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'The Cabin In The Woods' writer Joss Whedon gives a keynote speech at the SXSW Film Festival and Conference in Austin, Texas. (Jack Plunkett/AP/Jack Plunkett/AP)
'The Cabin In The Woods' writer Joss Whedon gives a keynote speech at the SXSW Film Festival and Conference in Austin, Texas. (Jack Plunkett/AP/Jack Plunkett/AP)

Whedon's horror comedy Cabin in the Woods opens South By Southwest Add to ...

Even heavy rain couldn’t dampen the mood at South By Southwest’s opening weekend – where wall-to-wall parties celebrated cool apps, hot bands and new films.

To kick things off was Friday night’s world premiere of Drew Goddard’s horror comedy The Cabin in the Woods. Smart, funny – and, yes, scary – the film was conceived and co-written by fanboy fave Joss Whedon (director of The Avengers) and shot in B.C. “After the scout, and seeing those incredible trees, we knew we couldn’t make this movie anywhere else,” said Goddard.

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Genre titles usually generate the most hype at the festival. Sunday saw Irish chiller Citadel, in which a priest and a dad try to save a kid from a pack of feral children, play against the much anticipated V/H/S, an omnibus movie co-directed by horror and indie leading lights Adam Wingard, Ti West, David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg and Radio Silence.

But the festival also had a blockbuster slate of documentaries this year. They included Waiting for Lightning, a riveting tale of skateboard superstar Danny Way’s quest to jump the Great Wall of China; Beware of Mr. Baker, a portrait of the cantankerous Cream drummer; and Marley, an exhaustive portrait of the reggae legend.

The only real problem was transportation. With taxis in short supply, many attendees were eyeing a large model of a hot air balloon parked off 6th Street – that included a large keg and a dozen spots for patrons.

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