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March 17, 2013
SXSW: Adjusting to the Vibe of Austin and Seeing Some Films
— Posted by Kenny Miles
Greetings Movie Blog Readers from Austin, Texas!
If any of you have been following the news coming from the Entertainment Industry the last few days, the South By Southwest Film Festival is the hotspot to be. This is the fusion of pop culture, technology, and arts celebrated and shared among blended worlds; passionate cinephiles, hyper music fans, and the ambitious tech geeks all conversing. I will be covering movies and hopefully interviewing filmmakers at this year’s SXSW Film Festival. Since we are TMB we focus on the movies that will be the topics I will cover. SXSW has come a long way by adding a more eclectic mix of films through the years.
The most significant moment of my first day wasn’t just landing in to Austin Texas at SXSW as the festival was transitioning from movies to music. It was the International Breaking News of the Catholic Church declaring a new Pope. Many people waiting in the Austin Airport after I landed glued to the TV awaiting the announcement of the Conclave. This served as a reminder that as a blogger caught up in film industry that there is something out there beyond the sea of hipsters flooding the streets of downtown Austin chattering about the latest trends. South American Catholics cheered while the cynics snarked on Twitter. I hope no other big International news happens while I’m here because I want to focus on the movies and not be distracted (as I am now).
Now some wonder why I come to cover the movies during the second half of the SXSW festival when it is all about the music? I choose to come to Austin when the movie dust settled because I wanted to experience the commotion of Austin during the music festival. I think I have the best of both worlds: crowded streets with an infectious vibe and much less crowded theaters playing the narrative films and documentary features showcased during the SXSW Film Festival.
Learning the vibe and adjusting to a new city like Austin during SXSW can be challenging. Since this is my first time, I’ve made rookie mistakes learning to get around town. Finding the Austin Convention Center wasnt too challenging, but locating tucked away venues is another story. It’s always recommended to plan ahead and leave early. It’s always fun and challenging learning how the whole system works. Even if you read the instructions, you figure out how it goes on the ground. That’s how a massive festival works and I always maintain a level head. People are everywhere partying and having a good time. This is a marketers ideal setting to launch products to the key demographic. From established corporate sponsers to emerging start ups, SXSW is the place to be.
I’m glad I can say my first SXSW Film was the fun documentary Rewind This, a nostalgic throwback to the post-Beta, Pre-DVD days of watching movies at home. Something like this documentary showcases for the first time how viewers had control of the movie medium. There seems to be a comeback emerging for the grainy counter culture movement as an alternative to the polished, articficial digitial make over. What’s great about Rewind This is how the doc reflects on the past of how studios were leary of technological changes of distribution which rings true today as a reminder not to be leary of consumer demands. Rewind This is amusing and insightful for pop culture fans.
What can I say about my Midnight Screening of You’re Next? Not a lot unless I want a Lionsgate rep to come after me with a cross bow. What I can say is You’re Next is an old fashioned slasher film that ditches found footage hauntings. With some diabolical new twists, the sarcastic tone sustains the humor and effective chills are delivered. I will say the killers in You’re Next wear the creepiest masks featured in a horror movie in a very long time. The racous midnight crowd was in to the movie applauding several times at the surprise or funny moments. Look out, movie world: You’re Next has potential to be the Summer Sleeper Hit of 2013!
What was a first big day concluded with me driving to my buddy’s place and having difficulty falling asleep being so tired from the day I was wired. Eventually, I was fried and hit the pillow. Like my smart phone recharging, I too needed some rest. I look forward covering the rest of the festival and seeing what both the city of Austin and SXSW has to offer.
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Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion for interacting with moviegoers (something most movie pundits lack) as a pollster for the market research company CinemaScore and working as floor staff/special events coordinator in the film community. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.
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