About halfway through a long week of 4-5 films a day. Exhausting in the best possible way. I’ve seen some great films, met some great folks, and my mind is currently a blur with the buzz of possibilities, which is the best thing you can hope for a festival like this—to come away inspired.
This Film is Not Yet Rated currently holds the honor of “favorite doc.” Much like Spurlocks’ Super Size Me, filmmaker Kirby Dick really elevates this doc beyond the facts and information presented by weaving in the account of a female private investigator and her daughter, who he hires to uncover the identities of the “secret” group of screeners who rate motion pictures. The controversy surrounding this organization is well thought out and very well presented. Kirby’s film even touches on some of the issues I’m currently re-outraged over in Lessig’s Free Culture, namely the power and control of the big media studios over distribution. The rating system is unfortunately just one more method with which they exercise their control, and this film takes them to task. All independent-minded film folks should really see this doc. Luckily it has some form of IFC distribution, and so should be available.
So far I think my favorite narrative is a bit hard to choose. On the high end, Thank You For Smoking was great, and The Oh in Ohio quite humorous. In the more “indie” vein, I’ve seen many great films: Live Free or Die was absolutely hilarious, and really well made. Eve and the Fire Horse was sweet and beautiful. Even Burnt Orange Productions’ The Cassidy Kids was pretty darn good. (And local too! Hook ’em Horns!) All in all, I’d say about 85% in the “thumbs up” column, and that’s really a pretty decent ratio.
I’m looking forward to Kat Candler’s Jumping Off Bridges on Thursday. Ran into Kat and Stacy Schoolfield at the trade show chatting with Gary Walker of TexFX, and they were very sweet and approachable. “South By” is awesome for this—real conversations about film with genuine, caring filmmakers. It is refreshing and inspiring and makes all this exhaustion so very worth it.
I’m sure I’ll have a lot more profound thoughts at the show’s end. Gotta go grab some sleep while I can.