Short Cuts

South by Southwest Film 04. March. You. Many others.

Festival Overdrive Dept.: Two short months, people. That's how long until South by Southwest Film 2004, which runs Friday, March 12 to Sunday, March 21, and if we were you, we'd start planning Festival strategies as of now. The big news -- and there's a lot of it coming in as programming goes into high gear -- is the premiere of prolific Michael Winterbottom's (24 Hour Party People) sci-fi film Code 46, with Tim Robbins and Samantha Morton, which comes freighted with enough advance buzz to make it (thus far) the Fest's biggest must-see. Newly announced films include Blind Horizon with Val Kilmer and Neve Campbell, "a Southwestern noir" according to Fest programmer Matt Dentler, and the world premiere of the documentary Bush's Brain, an examination of President Bush's right-hand zealot Karl Rove. "From what we understand, the White House isn't too happy about this documentary," says Dentler, "although lots of Hollywood Democrats are overjoyed." John Landis will be in town to premiere a new documentary he has made about used-car salesmen, of all things. (Here's hoping this erases any memories of Landis' disastrous 1998 turkey Susan's Plan.) SXSW stalwart Jonathan Demme will be back to discuss his remarkable cinematic career (and its many Austin connections); if you caught Peter Bogdanovich's electrifying, standing-room-only chat last year, you already know that when it comes to SXSW, you don't have to be holed up in a dark theatre to have your mind blown, and Demme's discussion will likely be yet another SXSW watershed event. We won't even mention Lars von Trier's newest Dogme 95 outing, Dogville -- OK, maybe we will -- which, as with most of von Trier's work, should inflame enough post-screening conversations to keep the new Downtown Hilton bar jabbering for days. If you haven't already done so, now's the time to go to and register for those precious SXSW Film badges. They have them, you need them, and although walk-up tickets will, as usual, be available, badge holders get the first, best seats (and look much more important than the huddled masses yearning to get into the Paramount at the last moment). So, get busy. The clock is ticking... In other SXSW news, the Fest is looking for folks to help stem the tide of logistical chaos that overwhelms Austin come mid-March. Volunteers are needed for a "multitude" of positions ranging from Festival production to helping with registration, manning info kiosks, tech support, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Two volunteer calls will be held at the Downtown Hilton (500 E. Fourth), Sunday, Jan. 25, 2-5:30pm, and Wednesday, Jan. 28, 6-9:30pm. To expedite the volunteer process, you can log onto SXSW's volunteer database at and follow the prompts, or give 'em a call at 467-7979. You get what you give, so go get giving already... Finally, the unstoppable creative powerhouse that is Jason Archer and Paul Beck have done it again, and baby, this is the big time: Their "Homeland Hoedown" video will be released as part of Brit godheads Radiohead's upcoming RadioheadTV DVD. The piece has already been running on episode 4 of the band's agitprop mindfuck Web site (; says Archer, "We submitted a few things when they issued a call for content back in the spring sometime, and we actually didn't hear anything back from them for a while, but finally we got word that they'd be including it on episode 4, and that was that." The DVD's release date is as yet TBA, but we'll keep you posted. Ever the master of the sublime understatement, Archer, commenting on being artistically attached to the single greatest band in the known universe, says, "I just think it's cool." Geez. Somebody get this man an espresso and a thesaurus before he calls Radiohead "swell."

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South by Southwest, Jonathan Demme, Michael Winterbottom, Tim Robbins, Samantha Morton, Lars von Trier, Radiohead, Jason Archer, Paul Beck, John Landis, Karl Rove

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