Day One - SXSW (film festival in Austin, TX) I am popping my film festival cherry. I've been reviewing films for a couple years now and getting paid to attend a fest was a goal of mine. Plus, Texas in March, avoiding the hellacious Chicago winter... what could be better?
I arrived to 38 degree temperatures, rain, and an insane wind. It felt better in Chicago. Everyone I have met up with so far has said, "Thanks for bringing the weather with you." It's like there was a memo sent out, and that's the joke they all decided to go with.
Luckily Friday, with the start of the film festival came 60 degree temperatures. I was a beaver that was eager so I was one of the first in line to register. After all the sooner I did, the sooner I would get my swag. I was hoping for a late Christmas and I couldn't wait to see what was in my goodie bag. Socks. Well, not exactly, but that's the equivalent present. A free bottle of Fuze and an insanely nice ad for Miami Beach, plus Paste magazine which I already subscribe to.
So I spent the next 30 minutes wandering the streets of Austin convincing myself I am here for the films and not the free stuff.
Before any movies I had interviews set up with the people involved with "21." I was seeing the world premiere that night and had loved the book "Bringing Down the House" which it was based on. I decided my go to question of the week would be to ask about spring break memories. Yeah, Australia (where the director is from) and London (where the star is from) don't have spring breaks.
Jeff Ma, who the book was based on, was there as well and I got to talk strategy about taking down a casino in Kansas City with my friends in a month. I didn't inform him that when I was saying $10,000, I was meaning $100.
After an afternoon of Mexican food (always a must in Austin) I had my first difficult decision to make in the evening... Do I see "Harold & Kumar 2" or "Super High Me"?. One is a movie about pot, and the other is a movie about pot. Tough. I finally sat down to watch "Super High Me." It's like "Super Size Me" but with marijuana.
Just like pot, it was nice, relaxing, but really nothing was accomplished. I interview the star Saturday morning.
By the way, I have a film badge, which means I have top priority in getting into these screenings, but I still have to wait in a film badge line. So after "Super" I wait for "21." The theater fills up and I spot my first star. I almost want to use italics around star. It's Jason Street from "Friday Night Lights" (Scott Porter). And he likes to wear hats. And that's the whole list of celebrities from day one. Ouch. Oh, and the crowd loved the film, and I thought it didn't do the book justice. At all.
Song of the Day (most listened to on my iPod): Feist's "I Feel it All"