photo by Nicholas Branda

The first full day of the 2006 SXSW Film Festival got off to perplexing start this morning, as AP film critic Christy Lemire's Conversation with Peter Bart produced far too many "WTF?" moments to parse on a Saturday before noon. The venerable Variety editor/cable TV personality/former Paramount chief drew about a 3/4 capacity crowd for his musings on new technology, the culture of celebrity, and the future of filmmaking. It was a frustrating panel; as much as Bart is known (and clearly likes to think of himself) as a "straight shooter", there were at least two incidences this morning where he seemed to directly contradict himself. All throughout, Bart (not unrightfully) glorified his role in Hollywood's most exciting historical moment, but very early on, Bart warned us not to look for a repeat of the American New Wave which he and Robert Evans helped usher and mold. Gesturing somewhere over his shoulder, he said, "All those people over there, the interactive ... with the digital, and the blogging ... [in the 70s], studios were wide open to people at that end of the hall. That surely will never happen again." By the end of the talk, Bart was drawing parallels between the new breed of tech savvy, indie filmmakers and the 70s vanguard, and predicted that the former will soon take over Hollywood the way the latter did so many decades ago. So to recap: young, indie filmmakers are never going to have it as good as they did in the 70s. Also, young, indie filmmakers are about to take over Hollywood, just like they did in the 70s.