Sleep is just one of those things you can’t seem to find during SXSW, no matter how many times you promise yourself you’ll get eight hours every night. It's even more dangerous when you’re drinking at a bar and your phone all of the sudden switches from 2am to 3am. Thank you Daylight Savings for ruining my life.
SXSW Day 2 began with me filming B roll for an interview with Tatiana Maslany, which was incredible. The Orphan Black star was as effervescent as you would expect, glowing with the radiance of 1000 suns. This isn’t just me fangirling either; she’s an incredibly sweet and funny person and does not have a bad angle on camera. So that was a bucket list moment that I’ll never ever forget.
After interviewing her, though, I had a strange amount of downtime. I had finished my early morning writing and my first movie didn’t start until 6:30pm, so I didn’t know what to do with myself. As these things go, I went to scout for food and found a wonderful volunteer who shared her food vouchers with me at Burger Bar (don’t worry – I didn’t accost a volunteer or anything, I already knew her). Vouchers or not, Burger Bar is delicious, fast, and probably too good for the cheap cost of their food, but I ate my turkey burger and sweet potato fries like a starving werewolf. If, you know, werewolves ate those kinds of things.
After eating, I found myself in front of the Stateside Theater waiting at the front of the line for In a Valley of Violence because Ti West films are worth waiting one hour in line for (not sarcasm – I’m totally serious). In a Valley of Violence was good, although not as horrific as one would have expected (West + Blumhouse has to = horror, right? Wrong). It’s 100% a western, with a surprising amount of black comedy riddled throughout. Westerns aren’t necessarily my cup of tea, and it’s a genre I’m not really comfortable writing about because I’m so unfamiliar with it, but if I learned anything from my Ti West interview today it’s that the man really admires westerns and his result is a wonderful homage to the entire genre.
After In a Valley of Violence, I went looking for free alcohol, which was a little bit of a chore the night before. I did not expect to find anything, but the Mr. Robot End of the World party was still raging over by the Ferris Wheel. Lots of free beer (I had an IPA, my favorite) and crazy good dance music. I experienced the fun for 30 minutes and then I headed off to meet Ti West, which was my goal to do before the interviews tomorrow. While I met my goal (we said hi at the bar and I got to tell him how much I loved House of the Devil while getting a drink), there were only a handful of friendly people so I quickly ditched after shooting down a vodka tonic to go see a midnighter, and, based on Heather’s advice, I found myself at Alamo South Lamar to see Don’t Breathe.
You guys. Don’t Breathe is incredible. Fast paced, shot meticulously, and well performed, Fede Alvarez has officially cemented himself to me as someone worth watching, a horror auteur who really knows how to move his audience and make them squirm. It’s a mainstream thriller done right, and one you definitely need to see on a big screen before some of its twists and turns are revealed (and hopefully none of them are unleashed in the forthcoming trailer). I have to admit as well, I was a little skeptical about the title change (because A Man in the Dark is just such a great title), but Don’t Breathe really fits the film, and it’s hard to explain without giving away some crucial points to the film.
At the end of the night, I was lucky enough to actually hang out with the writer of the film, Rodo Sayagues, but hanging out with him and talking horror, writing, and South America until 5am really dug into my sleeping time, which is why this daily recap is a little later than it was yesterday – I literally just got out of my car after sleeping for two hours in the Alamo Lamar parking garage. Glamorous, I know. However, this is what film festivals are all about – meeting the people who made the films that you like. And chatting to the writer of a movie like Don’t Breathe is pretty damn cool.
Things I missed that I wished I had experienced:
Goals for SXSW Day 3: