SXSW: Going Back to the Present After Living in the Future


“You attend SXSW to talk about the future and then you go back home to live in the present.”


I heard this phrase from Denver blogger Kim Owens of Kaffeine Buzz who I ran into in the Austin Convention Center during my first few hours at SXSW. She heard this at a panel discussion. It served as a reminder that people might not understand where I was while attending SXSW. Last Monday morning I left Austin, Texas to fly back to Denver, Colorado.  I have adjusted to my everyday life at home but loved the idea of the film festival. Having an Alamo Drafthouse in Denver opening helped. Having almost a foot of snow fall in Denver on a late March weekend didn’t. Talking to friends about the experience helped a little as I have hyped them up about select movies.


Yet, having put SXSW Film Festival behind me, I have a lot of good memories from Austin and hope to be back soon enough. I love navigating myself around an unfamiliar, but fun loving town. Austin offers many to people who live in the area or just drop by for a visit. There’s a lot of fresh innovation and positive energy in that city. Texas should be proud that Austin is their state capital. I think the best cities in America are trendy, left leaning, culturally aware enclaves tucked away in red states. You get to interact with diverse coalitions of people and healthy balance of individuals, while an elitist attitude is (mostly) kept at a minimum. I probably could never live in Austin especially with the heat and humidity. A dry Colorado has spoiled me. There is something majestic about Austin, Texas. It was wonderful to see it back to normal on that Sunday. The locals were out and about excited to have their city back. They allowed the film, music, and interactive industries to borrow Austin for a week and a half.


The whole time while attending SXSW, Austin felt like the technologically savvy hipster Spring Break (“Show us your data plan.”). It also helped that Spring Breakers was the most discussed, talked about film at SXSW Film Festival. In the context of pop culture and cult following, Spring Breakers might have the longest lasting impression of any movie at the festival. I’m glad I saw it in Denver on the Monday before attending SXSW so I could discuss it with others. I look forward talking and debating the movie with the public in the coming weeks and maybe at the end of 2013. Other movies that stood out was the hysterical Unhung Hero. Whichever studio purchases that movie has a hit on their hands. It just needs the right marketing and publicity. You’re Next will sustain positive buzz for its summer release date and please horror fans possibly beyond Cabin in the Woods did the previous year at SXSW. And Some Girl(s) was my only sold out screening signaling Kristen Bell is on the verge of a comeback. And the scores of documentaries from the fun loving Rewind This to the gritty 12 O’Clock Boys will be discovered by eager, niche audiences. Again, time will only tell.


I met some cool people and made some interesting conversation while attending SXSW. A guy visiting from Virginia and staying at a friends downtown condo bought me a beer while waiting to watch You’re Next. We talked about movies, his job, and my work on this blog. I met a guy who adds color filtration to movies and spoke at a panel. At another screening, I sat next to a contributer of an Austin online magazine born and raised who was an extra in a favorite guilty pleasure sci fi horror movie The Faculty. Ellen Page even made a quirky reference to that film before a round table interview with the press. You never know what movie will have a big impact with audiences through the years. It’s anyone’s guessing game. How many people reference Patch Adams?


Sometimes while in Austin, I felt like I was out of my league. Interviewing recognizable actors, navigating the Austin Convention Center, and waiting in a line with people more connected to the industry, I felt out of place at the time. However, I know how to handle myself the next time. When you just jump in, you end up in the deep end. This prepared me for a stellar interview with filmmaker Derek Cianfrance coming to you soon, TMB. Looking back on SXSW, I was a bit out of my element, but I learned some things, built some confidence, and increased energy to write about movies.



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About Kenny Miles

Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.

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