Listen to Austin 360 Radio

SXSW gets off to high-profile but soggy start

Charles Ealy

The world premiere of "The Cabin in the Woods," the highly anticipated horror film from writer Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard, kicked off the South by Southwest Film Festival on Friday night, but near-constant rains and a brisk cold front complicated the traditionally festive opening day.

Bundled-up registrants for the Interactive and Film Festivals jammed into the Austin Convention Center to register and pick up badges but faced delays of up to two hours. Interactive attendants tweeted about problems with AT&T Wi-Fi coverage, and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport reported more than a dozen flight delays related to the weather as people from across the country tried to get to Austin.

Most of the issues at the airport were with Southwest, although American, JetBlue and United passengers faced long waits, too.

Still, the Paramount Theatre rolled out a soggy red carpet for the cast and crew of "Cabin," with Whedon, Goddard and stars Bradley Whitford, Richard Jenkins, Kristen Connolly and Anna Hutchison attending.

Other high-profile screenings included the music documentary "Charles Bradley: Soul of America," the sperm-bank robbery comedy "The Babymakers" and the environmental documentary "Chasing Ice."

At the Alamo South, actor Matthew Lillard made his directorial debut with the world premiere of the comedy "Fat Kid Rules the World," starring Jacob Wysocki, Billy Campbell and Matt O'Leary. Other red-carpet events included "The Last Fall" at the Alamo South and "Electrick Children" at Stateside.

At Friday's Interactive panels, a session about political humor on the Internet was well-attended and one of the liveliest. The panel, called Political Humor 2.0: Teh Internetz R Leaking, included Alf Lamont of the Comedy Store, Carol Hartsell of the Huffington Post, Rory Albanese of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and Sara Benincasa, author, blogger and comedian.

The panelists talked about the challenges of doing humor from a political point of view without simply taking sides. But they suggested that comedy has an inherent recklessness that perhaps doesn't lend itself to a conservative viewpoint.

They also said they believe that shows like "Daily Show" and "Colbert Report" are becoming incredibly influential. Albanese spoke about the challenge of shifting Stewart's "Daily Show" from targeting Republicans, to, say, covering the Obama administration and satirizing everything, not just one side or the other.

Contact Charles Ealy at 445-3931 Additional material from staff writers Omar L. Gallaga, Matthew Odam and Gary Dinges.