One of Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film," Hannah Fidell is a graduate of the New School and writer and director of A Teacher, her first feature film. A product of the Brooklyn-Austin corridor, Hannah knows the Austin landscape well enough to have already identified two of its most abundant and cherished natural resources: the Alamo Drafthouse and sunlight. Both, as far as most here are concerned, life itself.I know you screened two short films last year at SXSW 2012 - was that your first time at the festival? How many have you attended, either as a participant, registrant or onlooker?
- At last year's SXSW, I directed one short, The Gathering Squall, and produced another one, Man & Gun. It was an incredible experience where I got to meet a ton of amazing filmmakers who have turned into not only some of my closest friends, but just incredible sources of knowledge and expertise without whom I wouldn't have been able to make A Teacher. 2012 was my first SXSW as a filmmaker, but I've been going for several years after having first been introduced to the festival via the music portion when I was in college. My boyfriend and I came out for spring break: he saw music, I saw films and that was that. I was hooked on South by and Austin.
- I've found that I get a bit overwhelmed by the music portion now. I think I've also come to terms with the fact that I really like Top40 music and I don't have time anymore to spend hours searching for that next "it" band. I mean, have you heard the new Justin Beiber or Usher albums? They're incredible - no joke. I think the interactive portion of the fest is fascinating. As film and media distribution move increasingly online, it can only help us as creators to understand the new methods we have of getting our product or art to audiences.
- I think it's important to realize that you won't get a cab during the festival. Just expect to walk everywhere.
- I have a ritual when I go see movies at the Alamo: I always get the warm chocolate chip cookies with a scoop of ice cream. It's indulgent but I just can't help myself. In terms of restaurants: I love Elizabeth St Cafe, Barley Swine and Mr. Natural.
- I'm renting a car only because I plan on spending all the time I'm not in a movie theater at Barton Springs.
- Barton Springs is a must. Reimer's Ranch for a nice hike or a swim in the river if the water is high enough. If you're feeling adventurous, it's always fun to drive out to Bastrop...