I don’t know how they do it.
I am impressed each year by each of the festivals I attend because of the sheer scale of the enterprise. Sundance is this crazy sprint in the snow where way too many people descend on a fairly tiny little ski town to mainline movies. Cannes is this decadent sun-soaked beach party. Toronto is very no-nonsense and stripped down, films and films and more films. And Fantastic Fest is… god, how can you describe Fantastic Fest? It’s like a time machine full of midget humanoid rabbits that enter a battle of the bands against a six-headed mutant that shoots saw blades out of its lady parts. But with a lot of booze and barbecue.
SXSW, though, has to be one of the most complex assemblages of moving parts that I have ever witnessed. In addition to the crazy crazy crazy of the film festival, there’s the crazy crazy crazy of the music festival, and the Interactive side of things has blown up and now the comedy side of things also appears to be blowing up, and it’s so much energy and so many interests all jammed into one big elaborate thing now. The last batch of titles and the full schedule were released today, and it’s looking like it’s going to be a sensation year for them.
I did not get a chance to see “The East” when it played Sundance, but now I can count on seeing it at the closing night movie slot. I don’t think I said nearly enough about “Sound Of My Voice,” the first film from Zal Batmanglij, but I really like that film. I love the shell game he plays on the audience, and I think it’s a very strong focused film overall. I’m excited to see this new one as my last gasp of the fest.
They’ve also added more Q&A sessions with directors like Danny Boyle, Rob Zombie, and Harmony Korine, and there’s a special event for Don Hertzfeldt’s highly-acclaimed “It’s Such A Beautiful Day,” which I still haven’t’ seen. Joss Whedon’s going to bring his cast to do a panel conversation about “Much Ado About Nothing,” which sounds like great fun. I really liked what he did with it, and I’m sure this will be great fun.
SXSW runs from March 8 to March 16, so check here at HitFix for our full coverage.