I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’m still recovering from my trip to Austin. A lot went on, it was pretty much all awesome, and I had very, very little sleep.
I’ll tackle BNAT itself and the Open Windows movie shoot in separate posts (mostly because my notes are still hiding somewhere in my camera bag), but I have tales to tell/photos to show about the swirl of events that cropped up around BNAT this year.
You’ll probably notice that most of the items below are centered around eating establishments. That’s because you eat in Austin. You eat a lot.
After driving overnight, I rolled up to the lovely Austin home of my wonderful hosts, the Cargills. It was a beautiful afternoon, I’d only had an hour’s worth of sleep, and I desperately needed a shower, sleep, and food. When I walked into the house, I found it to be full of Minnesotans (the rest of my main BNAT clan), a couple Texans, and Meghan McCain. All were hungry, so I decided to take care of my food needs first.
This is how I wound up at a little Austin BBQ joint with a whole ton of people, sitting next to a political blogger, and I don’t really remember much of it at all. I do remember the food was delicious. I also remember Meghan telling me to quote her on Twitter: “I am not a douche canoe.”
Flash forward one day later. I’d completed my 11-hour shift at the movie shoot, I’d had a three-hour nap, and I’d completely overslept the start time for the BNAT swag-sorting party. (A few attendees traditionally get together on Friday to help sort film studio swag into gift bags for BNAT attendees.) I turned up 45 minutes late and discovered that my incredibly efficient pals had already done all the work. Yes, I needed the sleep, but this was the first time I’d ever missed the swag sorting gathering.
I did, however, run into Holly at the theater, so we headed over to Kirbey Lane for some tasty diner food with one of her friends. It was nice catching up with my Atlanta-based film festival buddy.
After that, I relocated my Minnesotan/Texan clan, who had headed over to Gourdough’s, a magical place that serves great beer and gourmet donuts. I KID YOU NOT. I had beer and some sort of wicked donut concoction that involved chocolate, chili, and nuts.
RAIDERS: THE ADAPTATION
After that, we headed back over to the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar location, where we all attended the showing of Raiders: The Adaptation. If you are not familiar with this thing, you should be. Basically, back in the 1980s, some kids in Mississippi decided to remake Raiders of the Lost Ark shot-for-shot. The project took seven years to complete, and since it was filmed basically in chronological order, you can see the kids grow up — and gain skill — as the film progresses. It’s absolutely delightful, on many levels. If you ever see a screening listed in your town, go see it.
Oh, and there’s also now a book about the project: Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made
The two main instigators of this project, now both adults, were also there to do a Q&A and sign books. We Minnesotans got to meet both Eric Zala and Chris Stromopolos after the show, and learned that they were both super nice and that they going to join us at the BNAT.
BNAT PRE-PARTY AT GIBSON
The Friday night BNAT pre-party is usually where all the BNAT clans merge for the first time before the main event. It’s a nice little meet-and-greet, but it usually doesn’t go too late. This is because it’s acknowledged that everyone needs to sleep a bit before embarking upon a 24-hour movie marathon.
It was very dark in the party room at Gibson, so I don’t have a whole lot of photos. I also didn’t do a whole lot besides shake hands with a lot of people I only see once per year. The one truly out-of-the-ordinary thing was that I randomly got introduced to Rian Johnson, and he’s a really nice guy.
A QUICK NOTE ABOUT BNAT ITSELF
As I said, I’ll post about BNAT itself separately, but I just had to say here that I wound up sitting between my sweding-buddy, Jerry Belich, who had never before attended BNAT… and the two Raiders: The Adaptation guys.
IT WAS TOTALLY AWESOME.
AFTERMATH DINNER AT CASA CHAPALA
After a couple hours’ worth of napping, an ENORMOUS group of BNAT attendees converged upon Casa Chapala for dinner. I have to give the restaurant a huge amount of credit, both for serving real Mexican food, and for staying open very late on a Sunday night just to accommodate our onslaught. The food and the service were exceptional.
The company was best, though. There was a whole lot of happiness in the crowd. (I’ll only post a couple here. If you want to see the others — and there are many more photos from Casa Chapala — you can see them in the full photo set on Flickr.)
MISTER TRAMPS POST-PARTY PARTY
After dinner, most of the crowd headed over to Mister Tramps, where we took over a party room and played Megaforce on the giant screens.
There was also chatting, drinking, and singing. We were all thoroughly exhausted, but this was the last hurrah for the cinemaphile family that only converges once per year.
There are also many photos of this event that I’m not going to re-post here. Again, you can see them all in the main photo set on Flickr. I’ll just tantalize you with their quality by posting this one of Windy being a rock star:
…I should have slept, because I was supposed to start driving home in the morning. Instead, I wound up with access to an Oscar screener of Les Miserables, and I couldn’t pass that up.
I did eventually get to sleep, around 6 AM in the morning on Monday. I slept for a few hours, caught up with my main Minnesota peeps for a farewell breakfast at The Omelettry, and started the drive home.
It was an extraordinary, exhausting adventure. I already miss everyone, even the people who live in my home state.