Friday, March 24, 2006

SXSW: Next stop on the Inner Circle Line

3.11.06 Just arrived for SXSW today from LA, fresh from pickup shoots for my other movie Half-Life, which was exhilarating because of the excitement of production, hanging with my HL peeps and meeting a lot of cool new people, but I’m also sick and really fatigued. But it’s freaking 85 degrees here and the rental car was out of midsize cars so they gave me a Jeep Wrangler for the same price. Yee-haw! Woo-wee! Yippee-ki-yi… ok, nevermind. Sorry to my Texan friends Kat and Stacy, who must be cringing right now ;) Anyway, to celebrate our arrival in America's heartland, we did some truly American things: ate at a diner, and went right to Wal-Mart, where the aisles are bigger than Manhattan streets, and we bought everything from bathing suits for the hotel pool and hot tub, to a completely unreasonable number of tangerines, just because we could.

3.12.06 Had our first screening today, at the Alamo Drafthouse, which is this crazy awesome place that serves food and beer during the movie. The projection was a little dark, and the subtitles were cut off a little at the bottom, but we had a good appreciative crowd that asked a lot of really cool questions. Eunhee and I each got into the drafthouse part a little too much though, so we were a little tipsy by the time the Q & A rolled around, and the proof of it was that the first thing I blurted into the mic was something like “Hi, I’m Alan, and we’re drunk” ;) Chris and Quynh from the Americanese team stopped by to say hello, which was cool – I’m looking forward to seeing their film. And thanks to our co-producer Robert, my friends Annie and Michael, and all of Eunhee’s TX peeps who came out for drinks with us afterwards at the crazy bars on Sixth Street.

3.14.06 When I woke up this morning, I just had a good feeling about today, and sure enough, we had a great screening. Even though it was a daytime screening, we had a good full crowd, and most of all, they were hoppin’ – laughing at all the jokes, chuckling at the situational stuff – very lively, maybe because it was a younger student crowd? Afterwards we talked with a lot of aspiring filmmakers, a few festival programmers and acquisitions people, and some fellow filmmakers we’ve met, like Eric Byler, stopped by to chat too. Good stuff.

Then came the awards show at night, which I almost missed due to a mishap involving me, a missing rental car key, and an urgent need for a locksmith…but that’s another story. Not being one of the films that had Hollywood actors in our cast or a huge PR machine behind us, we pretty much expected to be spectators for this, but when they got to announcing the special jury prizes, something funny happened. The first special jury prize went to Americanese, and while they were giving their acceptance speech I looked up at the screen announcing the recipients, which read: “AMERICANese & Inner Circle Line!”. I turned to Eunhee and said, “Does that mean what I think it means?” We just stared at each other for a second, then I said, “I think we’re about to win something.” We were kind of in shock, so we did the only thing befitting ultracool indie filmmakers – we panicked. E was like, “You have to come down with me – I don’t know what to say.” I was like,”I don’t know what to say either!”. But sure enough, seconds later, they announced that ICL had won the Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Visual Achievement. Somehow we managed to say things that I think were mostly sensible, from what I can remember. I just recall E making a nice speech, and I think she got a little misty up there! She included a very heartfelt thanks to me, which meant so much to me, and I managed a few words thanking SXSW for being a fest that supports films that are truly indie, and to prove how indie E is, I mentioned how she cut ICL on an old G4 with a monitor that turns purple every 9 seconds until you slap it – which by the way, is utterly true. Afterwards, they whisked us into the wings, where we exchanged hugs and handshakes with the “Americanese” peeps. After a few seconds, it really sunk in, and E and I had a nice big emotional hug. Suddenly, all the all-nighters and blood, sweat and tears of filmmaking seem so worth it. I’m so proud of E! Wow. K, enough mushiness, time to party our asses off at the Closing Party!

3.17.06 Today was our last day at SXSW. We’ve been watching as many movies as we can. I've gotten to see "Bondage" (funny) and "The Last Romantic" (love the look) and "Neil Young - Heart of Gold", as well as a cool film called "Apart From That". Last night was our last screening, and the playback on the HDCam deck was glitchy, but it’s all good because we got to hang with our pals Kat, Stacy and Lorie from “jumping off bridges”, Ari K from “For Sale by Owner”, and Robert Z from “Half-Life”. Maybe the best part about winning the award was that lots of people knew us afterwards, and approached us to say congrats - we got to meet so many great fans and so many terrific filmmakers – I’m so excited to see their future work! Some of them are pictured here – please support them all. I'm sad to leave Austin - almost bought myself a real 10-gallon cowboy hat, but I decided it might be a little too Brokeback for a straight guy living in Chelsea. Next stop, Korea! -Alan

Pictured, top to bottom: us with Greta from "LOL"; Eunhee with Aaron Nee of "The Last Romantic"; me with Allison Sie of "AMERICANese"; us with Kat, Stacy and Ari; us on Sixth Street.


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