If you missed the Reel Women short films that played during SXSW this year, you can catch special encore screenings of these locally produced films on Friday night, April 30, at Picture Box Studios. The shorts are divided into two sections, one of which screens at 6:30 pm, one at 8:30. Many of the filmmakers are in the above photo.
Local nonprofit organization Reel Women provides support for women at all levels of experience in the film and video industries, and their member filmmakers along with cast and crew from the shorts will be at the event to answer questions. Admission is $5 for one screening, or enjoy a double feature for $8. Reel Women members are admitted for a discounted price of $3 for one screening or $5 for both screenings.
I didn't attend the screenings at SXSW, and am looking forward to seeing these films on Friday. I find the synopsis of Hung Up to be quite intriguing, done in a film noir style and told from the point of view of a dress worn by the femme fatale. The filmmaker is Erin Randall, who has also worked as a costumer on several Robert Rodriguez films. It was voted an "Audience Favorite" by attendees at the SXSW screenings.
It's only mid-April, but the first blockbuster hopeful has arrived, with SXSW 2010's Opening-Night film Kick-Ass expecting to kick some box-office ass this this weekend. Officially the summer blockbusters aren't opening til May, but something tells me that Kick-Ass, a very well-named film, is going to leave some lasting impressions at the box office.
The Art of the Steal (pictured above) -- In 1922, The Barnes Foundation was scorned as a repository of "horrible, debased art" but after the turn of the millennium, the collection of Renoirs, Cezannes, Matisses, Picassos, Modiglianis and Van Goghs are the subject of a "rancorous" court battle. This wasn't on my radar, but the synopsis certainly caught my interest enough to be willing to sit in Austin's least comfortable theater to see it. (Dobie)
City Island -- Andy Garcia is a corrections officer secretly studying to be an actor, whose life and that of his family change when Steven Strait's ex-con enters their lives. Debbie has the full scoop in her review. (Arbor)
There are superhero movies and there are anti-hero movies and rarely do the two mix so well as in Matthew Vaughn's aptly named adaptation of Kick-Ass, the comic book series by Mark Millar, and the ultimate homage to hero movies.
Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is an ordinary high school student who just wants to get the girl, and oh yeah, fit in. He even goes so far as to try to make friends with Chris D'Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), son of a reputed crime boss. Dave's obsession with superheroes inadvertently turns him into a YouTube superstar as the vigilante "Kick-Ass." When Kick-Ass lets it go to his head, he ends up encountering other masked heroes and things get pear-shaped.
With Kick-Ass opening on Friday, it seemed like time to revisit the film's screening on the opening night of SXSW. This year's festival started with a record crowd turning up for Kick-Ass, with many of the film's stars and creators in town. Although Clark Duke (Hot Tub Time Machine), pictured above, had not been to SXSW before, he revealed that this wasn't his first time in Austin. He admitted that he loved Austin and had planned to move here after college, but landed in Los Angeles instead.
It's always heartening to see independent productions get a chance to find audiences in theatrical release, and SXSW 2009 selection The Square, a thriller from Australian filmmaker Nash Edgerton, is a superb example. The movie opens Friday in Austin theaters.
Set in the suburbs during holiday season, The Square is a deceptively simple story built upon chaos theory, where seemingly minor events have tragic consequences. Ray (David Roberts) is a construction manager living the good life and building more opportunities for others to do the same. Like many cinematic middle-age men, Ray is dissatisfied with his life but not enough to leave his wife. Ray's fortunes change when his lover approaches him with a pile of cash and the seductive opportunity to start over.
From the UT Film Institute (The Cassidy Kids, Elvis and Annabelle) comes the powerful drama Dance with the One, which premiered at SXSW Film Festival last month and screened this week at the Dallas International Film Festival. Actor Michael Dolan (Hamburger Hill, Biloxi Blues) makes his directorial debut with a story co-written by Smith Henderson and Jon Marc Smith. As thrilling and suspenseful as a crime caper, it's really the family drama and determination of the main character that engage viewers.
In Dance with the One, small-time pot dealer Nate (Gabriel Luna) is in the business to support his family. Scarred by the tragic death of their mother, Nate wants to get his little brother Sitter (Mike Davis) away from his alcoholic dad Owen (Gary McCleery), as well as himself and his childhood sweetheart Nikki (Xochitl Romero) out of Texas to Oregon. Nate takes the opportunity to help his boss Bobby (Paul Saucido) -- who's also Nikki's dad -- to take care of a situation with a harder substance, hoping the money he earns will be the final push to freedom. However, things go wrong when the drugs go missing, and Nate must find a way to protect his family from the silent partner out for his investment and blood.
Updated April 8, 2010.
Slackerwood has never covered a film fest to the extent that we covered SXSW 2010, and our contributors have done an amazing job with features, interviews, photo essays and reviews. The following list (after the jump) includes all our 2010 fest coverage to date.
On the Friday that SXSW 2010 got underway, I spent the afternoon in a sports bar with a bunch of Cinematical reporters, supposedly to talk about our assignments but in actuality to eat junk food and argue about Kick Ass and Dogtooth and to tease our editors. Occasional Slackerwood reporter and Film Festival Secrets author Chris Holland was also in the bar with filmmaker Mark Potts, whose comedy Simmons on Vinyl I reviewed at Austin Film Festival last year.
Chris and Mark asked me if I would step outside with them for a moment so they could interview me on camera. I was hopped up on sugar and fried food and didn't actually ask what they were going to interview me about, but was thrilled that someone wanted to shoot video with me in it. We all stood out on a downtown sidewalk and Chris interviewed me while Mark shot video.
This is the result of that interview. I would like to say that I would have been slightly less ditzy if I'd thought about the questions beforehand ... but maybe not. If you've heard the Slackerwood podcasts, you know that I am like that all the time.
You never know what you might get with film festival bumpers -- the very short films that appear before each fest screening to promote the festival. The problem is, you have to watch the things all week long. You might end up with a horrible earworm that infiltrates your dreams for days, or a slickly done ad from a sponsor that is annoying the second time, much less the twenty-second.
The best experience is for a festival to have multiple bumpers -- Fantastic Fest has so many that you rarely see one more than twice -- which should be short, interesting as films rather than as ads and perhaps even quotable. By the end of the fest, people are going to be shouting back at the ads a la Rocky Horror. The SXSW 2008 Burger Hut ads were great for audience participation (I still hear people quoting the Glengarry Glen Ross spoof), for example.
This year's SXSW Film Festival bumpers were generally not quotable -- most were almost silent -- but I never grew tired of them. Four of the five were directed by David Lowery, who brought his feature St. Nick to SXSW last year. Lowery, who hails from the DFW area, also was director of photography for two features at this year's fest, Audrey the Trainwreck and Lovers of Hate.
This was my sixth SXSW Film Festival and my fifth as a distinguished member of the press. This was also the first SXSW that I seriously felt like an editor here at Slackerwood. If you look at our SXSW coverage list, you'll see why. We've written 50 articles during and after SXSW so far, not counting the guides and interviews done beforehand. We were able to run five articles a day some days, which is really fucking incredible for a site that used to be dead for two weeks at a time because Chris and I felt too busy or slackery to update it. We had unexpected contributors who pitched in and added to the fun. It did mean more time on the computer and less time in the theater, but I still saw so many wonderful movies that I can't complain.
Let's get to the fun part. I'm taking the slackery way out and giving you a list of my SXSW 2010 experiences.
Favorite movies coming to a theater near you: Micmacs, the latest film from Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie), which I liked so much that I saw at a press screening and then at the official SXSW screening. Okay, part of that was because the line for Cold Weather was too long and I knew I wouldn't get in, but still. Here's my Cinematical review. Expect to see Micmacs in American theaters sometime this summer. I also really liked Steven Soderbergh's film about Spalding Gray, And Everything Is Going Fine, which I hope to review soon (we'll see). And the Duplass brothers' film Cyrus was quite enjoyable (my review), and should be hitting theaters this summer too.