The Austin Chronicle

Sundance '13: Day Three

By Marjorie Baumgarten, January 21, 2013, 4:00pm, Picture in Picture

It’s so hard to distill the experience of the Sundance Film Festival for others when a journalist could practically spend all day just reading all the mail in her email inbox without ever having time to leave the apartment.

This festival comes at you from so many directions that it becomes overwhelming and difficult to focus on the individual films. Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up – all in order to go stand in line to wait to be let in to a movie or catch an SRO shuttle bus. Good times.

Forthwith a couple examples of the distractions … A few mornings ago, I joined in this podcast conducted by Eugene Hernandez of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and co-founder of Indiewire. Three other journalists took part in this Critics Roundtables – Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood, David Poland of Movie City News, and Mark Rabinowitz, aka The Rabbi and another co-founder of Indiewire. It was a good conversation, and I was delighted to be invited to participate, but 15 minutes flew by too quickly.

I reject most party invites, which usually sound better in theory than they are in actuality. But this one I couldn’t resist: The Texas Monthly and Austin Film Society party held to honor the many Texas filmmakers who have works showing in this fest. The honorees included the directors Hannah Fidell (A Teacher), David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints), Richard Linklater (Before Midnight), Kat Candler (“Black Metal” – which is showing for free this week in the Sundance Screening Room on YouTube), Andrew Bujalski (Computer Chess), Bastian Günther (Houston), Jeff Nichols (Mud), Yen Tan (Pit Stop), David Gordon Green (Prince Avalanche), and Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, which was being honored on its 20th anniversary with inclusion into the Sundance Collection). Whew … Austin, Texas, is definitely in the house at this festival, a phenomenon noted by Texas Monthly writer Christopher Kelly in his recent New York Times piece, "Texas Film: It’s Not Just About Slackers Anymore." The party was lots of fun, but now it’s definitely time for me to get back to movie-watching.

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