2009 Marfa Film Festival Close Up

2009 Marfa Film Festival Close Up

Goode Crowley Theater, Marfa, Texas
The 2009 Marfa Film Festival (second one ever) starts off here in front of Padre’s and the Goode Crowley theater. There was punch made with orange juice, tequila and champagne. I got a headache from the champagne and the sunshine. Some people were worried about the sparse turn-out… did the Swine Flu and rumors of cancellation scare folks away? It was just a Wednesday, so it just took awhile for the festival to ramp up. 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s (a strong festival opener) blew everyone away with its street-smart attitude and South Bronx sass. The after party at Padre’s was excellent as well.

To me, the most awesome thing about the Marfa Film Festival was how excited and enthusiastic all the volunteers were. Tyler Spurgeon is an awesome guy and he went above and beyond. Kudos to him and his bride to be, Lena Rae Hill. It’s folks like you that make an event like this hip and organic. Despite my whining and malingering, you just met a ton of cool people from all over the place.

John and Beverly show up in their art car limousine. I’m sorry, Beverly, I fibbed. I posted your picture to the Internet.

Beautiful weather. The Festival heightened how cowboy culture and hipster culture can thrive together as long as there is plenty of cold beer. The evenings were beautiful Texas spring days… surprisingly there were no high winds.

One of my favorite features is the Marfa Tea Party. I like non-narrative avant-garde stuff. Also, this featured work by local people like Adam Bork and Anthony. This was a great place to recover and grab a snack and some cool ice tea in between screenings.

Romi is another amazing asset to the Marfa arts community. Overall, each of the events was well-decorated and fun.

During the Larry McMurtry dinner that was listed in the schedule as a Festival event but was $100 extra, I slummed it with the folks just hanging out at the Goode Crowley theater.

To me, this is tantamount to extortion. You buy your pass after hearing that Larry McMurtry will be there and then you must pay an additional $100 to bask in his glory.

I have a feeling we had as good a time as the people who could afford to hang with the beautiful people rather than the hoi polloi.

I get a little worked up here… press passes didn’t take you into the steak dinner or to see James McMurtry… also, people didn’t call me back to inform me about this very pertinent fact before I drove out there (the Marfa Film Festival voice mail was full when I called on Thursday). Oh well.

I do admit that I am a spoiled whiner … overall, these people pulled off the impossible. There were millions of little moments of joy that outweighed the trivial aggravations.

Here’s the traffic jam that occurred at the screening of the ‘Last Picture Show’… it’s kind of ironic that a poignant film about small town values transformed Marfa’s quiet streets into Westheimer during rush hour.


  • Volunteers and community support: A++
    This is the one quality that makes me feel hopeful about the future of this festival. The town of Marfa as a whole gets A++ for their involvement and hospitality.
  • Overall ineffable Marfa vibe: A
  • Feeling of fun when you left a screening: B+
  • Free alcohol: B
  • Tacky vendors selling hotdogs and ponchos: C+
  • Programming: C+ In my opinion, great films like “The Red Shoes” or “Midnight Cowboy” are not relevant, topical or thematically linked to what the Marfa Film Festival claims to offer. They were 1) not filmed near Marfa, 2) are not new films and 3) do not have a thematic link. I could easily swallow my tongue and be one of these people who is never critical, but wouldn’t that make me someone who doesn’t believe in room for improvement? The Marfa Film Festival has extensive room for improvement; I recommend moving entry dates back and getting a larger jump on screening. Perhaps reaching out to local cinema experts?
  • Technical Competence: C
    I encountered many technical problems at screenings– out of focus, screenings canceled or delayed, no PA for speakers, format problems, etc. People’s good cheer and plenty of alcohol kept this from being unbearable.

All in all, an excellent experience that should make each citizen of Marfa proud. Don’t worry about the sophomore slump, the second Marfa Film Festival delivered.
Let’s hear your comments/experiences below!!!

5 thoughts on “2009 Marfa Film Festival Close Up

  1. Doshy

    U R a complete jerk!!! I give A+++ in all categories!!! This is most fun ever!!!

  2. Les

    If you can get angry over a traffic jam in Marfa, then you definitely don’t undestand Marfa. I would wait for hours just to be able to sit under the stars in Marfa to watch a movie. You complain to much. Come back to Marfa when your head is clear.

  3. admin

    Les, you don’t get it. A traffic jam in Marfa is an anomoly… “come back when my head is clear”? Is this Dennis Hopper? I live out here, bro. My head is clear and I’m in Marfa constantly.

    I love it there and I think anyone who ‘would wait for hours just to sit under the stars’ is smoking model glue.

  4. Adrian

    The Marfa Film Festival was pure magic and the cause for one of the best night s of my life…Only in Marfa

  5. daniel lopez l

    tyler s. is the best. i love that guuy there is no one else like him
    marfa rules b/c of tyler s.