Phish Flicks To Debut At SXSW

Even a rock star's college degree doesn't have to go to waste.

Phish bassist Mike Gordon, who graduated from the University of Vermont in 1987 with a degree in Filmmaking & Communications, has previously used his eye to direct the band's only MTV-ready music video ("Down With Disease" from the 1994 release "Hoist") and the documentary "Tracking" (which details the recording of that album). Now he can add a full-length feature to his resume.

"Somehow I found 5000 extra hours to make my first feature-length movie," Gordon says in a self-penned press statement for the film "Outside Out" which he wrote, directed, edited, and scored, and in which he makes a cameo appearance as well.

"Outside Out," which makes its debut March 12 in Austin, Texas as a part of the annual South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival, is a mock instructional video for learning how to play guitar --or, er, un-learn it, as the case may be.

"[It's] the story of a boy [Rick]

who wants to be a great guitar player," Gordon explains in his statement. "He has one last chance to pass the entrance auditions at a prestigious music school before giving in to his Dad's pressure to enlist in the military."

Col. Bruce Hampton (known to jam fans as the guitarist from such legendary groups as Aquarium Rescue Unit and The Fiji Mariners) stars as Rick's guitar teacher who, rather than teach Rick new tricks, encourages the young guitarist to forget all he already knows about playing the instrument.

According to jambands.com, the film includes music from Phish drummer Jon Fishman, Gordon Stone and Bela Fleck, among others.

Running through March 19, "Outside Out" isn't the only Phish film playing at SXSW this year. "Bittersweet Motel," a long-anticipated documentary that focuses on the band's live performances, will also debut at the Festival on March 12. Director Todd Phillips, recipient of the Sundance Film Festival's Best Documentary prize for his

1998 documentary "Frat House," was initially commissioned by the band to shoot its 1997 summer-end festival "The Great Went," but the project quickly took on a life of its own. Theatrical release dates for the film have not yet been released.

The band warns on its Web site that screenings for both films are likely to be filled with South By Southwest conference registrants and discourages fans who are not registered from making travel plans in the hope of gaining general admission.