By admin | March 9, 2008

Maybe it’s just that I’m getting cranky as the years on the fest circuit go on, or maybe it’s because I saw Harlan Ellison last night after the documentary about him, “Dreams with Sharp Teeth,” played, and he got me fired up. Hard to tell, maybe a bit of both, but this morning I just went off on the webcam while sitting at the Four Seasons waiting to interview the guys from “Heavy Load.” What set me off? I’ll tell you…

I was browsing other SXSW coverage on the web (no names to mention, you can look around yourself) and I noticed that most of the news or review coverage I was seeing was centered on “21” or “Run Fatboy Run” or “Harold and Kumar 2,” with little to no mention of any of the SXSW competition films or other indie premieres and… it pissed me off. The three movies mentioned prior, and a few more as the fest goes on, will be in theaters in a month or two. Those films do not need top coverage, everyone will get to see them. The movies that deserve the attention are the rest of the f*****g films that may be brilliant but then go off into the dark because no one stepped up and said anything about them, because they were too busy seeing the big-name films.

Listen, I get it, other sites have certain pressures, they have corporate moneyholders whispering “mainstream” and “celebrity photos” in their ears while I have the luxury of covering whatever the f**k I feel like, without any pressure from anyone save my own guilt about letting a filmmaker down when I don’t see their film. I understand. I’ll have reviews of those films up too (well, some of them, and not necessarily because they were seen at SXSW either… ok, I think we have a review for “Run Fatboy Run” thanks to a pre-fest screening). It just pissed me off, s’all.

And the festival going audience isn’t left off the hook either. When there are open seats for the world premiere of “Beautiful Losers” but the line for “21” wrapped around three blocks… what’re you thinking, people? What, just to see it early? SXSW frontloaded their opening day so that it was more than just one movie, and it seemed like everyone still only tried to attend the one movie.

My final rant involves the post-screening conduct in the theater for “Beautiful Losers.” The film was over, Q&A had started, and a fellow asked a stupid question. Yes, it was stupid, but around me I just start hearing these self-righteous mockings. “What an idiot. Didn’t he pay attention? He’s stupid, etc.” and… at least he summoned up the courage to ask a f*****g a question. Do people really think a Q&A is fun for the director when no one asks anything? If that guy’s question was stupid, instead of snickering and mocking to everyone around you, why not ask a better question yourself? Who the f**k are you!?!

As each day goes on, I get angrier. I’m a fun-loving guy, and we still have the Film Threat party tonight to look forward to so I doubt it’ll escalate too much more (I may tell someone to “f**k off,” but that’s nothing new) but… I needed to rant, and I have. Good or bad, tell me I’m right or have my head up my a*s… I can take it…

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  1. Dave Lawler says:

    I thought we covered this – the writing was on the wall at Sundance a few years back and here it is again – just a reminder – the public doesn’t care about the films that matter at the festivals because (and this is important) there IS NO REAL PUBLICITY generated – only the publicity involving the name stars who appear in specific product.

    The “star” system is firmly locked in place.

  2. I love watching you angry Mark. But have you never read SXSW coverage across the internet?

    It’s ALWAYS been this way dude. ALWAYS. Sundance is the same too. It happens. That’s the way of festival coverage. Sadly.

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