Pick of the Week: OFFICIAL REJECTION

Beginning this week, every Tuesday we’ll be pointing out a new film in theaters, on demand, or on DVD that we think you should know about. This week Program Director Kevin Ely looks at 2009 Best Documentary Award Winner OFFICIAL REJECTION. Got a pick of the week? Post your picks in the comments below.

In 2006, writer Paul Osborne and director Scott Smith brought their indie thriller TEN TILL NOON to deadCENTER, walked away with the Jury Prize for Documentary Feature, and hit the festival trail in search of fame and glory. In 2009, Paul and Scott returned to deadCENTER with a new film and a huge chip on their shoulder.

OFFICIAL REJECTION tells the sordid tale of Scott and Paul’s death march through the highs and lows of the independent film festival circuit, debunking the rags-to-riches myths perpetuated by festival behemoths like Sundance, and providing a firm-but-loving slap in the face to delusional filmmakers around the world. Did I mention that it’s hilarious?

Somehow director Osborne manages to create an unflinching, (semi) sober and jaded look at the politics of the festival process without losing the enthusiasm and love for movies that brought him there in the first place. Maybe it’s the genuine camaraderie between him and TTN director Scott Storm that comes through in every scene. Maybe it’s the good experiences they have along the way in places like Phoenix (and Oklahoma City, sadly relegated to the end credits). Maybe it’s the drinks. Whatever. Paul Osborne made a great doc that should be seen by indie-film lovers everywhere, and should be required viewing in every film program in the country.

Get OFFICIAL REJECTION on Netflix starting today, or purchase your own copy here.

“Festival life can be brutal, y’all.”

He had to come from Houston to deadCENTER to meet his mayor.

Houston Press writer and Film Threat contributor Pete Vonder Haar checks in with an epic account of his time at this year’s deadCENTER Film Festival, including how he got a wicked black eye during a screening.

The quotes are meaty and plentiful, but here’s one of our favorites: “In this, its tenth year, deadCENTER is firing on all cylinders and is — in my humble opinion — one of the best film festivals around. Period.”

Read the whole sordid tale over at FilmThreat.com.

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:

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