Day one here at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival is behind us here in Austin and upon rising from our drunken — off of the Drafthouse milkshakes, of course — states, we are ready to give you a feel for what is happening here on the ground in the capital of Texas. Or more appropriately, the capital of the film world this week. We will do this in our daily SXSWraps, a breakdown of what is happening both here and around the web — which films are generating buzz, which events blew us away and who ended up drunkenly making out with Cinematical’s Scott Weinberg. The latter of which will most often be our own managing editor Cole Abaius.
Bird is the Word
All of the buzz during the first half of the week — which is shared by the Film and Interactive festivals — is Twitter. Sitting in the press room for an hour this morning, I was inundated with talk of tweets, tweople and tweet-ups all over the place. I even had a pair of cute girls offer to make me a Twitter “name tag” courtesy of Vois.com. As any red blooded man would, I obliged. I now have a nametag that says you can follow me @rejects. If you are on Twitter, you may want to follow people like @Jon_Favreau, who was taking pictures from the stage at the Paramount theater last night as he did Q&A for the I Love You, Man premiere. From what I hear — from @ColeAbaius — the movie rocked the house. I skipped it in favor of seeing a few other films with our good friend Kevin Kelly (@gadgetguy), but we’ll talk about those in a moment.
Bring on the Drafthouse Virgins
One of my new personal favorite things to do, as a new Austinite, is to introduce people to the Alamo Drafthouse. And SXSW presents a wonderful opportunity to do just that. Last night we had our own own Rob Hunter, a man not easily impressed, completely sold on Austin’s geek HQ after only one screening. Of course that one screening was a spectacular midnight showing of Ong Bak 2, complete with an introduction from Drafthouse owner Tim League in a Toga, administering a Texas vs. the World beer drinking contest — it’s a Thai ritual, if you weren’t already aware. We also got the chance to get the guys from We Are Movie Geeks in on the Drafthouse action — their reaction on Twitter says it all: “The Alamo Drafthouse is the greatest theater..ever! Austin kicks so much ass. @rejects was right, who needs LA?!”
Oh Right, The Movies
We also had the chance to see some movies, which might interest a few of you out there (though I know that you are just waiting for the drunken blogger fight video that we are going to post later in the week). The highlight of the night was undoubtedly Ong Bak 2, which you can read more about in Rob Hunter’s review when it goes live in a little while. Rob also gave some love to the breakout thriller Pontypool and delivered the thunder on the Alex Jones centric doc New World Order — just give those titles each a click to read the reviews. Team #2 (henceforth known as the JV team), which includes Cole Abaius and Adam Sweeney, both seemed to enjoy themselves a little I Love You, Man. That review is coming soonish. As for me, I got a chance to see two other very unique features — The Two Bobs, a very weird, very campy, very Austin flick that felt a lot like Mystery Team but not quite as smart; and The Snake, a very funny and inventive first feature from two very promising young filmmakers. You can read more about The Snake in my review here. The review of The Two Bobs will be up sometime later today.
Overall, we’ve had a fantastic start to the 2009 SXSW Film Festival. Everyone has arrived, begun drinking and begun seeing movies in between the drinking. And as we found out this morning as we went over our schedules for the day, we’ve yet to even get into the thick of it. So stay tuned friends, as we continue to bring you the web’s best coverage of SXSW ’09. To keep tabs on all of our coverage, keep it locked on our SXSW ’09 homepage. Pictures, stories and random shenanigans coming for tomorrow’s update — I promise.