SXSW: March 12 2018

During the first half of SXSW, I typically just see movies in the evenings and focus on Interactive sessions during the daytime. However, I couldn’t resist seeing The Director and the Jedi on Monday morning, even though it messed up the rest of the day.

The Director and the Jedi

If you’ve seen the most recent Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, you will love this documentary. It follows all aspects of making the film, from pre-production, special effects, set design, CGI, and post-production. Director Rian Johnson, producer Ram Bergman, and actor Mark Hamill were at the showing. Hamill downplayed his disagreement with Johnson over the storyline for Luke Skywalker. He said that he took The Last Jedi role so he wouldn’t be “the most hated character in nerdom” if he refused.

Interactive Keynote: Mayor Sadiq Khan 

I arrived late, so I watched this keynote from an overflow room. As mayor of London, Sadiq Khan spoke about his goals for his city and embracing the advancement of tech to instill hope for a better and more inclusion future. He read out some negative tweets that he has recently received as examples of what elected officials now have to deal with. After his speech, he was interviewed by Lydia Polgreen, Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post. He noted that politicians need to be teachers to the electorate, explaining the issues and possible solutions. He stressed that, in spite of Brexit, London is open to business and tech. Polgreen asked him about London’s battle with Uber. Khan stressed that he has a responsibility to treat the little guy the same as big companies.

Changing the World Through Food

Andrew Zimmern, Jose Andres, and Dana Cawin spoke about how to change the world one cooked dish at a time. Andres came to the US as an immigrant and worked in various kitchens. He is head of World Central Kitchen (WCK) which serves healthy foods to victims of disasters. Zimmern grew up in NYC and cooked in great kitchens, but suffered from addiction and wound up homeless. Cawin asked why chefs have taken the lead to help with disaster relief. Andres: “I think the people leading those organizations are Yelpers who gave zero stars.” More seriously, he thinks chefs are people of action. He said that people in Puerto Rico were being given dried rice and beans by relief organizations, but there was no electricity and no clean water. WCK is still on the island and served 7,000 meals yesterday. Zimmern is involved with Food Not Bombs which was doing food rescue before it became fashionable. He now volunteers with recovery organizations. Andres encouraged attendees to practice pragmatic giving. Zimmern added to search out micro entrepreneurs.

The Last O.G.

Tracy Morgan and Tiffany Haddish star in the new TV comedy series, The Last O.G. We screened the first two episodes. The series premiers on April 3 on TBS. Morgan plays an ex-felon returning to his Brooklyn neighborhood after 15 years in prison. Haddish is his former girlfriend. The show is also shot in Brooklyn. Morgan said that he has been talking about this project for eight years. I think all Q&A sessions should include comedians. These two were hilarious.


Any movie with Kristen Shaal is bound to be quirky. Boundaries tells the story of a woman who drives down the Pacific Coast with her father and son. Vera Farmiga plays the daughter. Christopher Plummer gives an excellent performance as the drug-dealing dad.

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