A big-city film critic friend told me tonight why he doesn’t do South by Southwest any more:
1. “No press screenings, or none that I recall from when I was there from 2003-07, or maybe just a handful. They think it’s more ‘democratic’ to have the press line up with the public for almost every movie, which can take literally hours for popular screenings.
2. “The movies mostly suck. We started doing SXSW because we figured it was the new Sundance — and it was, like the way Sundance was 20 years ago (or so I’ve been told). But most movies SXSW takes have been tossed into the delete bin by Toronto and/or Sundance. The few good ones it runs tend to be Sundance hits making their next festival stop. There is rarely a premiere of note — Knocked Up in 2007 was the only SXSW premiere I recall that made any kind of impact out of that fest.
3. “The press office is a joke. Beyond a joke. Nobody knows anything, the pass they give you is almost useless, and they will kick you out of the press office once the much bigger SXSW Music Festival starts — which it does smack-dab in the middle of the film festival, thus turning the film festival into a complete waste of time. Oh, and the film press office won’t help you if you want to check out a couple of the music events. You’re on your own, and on your own dime.
“Have I succeeded in changing your mind?”