I had to leave four week-old Silas behind – not an easy thing for a new mom to do! – but luckily my friend and fellow filmmaker, Nicole, was able to be my “plus one” for the weekend and accompany me down to the ceremony. We spent a whirlwind 24 hours in Austin, which was just enough time for me to stuff my face with tacos, have my first cocktail in 10 months (!!!), and enjoy an awesome afternoon/evening at the NBC Sports lawn at the Four Seasons Hotel for the watch party and winner ceremony. I got to meet the other finalists – all of who were exceptionally nice and interesting people – and we talked filmmaking shop until the event began.
The last few months have been a bit of a blur! A few days before I welcomed my son, Silas, into the world, I got the very exciting news that my Penn Relays film – Going the Distance – had been selected from more than 900 submissions as one of five finalists in the NBC Sports Cptr’d Short Film Competition! The competition – which is in its inaugural year – challenged filmmakers to make short films on sports-related topics of their choice. It was affiliated with the South by Southwest Film Festival, so after a month-long “online viewer voting period” (during which I pestered my friends and family with way too many “please vote!” emails and Facebook posts), NBC flew all of the finalists down to Austin, TX during SXSW for the watch party and winner announcement.
The event itself was great. It was held on a giant lawn overlooking Lady Bird Lake on a perfect spring day: sunny, high 70s… exactly the kind of day you’d relish after spending the previous four weeks cooped up with a newborn (no offense, Silas!). Nicole and I wandered around with our beers, and did some good old-fashioned people-watching before the ceremony. Note: Austin is great for this no matter what time of year, but especially during SXSW! When it came time to announce the winners, they had us all sit on a stage for a short Q&A. It was very informal and relaxed, which I appreciated as I am not one for being in front of the cameras!
My film was awarded 2nd place in the competition. Of course I was gunning for first (who wouldn’t be?!), but I was also very happy and honored to take home second place honors.
After the ceremony, Nicole and I wandered around Sixth Street for a bit, trying to summon the energy for a celebratory drink. However, four weeks of no sleep + flying halfway across the country for 24 hours does not a drinking mood make, so in the end, we settled on some Voodoo donuts and went back to the hotel for a full night’s sleep… the trip’s true prize! :)