This year's SXSW might have been even more fun than last year's, if that's possible. Aside from that mid-week transition from film to music, when I felt like I was overstaying my welcome and got a tiny bit depressed, I have no complaints whatsoever. While I'd love to write an exhaustive recap of my SXSW experience, I think I'm too worn out to do it. I stopped taking pictures after the first weekend, so at least I don't have the pressure of doing one of those geeked out photoblog recaps, which are fun to read, but not that fun to create.
Okay, here's what I'm gonna do. It's 12:40 right now. I'm going to just start listing things that pop into my mind and close the doors of my brain at 1:10, if not sooner. Let's see how much I can squeeze into that window...
--The opening night party was pretty amazing. It was a really great feeling to look around the party and see so many familiar faces. At that point, I knew I was in for a very special festival.
--Watching KAMP KATRINA devastate an audience. David Redmon and Ashley Sabin's film is complicated, visceral, and vital. Make sure to see it whenever you can.
--The world premiere of FISH KILL FLEA, a touching portrait of a fading world.
--The SILVER JEW world premiere on Sunday morning, which was very, very crowded and seemingly well received (as the director, I realize that I am the last person to gauge the crowd's true reaction, though it seemed to go over nicely enough).
--The "Zellner vs. Duplass" showdown. Discovering the Zellner shorts was the best part, though it was pretty thrilling to see THE INTERVENTION on the big screen.
--PRETTY IN THE FACE. Not the film itself, as we all know what happened with the sound, but it was enough to see Nate standing in front of a packed house, introducing his labor of love for the very first time.
--HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS. The premiere was electric, and the film played as I thought it would when I first saw it late last summer. After a stop-off at the mackadocious IFC Party, where I loaded up on free Red Bull and Vodkas, a group of us hopped in my friend Abbey's rented minivan and headed to the Peacock for the HANNAH after-party. This might have been the most memorable party for me, for many reasons. For one, I finally got to meet Mark and Jay Duplass and drool over them like a thirteen-year-old ditz meeting Orlando Bloom at Disney World. For two, it was so delightful to see Joe (and Greta) getting praised for their super-duper movie. For three, it was nice to be drunk and talking to people. I thought those days were gone. Yet I didn't push it to Blackoutville or anything like that. It was just good, (relatively) clean fun.
--QUIET CITY. Aaron Katz's second film is a grower. I might be thinking about it more than any other film I saw at the fest. While QC is different in many ways from what I want to accomplish with DAYDREAM, it's nice to see an indie film set in New York City that looks and feels like MY New York City, not some cheesy, cliched fantasy of it.
--GREAT WORLD OF SOUND. You all know how I feel about this one already. Oh, by the way, a post about the pickup by Magnolia should be happening within a few days, so get ready for that.
--HELVETICA. Gary Hustwit's film is pretty awesome. My only criticism is that it might work even better at 60 minutes. But as it stands, the film is really fantastic. One week later, and I caught myself checking out fonts on the subway. I haven't become obsessed, but I'm still thinking about the concept.
--COMPANERAS. I really, really liked this movie.
--THE UNFORESEEN affected me as much as any documentary I've ever seen. The post-film Q&A with Laura Dunn was almost as inspiring as Norman Cohn's after last year's NYFF press screening of THE JOURNALS OF KNUD RASMUSSEN. When an audience member criticized her for painting developer Gary Bradley in too sympathetic a light, Dunn eloquently defended herself. Being negative will get us nowhere. I can't wait to see THE UNFORESEEN again.
Okay, it's 1:12. I don't think I'm even making any sense, but I felt that I owed it to readers of this site to present some memories from my trip. Maybe I'll do the same thing with regards to the music (and basketball) half of the week tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be caught up on sleep by then.
Speaking of sleep...