By Erin Casper, 2011 Fellow

Back in March, two incredible things happened: I traveled to the world premiere of my first feature doc as editor, Our School, at the One World Film Festival in Prague, and shortly after that, I was recognized as the first recipient of the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship at the SXSW Film Festival Awards Ceremony. To make things even more exciting, these events took place back-to-back, with enough downtime to run back home to Brooklyn and swap out latitude appropriate clothing between flights. I love SXSW, and there are a number of people that made the week special - the festival’s producer Janet Pierson in particular for the very handy film badge. Thanks Janet!

Here are a few highlights from the week:

  • Hitting it off with endearingly awesome Leah Marino at a party shortly after my arrival. Leah’s a fellow editor, KSFEF board member, and dear friend of Karen’s. She was attending the ceremony to talk about the fellowship and introduce me as the first recipient. She also sweetly introduced me to her friends in the Austin film community and talked me down from my fear of public speaking when we planned for the awards ceremony the next night.
  • The realization (and subsequent relief) that everyone else making speeches at the awards ceremony was nervous and was keeping it short. Leah and I were allotted six minutes, but it was obvious that taking that long would drag down the pace of the ceremony. Our editor brains kicked into gear and we made last minute cuts in our speeches. Clearly, the job of an editor never ends.
  • Bellyflopping onto my bed after the ceremony. I did my best to reply to congratulatory messages on my phone with one hand while eating quickly-melting ice cream with the other. The onslaught of remaining jetlag and sugar overload took over, and the evening gently ground to a halt, mid-Facebook update (never to be completed).
  • Torchy’s Tacos. I was told that this was one of Karen’s favorite places to eat. I can see why. Dear New York: Please take note of this and get back to me when you get your act together taco-wise.
  • Enjoying a gluttony of film and music with my boyfriend, Adam: Cindy Meehl’s affecting portrait of Buck Brannaman in BuckConan O’Brien Can’t Stop; a surprise screening of the 1981 film Dragonslayer (Hosted by Harry Knowles with a surprise visit from Guillermo del Toro! My fellow nerds in attendance freaked), the 2011 Dragonslayer (which won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize); Outside Industry: The Story of SXSW (we had to leave early to go catch a showcase of narrative shorts); and the absurdly funny Natural Selection (which swept the narrative awards, including the Grand Jury Prize). I managed to squeeze in a little bit of the music festival in there, with the biggest highlight being Charles Bradley killing it at Stubb’s. Think James Brown incarnate.