Another SXSW 'Billionaire'

RECEIVED Thu., March 26, 2009

Dear Editor,
    Re: The scuttlebutt surrounding the South by Southwest 09 screening of Drunken Angel: The Legend of Blaze Foley: The filmmaker responds: Having come to film from the technical side (I'm an electrical engineer, an Aggie but please don't hold that against me), I can vouch for the SXSW Film technical crew that what seems like a simple thing to do (change a bulb) is in fact very complicated. High-power, high-definition projectors are also highly technical and require calibration that can only be done in a careful manner. No one wants to look at a red-faced person with yellow teeth talking onscreen for very long. I can appreciate Mandy's righteous anger, as Blaze is dear to all of us (Louis Black included; he loves Blaze, knew him, and has been a huge supporter of Blaze's music and story). We were looking forward to a film that has been many years in the making. But to blame a highly unlikely malfunction on any person or entity is not productive in the least. I can honestly say that if I had been in charge, I would have made the same decisions, and I'd have been just as devastated with the results. Both the documentary programmer and the producer for SXSW Film contacted me the next morning and expressed their sadness and asked to meet with me to go over the details and collaborate on a plan that can address such an event for future Festivals, to make sure this does not happen again. They also bent over backward to arrange a second screening at the Paramount (which I foolishly declined). So I applaud SXSW for its response and handling of this unfortunate event. The real bottom line: We had a wonderful screening later that night with all the out-of-towners in my back yard with beer and Blaze (and Mandy Mercier did get to see it [“Postmarks,” March 27]). Also, attending as many of the SXSW Film panels that I could, I gained a tremendous amount of advice on what to do next for this, my first film, and met so many amazing people that I have absolutely no regrets or complaints. Thank you, SXSW Film for a truly memorable experience, and I look forward to bringing my second film to you. As for the money side, SXSW brings my video-equipment rental business so much revenue each year that I have to hire additional help during the Festival. So I guess I'm also one of the lucky few who get "billions" of dollars from the Festival.
Kevin Triplett
Drunken Angel: The Legend of Blaze Foley
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