SXSW 2014: Alternative Opening-Night Plans

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film festival logoAfter a painless badge pickup experience on Thursday (always go on Thursday if you can), I started my Friday fully ready for the festival to get going.

As someone who works downtown, I’ve been witnessing the even more chaotic than usual scene all week -- tons of traffic (due to construction, delivery trucks, extra people, etc.) and the transformation of every empty parking lot and building into some kind of brand platform or other.

This state of affairs helped me make my decision to follow my usual tradition of skipping the opening-night film at the Paramount (no offense to Jon Favreau) to check out something I didn't know much about.

The choice I made, She's Lost Control, is one I'd only heard a little about following its Berlin Film Festival premiere last month. An intense and dark slice of life, the film focuses on a woman who works as a sex surrogate while she finishes a psychology Master's degree in New York City.

Often hard-hitting and true but sometimes a little frustrating, I can't fully call this a "must-see" but I know this movie will definitely stick with me (and that sense of emotional discovery is what film festivals are all about).

With a full Saturday ahead of me (I'm taking the bus downtown and will be around all day), I made my exit after the film ended.

Stray Observations:

  • If you have a badge and are planning to take advantage of SXXpress passes (the limited advance tickets that guarantee a seat as long as you show up 30 minutes before the screening), be aware that they don't hand them out for films screening at The Marchesa, Alamo Drafthouse Village or Alamo Slaughter. The fest is operating with the idea that the passes are not necessary at the satellite venues, so don't waste your time waiting in line at the Convention Center in the morning unless you want to snag SXXpress passes for something screening downtown.
  • The experience of seeing a film at the Alamo Village was pretty much ideal; the system was timely and orderly and everyone who showed up got in to see the film (including rush ticket purchasers). There's no guarantee this will hold true for every screening there, but I feel like it's a good sign. 
  • While waiting in line for the movie at the Village, a spontaneous and adorable strangers-helping-strangers conversation developed that basically devolved into complaining about Cap Metro. A couple of people learned some new things about buses and parking and everyone else enjoyed a much-needed venting session, apparently. 

Remember to follow @slackerwood for various updates (and feel free to tweet at us with any tips of your own). See you out there!