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By Don R. Lewis | March 13, 2006

Hey all you blog reading blogophiles out there! Sorry for the lack of blogging by my lazy blogging a*s. Between parties, movies and trying to remember to eat and sleep, blogging has been kind of far off the main objectives. Anyway…

Last night I saw THE CASSIDY KIDS at the Paramount and it was one of the coolest film experiences of my life. The film is awesome, first off. I’ll let you all read my review which should be up shortly. What made it an amazing screening was I finally saw first hand this much talked about “Austin Film Community.” Sure, University of Texas has an outstanding film program. Yeah, Robert Rodriguez, John Pierson and Richard Linklater call Austin home and yeah, alot of people here love film. But last nights screening was so communal and fun, I got goose bumps.

THE CASSIDY KIDS was produced by “Burnt Orange Productions” which, to the best of my knowledge, is basically the students of UT working as crew on the film. So when director Jacob Vaughan and producer Bryan Poyser were introduced, they were greeted like celebrities. Heck, for that matter, festival producer Matt Dentler gets a nice little ovation whenever he steps up. But here’s the difference, in Austin, they really like these people and want to support them and I really felt that at the screening last night.

Every person from Austin who was mentioned as a major contributor (producers, editors, sound) got a rousing round of applause. Then, as the opening credits rolled, it seemed like every person was known by a large section of the crowd. More cheering. Then the film started and everyone was locked in for the ride. Afterwards there was a long standing ovation and one of the questions during the Q&A was to have everyone who worked on the film stand up. Nearly 1/4 of the audience rose and received more applause. It was just plain…neat. Even the films stars Kadeem Hardison and Judah Friedlander had to mention what a great experience working here was for them. They said everyone was happy to be there working on the film even though it was 100 degrees in deadly August Texas heat.

At other festivals it’s all about celebrity seeking and wanna-be posturing. Yeah, I’m looking at you Sundance. But here at SXSW, people just want to see great films, have some fun and support independent filmmaking. It’s that vibe that makes this such a great city and bar none the BEST film festival going today. So good on ya, Austin!! Keep it up! You guys are how filmmaking and festival going should be!

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