Wednesday, March 12, 2014


There are officially four more days of SXSW Film--including today. Unfortunately, regular life has taken hold, and the re-entry to work, responsibilities, etc. will tie me up for the remainder. A good workout with friends eased this morning's re-entry somewhat, but man, it's hard to focus!

I cannot believe I now have 5 SXSW's under my belt. Each has been different--the excitement when you have a project out in the world v. the behind-the-scenes helping others who are in that same boat. The serendipitous meetings--every single year you have those. Every single year you have bad hours too, where you wonder why on earth you've thrown yourself into the maelstrom.

I told my very understanding other that I was kind of sorry SX ended on such a high note this year, because it made me more sad that it was over. He thought that was best. And once I start to re-acclimate to daily life, I think I'll agree with him. XO all. See you next year.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

SXSW 2014: MC Recap

So my two 8 hour hosting days have come to a close (I'm so sad when that happens! It's like when you come home from camp and hate your life for the next few days because you miss your friends and the swimming pool.)

I don't know who I pleased, but SXSW gods smiled upon me today, and I had one of those days that will be a shiny bright spot in my universe for years to come. To prove it? Previous bright spots include the screening of Marwencol (see it if you haven't) and Four Lions. They include seeing myself for the first time on the big screen after a very kind introduction by the SXSW people. And they include the screening of Big Love last year--mainly because the director was so kind and his partner so kind and funny.

This was one of those days of great movies and kind people that remind me every year of why I purposefully upend my life, upend the dog's life, upend the man's life and battle parking and traffic and weather and time changes in hopes of transcendent moments. Got em.

Before I Disappear
I began the morning with director Shawn Christensen, his team and his costar, Fatima Ptacek. I have to say, I haven't seen Shawn's Oscar-winning short "Curfew", and on first blush, I didn't think I was going to like this film. (Sorry Shawn!) Turns out, I loved this film. It was nothing like I expected it would be based on the synopsis, and it was funny, smart, engaging, moving--it was everything I want to get from a film-watching experience. Being that the people involved in the film seemed exactly the same way, I had the double joy of watching something I loved and envisioning good things for a great group of people. If you get the chance, check it out. (And I think you'll get the chance.)

And honestly, Shawn Christensen. Directing, writing and acting, and, based on this film, gifted at all three. I can't wait to see what he does next. 

10,000 km (Long Distance)
Second up was 10,000 km (Long Distance), a really well-done film by a Spanish director, Carlos Marques-Marcet with two amazing performances by Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones) and David Verdguer. Moving, cleverly written and shot, and a welcome new take on an old tale--long-distance love.

Evolution of a Criminal
Last up, a documentary by a fellow Houstonian (I'll claim it--having lived there 10+ years of my life!) who courageously faced up to a disastrous decision he made as a 17-year-old (armed robbery) and used the medium to tell his story, his family's stories, his accomplices' stories and his victims' stories. A Spike Lee protegee, Darius Clark Monroe is a talented filmmaker who brought his mother up with him for the Q&A, and managed to go to NYU film school after finishing his prison sentence.

Great, great day.

Yesterday's Films!

Quick Monday Recap

Butterfly Girl
Documentary--great Austin footage, music and exceptional subject. The work of a really talented director, Cary Bell, and her team. Eager to see what comes next for her.

Arlo & Julie
Another Austin film! Steve Mims, a UT professor and the Director of Incendiary: The Willingham Case from a few years back. This was a completely different type of film--light and sweet and fun. Loved seeing some of our locals doing so well! Mallory Culbert--you were great to watch. And Sam. Sam Eidson. You stole it. I loved every minute you were on screen.

The Mend
One of the Narrative Competitors--enjoyed meeting John Magary, the director--really nice guy. Great performances from the cast--what a treat for all the principals to be there! And oh, Josh Lucas. You are easy on the eyes.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Animals at SXSW

So in a neat case of serendipity, a cousin I'd never met (Jen Farmer) is executive producer on Animals, a film competing in SX's narrative competition. She and I hooked up for breakfast at Kerbey Lane today, and the world premiere is tonight at the Ritz. Exciting! Two more screenings, so go on, check it out and vote. Animals Screenings: SXSW Schedule

Plus a win for the ladies: an interview with producer Mary Pat Bentel

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A&E for the win.

On my way to the Austin Convention Center to pick up my SXSW badge, I walked by a replica of the Bates Motel. Right next to Gus's Fried Chicken (which is super delicious if you haven't tried it). I had a policeman take my picture in front of it, and I promptly shared it, then called my brother to tell him about it.

In my defense, it's pretty great. Flashing neon sign, window boxes.

And then my brother and I had a long discussion on marketing. A&E won. They got me to talk and share. And that's ok.