Short Cuts

SXSW Film Festival 03 update

Ten Years, a Buncha Tears, and Countless Beers Dept.: It seems strange to recognize that SXSW Film Festival has been going along for a decade now, and judging from some of the conversations I've had in the past few days, I'm not the only one who feels as though the time has rocketed past in the merest blink. 1993's debut was a slippery affair, with queues around the Dobie Theatre (long before it became a part of the Landmark chain) all evening long and more projector snafus than you could shake a Nagra at. But it all worked, apparently, 'cause here we are 10 klicks down the road and thousands of screenings under our belts, sore backsides and squinty eyes and a truly inspiring raft of stories and the occasional acquisition to show for it all. By the time you read this, the fest will be past the midpoint -- the screenings continue until Saturday, March 15, and by that time a lengthy snooze will be the order of the day. But there's still time for you to check out some of the best programming coups out there, films like Don Coscarelli's weird and wonderful Bubba Ho-Tep (Elvis and JFK meet the Mummy), Aviva Kempner's magnificent doc on The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, and Tim McCanlies sweet, funny debut film Dancer, Texas Pop. 81. The latter two are returning to SXSW as part of the fest's best-of retrospective (and you can bet that in 10 more years Coscarelli's flick will be in the 20-year retrospective). There's also another chance to catch Ron Mann's Go Further, a "sustainable living" documentary so inspiring that I ran home and gave all the veal chops in my freezer to the dog, as well as the Japanese horror show The Eye (fans of The Ring will drool over this one) and Fulltime Killer, a Hong Kong bullets 'n' babes bloodfest penned by ex-Chronicle scribe Joey O'Bryan. Walk-up tickets are almost certainly available to any of the above, and times, dates, and venues are right in front of you at www.sxsw.com. You don't have to go further, really, just go... Back in the real world, other film events are developing, most notable of which is Regal Entertainment Group's decision to open a new theatre at the sight of the old Great Hills Eight. Dubbed the Arbor at Great Hills, the move comes after more than a year of speculation and assorted maneuvers on the parts of various competing exhibition entities, and means that the late, lamented Regal Arbor (now a Cheesecake Factory, of all things) will have, as of this summer, a new home directly across the street from their old location. Longtime Regal manager Kevin Prewitt, who's been down south at the chain's Metropolitan, will come back onboard in the management position, and the chain's arthouse fare, which had been shuttled down to the Regal Westgate in the interim, will be back up north, where it feels like it belongs. Finally... Pioneering experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage passed away last Sunday, March 9, in Victoria, British Columbia, while recovering from an infection. Brakhage was 70 years old and remarkably prodigious to the end, creating no less than nine films in the last year alone. If you've never heard of the man, then you've surely seen echoes of his cinematic avant-gardisms in everything from Nine Inch Nails videos to the work of the Brothers Quay, as well as, we kid you not, MTV's cut 'n' paste editing aesthetic. He was a genius in the truest sense of the word, and he will be missed.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Westgate, Arbor, Kevin Prewitt, Bubba Ho-Tep, Don Coscarelli, Aviva Kempner, The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, Tim McCanlies, Dancer, Texas Pop. 81, The Eye, Fulltime Killer, Joey O'Bryan

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