SXSW: Thoughts and Ruminations on the Opening Weekend

The hard part about doing a film festival isn’t seeing all the films you can. It's trying to see all those films while keeping up with all the friends you make. Do a festival like SXSW long enough and you eventually make a dozen or so good friends who you only get to see during this incredible time of year. Already, I’ve collected friends not only from all across these United States, but also from all parts of Europe. SXSW (or "South By" in common parlance) is an oddity in that it brings together not just filmmakers, film watchers and film press, but also those of the musical set (for the music portion) and those in the tech industry (for the interactive portion.) What occurs is a wonderful mixing of professionals and fans of all kinds, all coming together in one of the hippest towns in the world. Add just a little booze and you have the makings of some lifelong friendships.

So needless to say, this weekend was more about reconnecting with friends than it was launching into film after film. Virtually every one of my editors from a bevy of sites are all in town at one time and each want a chance to have a cup of coffee or a burger and meet face to face. Even here at Film.com we had something of a powwow as two of us writers got together with our editor Laremy and our big boss man “The Unnameable.” Being the local I was asked where we should eat. So I took the gang to Ruby’s Bar-B-Q.

Now, I HATE tourist attractions. Always have. When I go to visit other parts of the country, I don’t want to see the stuff on the postcards. I want to eat where you eat. Visit the attractions you folks pay to go out and enjoy. So I figured, why take the minds behind Film.com out for a long wait in line at the places everyone else would visit? Instead I took them to one of my favorite hole-in-the-wall joints where you order at the counter and they bring you a wax paper-covered tray of MEAT: Elgin sausage, pork ribs and brisket, slathered with red sauce and devoured over a wax paper covered tray of your own. Hell yeah. Now that’s what Texas is all about.

Oh. And I saw movies. Between the drinks and the lunches and the snacks and the trips to the airport I managed to see a few of those. Several already with reviews to come. With Laremy trucking out of town all too quickly, I’ll be taking point on a number of this week’s big films including Run Fatboy Run, Harold and Kumar and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. And in the interim I hope to catch a number of great unknown, independent films and documentaries. I hope you keep up with me this week.

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C. Robert Cargill - - - Email Me