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SXSW: Smiling Through the Pain


by Stephen Becker 15 Mar 2010

AUSTIN – About an hour into Sunday night’s world premiere of the film, Elektra Luxx, the screen went dark in the Paramount Theatre in downtown Austin. It was during a transition  from one scene to the next, and in the new scene, the characters were speaking to each other on the phone. It sort of made […]

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AUSTIN – About an hour into Sunday night’s world premiere of the film, Elektra Luxx, the screen went dark in the Paramount Theatre in downtown Austin. It was during a transition  from one scene to the next, and in the new scene, the characters were speaking to each other on the phone. It sort of made sense as an artistic choice – take away the visuals to force the attention on the dialogue. But after about a minute and another scene change, you got the sense that something was wrong. After a few more seconds, it became clear that something was very wrong when the sound cut off and the house lights went up.

At that point, director Sebastian Gutierrez had two options: Throw a fit or try to save the day. He chose the latter, and it was all the proof you needed that directors really are the owners of their films. For a solid 10 minutes, he nervously paced the stage while entertaining the crowd in the hopes that people would stick around. He let us know that the next scene we were about to see was his favorite in the movie. “It was so great, it must have blown up the projector,” he said, earning the first of many laughs from a sympathetic audience. He explained that the film was shot in 15 days – five days more than his previous film. And soon the cast members in attendance, including Carla  Gugino, who plays the title role, joined him on stage for a Q&A that was supposed to happen after the film was over.

There would be no end to the film, though – whatever was wrong with the projector was fatal.

Did I like the movie? It’s tough to say without seeing how its various storylines would eventually come together. But after watching its director do his best to entertain me when his film could not, I can at least say I’m a fan of Sebastian Gutierrez.

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