By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 19, 2009 at 9:08AM
SXSW fest producer Janet Pierson delivered a smooth festival, with just one glitch when one filmmaker didn't show up for a Q & A. Not bad. At the awards ceremony where Made in China (pictured) won the narrative jury prize, Pierson thanked the people she leaned on. But she led those troops. Here's Kim Voynar's profile of a woman coming into her own.
Alexander the Last was one of the SXSW indie standouts: co-star Amy Seimetz stands in line for St. Nick at the Alamo Drafthouse with Australian actor-director Matthew Newton of Three Blind Mice, which along with Alexander the Last was one of four IFC Films premiering on VOD concurrent with their March 14 showings at SXSW. IFC is now going to give Alexander the Last a run at the IFC Center to boost its post-fest profile. The NYT's David Carr uses Alexander the Last to lay out the digital distribution scene. The NYT review of that movie sets a precedent for covering movies not tied to a theatrical opening. Most major newspaper critics can't deal with the volume of direct-to-dvd or VOD releases.
I stayed at the moderne Omni Hotel, where I posted into the wee hours after screenings and panels and very few parties--they tended to be crowded, with flowing margaritas and no food. Austin's famed 6th Street came to hideous life late at night--I wish I could have stayed for the intoxicating music scene.
Adam Yauch (pictured with 42West's Cynthia Swartz) came to SXSW not so much for music as for Oscilloscope Laboratories (o-scope), his indie distribution label. Here's my Flip Cam interview. And he announced the acquisition of two new films: Nati Baratz's Tibet-set mystery doc Unmistaken Child and Gabriel Medina's Argentine debut The Paranoids.
It was great fun listening to all the interactive people talk. They showed off their gadgets and gizmos and ultra-thin red Dells with all the latest bells and whistles. They talked about Boxee and Foursquare; fliers for Mint.com were everywhere. Twittering away, interactive and movie peer groups walked and talked alike, keeping each other apprised of every panel, party, must-to-avoid and hot ticket (Todd Haynes' unreleased Barbie doll movie Superstar!). They tended to get impatient when journalists complained about their dying industry, because the solution was so obvious: "All the news that fit to link." Next time, I'd like to spend more time on that side. I learned a lot.