Ken's SXSW Film Fest Update - Part 2!

March 14, 2008

SXSW Film Festival

Folks, it has been a pretty crazy week so far. Only a couple days left in the SXSW Film Festival but there are still plenty of films to watch. However, it is now 100 times more difficult to navigate the streets of Austin now that the SXSW Music Festival has started. The infamous 6th Street now gets shut down from traffic around noon and the bands take up residency in every bar and restaurant wherever you look. The party intensity has risen so much that it makes me wish I was staying for the music fest but alas I must head back to Colorado on Sunday. Until then, the coverage will keep coming.

The last update we had was from Alex as he left to head for ShoWest in Las Vegas last Tuesday morning (read that here). With him being gone, this was my first time at a film festival not to mention trying to cover it by myself. A lot has happened while he was gone and I'll see if I can't bring everyone up to speed on the happenings from then until now.

All week I have been staying up until 4AM either getting back late from a party or writing reviews while sitting on the couch in our condo. Staying up late really hasn't been that bad, since the earliest screenings they have are at 11AM. The times back at the condo with everyone sitting at their laptops posting news or debating the new Speed Racer trailer have been very entertaining, to say the least. I guess that's what you get when you put seven movie geeks all together in the same house for a week.

My favorite moment of SXSW, besides getting a picture with Kristen Bell (which you can see here), was meeting Don Ed Hardy. If you don't know who he is, it's okay, unless you know much about tattoos you probably wouldn't know. Don Ed Hardy is considered by many to be the top tattoo artist alive today. He was great guy and extremely welcoming. After telling him how great it was to see him in the documentary (Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry), I asked him to sign a poster for my wife, which he graciously did. After that I got to talk briefly with the director who was also a really cool guy.

After the Sailor Jerry doc I hoofed it over to make it to the Choke screening. During the wait for it to start, Neil from FSR and I were having a geeky conversation about the current trend of adding more chapters onto some of the classic film series' like Rocky or Rambo. The guy in front of us ended up turning around to make a comment and it turned out to be Kent Nichols, the co-creator of Ask a Ninja. He was great and if you haven't checked out his site, you definitely should.

The rest of the night was spent watching Choke and trying to find a good place to eat dinner. I almost forgot to mention that between Choke and dinner, Neil and I decided to drop in on the Sailor Jerry party that I was invited to. While waiting in the entrance line, Neil pointed out who was standing in front of me in line. Turns out it was Elijah Wood looking around trying not to be noticed. I thought about saying something about Green Street Hooligans or trying to get a picture. Then I remembered that it was Elijah Wood and didn't care anymore.

Ken playing Donkey Kong

Yesterday we were at the Alamo Drafthouse Lamar to watch The Wackness when I saw a Donkey Kong machine around in the corner. Come to find out that Steve Wiebe had actual played on that same machine on August 19th, 2007 to try and regain his world record (you can see a YouTube video of it here). King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters was one of my favorite films last year and to play on the same machine that Steve Wiebe played on would be a life-changing moment. I had to do it, and I did! Sadly I didn't get past the first level.

Ken's SXSW 2008 Review List:

We Are Wizards - 7.5/10
American Teen - 8.5/10
Explicit Ills - 5/10
Some Assembly Required - 7/10
The Marconi Bros. - 5.5/10
The Promotion - 8/10
Dance of the Dead - 6.5/10
Blip Festival: Reformat the Planet - 7.5/10
Forgetting Sarah Marshall - 7.5/10
The Matador - 7.5/10
FrontRunners - 6.5/10
Second Skin - 8/10
Bananaz - 5/10
Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry - 8/10
Choke - 7.5/10
The Wackness - 7/10
Stop-Loss - 6.5/10
Punk Rock Passport - 7.5/10

My excitement is still as high as when I first arrived. There are still a few films I'm dying to see, plus any movie geek would love to be a fly on the wall to hear some of the conversations between some of us here in the condo. More reviews coming soon from our coverage of SXSW so keep posted!

SXSW Film Festival

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