Opening Night Schmooze-a-thon

Where’s my sunglasses? My laptop screen is too bright… standby.

OK, much better. The party.

This is my very favorite party during SXSW because EVERYONE goes. It’s at Buffalo Billiards, and both levels are packed. I know the tons of people who didn’t get in don’t feel this way (HEY! Chris! You’re awesome! Hope your screening went well!), but this party is so inclusive. The stars of the big opening attend (the film was Kick-Ass and everyone said it was great), along with all the pals we’ve accumulated over the years. It’s the touchstone party of the weekend. And here’s who we schmoozed with in chronological order, starting with the upstairs:

Chris Holland, B-Side = I’m so glad we ran into him first. For those who don’t know, B-Side has been the company that facilitated our schedule interface for the last three years. I think their interface is so easy to use, both for the administrator and the fest attendee. They announced they were closing their doors after Sundance and a collective “NOOOOOOOOO!” went up in festival offices around the country. After buying him a beer (the fest sponsor is Miller – blegh. No Stella Artois here: deadCENTER, 2. SXSW, 0), we chatted at length about the future of B-Side and what the hell we were all going to do without him. I can’t get specific, but (after the second beer), I am encouraged rather than discouraged about our mutual fates.

Mark Potts, Oklahomie/Singletree Productions = After his awesome shorts and hilarious feature Stanton Family Grave Robbery, Mark is getting quite a bit of traction in the indie film scene. He was in town shooting interviews with Chris Holland for … dang it I can’t remember. Neither can Cacky.

Kent Osborne, Actor/Writer = I met Kent at my first SXSW either 7 or 8 years ago (can’t remember where we landed on that). He had a small feature film out, was writing for Spongebob and was starring in the best openers of all time: “The Burger Hut” trailers. Find em on YouTube, though they may just have the encore “Burger Hut” openers that played a couple of years ago (here you go – ed.). These are the brainchild of another Oklahomie, Dan Brown, who we also saw at the party. ANYWAY! I jokingly call myself his stalker, because we met that first year and exchanged phone numbers so I could always know where he was. As Jenna noted on 30 Rock, all celebrities need stalkers. But I wasn’t very good at it – he would text me and I would be busy somewhere else and vice-versa. So now we just meet up at this party every year and he pretends not to know me, then we buy each other a drink and laugh. Kent is now at Cartoon Network working on ‘Adventure Time.’ He drew the star of the show in the back of my program. Good times.

Don Lewis, Writer for FilmThreat/dCFF alum = As Kent, Cacky and I made our way to the bar to say hi to Dan Brown, we ran into our good buddy Don and Aaron Hillis. FilmThreat was just sold to Mark Bell, who had been the editor for the past few years. Anyway, the new site has been live for three weeks and I think the reboot has been healthy for everyone. I think. Don was pocketing the kick-ass promotional key-chains that were all over the bar to sell on eBay. It’s hard to be a freelance writer.

After a quick breath of fresh air, Cacky and I swooped downstairs where we ran into:

Chris Gore, writer/indie film scene celeb = Chris has been a fan of mine since he saw, programmed and promoted my feature Making Arrangements in 2002. He sent writers from FilmThreat to dCFF several times and loves to talk about Star Wars. There is always a long line of people trying to talk to him, which we crash through, because … why wait in line to talk to your friends? He’s broadcasting all weekend on G-4, so check him out!

Tim Blake Nelson, actor/Oklahomie = while catching up with Chris Gore about non-filmie things like kids, Cacky went to get some face time with our fellow native man. She talked up bringing the film to OK, and he said he would check his schedule. Which is code for “I’m not in charge, I can’t/don’t want to promise anything, etc…”

After this, we were really trying to leave, because we’d been there over two hours. As we were leaving we saw the following Oklahomies you should all know and love:

Ben Steinbauer, director of Winnebago Man = who was talking with a lovely woman who’s got a Wilco doc she’s promoting … you know I got her card.

Bradley Beesley, director of everything good = we met him and NY pal Michael for coffee earlier, so air kisses on the way out the door.

Malcolm Pullinger, producer of Winnebago Man = more air kisses, mama tired.

Lucy Kreutz = had to have more face time with our favorite lady. We bonded on Okie Noodlin 2 and Sweethearts shoot. You gotta love a lady shooter/editor. She submitted a short this year, twice. The first time the disk was broken, the second time, the DVD was returned. She’s dropping us another one.

So at the early hour of 1am, we finally got out the door. My bag is full of DVDs from folks pushing their films, and my pocket was full of business cards. Operation Schmooze = Success. Now I gotta whip this face into shape for an 11am screening… where’s my Advil?

  1. Kim

    Be still my beating heart- a new Wilco doc!?!? I bet it was “Ashes of American Flags”. DVD has been out for a while but it’s been hitting the festival and art house theatre circuit pretty hard.

    Keep it up, Bloggy McBloggerton!

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