Texas film fest accomplishes historic movie deal

When it kicked off March 7, the South by Southwest Film Festival wasn't necessarily in line for a watershed moment. The easygoing, jeans-and-beer atmosphere, which will come to an end Saturday, made for a casual set of films, interactive panels, a trade show and several raucous days of concerts.

But 2008 will long be marked as the year in which SXSW took a giant step forward, because it was the year an acquisition was made during the festival.

"Nights and Weekends," the sexually explicit story of a relationship breakup assembled by the so-called "mumblecore" mavens Joe Swanberg and Greta Gerwig, landed a deal through IFC Entertainment, thus ratcheting up the excitement level throughout the Austin Convention Center.

True: IFC Entertainment is one of SXSW's major sponsors. True: IFC had picked up the duo's "Hannah Takes the Stairs" the year before. Also true: A deal with IFC is not the same as a deal with a major studio; some insiders mutter that it's the haven of last resort.

Nevertheless, the sale improved the festival's credibility.

(Source: Reuters)

Film Business, Film Festival

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