Morgan Spurlock, whose hands were moving almost as fast as his mouth! Photo by Eugene Hernandez.
Mondays don't seem so bad when get to spend them talking movies with up-and-coming filmmakers at one of the most exciting film festivals in the country. The first weekend of SXSW has ended and there's already much to discuss.
Today's round-table discussion included Mark Olsen of the LA Times, L Magazine's Mark Asch, and Hammer to Nail's Michael Tully. The three Ms shared some of their favorite films from the festival so far.
Asch started the show off by expressing his love for New York tale Gimme the Loot, which is sure to be popular when it comes to Film Society for New Directors/New Films later this month. Tully was a fan of the dark debut film from Amy Seimetz, Sun Don't Shine. Both Asch and Tully agreed that Sean Baker's new film Starlet is one to keep an eye on. Olsen was particularly fond of Jeff, a documentary about infamous serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Hopefully Olsen was able to stick around a bit after the taping, because Jeff's filmmakers were also guests on today's podcast.
Tim League, the founder of the Alamo Drafthouse, a popular Austin and SXSW venue, stopped by the studio to discuss the festival and entrepreneurship. It would seem he knows what he's talking about, as the show was being recorded in one of League's new venues, Midnight Cowboy. League shared some memories of the Alamo's first South By, before they even had doors and a license. The discussion also touched upon how the interactive community in SXSW, and Austin in general, is booming and bringing far more change than the film industry in the area.
Next up was Gotham Chopra. In addition to having one of the coolest names of the whole festival, he is the son of self-help celebrity Deepak Chopra. Gotham debuted a documentary about his father at the festival, and shared a bit about the experience. Being so close to the subject gave Gotham's documentary an interesting perspective, and the familiarity was both a help and a challenge in the process.
“Candyland. A dream come true.” Not quite the words you would expect from someone who made a documentary about Jeffrey Dahmer, but that is how Chris James Thompson described his experience with the film's success. It was a project both he and Pat Kennedy, lead homocide detector on the Dahmer case, were reluctant to make at first. They agreed that the approach the film took was the right one, not exploitative like others about the same subject.
The Gayby team was full of laughs when they entered the booth. They are a group of friends that made a movie about a group of friends. Don't be confused, though, they are playing different friends (listen to the interview and you'll understand why they want clarification!). Jonathan Lisecki wrote the film, expanding on an earlier short film that also starred Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas. They may not be the typical nuclear family, but they are real and loveable.
Finally, the fast-talking Morgan Spurlock stopped by. Perhaps trying to wrap up the show got his mouth moving so fast, or maybe it was his enthusiasum that a new season of his show A Day in the Life premieres today on Hulu. Spurlock is the epitome of SXSW. He is constantly striving to innovate and bring his work to new outlets and media. By embracing new media, he is paving the way for independent filmmakers to forgo the traditional theater distribution route, and focus on letting more people see his work.
The conversation continues in Austin for the next few days during our daily podcast series at SXSW.
Eugene Hernandez is the Director of Digital Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and a founder of indieWIRE. Follow him on Twitter from SXSW (@eug)
The Daily Buzz crew at SXSW: Eugene Hernandez | Irene Cho | Lansia Wann | Matthew Young | Kevin Arthofer | Melissa Mobley
The Daily Buzz With Eugene Hernandez is in Austin to capture the latest from the South by Southwest Film Festival, including a taste of this year’s bustling Interactive conference.
Produced with the support of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, The Daily Buzz is presented daily in Texas with KUT 90.5 FM and the Alamo Drafthouse. Recorded at the Alamo’s newest venue, Midnight Cowboy (313 East 6th Street) the show features conversations with filmmakers from SXSW, as well as insights from industry veterans and journalists.
Daily Buzz guests for March 12
Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse
Gotham Chopra, Decoding Deepak
Chris James Thompson, Jeff
Pat Kennedy, Jeff
Jonathan Lisecki, Gayby
Jenn Harris, Gayby
Matthew Wilkas, Gayby