Karina already discussed a good half-dozen films she plans to see during SXSW this year, including the big-name opening-night film A Prairie Home Companion. My favorite films at SXSW have always been the smaller ones, the movies you figure you had better catch now because who knows, you may not have an opportunity to see them again. I am particularly fond of low-budget documentary features, and I love the animated shorts. On the other hand, it's also exciting to see a preview of a wider-release film before all your friends do, and start spreading the buzz.

I've spent entirely too much time this week tinkering with my SXSW schedule to balance the small films with the big premieres. This is silly because after the first day or two, various forces of nature and filmmaking will probably cause me to change the schedule all over again. A huge "must-see" buzz will focus around some film I hadn't planned to screen, or I'll find that I may be too weak and wimpy to see three films a day for more than a couple of days in a row.

My biggest regret about my current schedule is that I don't have any screenings scheduled at The Arbor, one of my favorite SXSW venues. There's plenty of parking, good, cheap places to eat nearby, comfy seats ... not to mention it's not far from my house. If you are an Austinite thinking of purchasing a few single-screening tickets, The Arbor is usually your best bet for getting a seat.  However, it's sometimes difficult to sandwich an Arbor movie in between a couple of films at the downtown venues.

Here's a list of some of the films I tentatively have scheduled to see this year, and which I plan to review for Cinematical in the next week. Tentatively is the key word here. Karina and I have only two overlapping films: The Cassidy Kids and LOL, which she already described. You may notice a pattern here: most of these movies were made in Austin, by Austin filmmakers, or have a Texas focus. I can't resist the locally made films, although I may have to hide from the local filmmakers if I pan their movies.
  • Letters from the Other Side—Austin filmmaker Heather Courtney's documentary about women in Mexico sending video "letters" to friends and strangers premiered at Slamdance. Too bad the subjects of the film won't be able to attend.
  • Crazy AgainZalman King has directed a documentary about legendary Texas musician Dale Watson. I had never thought of King as a documentary filmmaker, so I'm intrigued.
  • Brothers of the Head—I can't resist a feature about conjoined twins who form a boy band.
  • Gretchen—Another locally made film, in which Steve Collins expanded his short film of the same name into a narrative feature about a teenager struggling with a high-school crush. Looks like Stephen Root has a role.
  • 2 AM—I knew Korey Coleman as a local artist and didn't realize he'd also directed a feature film. This movie focuses on a group of friends after the bars close for the evening.
  • Jam—I saw the first five minutes of Jam before a class at UT this week, and it looked like lots of fun. It's a documentary about the trials and tribulations of the American Roller Derby League.
  • jumping off bridges—Austin director Kat Candler's latest film made local news last year when she convinced the mayor to be filmed jumping off a bridge. This feature is about a group of teenage boys in suburban Texas.
Some of the bigger-name films I also want to catch include Hard Candy, American Dreamz, and Tales of the Rat Fink. Check back this week to see which films Karina and I actually end up seeing - and what we think about them.

One final note: if you're at SXSW this week and want to say hi, I've posted a photo of myself to Celluloid Eyes, my personal blog.