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The Brooklyn International Film Festival is back, and this year, one of its two venues is in the middle of nowhere, which totally sucks.The BIFF had only one last year, the Brooklyn Heights Cinema (70 Henry Street, Brooklyn), which was right between the 2, 3, and A trains and extremely easy to get to. This is New York, and we have one of the best subway systems in the world. Not only that, but they had a bus to get to the big opening party! But that was then…The festival still has a bunch of screenings at the BHC, but the other venue is indieScreen (285 Kent Avenue), which is over a mile from the nearest station. Allegedly there's a bus, but I didn't see any, and the bus stop looked unused. indieScreen is actually pretty nice for what it is. It's brand new, and is very faux futuristic, that is when you find it, but it's difficult, as from the outside it's rather nondescript and really doesn't look like a theater.
Read more: Last Exit to the Brooklyn Int'l...
This week is Cinco de Mayo, what most Americans think is Mexican Independence Day. Well, it's not. It's the anniversary of the victory of the Republican forces over the French on that date in 1862. Yeah, I know, beating the French isn't much of an achievement or an excuse for a holiday, and in Mexico, very few outside the state of Puebla, where it took place, even notice.
It's actually a Mexican-American holiday, which has been, for some reason, very popular in California, and over the years has become the official Mexican ethnic day, as Columbus Day is for the Italians and Polanski Day is for the Poles.
Read more: Cinco de Mayo Is Not Mexican...
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…
Read more: South By SouthWest Diary Day...
Another day, more movies. I saw three today and four yesterday. This was due mostly to luck, and I haven't actually seen the beginnings of a majority of them.
Take this morning, for example. The country's clock had changed from Standard to Daylight Saving Time, and while it was certainly mentioned in the papers, the hotel didn't bother to turn their clocks forward! Very nice. So, I was about half an hour late to a screening of Clay Liford's Earthling at the Alamo Drafthouse. The director was there, as were several volunteers telling me I was too late and the place was full anyway. But there was another film showing in the multi-screen venue at the same time, which had only been playing for 15 minutes, they said they had "a seat or two left."
I went in to that, or so I thought... But I made a wrong turn and did wind up seeing Earthling, or at least the last three-quarters of it. And by the way, despite what the volunteers had arrogantly sniffed at me, the room wasn't full. Assholes.
Then I had to run all the way to the Paramount Theatre, where I only missed two minutes pre-credits of Mike Woolf's Richard Garriot: Man on a Mission. I did see the IMAX masterpiece Hubble 3D from end to end, but I had to use my SXPpress ticket to bypass the huge line at the History Museum.
And that was good (for me at least) because the line was very long. Hubble 3D was the kind of thing IMAX was made for: Huge vistas filled up your mind, with some of the footage animated directly from data sent by Hubble after the mission to repair it. The IMAX people also had film shot during a couple of the previous missions, so the narrative was able to tell the entire history of the telescope from before the launch.
While seeing this as a documentary on television isn't a horrible idea, I wouldn't recommended because it won't blow your mind like it does viewing through the full effect of IMAX 3-D. Harry Knowles did the Q&A with director Toni Myers, which was all gushy, as one would expect from him. The hors d'oeuvres were decent afterward.
But as much as it was about movies, the day was also about food. For what I expect may be the only time for the festival, I got all my meals free at receptions along Sixth Street by people touting projects. Basically, they're for everyone who can get in. I walked in, ate and left. And had a good time.
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