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South by Southwest

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South by Southwest

Insights from home entertainment industry experts. Home Media blogs give you the inside scoop on entertainment news, DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases, and the happenings at key studios and entertainment retailers. “TK's Take” analyzes and comments on home entertainment news and trends, “Agent DVD Insider” talks fanboy entertainment, “IndieFile” delivers independent film news, “Steph Sums It Up” offers pithy opinions on the state of the industry, and “Mike’s Picks” offers bite-sized recommendations of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases.

August 02, 2010
SXSW 2011 Open for Submissions

It seems like the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival just passed us, but it’s already time for filmmakers to submit and register for the 2011 SXSW, taking place March 11-19, 2011, in Austin, Texas.

New features, short films and title will be accepted. Last year’s festival saw 267 features and shorts, including 64 world premiere features such as Kick-Ass, MacGruber, Tiny Furniture, Cold Weather, Marwencol, Monsters and Thunder Soul.

“Across the board, the films screened at SXSW 2010 were so exciting, innovative and entertaining that we can't wait to see what 2011 will bring,” said Janet Pierson, SXSW Film Conference and Festival producer. “Look for our complete lineup and conference schedule in early February 2011.”

Submissions can be entered at http://sxsw.com/film. The early submission period runs through Nov. 4, with feature submission fees at $40, shorts at $25 and title sequence design at $10. Submission fees go up after that, so sign up early, filmmakers.

By: Billy Gil

May 27, 2010
New Indie Titles, May 27: ‘It Came From Kuchar’ and More

It Came From Kuchar
It Came From Kuchar

Title: It Came From Kuchar
Genre: Documentary
Studio: First Run
Street Date: 6/29
Price/Format: $24.95 DVD
Reserve for purchase
Reserve on Netflix

This documentary interweaves clips of films by notorious underground filmmaking twins George and Mike Kuchar, who helped create and inspire ‘B’-movie sleaze, with interviews by fans and followers such as John Waters, Buck Henry, Atom Egoyan, Wayne Wang, Bill Griffith, Gerard Malanga, B. Ruby Rich and Guy Maddin.

Title: Machine Gun McCain
Genre: Cult/Thriller
Studio: E1/Blue Underground
Street date: 8/24
Prebook: 7/27
Price/Format: $19.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Reserve for purchase (DVD or Blu-ray)

No, not that McCain. This 1969 Cannes favorite stars John Cassavetes as an ex-con who stages a heist after his mob employer turns on him. The film co-stars Peter Falk, Gene Rowlands, Britt Ekland and Florinda Bolkan, and features music by Ennio Morricone.

Title: An American Journey: In Robert Frank’s Footsteps
Genre: Documentary
Studio: Kino-Lorber
Street date: 8/24
Prebook date: 7/27
Price/Format: $29.95 DVD

Filmmaker Philippe Seclier traces influential photographer Robert Frank’s trips across the United States that inspired his intimate images.

Title: A Town Called Panic
Genre: Animated
Studio: Zeitgeist
Street date: 7/20
Prebook date: 6/22
Price/Format: $29.99 DVD
Reserve for purchase
Reserve on Netflix

Based on a Belgian cult TV series, three plastic toys named Cowboy, Indian and Horse share a house in a village that attracts crazy events.

Title: Lights Camera Dead/F.A.R.T. the Movie
Genre: Cult/Horror
Studio: MVD
Street date: 7/27
Price/Format: $19.95 DVD/$9.95 DVD
Reserve for purchase (Lights/F.A.R.T.)

Nope, IndieFile is not too stuffy for this: MVD Visual and SRS Cinema are releasing two cult, er, “classics.” One is about two filmmakers who will stop at nothing to finish their zombie masterpiece. The other is about a man with two passions — television and flatulence — whose passions are about to come together in a big way. Guess which description is for which film.

By: Billy Gil

May 26, 2010
SXSW Titles on IFC On Demand in June

IFC’s fertile on-demand offerings are getting two new titles that showed at the 2009 South By Southwest (SXSW) festival.

First up on Sundance Selects is Dia Sokol’s Sorry, Thanks (coming June 4). The Mutual Appreciation director tells another tale of misguided youths in their 20s, this time of a girl who’s reeling from a breakup and sleeps with a man who’s in a relationship, sparking his voyage into discovering if he is “an ass.”


Coming June 11 is SXSW grand jury prize for narrative film winner Made in China. Judi Krant’s film tells of a novelty inventor from Texas who travels to China in hopes of creating “a humorous domestic hygiene product.”

Both films will appear in the main on-demand category for such cable carriers as Comcast, Cox, Cablevision and Time Warner.

By: Billy Gil

April 08, 2010
New Indie Titles, April 8: ‘Pretty Bird’ and More

Paul Giamatti
Pretty Bird

Title: Pretty Bird
Genre: Comedy
Studio: Paramount
Street Date: 6/29
Prebook date: 5/18
Price/Format: $22.99 DVD
Reserve for purchase
Reserve on Netflix

The cast of this one alone is worth the price of admission — starring Billy Crudup, Paul Giamatti and Kristen Wiig, this Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee is based on the true story of a group that seeks to invent and market the personal rocket belt.

Title: Beyond The Barbed Wire: An Artists View of the Holocaust
Genre: Documentary
Studio: ADA/Reality Entertainment
Street date: 5/25
Prebook date: 4/28
Price/Format: $19.95 DVD
Reserve for purchase
Reserve on Netflix

This documentary tells of Ben Altman, an artist and a tailor who survived numerous concentration camps in Poland, never seeing his family again. Altman eventually moves to San Francisco and becomes the tailor for the San Francisco Opera House. Upon retiring, his memories come out in the form of paintings. ADA/Reality Entertainment also release the WWI doc A War to End All Wars the same day at $19.95.

Title: Animation Express
Genre: Animated
Studio: Image
Street date: 6/8
Prebook date: 5/11
Price/Format: $29.98 DVD or Blu-ray
Reserve for purchase (DVD or Blu-ray)

A compilation of 26 animated shorts featuring award winners and other CGI, hand-drawn and stop-motion shorts, from the experimental to the traditional. The Blu-ray includes 13 additional shorts.

Title: MINE
Genre: Documentary
Studio: Film Movement
Street date: 5/4
Price/Format: $26.95 DVD
Reserve for purchase
Reserve on Netflix

From filmmaker Geralyn Pezanoski, South by Southwest winner MINE tells of animals abandoned then rescued during Hurricane Katrina. Appropriately, the short film Film Movement has chosen to include with MINE is La Vie D’un Chien, an American-made, French-language film about a potion that can temporarily change people into dogs.

Title: Squatterpunk
Genre: Documentary
Studio: Pathfinder
Street date: 6/8
Prebook: 5/4
Price/Format: $24.98 DVD
Reserve for purchase

Multiaward-winning Squatterpunk follows a young would-be gangster through the shantytowns of Manila in a wordless, hypnotic visual journey.

By: Billy Gil

March 17, 2010
SXSW Film Festival Winners Announced

The big winners at the South by Southwest Film Festival were Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture, which won the narrative jury prize, and Jeff Malmberg’s Marwencol, which won the documentary jury prize, according to indieWIRE.

“… This is amazing to win just one week after Kathryn Bigelow winning the Oscar,” Dunham said while accepting the award.

Tiny Furniture, according to indieWIRE, is about a 22-year-old girl who comes home from college with a film degree and little direction. Marwencol follows a man seeking recovery after a fight in his backyard, which doubles as a fabricated World War II era town.

The rest of the winners are as follows:

Best Documentary Runner-up: War Don Don
Special Jury Award – Best Ensemble: Myth of the American Sleepover
Special Jury Award – Best Individual Performance: Brian Hasenfus in Phillip The Fossil

Feature Film Audience Awards

Documentary Feature: For Once in My Life
Narrative Feature: Brotherhood

Short Film Jury Awards

Narrative Shorts: Cigarette Candy
Runner Up: Teleglobal Dreamin’

Documentary Shorts: Quadrangle
Runner Up: White Lines and The Fever: The Death of DJ Junebug

Animated Shorts
Winner: The Orange
Runner Up: One Square Mile of Earth

Experimental Shorts
Winner: Night Mayor
Runner Up: Kids Might Fly

Music Videos
Winner: Cinnamon Chasers, “Luv Deluxe”
Runner Up: Grizzly Bear, “Forest”

Texas Shorts
Winner: Petting Sharks
Runner Up: The Big Bends

Time Warner Cable & Ovation Young Filmmaker Scholarship for Texas High School Short
Winner: Give the Dog a Bone
Runner Up: The Sleep Project

SXSW Special Awards

SXSW Wholphin Award
Winner: Quadrangle

SXSW Chicken & Egg Emergent Narrative Woman Director Award: Lena Dunham for Tiny Furniture

Special Award - The Chicken & Egg Pictures “We Believe in You” Award: Martha Stephens for Passenger Pigeons

For a full list of winners and more coverage, check indieWire.

And check out the Los Angeles Times’ coverage of the event, including reviews of some of the films that screened.

By: Billy Gil


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