Today (3/14)is my first full day at SXSW 2009, and I've seen practically nothing. This day was spent doing some special stuff: This morning I was fortunate to sit on a panel discussion with a bunch of film critics like Shawn Levy, Marjorie Baumgarten, Gerald Peary, and Karina Longworth. The topic was "the shrinking (expanding?) profession of film criticism," and it certainly seemed like the attendees enjoyed what we had to say. One of the main topics was online "vs." print film criticism (the former is better for column space, but the latter brings a certain credibility that's also very important, etc.), but we also discussed various approaches to the craft, why we do what we do, and why it's so important to approach the job for the right reasons.

If I know the hardcore tech-heads who shuffle around behind the SXSW scenes, then this panel discussion should pop up online sooner or later, but be forwarned: I'm kinda loud.

Later in the day I sat it on a very well-attended Actor's Workshop that was run by longtime character actor Jeffrey Tambor, and it was an absolute blast. I actually sat down with Mr. Tambor after the event -- that piece will have to wait for later in the week -- but the man is a natural speaker and mentor: Brisk, quick, honest, and very funny, he spoke before hundreds of people (mostly people who are actors) and I suspect that most of 'em would have stayed if the workshop had run four hours instead of only two.

Tonight I get to introduce a few films (Best Worst Movie and Grace), which means a lot of running to different theaters and not having much time to watch anything NEW to me, but I have a whole week to get through and TONS of flicks at my disposal. As always, the Cine staff will be bringing you a lot more stuff as the week marches on. Thanks for reading!

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