This was published on last Sunday.

Early success at SXSW: Long lines, sold-out screenings at Austin film festival

Clear skies proved a blessing to the SXSW fest this weekend, with the upswing in film registrants creating around-the-block lineups for mostly sold-out screenings, often leaving fans and buyers alike looking for a backup plan.

“The festival has blown up this year,” said Magnate/Magnolia senior VP and SXSW vet Tom Quinn, here to cheer the distributor’s gritty Gotham drama “The Good Heart,” gospel docu “Rejoice and Shout” and today’s anticipated midnight world preem of bloody sword-and-sandaller “Centurion,” from Brit Neil Marshall (“The Descent”). “The interactive portion of the festival appears to have taken over the whole town and reminds me of Sundance in 1999 with the dot-com invasion — however, this time around it feels earned,” said Quinn, who also sat on a film-interactive panel exploring ideas for a new content pipeline to restore financial viability to the indie sector. “As media converge, maybe the age-old definition of a film festival simply doesn’t apply anymore and SXSW is living proof of that.”

Indeed, after Sunday’s crossover panel on creating event-style screenings to find new auds and revenue streams for indies, panelist Jon Reiss’ nuts-and-bolts handbook “Think Outside the Box: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Era” flew off SXSW bookstore shelves.

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