Like any major hybrid cultural event that jumps the shark and decides to evolve into what’s essentially a hipsterised parody of itself, #SXSW has been inverting from its original incarnation for years and sequentially de-evolving into a muddled coolhunting mess. So when AllThingsD reported on this glorious play containing yams and oily-networking-sycophants, it just had to be applauded:
In the weeks leading up to SXSW, a series of mysterious packages started being sent out to companies of import and some journalists. The contents included a set of instructions and one single, neatly wrapped object: A yam.
Those who received the yams in the mail — from “Yamtrader.com” were pitched on a new startup that, basically, sold itself as “an online marketplace for yam enthusiasts and traders.” It was absurd.
Yet attendees were encouraged to bring their yams to South By, where they could be traded in for a $50 AmEx gift card.
What they found when they reached South By on Sunday morning wasn’t a booth full of potato lovers. It was Tri-Net.
What is Tri-Net? It’s a 25-year-old cloud services company that deals with HR, payroll and IT backend issues for smaller startups, who may have a good idea for a company, but have little backend business acumen. It’s pretty big, too; it’s home to more than 1,500 employees, and works with upwards of 7,000 clients.I get it… IT and payroll services are about as exciting as attending an enterprise conference after taking a Xanax. So you have to resort to guerilla, somewhat unconventional marketing tactics to get noticed on occasion.
But Tri-Net did them one better. Theirs is a sort of meta-commentary on startup marketing on the whole, a tongue-in-cheek gesture on the stupidity of some single-serving companies that are appearing out of Silicon Valley these days — much less with millions of dollars in venture capital funding. By contrast, something difficult to market may prove more useful; it’s why the hottest topic in the Valley these days is indeed the enterprise (even if it is boring as hell).
A number of folks were taken in by it, with mixed reactions. “We have gotten feedback in both directions,” Breitweiser said. “Some thought it was really funny, while some were upset that we were fooling them.”
2012 JAPANESE FILM FESTIVAL PROGRAM UNVEILED
Opening with Japan’s biggest box office hit of the year Thermae Romae
29 November – 9 December
The 16th Japanese Film Festival (JFF) opens in Melbourne with its biggest line-up yet. Boasting many titles that are now showing in Japan, with some yet to be released the JFF will screen at Hoyts Melbourne Central and ACMI Cinemas.
Opening the Festival is Japan’s biggest box office hit of the year, Thermae Romae, a laugh-out-loud comedy starring Hiroshi Abe as a time-travelling Roman architect that journeys between ancient Rome and present-day Japan. The film is centred on bath culture, from Japanese bathhouses to Roman baths becoming the portal between the two eras.
The Festival will close with epic saga The Floating Castle, based on historical events. Set in 16th century feudal Japan, it’s the tale of a 20,000 strong army battling for their lives against 500 men. Originally set for a September 2011 release, it was postponed to this November due to a large water attack scene that was deemed inappropriate to be released in the same year as the tsunami.
Fresh from Japan comes the 35th Montreal World Film Festival ‘Special Grand Prix Jury’ Prize winner, A Chronicle of My Mother starring Koji Yakusho (13 Assassins).
Earlier this year, Japan’s oldest active film director Kaneto Shindo passed away, aged 100. Postcard was Shindo’s final film, written from his own war experiences and was Japan’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 2011 Academy Awards.
From the director of the 2009 Academy Award-winning film Departures, Yojiro Takita returns with Tenchi: the Samurai Astronomer, a samurai assigned with the task of charting the stars across the length and breadth of Japan.
Fans of Japanese thrillers will be pleased to see Goose Bumps – the Movie in the mix. Initially a cult TV series, this is a compilation of six chilling stories not about the supernatural, but the curiosity and madness that lurks deep within us all.
Rurouni Kenshin, another film currently topping Japan box office grossing over 555 million yen ($7 million) in its first five days, is a must-see for all samurai lovers. But for those who are after a different type of blade action, Helter Skelter gives you a glimpse of the ugly side of beauty – when plastic surgery gets out of hand.
Families will enjoy newly animated feature Friends: Naki on the Monster Island, a heart-warming story about an unlikely friendship that forms between a monster and a human child.
For the full program, visit www.japanesefilmfestival.net
Tickets go on sale now!
Facebook – japanesefilmfest – and on Twitter @japanfilmfest / #jff16