plus a gold one, which lets the owner into the Film and Interactive events, and the Platinum, which lets the wearer into everything. This means that things can get awkward…

I was given a press pass for the film festival which happens during the first week, and I was able to get all over the Convention Center although I couldn’t set foot into any of the interactive panels. I tried.

They let me into the trade show, which was rather lame despite the free hot dogs and pens, but how can you cover something you can’t get into? This would get worse as the Interactive Conference ended and the Music Festival started.

The Film Festival ended yesterday but it keeps on going for a few more days. At first glance that doesn’t make a lick of sense, but the “conference” part is over, so they shut down all the film stuff but the screenings. No parties, no press conferences, nothing but screenings. They won’t let anyone on the second floor of the Convention Center, even if you need to go to the press room, which is still open.

So you have this eerie sense unwelcome. What are we still doing here? There’s still a couple of premiers left, the Alamo and Paramount theaters and the film library are still open, but it seems that the film festival is running on empty and continuing on sufferance.

The musicians are taking over and attention is over there. Clearly, the people at the Convention Center do not want us here. I’m told several times that the film festival is over and for all intents and purposes we should be gone by now.

But it’s not over and here we are. I’m in between my second and third screening, and am looking forward to seeing a vampire comedy, Suck, tonight. This is a perfect film for an un-dead film festival.

I just saw a thing called Audrey the Trainwreck, directed by Frank V. Ross, which features nobody named Audrey, although the hero’s roommate describes a woman who might be her. If I’m right, and several people didn’t even remember the scene, this is the first time a besides-the-point cameo character has ever had an entire movie named after them…well maybe Private Ryan from the Spielberg flick, but Matt Damon actually had a real part with lines and everything. Jeez…

They decided to show the new Spike Jonze's film, I'm Here, which is part of a series of shorts, most of which weren’t memorable. The Jones flick was about robots in love and wasn’t all that interesting. It was kind of based on Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, and is mostly boring.

There’s going to be a big party that I’m not going to be able to get into across the street from the Convention Center.

Austin has just become the Twilight Zone…