“This isn’t where we are going to be making money now,” “Super Size Me” director Morgan Spurlock told a large crowd on Monday at SXSW. “If you are looking to pay your rent, not so much, if you’re looking to pay your phone blll, you have a chance.” As indieWIRE‘s Eugene Hernandez reported, the the discussion later “shifted to panelists’ reluctance to talk about the hard traffic numbers, Spurlock offered a line that has already been picked up by media and bloggers: ‘The reason numbers aren’t releaed is because the numbers are pathetic.” Spurlock continued, “It’s because the numbers are sadly low by what we would expect from film and television.”
The panel was just part of indieWIRE‘s continuing coverage of the 2009 SXSW Film Festival.
Brian Brooks’ reported from another panel that also centered around the web. “We want a play button on every single page of IMDb,” IMDb founder Col Needham said. during a SXSW Q&A. “Our strategy is to allow people to click the play button and they will be able to legally watch an entire movie for free.” Brooks reported that “the amibitious goal, which Needham described as a broad strategy, has potentially massive ramifications for a site that currently receives three billion page views from 57 million unique users per month.”
While Hernandez considered word of mouth in an emerging “On Demand World” via another SXSW panel. “The strained film distribution system is often a topic of discussion at film festivals,” Hernandez reported. “New and established filmmakers gather to hear the latest from industry insiders who’ve said it all before. But this year at SXSW, a few things feel a bit different. For one, as has been well documented, a handful of films are bypassing theatrical distribution in favor of simultaneous festival and digital premieres (via VOD or online). And amidst all the layoffs and company closures, optimistic eyes remain on Bob Berney who seems closer to launching a new film distribution company.”
As for the films themselves, Eric Kohn has hammered out ten “snapshot” reviews, including Michael Paul Stephenson’s “Best Worst Movie”, Gary Hustwit’s “Objectified”, Daryl Wein’s “Breaking Upwards”, Dia Sokol’s “Sorry, Thanks”, Kris Swanberg’s “It was great, but I was ready to come home”, and Jody Hill’s “Observe and Report”.
Outside of indieWIRE-land, Kohn also talked to “Funny Ha Ha” director Andrew Bujalski for New York magazine.
As for more reviews, Spout has been keeping up quite the pace thanks to Karina Longworth and Vadim Rizov. Two examples:
“Eileen Yaghoobian’s documentary is unexpectedly excellent, a bracingly free-form group portrait of people who only recently discovered each other’s existence when the founding of GigPosters.com showed isolated artists they weren’t just working alone in the dark,” Rizov says of “Died Young, Stay Pretty.” “I’ll have to take Yaghoobian’s word for it that eminently quotable interviewees like Art Charney and Tom Hazelmyer are actually luminaries of the poster world, but this is one entertaining film regardless of how its profiled community receives it.”
“In creating a uniquely cerebral film in which the bulk of the drama is based on which words will fly out of mouths and what they’ll really mean, Bujalski has made a “talky” film that lovingly critiques the mysteries of speech,” Longworth says of “Beeswax.” “At the film’s climax, two of our heroes look at a letter, and one asks the other, ‘You like that language?’ The response: ‘Beautiful.’ It is.”
Cinematical‘s coverage includes numerous reviews (such as “The Way We Get By”, “Bomber”, “Women in Trouble”, and “Best Worst Movie”), and exclusive new images from Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker.”
“I was going to go back to my hotel and crash early after my final jury screening tonight,” Movie City News (and SXSW jury member) Kim Voynar reported from Austin, “until I got a text message from a friend that the 9:30 TBA at the Alamo Ritz was something worth sticking around for — an exceedingly rare opportunity to see Todd Haynes’ Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story on a 16mm print in a theater. Wow…. I have no idea how the fest pulled off getting the print or showing it, but man, what an amazingly bold coup — huge kudos to SXSW for pulling it off. I’m so glad I stayed out late tonight to catch it — definitely a highlight of the fest. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am one ecstatically happy film geek tonight.”
Another SXSW jury member, Anne Thompson’s blog has technically provided most of Variety‘s coverage. This has included interviews with and Adam Yauch, who’s Oscilloscope picked up SXSW entry “The Paranoids.”
Variety‘s Joe Leydon also posted of the trade’s few reviews: an intensely glowing one of “Observe and Report.” “Think Travis Bickle: Mall Cop; and you’ll have some idea of what to expect from ‘Observe and Report,'” he writes, “writer-director Jody Hill’s shockingly and sometimes discomfortingly funny comedy about an unstable security guard who views himself as vigilant protector – and, occasionally, avenging angel – while patrolling a suburban shopping mall. Taking a setup that could have been played for sitcom jokiness and family-friendly slapstick, Hill attempts something much darker, if not downright transgressive.”
Finally, for a local flavor, Austin 360 has numerous photos and videos from premieres and parties, as well as a report from “The 2 Bobs” premiere, an interview with Seth Rogen, and word from Richard Linklater’s “surprise” screening of “Me & Orson Welles.”