Austin’s South By Southwest hosts the film and tech communities simultaneously. And this year, that means stars like Tilda Swinton and Nicolas Cage may have felt a bit overshadowed by guest appearances from Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. But KERA’s Stephen Becker tells Art&Seek’s Anne Bothwell how some films with Texas ties managed to compete for attention.
Listen to the interview that aired on KERA FM:
So we’re going to get to movies in just a second, but first I wanted to ask you about the two big guests at the Interactive conference that didn’t technically make the trip to Austin.
Yeah, on Saturday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was interviewed via Skype – he’s still holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. And then Monday, Edward Snowden beamed in from Russia.
Well, I think there’s a reason why they chose to talk to South by Southwest. The rooms both days were full of developers and other people in the tech community. That community has been increasingly concerned about online data security, which is a concern that Assange and Snowden both share. In fact, the whole question of how can make our online lives more secure was a major focus of the interactive portion of the conference.
The Snowden session was led by Christopher Soghoian with the ACLU, who was adamant that Snowden’s leaks have pushed companies like Apple and Google to step up their encryption.
“There’re going to be people in this audience and there’re going to be people listening at home, who think that what Ed did is wrong. But let me be clear about one really important thing: His disclosures have improved Internet security.”
OK, let’s move over to the film side of the conference – what were the highlights.
Well, there were a number of well-known Texas directors who showed new work. Mike Judge showed the first episode of his new HBO comedy series “Silicon Valley”. And Robert Rodriguez is also dipping his toe into TV. He’s developed his movie “From Dusk ‘Til Dawn” into a television series for the new El Rey network, which is aimed at young, English speaking Hispanic men. I caught the first episode on Saturday, which wasn’t really for me, but that may be because I loved the original movie with George Clooney and Harvey Keitel so much.
Yeah, Austin director Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” was the highlight of the festival. Linklater took 12 years to make the movie, which basically follows a boy played by Ellar Coltrane from age 6 to his high school graduation.
It sounds gimmicky at first, but there’s something about watching this little boy grow into a young man right before your eyes that really gets you invested in his life – he almost feels like your own son or brother. “Boyhood” is close to 3 hours long, but when it comes out this summer, I really can’t recommend it highly enough.
I talked to Linklater on Monday morning, and he said that when you’re making a movie that’s gonna take 12 years to make, obviously casting is important:
“I was casting a guy I met when he was 6, but I was really casting the parents. He had cool parents – both artists. That was important, and just that the family would get behind this as an artistic undertaking that would be a positive thing in their son’s life.”