Monday, May 30, 2011

Liz is Looking Back and Forward at SXSW 2011

One of the things I wish I had been able to have done was see Jake G. on the March 11th Red Carpet event at the Paramount Theater for 'Source Code', but then I was not the only media person who wanted to be there. I did not get a spot. Sorry to repeat that I wanted to see Jake, but I really, really did want to see him, even from a few feet away. I was glad to have seen the film and great performance, as well as that of Vera Farmiga. It had a theatical release in April for film fans to enjoy, so Jake fans got their fill (or hope they did).

I had the Red Carpet opportunity that evening over at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar for 'Girl Walks Into a Bar' and photographed the actors in the film -Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson, Carla Gugino and director, Sebastian Gutierrez. That truly was a treat, although I was unable to obtain a seat in the theater for the actual screening of the film. There were no seats available for media that worked, or else, no one made sure that all the working media be included. Somehow that does not seem right, so I began to feel as if this was not the right way to start out the 2011 film festival. Fortunately, it did not shape the rest of my experience at SXSW this year. Other than the screening during SXSW, it has not been screened in Austin that I know of. It is available to view on the Internet.

I managed to make my way back over to the Paramount for the 9:30pm 'blacktino' screening that had lots of buzz outside the theater with many in the cast in attendance. Unfortunately, it was not until after the screening that I found out a local actor and dance artist, Jesse Rodriguez, was in the film. I enjoyed his performance and there is a great dance scene in the film! As an aside, he also teaches elementary children the art of hip hop dance and the kids really enjoy learning this art. It would have been great for him to have been a part of the cast that was present and recognized during the premiere of the film at the historic theater. I have not heard of a theatrical release of this film yet, perhaps a DVD will come along soon? I have nothing official in writing yet, so stay tuned and we will keep 'blacktino' fans posted.

Fox Searchlight Pictures has acquired the drama 'Sound of My Voice' that had it's premiere at the State Theater next door also on opening night and I missed it during the festival. It will be having a theatrical release in the near future, but I do not have a firm date to announce yet. 'Insidious' was screened that evening at midnight and I throughly enjoyed meeting and conducting interviews of the filmmakers. The director and the writer/actor were very animated and it was a pleasant experience after a long night.

On Saturday (12th), while I was in the badge line to view 'The Innkeepers' at the Paramount, I had the luck of standing next to the 'Pee-wee Herman Broadway' celebration after the 4pm screening at the State Theater. Pee-wee was the middle of crowd who tried to gather around to either meet him, take pictures or just plain get free popsicles from the truck that had the graphics for the upcoming television show. As I stood in the area to photograph Pee-wee, he decided to video tape the crowd and placed the camera in my face. I have no idea where that tape is now....or whose camera he was using. Oh no!

I have not heard of a theatrical release for 'The Innkeepers' that did have a couple of scenes that were somewhat frightening, but it is good overall and I enjoyed Sara Paxton's performance. I stayed at the Paramount after that screening and was able to get a spot into the screening of 'Super' with Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page. It was a bit over the top for me with the super action character (Wilson) and his teen sidekick (Page). It did have a slow theatrical release after the festival and made its way to Austin for a week.

'Bellflower' and 'Attack the Block' also screened that evening at the Alamo Ritz and both are scheduled to have a theatrical release this summer, although not sure what date 'Bellflower' is making it to Austin. It is scheduled to open in New York and Los Angeles on August 5th.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to see 'Attack the Block' with Luke Treadaway who I did get to meet while he was in town. It is great for Treadaway to have had two films he performed in during the 2011 SXSW festival. Treadaway is also in 'You Instead' with Natalia Tena (Harry Potter) that screened that evening/same theater and several other times during the festival. It is a great treat to watch and hear the music at the festival where it was shot. 'You Instead' is scheduled to have a theatrical release in September, but not sure if the U. S. yet.

'Kill List' was also screened at midnight that night as part of the SXFantastic Fest films and it is a film not to be missed when it comes through theaters. It does have plenty of violent scenes, but it is a really great script and impressive performances. 'The City Dark' and 'The Dish and the Spoon' screened on Saturday evening and will now have a New York premiere this coming weekend at the Rooftop Films Summer Series, after screening at the SXSW 2011 Film Festival.

Sunday, March 13th, the Spanish language film 'Que Pena Tu Vida [F*** my Life]' from director Nicolas López made it's U. S. Premiere at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar and was well received, with additional screenings added. It is a fun film to watch as a romantic comedy goes and the performances are enjoyable.

'Hesher' was screened at the same theater that evening and it is a good script that may be a bit too much for some viewers, but luckily, it has had a theatrical release as of May 13th in Austin if anyone missed it during this festival. I am very impressed with the Joseph Gordon-Levitt's performance of the character 'Hesher' and Rainn Wilson is also in this film. Wilson, like Luke Treadaway, had two films he performed in that were screened during this festival.

'The Future' was screened at the Alamo Ritz that evening to a full house of film fans. Many were left standing outside the theater and I was able to squeeze in before people were sent away due to being at maximum seating capacity. For fans of the director, Miranda July, be on the lookout as there does seem to be a theatrical release in the making, hopefully this summer. It is a very different film for me and the story is one to take in slowly, with elements I really enjoyed.

'The Greatest Movie Ever Sold' screened during the festival this afternoon and I missed any opportunity to meet director Morgan Spurlock. Darn! I really enjoyed the documentary that was one of the films in the Festival Favorites category. I am certainly glad it did have a theatrical release in April and was able to catch this film. Spurlock has his comedic side and this is a great aspect he adds to his documentary.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Liz has an update from Rooftop Films Summer Series featuring three SXSW 2011 films

Rooftop Films will have a special weekend of select films screened in March at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas as they now make their New York premieres. The Rooftop Films 15th Annual Summer Series will be held on June 3-5th in Brooklyn. The Summer Series will also include a selection of 2011 SXSW Shorts.

The feature films are 'The Dish and the Spoon' (Alison Bagnall), 'No Matter What' (Cherie Saulter) and 'The City Dark' (Ian Cheney). The SXSW shorts include 'Heliotropes' (Michael Langan), 'Howling at the Moon' (Jason Tippet/Elizabeth Mims).

Tickets and information at