A fair weather blogger I've turned out to be. Going when the going gets rough - well, not really rough. Just busy! March 6 was the Texas Motion Picture Alliance (TXMPA) lobby day at the Texas State Capitol. We kicked off with a board meeting on Monday, then training later that night. Tuesday about 150 industry participants spent the day at the capitol meeting with reps, then all gathered at a lovely party at the Austin Museum of Art. Great film crowd, lots of legislators, staff, and several cast members from Friday Night Lights which just wrapped its first season filming here. On Thursday we attended a private Austin Film Society pre-Texas Film Hall of Fame event for board members and sponsors. Friday was the glamorous and highly successful Texas Film Hall of Fame event. I particularly enjoyed the tribute to the recently departed great Anne Richards and the very loving and moving speeches by inductees Richard Linklater and Elizabeth Avellan.
Saturday I hit the movies, some panels, and lots of great socializing. I've always had a great time at sxsw, but now that I live in Austin, I cherish the opportunity to hang with old friends, and make lots of new ones. Everyone is just so happy to be here, reveling in the Austin vibe. Earlier in the week I'd started stressing about how to apportion my time - too many films, too many friends, but it ended up playing out just fine - one moment flowing well into the next. Yes I didn't see everyone I hoped to, nor did I converge with the interactive crowd, but it was a great, successful time nonetheless.
Films: (some of which I saw before the fest began) Hannah Takes the Stairs, Steal A Pencil for Me, Blackbird, Scrambled Beer, Audience of One, Manufacturing Dissent, Cat Dancers, The Devil Came on Horseback, Camp Katrina, Kurt Cobain About a Son, Knocked Up, Smiley Face, Billy the Kid, Run Granny Run, Inside the Circle, The Lather Effect, The Prisoner or How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair, The Unforeseen, Great World of Sound, Diggers, Third Ward TX, Elvis & Annabelle, Forfeit, The Last Days of Left Eye, Nick Drake: A Skin Too Few. A couple I missed that are on the top of my catch up list: Fish Kill Flea, Everything's Cool, After the Wedding, Helvetica, Blindsight, The King of Kong, Grammy's.
Richard Linklater in his panel "conversation" with John, talking about how during the Fast Food Nation shoot - at one point, they had a location for only 2 hours. His great DP started stressing, "I can't do this in two hours. We need a day." Rick's invaluable 1st AD jumped in, "Anyone could shoot this in a day. Only WE can shoot it in two hours." Rick continued, "sometimes you just have to make that attitude adjustment."
Granny D, the (now) 97 year old subject of the wonderful and inspiring, Run Granny Run, said in her Q&A, "They say you forget the camera after awhile. Well you don't! In this case it made us be our better selves."
Getting great feedback for the catalog copy I wrote for Hannah Takes The Stairs, Scrambled Beer, Blackbird and Steal A Pencil for Me, all films I was thrilled to be able to help promote. The Steal A Pencil crew even called inviting me to join them at the Four Seasons for a drink. I loved meeting Jaap and Ina Polak, the subjects of that extraordinary documentary, Michelle Ohayon, the talented director and Theo Van de Sande, her excellent DP.
Listening to Elizabeth Avellan in her panel "conversation." Unpretentious, generous, and inspiring as she shared how she'd learned to do her job, grow, to transcend the hard times and move forward.
2 am meeting up with Joe & Kris in the pouring rain, moving on to eat and hang with some others, having missed their, by all accounts, fantastic premiere of Hannah Takes the Stairs.
Finally getting a chance to see Marcy Garriott's invigorating and insightful Inside the Circle after these last few years of becoming her friend, and watching her move through the creative process. Particularly delighted to spy her at the end of the second screening, after the crowd was gone, just hanging in her jeans and sweats, hanging in a circle with her husband and subjects of her film - the bboys Josh, Omar and Romeo, all hanging and laughing, enjoying each other.
Watching movies at the Paramount. Finally seeing Kurt Cobain About a Son and giving over completely to it. Watching everyone fooling around with their smartphones. Fondling them the way we used to attach to our packs of cigarettes. Starting to get the hang of texting myself on an old even pre-camera cellphone (trying to stifle my email phone envy). Actually kind of loving the process as a few checked in by text. No surprise that it's a social hot line but I find that I appreciate the way it feels like the better part of Jr. High, your pals looking out for you.
Loving the Wednesday arrival of the rockers. The changeover of the vibe. Rockers everywhere! Undeniably so.
Running into a lifelong friend completely unexpectedly after a Q&A . Since he was staying at the Four Seasons, I said, "let's have a drink there and see Iggy Pop in the bar." Which we did - Iggy quietly sitting by himself in the late afternoon. Our own conversation delightfully skipping over the decades - from the mid-60s to now, a lifetime of organically crossing paths and staying in the mix.
The Stax Revue at Antone's. Really don't mind being an old fogey when the music and the performers are as hot as this!
[To be continued]