Monday, March 15, 2010
Robin Wilby, IFP Alum, World Premieres LOOP PLANES at SXSW
Yesterday was a momentous day of firsts: my first time in Austin, TX; the first time I've ever seen a film I directed play at a "real" festival; and the world-premiere of my short film LOOP PLANES.
My producer (Julie) and I began our adventure to the SXSW Festival in the midst of a horrible NYC rainstorm and a delayed flight. There was quite a bit of terrifying turbulence, but I got to watch UP IN THE AIR, so it wasn't so bad. We were welcomed into Austin by beautiful 70 degree weather and met up with "Loop Planes" Co-Writer (Austen) and her Fiance (Jason), who had flown in from LA. I immediately fell in love with Austin, it's such a beautiful city, brimming with exciting and positive energy. The Festival itself is enormous and includes: Film, Interactive Media, and Music. The number of attendees, as well as the number of volunteers that run the Festival is overwhelming, and the vibe is amazing.
The first film we attempted to see was GREENLIT. Even though we arrived really early, the theater was packed and there were no seats left. So, we opted to go bowling instead. It turns out I'm terrible at bowling, but it was a lot of fun. Outside the theater was an insanely long line for "The People vs. George Lucas." I'm serious, the line was insane, and complete with people dressed as Darth Vader and Storm Troopers. (We couldn't resist a photo op.)
That night was the world premiere of LOOP PLANES. It played in front of a great feature documentary called HIS AND HERS, which follows 70 female characters from an infant to a woman in her 90s. It explores these women's relationships with men: fathers, boyfriends, husbands, and sons. I have mixed feelings about being paired with a feature, especially one so different from our short. LOOP PLANES
explores gender in a totally unconventional way (you'll have to watch the film to find out more), while "His & Hers" reinforces conventional gender roles. So, on the one hand because people were there to see the feature and the audience was the opposite of the target audience for our film, I'm not entirely sure whether anyone there totally "got"it; but on the other hand, I hope this film opened people's mind a little or introduced them to material they would otherwise not be exposed to.
Because this was the first time LOOP PLANES seen anything I directed show at a "real" festival, I was nervous and excited all week. What if there was some huge glaring error we somehow missed? What if no one liked it? As the opening image appeared on the screen, my first and only thought was pretty much, "omg the picture is huge!" I was still unable to see the film objectively, but overall I think it looked good, sounded good, and the story came across. People clapped when it ended and there were a few murmurs of "good job." So, I would say that it went pretty well. Of course there are small things I noticed here and there that I wish I could change, but as everyone reminds me, "an artist's work is never done." (There was one big glaring error though, and I'm unsure of what happened, but the end credits got all messed up. We're definitely going to have to address this for future festivals.)
After our screening, Julie and Austen and I got our pictures taken in front of SXSW's "red carpet" -- another first, and incredibly surreal. Then we went to a little tex-mex restaurant, and I had probably the most amazing burrito ever.
The weather and the energy of the Festival continues to be amazing. There is a tremendous turnout, so much so, that we were turned away from another screening because of lack of seating. The film is called DIRTY PICTURES, a documentary about a chemist (Dr. Alexander) who discovered the effects of Ecstasy and over 200 other mind-altering drugs, using himself and his wife as test subjects -- super bummed I missed it, but I got to see Dr. Alexander walk into the theater ;)
I'm a graduate student at Columbia University and because several other Columbia University students have films showing here, we're all going out tonight to celebrate! I can't wait to see more amazing films and perhaps get into a few panels and enjoy the beautiful weather for the rest of my time here.