Catering to the cinema-crazed, BBQ-starved malcontents that we are, the 2008 SXSW Film Festival gets underway this coming Friday in Austin, TX and Film Threat will be there for all the insanity. Who from Film Threat will be making the trek? Oh, just the usual out-of-town regulars and some local Texas denizens we like to call “The Magnificent Five”:

Mark Bell – I can’t get enough of Austin, it seems, and this Editor-in-Chief is looking forward to another year of great films, beer and BBQ. Oh, and Rock Band parties… lots of Rock Band parties…

Merle Bertrand – Austin-ite and Film Threat’er Merle Bertrand will not only be contributing reviews, he’ll also be broadcasting live from the festival on his radio show on KMAC, “The Director’s Cut.” If you haven’t heard the show before, make sure you tune in.

Chris Gore – FT founder Chris Gore will be under the protective guidance of a trained crew of television professionals as his festival reporting duties for G4’s “Attack of the Show” continue. If you see Gore anywhere, chances are said crew is close behind. Unless he gives them the slip, in which case you’ll probably see him with the rest of us at the Alamo Drafthouse.

Don R. Lewis – Every year we tell Don that he can’t come just to watch his eyes tear up, and then we tell him we’re kidding when the real bawling occurs. Seriously, if anyone could be considered an honorary Austin-ite, it’d be Don, because it’s almost impossible to get him out of town when the film and music fests wrap.

Pete Vonder Haar – Pete hails from other parts of Texas; far more remote and dusty areas, where fuel is scarce and the only way to make a living is by fighting rival biker gangs for control of the highway. Every March he puts down the shotgun and hides the leather to come watch movies with us, and we couldn’t be happier.

During the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, we tried out a live webcam from the condo. Running a feed of live video or a slideshow of pics from the festival, the webcam was a success of gibberish proportions. Still, I thought it could’ve been better, could’ve been more than a simple webcam feed from the condo. Therefore debuting at the SXSW Film Festival will be a whole new webcam experience, because the camera is going mobile. It’ll be attached to yours truly as I wander around Austin, talking with filmmakers, other critics and generally bringing you the film festival experience like you’ve never seen it before. If you’re at the festival, look for the guy with the weird helmet-laptop-webcam-backpack rig. If you’re at home, tune into Film Threat’s frontpage daily for all the footage live as it happens.

We’re not all about new gimmicks over here, the same coverage you’ve come to expect will be on tap daily, including daily reviews, filmmaker interviews and festival news. We’ll also be at various parties taking pics and shooting video, so expect to get all the SXSW you could want and more as the fest plays out.

Beginning today, check the site and iTunes podcast for trailers from as many 2008 SXSW films as we could find. Every day from here until the end of the festival we’ll be showcasing more and more trailers and video coverage from the event. If the webcam wasn’t enough, this video should help you hit your saturation point.

Still with us? Good, because we’ll also be leaving more candid thoughts in the Film Threat Blogs. If you’re curious as to whether Don and Mark truly love each other or just like to put on a show for Pete, this would be the place to check. Check out last year’s blog for an idea of what you’ll be in for.

It’s not all work for us either, we’ll be having a party alongside our friends at B-Side on Sunday March 9th. Details are on the hush-hush right now, but I’ve heard rumors of a Rock Band set-up, free drinks and Chris Gore on a mechanical bull made of papier mache and laughter. If you run into a FT representative at the festival, we may be able to give you more info then…

We’ve got a few more SXSW-related announcements to be made before the 2008 festival gets underway, but this is all I’m able to share right now. Simply, we’re going to be everywhere and the coverage is going to be intense and very, very unique. Check back daily so you don’t miss out!

– Mark Bell, Founder of Alamo Drafthouse Anonymous, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting those who have seen a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse, been so impressed they’ve sworn off all other theaters and then been forced to return to their home states.

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