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SXSW: No Room in the Inn


by Stephen Becker 16 Mar 2010

AUSTIN – If there’s one theme wafting through the discussions outside theaters, it’s been the difficulty getting in them. The Austin American Statesman reports that the number of film registrants is up 25 percent this year. The number of seats, unfortunately, hasn’t grown at the same rate, leaving many festivalgoers out in the cold. Chris […]

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AUSTIN – If there’s one theme wafting through the discussions outside theaters, it’s been the difficulty getting in them.

The Austin American Statesman reports that the number of film registrants is up 25 percent this year. The number of seats, unfortunately, hasn’t grown at the same rate, leaving many festivalgoers out in the cold.

Chris Vognar of The Dallas Morning News and Charles Ealy of the Statesman have each grumbled about the problem this week, and I’ve had the same problems as they have.

On Sunday night, I was really looking forward to James Franco’s SNL documentary Saturday Night, which was playing at the Alamo Drafthouse on Lamar. But after entering the parking lot and surveying the line snaking all the way from the box office to the street, I headed directly to the shuttle, defeated. That’s been my only shutout so far, but that’s partly due to the fact that I’ve made a point of seeing films playing at the 1,200 seat Paramount, where attendance for badge holders is virtually guaranteed. I’ve waited in some really long lines there over the years and always made it in.

So what’s the solution? Probably branching out to multiplexes. So far, the festival has really made a point of booking independent houses over the large cinema chains. That lends a definite film purist vibe to the whole affair. But as the event grows and grows, quaint may have to take a backseat to reality.

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  • Jennifer

    Agreed! That line at the Alamo was ridiculous. It’s either branch out to the multiplexes, or limit the number of badges you sell, so that buying one actually means something! It’s ridiculous to pay upwards of $1,000 for a “platinum” badge, then be expected to spend HOURS in some line just so you can be sure to get in. Or maybe there should be a hierarchy as to who gets into stuff based on which badge they have? The SXSW organizers need to fix this situation NOW, and not wait until next year!