Tag Archives: Film Festival

What a Film Festival is Like

At night in downtown Austin, the Paramount theater blade lights the storefronts between 7th and 8th on Congress Avenue, the street that leads north to the red granite state capitol and south to the Colorado River. The blade, erected in 1930, when the theater was still owned and operated by Paramount studios and ran only that studio’s films, simply spells the name of the theater in incandescent bulbs, and dims each letter in vertical succession in an endless loop—an animation that, when compared to the intricate animations one can see on an LED display today, might be characterized as authentic or quaint, depending on your outlook. The building, painted dark red with white wood shutters on the second story, looks like it might stand in an old-west movie, or reenactment town, not in the heart of one of America’s booming tech hubs. The one-screen theater claims to screen up to 100 films a year, the screenings are never more pivotal than the one week out of the year when Paramount and Stateside, it’s next-door sister theater, become the center of the indie film universe for SXSW Conference (formerly just SXSW, without the ‘conference,’ still known locally as just “South by”).

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