I like to get all organized about a film festival. I print a list of what I want to see and when and where. Sometimes I have more than one choice in a time slot so I can decide later, but usually I have a firm choice for every time slot. For Austin Film Festival (AFF) this year, I picked out films to see as well as a few panels and events during the conference. AFF holds a conference during the day and then shows films at night.
For Thursday, I decided that the movies I would see that night would be Going Through Splat, a documentary about screenwriter Stewart Stern, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I picked up my badge and other registration goodies, then against my better judgment, decided to drop in at the opening night party at Oslo. As I suspected, it turned out to be what I call a Black Hole of Calcutta party (I totally swiped the name from The Tall Guy)—a huge crowd of people crammed into a smaller venue. This kind of party is only fun if you know most of the people there and if you can tolerate an insane amount of noise. I made one circuit through the packed room, saw no one I knew, and slipped away.
The big movie on opening night of Austin Film Festival was Shopgirl, with Jason Schwartzman and Claire Danes in attendance. The lines to get into the Paramount Theater were unbelievable. I was very happy to get to the Stephen F. Austin for Going Through Splat and join a group of maybe a half-dozen people in line. However, I didn't pick quite as intelligently as I had thought. Turned out something was wrong with the movie media and despite valiant efforts from the film festival guys, the screening had to be cancelled. Well, these things happen at all film festivals. It was still early enough for me to try to slip into Shopgirl, but I knew I'd end up in a crummy seat and besides, I remembered not liking the book very much.