Sunday, March 13, 2011

SxSW Day 2

Sxxpress Passes

Two years ago, SxSW introduced the Sxxpress pass. During this rollout, it was not very well advertised. Unfortunately this has changed.

When I arrived on this morning there were several hundred people in line, waiting for the booth to open. In years to come, it will be necessary to arrive early not only for parking, but for Sxxpress passes, too. Sxxpress Passes are no longer a secret

Panels

You Don't Have to Move, to Live Better

This was a talk by Majora Carter, a name fairly well known in Lefty circles. No surprises here, I don't see eye to eye with her on any of her political views. Basically, some of the ends proposed were noble, but I have a real problem with the means by which she proposed to attain them.

The Last Broadcast - Entertainment is Social, What's Next?

This was a fairly interesting talk on the future of Entertainment. Among the interesting things discussed were:

  • The history of NBC, the first network. It was started by RCA as a vehicle to drive sales of radio hardware. There was some discussion that history is clearly repeating itself.
  • An in depth discussion of TV downloading in Australia. Apparently, it doesn't have a great impact on sales of DVDs or digital sales. The downloading seems to be used by fans who are frustrated with Hollywood's propensity to release shows up to a year later in Australia, than they are released in the US.
  • Quite a bit of the session was spent discussing the huge impact of Social Networks on Production, Funding, Advertising and Marketing of TV shows, and what new Business Models might emerge, as a result.

I found this session interesting and thought provoking. Clearly, we have reached the Tipping Point

Panel: The Last Broadcast - Entertainment is Social, What's Next?

Time Traveling: Interfaces for Geotemporal Visualization

This was a fantastic session, with live demos of a number of utilities for simultaneously displaying geographic changes over time. I walked away from this talk with a fairly long list of websites and software projects to investigate.

A Conversation with Todd Phillips

I really enjoyed this discussion with the director of several comedy blockbusters, including The Hangover and Old School. Todd has a great sense of humor, is a good story teller and is very entertaining. He talked at length about working with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, and his love for setting up comedic situations that are uncomfortable.

The other great thing about this session, was the Interviewer, Elvis Mitchell. After 3 straight years of attending SxSWf, I can attest to the fact that Elvis is a fantastic film critic and writer, and is a very accomplished host. A Conversation with Todd Phillips


Films

Fightville

This film follows two amateur MMA fighters on a small local circuit, in Louisiana. Both fighters have aspirations of making it to the Big Leagues (like UFC or Strike Force). At the film's outset both fighters are headed towards the same goal. By the end of the picture however, their paths diverge.

I won't post any spoilers, but this film is very similar in look and feel, to the Mickey Rourke movie, The Wrestler. I enjoyed it, and would recommend it to other people.

It's About You

The film was directed and shot by a father and son duo, Kurt and Ian Markus. The father, Kurt is a photographer and brings those sensibilities to his first film, which was shot primarily on an old, handheld, 8mm camera.

The subject of the film is a recent John Cougar Mellencamp tour (with Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan). Kurt and John were long time friends, after some photo sessions back in the 80's. I'm not entirely clear who had the idea for this project (Kurt or John), but clearly Mellencamp endorsed it.

This film worked for me on several levels, and I would easily recommend this film to anyone (even if they weren't a Mellencamp fan). Of course, my favorite director is another photographer turned director. I think I liked Kurt's work because it was definitely Kubrick-esque.

The icing on the cake for this screening however, was the Q&A. Kurt and Ian announced that Mellencamp was in the building, and would be joining them on stage. This was one of the highlights of SxSWf for me. Father & son, Kurt and Ian Markus, take Q&A about "It's About You" John Mellencamp, Kurt Markus, Ian Markus

Super

This film received a lot of buzz because of Rain Wilson. While I found the film generally enjoyable, it seemed like a me too or copycat of Kick Ass, which premiered at last year's festival.

The director James Gunn, and the other star, Ellen Page, joined Rain on stage for the Q&A. Several other cast members were present and in the audience.

Q&A for Super at Paramount, James Gunn, Rain Wilson, Ellen Page
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