When you can eat some of the country's finest barbecue, bask in the nurturing glow of Austin's film community and see an advance screening of Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri at the historic Paramount Theatre all in the same weekend, I think it's safe to say that amounts to an unequivocal triumph.
It was an honor to be counted among the artists, filmmakers & writers who gathered within the jewel of Texas for "The Writer's Festival," celebrating the demands and pleasures of the craft of storytelling, fundamental to the power of cinema. While my friend Erin, a screenwriter, marveled at the embarrassment of riches provided by the festival: a lecture from Oscar-winner Michael Arndt and his Endings: The Good, The Bad, and the Insanely Great springs to mind, I managed to catch as many screenings as I could. It was on Sunday I finally got to meet Marfa alums Charlotte Barrett & Sean Fallon, whose film I saw at the aforementioned festival this summer. Pictured above, they presented The Phantom Menace, a tender portrait of a couple struggling with the miscarriage of their first child in the surreal midst of a comic book convention in Southern California.
As the late afternoon sun dappled its way through the outstretched branches of the mesquite trees at the Filmmaker's BBQ, I took a deep breath and admired the plate of brisket held beneath my eager tastebuds. Only in hindsight can I truly begin to appreciate the nourishment generously provided by the festival staff, volunteers, coordinators and crew, both of the cinematic and gastronomic varieties. It was overwhelming, in the best way. As life should be.