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Mid-SXSW Update
pokemon
unwiredben
Five days down, five to go.

So far, I went to three films on Friday, nothing on Saturday, two panels and Frey Cafe on Sunday, three panels on Monday, one panel and three films today. Here's my brief impressions of the films and my snarky summaries of the panels.

FILMS
My Big Fat Independent Movie - pretty funny film that parodies and references dozens of indie films of the last fifteen years. It won't play well if you've not seen the source material, but if you love "Pulp Fiction", "Amelie", "Swingers", "Memento", or "The Good Girl", you've got a lot of laughs here.

Seoul Train - amazing documentary about North Korean refugees and their struggle to escape into China, and then get out of China to a country that won't return them to face capital punishment. Heartbreaking. I hope this gets picked up by PBS.

The Aristrocrats - I couldn't stop laughing at this movie about one particular dirty joke that's been passed around the comedy world and keeps getting longer and filthier. Paul Provenza and Penn Jilette directed the film, and they find ways to make even Carrot Top and mimes be funny.

Cavite - the most intense eighty minutes of film I've seen. Harrowing narrative about a Filipino-American who returns to his home country and gets used by insurgents that have captured his mother and sister. I found it to be full of tension, and fifteen minutes after it was over, my heart was still beating quickly.

Promedio Rojo- disappointing teen sex comedy about nerds in a high school in Chile. This started with potential and borrowed from films like "Better off Dead" and "One Crazy Summer", but the characters both were too broad and too cruel, and I started to actively dislike the film in the last third.

Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic - it's a concert film, mostly, with Sarah doing her comedy act, mixed with a few songs and skits. She's outrageous, but I've heard most of this before, and it doesn't play as well on the second hearing.

PANELS
Open Source Marketing - how do you get your users to market your product for you? Make a good product and give up control.

How to Grow Online Community - don't invest is special technology, just let your users build their own social norms and find simple ways for people to report mischief. It worked for Craig's List and Metafilter.

Keynote Interview: Ana Marie Cox - apparently, Washington, D.C. is fascinated by behind-boinging (to paraphrase). Oh, and bloggers aren't journalists unless they discover and publish new information.

Conversation with Al Franken - Al mumbles; he probably will run against Norm Coleman for the 2008 US Senate seat in Minnesota, and he thinks the right wing media does a poor job of fact checking.

How to Trick Out Your Blog - install this plugin, write this JavaScript, rework this graphics. Oh, and by the way, it doesn't matter since all of your readers are using RSS anyway.

Taking Your Act on the Road with Mobile Technology - ringtones, wallpapers, and SMS, oh my! Myspace is free, and you shouldn't pay them for marketing. Buzznet is like Flicker, only with lots of disjointed communities.

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"bloggers aren't journalists unless they discover and publish new information"

Journalism is dead. Long live Live Journal!

Glad you liked Cavite - it was one of my favorites of the fest. I got to see it early - a pre-screener DVD on my crappy TV - so it was great to see it projected, where the tension caught you up even more.

And, it won runner-up for the Narrative Feature Competition, only being beat out by a movie with Elijah Wood in it. Pretty damn good!

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