It’s that time of year again!

Considered by most film geeks to be the greatest of the large-scale film festivals, SXSW will be celebrating its 24th year operating in Austin, TX… and I will be celebrating my first trip to both.

Beginning this weekend and all through next week, you can expect updates as much as we can manage, with coverage of film screenings, panels, interviews, and more. Who is we? Well obviously I’ll be out here, and I’ve taken the trip to Atlanta to Austin for the full duration of the festival and plan on diving head-on into as many goings-on as possible, to bring you the best possible coverage. I’ll be joined by the gentle nobleman Iain Stasukevich, full-time writer for American Cinematographer and frequent CHUD contributor. He’ll be covering the festival for AC and adding to content here on CHUD as well. It’s a match made in the sewer, and we’re hoping to integrate some fun video/photo stuff along with whatever else we do. In other words: amazing shit is afoot.

I’m also hoping to get something going with the group of amazing chewers that I know call Austin their home. Feel free to shoot me an email, tweet, or Facebook message if you’re in town and care for a touch of CHUD in your life (and I WILL be touching you if you do).

Feel free to email or Facebook me, and make sure you’re following our twitter feeds…

Renn: @RennBrown

Iain: @dr_ultimately

…and don’t forget about the American Cinematographer Facebook page, which will be syndicating much of CHUD’s SXSW coverage.

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The festival hasn’t truly begun, yet there is still plenty of buzz for the massive batch of interesting films that will be screening. I’ve also got the inside word on a few off-the-wall things that will be happening in town, including some work from buddies of mine that I can personally guarantee bring amazing and bizarre experiences whenever they can. Here’s what I know we’re looking forward to out here…


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You know all about this one, and if you don’t get on it.

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Becoming Santa Claus

This looks like a cute little doc about a world you may not think about much. I have a feeling it will be a little more true-to-life than Bad Santa, even if it could never be as funny.

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Armadillo

I keep hearing “Danish Restrepo” but the buzz is very strong. The trailer is great, and you can tell this is a documentary that digs deep and catalogs the very real experience of these soldiers.

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Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey

Puppets are fucking great. Can’t wait for this one.

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PressPausePlay

This is right up my alley, but I think most Chewers can get into the idea of a doc that explores the most interesting ends and implications of democratized, digitized culture and art.

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Bellflower

There are some online writers that have been flipping their shit for months over this film, we just covered the new poster, and I must see it.

No trailer I can find that isn’t for some Firefly bullshit.

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Super

Another one you should be up on already.

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Attack The Block

Loved the trailer, and I’ll definitely have some cool interview material from this one. Looks great, early reviews have been enthusiastic- this could be a winner of the festival.

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Convento

A documentary about a guy who mixes taxidermy with technology and creates mechanical skeletal creature art. The doc itself also seems to be an interesting and stylish affair, so I’m in.

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Hobo With A Shotgun

This one’s been an anticipated flick for some time, and now with a new iOS game and Mondo poster, it’s landing for the many to see. Let’s hope it’s true-blue insanity and not bullshit grindhouse fetishizing with none of the trashy heart.

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Square Grouper: The Godfathers of Ganja

Never been a weed smoker, but the trailer for this promises a classy look at some particular dope runners from the 70s and their stories. Modern interviews and archival footage are used to tell what looks like an interesting story that’s the other side of the late 70s drug coin from something like Scarface.

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Jez Jerzy (George The Hedgehog)

Check this madness out. Drinking, skating, fucking hedgehog that gets involved in a nazi-involved adventure? Yep.

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There’s plenty more I want to see — films like 13 Assassins, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, The Beaver, Hesher, Paul and more are showing– but that’s an interesting sample of what I hope to catch.

I’m also interested in a panel that’s relevant to CHUD and sites like it, called You Are Not A Publicist: Criticism Vs. Advertising. It features some familiar faces including Neil Miller from Film School Rejects, Devin of Badass Digest (and formerly of CHUD, of course), and the multi-outlet Todd Gilchrist, one of the most mild-mannered gentlemen in the online film world.

You can find out more about that panel here.

Next up is a couple of things I personally suggest checking out…

 

Billy’s Birthday (SXSW PAGE)

An official SXSW Midnight Shorts Selection, this is actually a film I worked on at my alma mater a few years ago. It’s hilarious, bizarre, and well-shot, and stars my good friend Sam Eidson, who appears in a few films at SXSW this year, and is also the madman behind my next suggestion. Billy’s Birthday plays a number of times, and for those attending the festival, I’d strongly suggest you make time for it and the other sure-to-be-wonderful midnight shorts.

Friday, March 11
Sunday March 13
Saturday, March 19

 

 

BACK TO THE FUTURE: LIVE

Taking place at the Alamo’s now famous Karaoke/Bar/Restaurant/Stage/Bowling joint The Highball, this is the latest live-action performance of a classic film from the Old Murder House Theater troupe (of which I consider myself tangentially a member). We’ve covered their insane, hand-crafted plays before, and this one will be no different, except for a much classier venue! I strongly encourage anyone in town to check this out, whether they are involved with SXSW or not!

March 13 @ 10pm
March 21 @ 10pm

 

Also, if you have the opportunity, check out these films that the aforementioned Sam Eidson appears in. I promise you’ll be hearing more about this man in the days and years to come…

Natural Selection (SCHEDULE)

I like the premise and the clip that is available online, it looks well shot, and cool people are in it. If the characters are strong and the comedy sharp, then it could be one of the smaller fest highlights.

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My Sucky Teen Romance (SCHEDULE)

Emily Hagins became a viral film geek sensation when she was the subject of the doc Zombie Girl: The Movie, which cataloged her hard work to put together a feature-length the film- she was the first US teenaged girl to do so. She’s directed three films now, and this is her latest. Emily, now 18, will be a fun filmmaker to watch, as she’s demonstrated serious talent and dedication at such an early age.

Ironically, the film is about a group of teens at a geek convention who meet a supernatural character named Paul. The convention is a SpaceCON, and the character is a vampire, but funny coincidence nonetheless. The film is covering no new ground, but its production story is extremely unique and the trailer alone demonstrates more chops than most Johnny-come-lately Twilight parodies.

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That’s it for now! Keep an eye on the site, twitter, and facebook for more updates from Iain and I. We’d also love to hear from any Chewers at the festival about their experience, which you can shout out about on the boards.

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