SXSW 2008: Updated Guide to Film Fest Venues


Alamo on South Lamar

Note: A 2010 guide to SXSW Film Fest venues is now available.

You might remember Slackerwood's handy SXSW film-fest venue guide from 2007. We've compiled an even handier guide for 2008. The theaters have changed slightly, primarily due to the downtown Alamo Drafthouse location moving to Alamo Ritz. (The old Drafthouse venue is now a trendy nightclub ... where the Facebook Film Garage is being held during SXSW. Very strange.)

These guidelines to Austin theaters playing SXSW movies are intended to help visitors who want to maximize the number of films they see in a day, or who want to make sure they're able to find decent meals between or even during the movies. The most important thing to remember is that you can't walk between all the SXSW venues and you shouldn't try. To get to Alamo on South Lamar or even the Dobie, consider finding a cab, bus, friendly Austinite with a car, or even renting a bicycle to use during your time at the fest.

If you're interested in taking the bus (which costs a whopping 50 cents per trip, or $1/day), Capital Metro's Route 3 can take you from downtown to Alamo South Lamar, and you can take Route 1/101 or the Red Dillo (which is free) from Congress Ave. to the Dobie. I recommend using the Trip Planner to figure out your schedule, and allow plenty of time especially during rush hour.

Here are the six SXSW 2008 theaters, with info on location, nearby food, and nearby wireless access. If I've missed some tips and tricks (or good nearby places with wireless), please add a comment or email me and I'll be happy to update this guide.

Austin Premiere of John Sayles' 'Honeydripper'


Tickets go on sale Friday at noon for the Austin premiere of John Sayles' latest film, Honeydripper, screening at the Paramount on Tuesday, Jan. 22. Director John Sayles, producer Maggie R­enzi, and actor/musician Gary Clark Jr. will all be in attendance.

I've been looking forward to seeing Honeydripper for some time. The movie is set in rural Alabama in the 1950s and centers around a blues club, the Honeydripper Lounge. Besides Clark, the cast includes Danny Glover, Stacey Keach, Mary Steenburgen, Sean Patrick Thomas, and Keb Mo. Check out the official website for more info on the movie and some related videos (interviews with Sayles, etc.)

Austin Film Society has all the details on the events surrounding the premiere -- there are several different levels of ticket prices. The most expensive ticket (still only $25) gets you admission to an after-party at the Continental Club where Clark and Eddie Shaw will perform. A slightly cheaper ticket gets you into Antone's the next night for a concert with Clark, Shaw, Pinetop Perkins, and Hubert Sumlin. You also can buy tickets for the screening only, which range from $7-12 depending on where you sit. You have to buy tickets through the Paramount, so remember to tack on a few extra bucks to those ticket prices for various service charges and so forth.

I've heard Sayles and Renzi speak before (on an excellent panel at SXSW 2006 about regional indie filmmaking and Lone Star) and I can't wait to hear them at this upcoming Q&A.

Finally, I decided this week that I need to remember and m­ake use of YouTube videos that might be of interest, so here's the trailer for Honeydripper.



Movies This Week: The Holiday Edition


Maybe your idea of a fun Christmas week doesn't include a lot of family gatherings, tree-trimming, or waiting in line to see the lights at Zilker. Maybe you'd rather be at the movies. If so, you've got some interesting choices for next week:

  • Tons of new movies opening in Austin this week: I've seen Juno, Charlie Wilson's War, Sweeney Todd, and The Orphanage (Alamo South). Cinematical published my review of Swe­eney Todd if you're interested. If those movies don't appeal, you also can see Walk Hard, The Great Debaters, The Savages (Arbor), National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and Alien vs. Predator: Requiem
  • Over at the IMAX theater at Bob Bullock, Christmas is busting out all over. You can see the 3-D version of The Polar Express all week long, or a half-hour 3D animated film called Santa vs. the Snowman.

Austin Film Fest Closing Night!


It's a big night at the Paramount, of course, with Sidney Lumet's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and Grace is Gone lighting up the big screen at the Bullock, but it's also your last chance to see a couple of the really great films that may not be coming to your local cineplex soon. Heck, you could spend the whole night at the Dobie and be supremely entertained:

America Unchained - in this amusing doc, a British gent decides to try driving a 1970 Torino station wagon from L.A. to New York without eating, sleeping, or tanking up at a chain restaurant/hotel/gas station. It's this last that becomes really difficult. A great audience flick. 6:00 p.m., Dobie.

First Saturday in May - There's a lot of buzz around this documentary about the Kentucky Derby, and rightfully so: it speaks from an insider's perspective and keeps things interesting by never letting the story rest for long. Even if horses aren't your thing, any sort of sports enthusiast should check this out. 7:45 p.m., Dobie.

Blood Car - In the very near future, gas is up to $30 and an enterprising young vegan inadvertently invents an engine that runs on blood. If you're thinking Roger Corman blood and guts and unpleasantness, you're half right -- it's all played for laughs, and rather successfully. If you're any kind of comedy or horror enthusiast, this is a can't-miss. 9:30 p.m., Dobie.

Tickets are $8 at the door. Visit for more information.

Austin Film Festival Begins Today


DriskillThe screenwriter's conference kicks off at the Driskill Hotel this afternoon and the Festival itself starts tonight with Chicago 10 at the Paramount. Personally I'm looking forward to The Go-Getter with Zooey Deschanel at the Bob Bullock, which is the first of the four TBA films.

All of the TBAs have been announced as of this morning. They are:

- The Go-Getter (#1)
- Day Zero (#2)
- Mr. Warmth - The Don Rickles Project (#3, new flick from John Landis)
- Grace is Gone (#4, the John Cusack "Oscar bait" picture)

More previews and reports to come.



Movies This Week: B-Side at Screen Door, Lasting Images, and The Unforeseen

Now that Slackerwood is back up and running smoothly, there's no reason why we shouldn't have a Movies This Week, and the sooner the better. Let's look at some of the special screenings and events you can catch around town this week:

  • Screen Door Film and B-Side Entertainment are partnering to show us some great films you probably haven't seen outside of festivals yet ... and really should. Four-Eyed Monsters (which played SXSW in 2005) is playing on Wednesday, Pirate Radio USA (one of my favorites from AFF last year) on Thursday, and The Outdoorsmen: Blood, Sweat and Beers (a favorite from AFF 2005) on Friday. All screenings are at Salvage Vanguard Theater on Manor Rd.
  • Nueva Onda is showing a feature-length film at the restaurant's Movie Night this Thursday: Lasting Images. Admission is free. The movie starts at 8 pm, but get there early for a good seat on the patio. (More movies after the jump.)

Movies This Week: Heavyweights, Truffaut, and Redneck Zombies

School is about to start, so the free summer movies for kids are winding down -- most programs have stopped except for Alamo, I believe. However, there are still some good free movies and other interesting events this week around Austin.

  • If you're reading this on Tuesday, there may still be time to head down to Hampton Library on Convict Hill Road for a free screening of Muppet Treasure Island at 6 pm. Tim Curry as Long John Silver rivals Johnny Depp as Captain Jack, I promise you.
  • Alamo Summer Movie Camp is showing Heavyweights this week, and you can still catch the movie on Wed. and Thurs. at 11 am at the South Lamar location. One of the writers on this summer-camp film was Judd Apatow, who wrote and directed Knocked Up. (More films after the jump.)

Movies This Week: Renoir, Office Space, and a Garage Sale

I've been out of town for a long weekend in the New Orleans area, where they really could use more indie/arthouse theaters, although that's not exactly a priority post-Katrina. Still, my youngest brother is terribly envious of the diversity of film choices we have in Austin, which is why I hope he doesn't see the following list. He's not going to be in a good mood until he gets to see Superbad, and that doesn't reach theaters for another 10 days. If he were here, these are the movies and film-related events I'd be telling him about:

  • The Paramount is showing Rules of the Game tonight and Wednesday, and I would love to see this Jean Renoir movie again, especially since it's a restored print. I can't go (I actually have to see Daddy Day Camp tomorrow) but you should all go for me and tell me how wonderful it is. Other Paramount movies in the Summer Classic series this week include a David Lean double-bill of Brief Encounter and Summertime on Thurs. and Sunday, Fellini's La Strada on Sunday, and Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast on Monday.
  • The "Sing-Along" version of Hairspray will be showing for the rest of the week at Barton Creek Cinemark (the one that's not in the mall). I still need to see the non-sing-along version myself, although I am wary after what happened with The Producers. (more films after the jump)

Movies This Week: Early Works, Troma, and SF at the Paramount

Let's see what Austin has to offer in terms of special screenings and free movies this week. If I missed something, please let me know in the comments section.

  • Thursday night, Austin Film Festival is hosting "Very Early Works," a collection of short films from local filmmakers who have gone on to bigger and better things. The evening includes short films from Steve Collins (Gretchen), Scott Rice (Perils in Nude Modeling and those funny, funny Script Cops shorts that served as AFF in-house trailers last year), the Zellner brothers (Redemptitude), Mike Akel (Chalk), Jeffrey Travis (Flatland). Plus there are shorts from filmmakers who aren't yet quite so well-known, like Toddy Burton and John Merriman. Some of the filmmakers will be around to discuss their shorts. "Very Early Works" is being held at Alamo Lake Creek, and you can buy tickets at the door.

    If you don't live in Austin, check out the "Eat My Shorts" posting on Cinematical Indie a while ago where I found early shorts online from some of these filmmakers as well as others from the "Mumblecore" movement (I also explain what I think that means). Read the entry and see those shorts for free.

  • Alamo Lake Creek is starting a new weekly film series called Tromatic Thursdays, in which the theater brings us films from the prestigious Troma studios. This week's classic offering is Tromeo and Juliet, a timeless love story. The movie screens at 10 pm and admission is free. (More events after the jump.)

A Quick Tour of Austin Film Coverage


I wish I had a magical special effect that, when I said "Elsewhere on the web..." would generate a wonderful transition image and noise, perhaps something groovy out of the old Batman TV series. You will have to imagine your own as I share this list of links to visit.

  • If you want to see more photos than I could provide of the Alamo Downtown sign moving to Alamo on South Lamar, Blake at Cinema is Dope has a whole slideshow available. Alamo Drafthouse Blog also has a photo of the sign that includes Lars (as part of an entry about the migration of Weird Wednesday and Master Pancake to non-downtown Alamos).
  • The Femme Film Texas Festival takes place on Saturday night at The Hideout, and Austinist has the details.
  • Thanks to Sarah Lindner at Austin Movie Blog for the following tip: You can now buy t-shirts online for the Paramount Summer Classic Movies series. As someone who buys t-shirts online from the Brattle Theater in Boston just because they're cool (both the theater and the shirts, that is), I always wondered why The Paramount didn't do the same thing. You also can buy Flix-Tix and a few posters online; I'm hoping the whole merchandise line expands over time. Hint to Paramount: You can't go wrong with a Princess Bride quote on your shirt. (More news/links after the jump.)
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