I attended the Austin Film Festival over the weekend, with the sole intent of seeing only one of the featured films.  I rode down to Austin with my friends Jayme and Sarah to see the premiere of independent film “How To Be” starring Robert Pattinson.  Upon arriving we learned that the line for the 7:15 movie had already begun and it was only 12:30.  At that point we had to decide whether to sightsee around downtown Austin for a few hours, or get in line right away in hopes of getting into the movie – either choice required sacrifice.

We decided to get in line right after lunch, getting to the theater right at 1 o’clock.  There were two lines on opposite sides of the building – one for badges and one for passes.  Badges were the more expensive of the two admittance types, and all badge holders would be allowed into the theater first.  If the theater wasn’t full when the badge line emptied, they would start allowing pass holders in.  Therein lied the element of chance.  With the theater only holding 280 people, there was no guarantee everyone who was waiting would get in.  So we buckled down and sacrificed our day of touring the capital to stand in line for 6 hours.

I’d like to pretend the 6 hours went by quickly, but it didn’t.  I spent the time either sitting on concrete, sitting on top of a cooler of drinks, or standing.  I tried to read my book for a while but kept getting interrupted by either surrounding conversation or people who would randomly address me as though I looked interested in discussing their obsession with Robert Pattinson.  It only fueled the fire that it had been confirmed he would be showing up after the showing to answer a few questions from fans.  “Oh my gosh – I hope he lets me touch his hair!”  “I WANT TO HUG HIM!!!”  “He’s so perfect and wonderful and I love him and blah blah blah blah blah.”  I had to hear this over and over for 6 hours from teenagers and adults alike.

They started letting people into the theater about 15 minutes after it was supposed to start, then the movie started about 30 minutes later.  Unfortunately, the sound didn’t work right away, so they had to restart the movie 4 times before they got it right, delaying it another 20-30 minutes or so.  All in all, the movie was delayed a little over an hour.

Once it actually started though, it was quite nice.  Arthur (Robert Pattinson) is a 20-something aspiring musician going through what he coins his “quarter life crisis”.  He’s dumped by his girlfriend, moves back in with his less-than-thrilled parents, and has only the support of an agorophobic best friend to lean on.  In an attempt to get his life on the right track he hires a life coach to follow him around every day to teach him how to handle situations normally.  This leads to some very awkward moments where you first believe that Arthur is speaking from the heart, only to have his life coach appear from out of nowhere to tell him what he’s doing wrong.

Once the film was over, the writer/director Oliver Irving and main actor Robert Parttinson came into the theater for a very brief Q&A.  A couple people had legitimate questions about the film, but there were also a couple girls who simply asked if he would sing to the audience and give them a hug.  I wanted to kick them in the shin.

The theater then emptied in approximately 4 seconds flat after the film festival directors advised that Oliver and Rob would be outside signing autographs shortly.  By the time Jayme and Sarah and I made it out there, we were hundreds of people back in line.  I left to get food since it was already well after 10, and when I made it back to the theater Jayme and Sarah were waiting for me.  Apparently Rob’s bodyguard had cut off the line so he could catch a flight, and everyone was told to go home.  So we didn’t get autographs, but we did get to see him and hear him, so that was cool too.  I was more than satisfied with the experience.

We didn’t make it back to Arlington until a little after 2 in the morning, and then I had to get in my car and head home, collapsing into bed shortly after 3.  It was a fun weekend.  Boring at points, and obnoxious at others, but what isn’t?  I’m glad I went to my first film festival, even if it was only one film.