We're here in Austin for SXSW Interactive, but it's impossible to avoid a little bleed over from the film and music portions of the event -- particularly when you get invited to cover the latest webstreaming news from AMC Networks. The company set up camp in the IFC Theater on 6th Avenue to unveil its new online offering, Yeah, a rental service that provides the viewer contextual information on movies mined from interviews with the filmmakers and cast, along with two months of research for each of the titles. According to the company, each curated movie features some 400 to 500 new pieces of content.
Of course, what we were really looking forward to at the event was the chance to speak with a couple of filmmakers tied to the service, beginning with the great Wes Craven, who provided new interviews for his early films A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Last House on the Left. Craven, it turns out, is one of the new service's biggest cheerleaders, with a genuine enthusiasm about the opportunity to offer some new insight into works that have, admittedly, been fairly well-tread by both film historians and fans.
Craven's internet enthusiasm extends beyond just the consumption, repurposing and contextualizing of older content. He told us that he's interested in the potential of the medium as a storytelling device, a sort of return to the old matinee film serials -- and who knows, we may see the director take a break from bigger budget production, in order to try his hand at original web content. Once he's done with his Steve Niles comics collaboration Coming of Rage, that is.
On-stage along with Craven and Slacker / Dazed and Confused director Richard Linklater was Joe Swanberg, who is in town to debut his latest film, Drinking Buddies, a move toward bigger budget filmmaking for a name nearly synonymous with the mumblecore genre. Swanberg's films are very much the product of modern technologies, which have helped to bring down the price of filmmaking, distribution and production. And, as with Craven, Swanberg is also fascinated by the storytelling capabilities of the internet as a filmmaking medium.