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SXSW 2009: SenoReality, "Adventureland," Bacon Party

by Eric Melin on March 18, 2009

in Blogs

This is the fourth in a series of reports from the SXSW Film/Interactive Festival in Austin, TX. Scene-Stealers hosted the Bacon-Flavored Interactive Afterparty, the Harpoon Happy Hour, and the free SenoReality screening, all of which were held at the coolest bar in town, Red 7. While we were down there, Dustin (our executive producer) and I attended several screenings and did lots of cool interviews with the directors and stars as we could. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 15

Patrick and Ryan from SenoReality at #Baconparty #SXSW on TwitPicAnother late night, another early morning. Most of the day was spent putting out fires for everything surrounding the Bacon-Flavored Interactive Afterparty, the Harpoon Happy Hour, and the free SenoReality screening, all held at Red 7. Bacon Shoe was hitting it hard again, performing the last of their “street attacks” to build up hype for the show, which started at 9pm. During the day, I was in and out of the Red 7, which was showing a loop of award-winning short films from Lawrence, KS-based production house SenoReality Pictures. (Here’s a link to a coverstory I wrote about SenoReality, MK12, and the burgeoning Lawrence/KC production scene for Digital Content Producer magazine).

dsc00030.jpgThe SenoReality free screening featured nine suspenseful short films, all made in the last three years by this prolific team of filmmakers. Writer/director Patrick Rea and editor/sound mixer Ryan S. Jones (above, at the screening) have quietly built up an impressive resume, including the regional Emmy-winning short “Women’s Intuition.” SenoReality comes from the “less gore, more suspense” mode of storytelling, although one of their funniest and most popular films is a parody of the so-called “torture porn” genre called—appropriately enough—“Torture Porn.” (I’ve embedded the entire movie in two parts below. Again, this is not really suitable for work. But it sure is funny.)

One thing you may be surprised about is the great production value of most of the shorts. When I interviewed the Seno guys for the article, it was obvious that they have an enormous grasp of how to use technology in service of the story. Because they are from Kansas, the team is also able to get way more bang for their buck. “When we go to film festivals, we stick out a little more,” Rea says. “It’s a good thing, especially when they see our production value is slightly better sometimes. They’re like, ‘Wow, you guys are doing that stuff in Kansas?’ and we tell them how much we’re doing it for and people become more interested in shooting in Kansas.”

adventureland stewart eisenbergIt was great to see an hour-and-a-half program and be able to see the natural progression in quality and storytelling prowess of the films. SenoReality is currently finishing up another short and raising money for a full-length feature film called “Nail Biter.” Here’s a photo (above left) of the monster from that upcoming flick, as designed by artist Alan Holt.

“Adventureland” also screened at SXSW on Saturday and, although I have seen it, I’m not able to post a full review of it yet due to a review embargo until its nationwide release date on April 3. Let’s just say this: The movie is a great coming-of-age romance set in 1987 that feels as natural as anything I’ve ever seen in this genre. It stars Jessie Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart. I did an audio podcast interview with writer/director Greg Mottola (“Superbad,” “The Daytrippers”) back in January for the movie’s premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and you can catch that here. Unfortunately, I missed getting a video interview with Mottola and co-star Bill Hader because everything was going crazy around the party and my phone was ringing off the hook. (Or, vibrating in my pants, I guess.) So I had to (gulp!) cancel the interview. Oh, the sacrifices I make.

raffle prizes at bacon partyIn the meantime, if you live in Kansas City area and you want to see a funny, accurate, and affecting tale of post-teen/early adult romantic confusion set in the late 80s but not full of obvious cultural touchstones like parachute pants and breakdancers, we are giving away tickets to a screening of “Adventureland” right here. Enter before Wed. March 25 and good luck!

At 6pm, the SenoReality screening morphed into the Harpoon Happy Hour, where our good friends at Harpoon Brewery donated enough kegs of delicious IPA and Hefeweizen beer to power a thirsty crowd for two hours. The $5 cover at the door all went to the Children’s Music Fund. We had a live Twitter feed of anybody who was tweeting about the bacon party, Scene-Stealers, or anything party-related that night. (I remember seeing a photo on Twitter of one girl who won a prize, tweeted about it, waited for it to show up on the big screen, and then took a picture with her phone and teeted that!) We also watched some very cool video content from Boston-based independent online video network Plus1TV.com, who feature Scene-Stealers as one of their online TV channels, as well as other cool channels that specialize in humor, food, and music.

bacon shoe sxsw 2009The smell of hot, fresh bacon donated from Internet retail badasses Bacn.com wafted out of the bar from the outside porch and the outside stage area, beckoning—nay, daring—passersby to enter the domain of bacon-flavored madness. Das Foods donated 200 delicious Man Bait maple-bacon lollipops as well, not to mention the all the cool raffle prizes that were generously donated by all of our sponsors. The insanity of Bacon Shoe hit the outside stage sometime after 9pm, and jaws pretty much completely dropped.

Not only do Lethal D and Toine bust out some mad rapping chops, but Mr. Ruggles (a DJ of sorts, wearing a large dog’s head or something to that degree) grills bacon onstage, which is also mic’ed up to give everyone the pleasure of hearing the sizzle as well as smelling it. Bacon Shoe rapped for two solid 40-minute sets, performed some very funny between-song sketches, and helped give away all the cool raffle prizes for the night. I’m also pretty sure Lethal D and Toine got married onstage.

Thanks to everyone involved in the parties for all their hard work and helping to make the night a success! Now here’s the full SenoReality short film “Torture Porn,” as promised:

Next SXSW 2009 entry>> 

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Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes for The Pitch. He’s former President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls, Ultimate Fakebook, and Truck Stop Love . He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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