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SXSW Preview for the Town

March 12, 2009

By Melanie Addington

As Published in the Oxford Town
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There is nothing quite like the South by Southwest Film Festival. Paired with the Interactive Festival and the precursor to the Music Festival, Austin, Texas becomes the place to be for the trendy and the geeky during mid-March every year. Thousands upon thousands of anxious film and tech geeks begin their journey every year by lining up through the convention center, patiently shuffling forward towards the end result – the badge and SXSW gift bag.

Unlike most festivals, where only a select few get goody bags, at SXSW EVERYONE who participates gets a bag. And truly there is nothing as impressive as seeing the thousands upon thousands of gift bags lined up.

But that is just the beginning. After one picks up their badge and bag, the options become unlimited with hundreds of panels, five to six movies starting each hour and oh, the parties.

Despite all the overwhelming fun and a desire to scream from the overload that is 6th Street in Austin, what we film freaks really look forward to is the movies. Not only are there little indie gems to be discovered, such as “Make-Out With Violence” screening at the Alamo Ritz (Oxonians got to see it first at the Oxford Film Festival this year), but big premieres like this year’s “I Love You, Man” and Sam Raimi’s work-in-progress screening of “Drag Me To Hell.” Expect a review of both when I get back.

Last year I stumbled across Lynn Shelton’s film “My Effortless Brilliance,” and on my film blog remarked that she is one of the new incredible directors to watch. Well, the rest of the film world agrees. Shelton recently won the Independent Spirit Person to Watch award at this year’s Spirit Awards and her new film “Humpday” will be premiering this year.

Along with these three, I will be trying to catch the screening of “Ong Bak 2,” “ExTerminators” starring Oxford’s Joey Lauren Adams, “Splinterheads” from the guys who brought us “Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story,” and a bevy of documentaries including “Best Worst Movie,” which takes a look at how the worst movie ever made, “Troll 2” has managed to become a cult classic.

Stay tuned for lots of coverage on the blog and a wrap up at the Town. But then again, it is hard to wrap up since SXSW never ends – film freaks just start planning for next year!

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