SXSW Blog: Chiptunes, Rosario Dawson and Hannah from American Teen!

Alex Discovers Late-Nite Jimmy Johns

By now you are probably well aware of how the first day of the SXSW Film Festival ended for us, a real drunken, silly mess. If you haven’t seen, you may want to head over to Slashfilm, where Peter has posted a very funny video that was recorded right before everyone passed out for the evening. I will also say this, in confidence, that Alex Billington is an absolute riot — thus far he has been the must-see event of the South By Southwest experience.

Hungover, dehydrated and way behind on work, we were able to get up and moving in time to throw together a shadow of a plan for the day. I decided to skip the first film (the Harry Potter tribute band doc We Are Wizards) in an effort to catch up on things — someone has to get you your news, right? I was also able to finish my review of Second Skin, the documentary about obsessive online gamers. So far, it is the best film I have seen here in Austin — though I am discounting American Teen, as I saw it first at Sundance and then again yesterday here at SXSW.

The Alamo Draft House on Lamar

And speaking of American Teen, after everyone got our of We Are Wizards we headed over to the Alamo Draft House (which is very quickly becoming a reason why we all want to move to Austin) to see it, for me, a second time. The theater was absolutely packed and the reaction was amazing. There were moments during the film when Hannah Bailey (who was in attendance) was talking to her parents about not wanting to live out their lives that drew cheers from the capacity audience. I remember the reaction at Sundance being great, but this was something else altogether. And rightfully so, as American Teen is still one of the best films of 2008 thus far.

After American Teen and a quick “Hi, hello” with Hannah Bailey outside the theater (I’m still working on securing that interview, by the way), we were off in separate directions. Brian headed over to see Blip Festival: Reformat the Planet, which he absolutely loved (click the title of the film to read his review). Across town, Peter, Alex and myself headed to the other Alamo Draft House for more food and a date with Rosario Dawson’s film Explicit Ills. While waiting to get into the theater, we were passed by Rosario and many other members of the cast. Not to be creepy, but Rosario Dawson smells fantastic. Jim Sturgess (Across the Universe) also smelled pretty good.

Rosario Dawson and Francisco Burgos at the Explicit Ills Premiere

The film itself was an interesting experience. And while I don’t want to spoil everything before I publish my review sometime this afternoon, I will tell you that it left me confused, yet affected. As well, it is one of those movies for which you will need to do research before you see it if you would like to somehow understand it.

After the screening and the round of perplexed looks we headed out for some drinks. First stop, the Explicit Ills after-party where we apparently were on the list to be in the VIP section, but somehow ended up in the “regular folks” party, where we saw Morgan Spurlock. After assessing the lame factor, we moved on to meet up with the guys from Reformat the Planet and Brian before heading over to the Iron Cactus, which was a pretty cool bar down on 6th street. From there, we had a relaxing bout of drinks. I must say that 6th street in Austin is a trip — sitting in the bar near the window we watched some of the most random, ridiculous things (including 2 guys repeatedly punching each other in the balls and a drunk woman trying to tear the shirt off of her male companion). It was good for a few laughs.

Looking ahead to today, we’ve got some screenings (although at this point, I’m not sure what they are) and then the Gawker Media Party this evening. So if you are out and about in Austin and you are looking to party, give us a shout, a twit or just ask someone if they have seen a big group of geeky film bloggers — we shouldn’t be that hard to find.

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