Austin Film Festival Diary – Day One

By  · Published on October 19th, 2006

Day One:

I knew I had arrived in Texas when a weathered man in his early 120’s chewing on a cigar outside the airport baggage claim commented on how humid the day had gotten. I was home. Rewind to three in the morning when I was showering in my small L.A. apartment before I fully realized that I was awake. My girlfriend lovingly volunteered to drive me to the airport so I could get through the body cavity search in time for a 7 a.m. flight.

A friend picked me up from the airport and we decided to hit up Opal Divine’s, an amazing local joint, for some brats, philly cheese steaks, and a healthy amount of quality ales. The point? To be just buzzed enough before we went to register at the Driskill Hotel on 6th street for the festival. The hotel lobby was already swarming with festival patrons and that feeling of calm before the storm – an atmosphere created by an event presented by movie fans for movie fans.

Unfortunately, a nap and a shower were in order, since the shower I took while delirious in the morning had yielded unsuccessful results, and I wanted to look half-way alive before the Food and Film Event of the evening.

This event, whose tickets are sought-after by the festival goers, acts as a benefit for the Young Filmmakers Program and featured the movie The Black Stallion. It seems odd to comment on a movie I’ve only seen at ages 7 and 22, but it was the same as I remembered it – syrupy and tailor-made for the seven-year old me.

The food part of the party was a ballroom area of the hotel populated by local restaurants serving up their very best. Overall, everything was excellent – and it’s all part of the festival experience. The bar was free, as it will be all week, so the alcohol certainly will be a temptation to temper in order to make it unscathed through the entire nine days..

Understandably, this isn’t the type of review you guys want to hear. In fact, it’s not a review at all, just a recounting of one idiot’s lucky trip to one of the nation’s best festivals. But that’s the point for now – I hope all of you get the chance to make it here someday, or to any festival, because the experience is made up of these moments. It’s not just about the movies you’ll see. It’s about the people, the frantic running from theater to theater, and the Big Rock Candy Mountain-esque rive of free hooch flowing from the late night parties.

Does it seem like I focused on the alcohol too much? Thought not. That’s all for now – I have to wake up early for the festival opening and gear up for the events of the day. More tomorrow, sports fans.

Related Topics:

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector Podcast@brokenprojector | Writing short stories at Adventitious.