SXSW 2019: Documentary Overview

Festival:
The 26th SXSW Film Festival

Dates:
March 8-17

About:
The popular Austin event includes approximately 60 new documentary features among its 140-odd feature and episodic presentations this year.

TREAD

Once again, nonfiction is absent rom the high-profile Headliners section, putting the focus squarely on the Documentary Feature Competition for standout docs. Among the ten titles here are: Linda Goldstein Knowlton’s WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS, about an Oakland-based group of social justice-focused young girls of colors; Rodney Evans’ VISION PORTRAITS, a personal meditation on vision loss; Jenifer McShane’s ERNIE & JOE, which profiles two members of San Antonio’s police Mental Health Unit; Paul Solet’s TREAD, on a 2004 incident in Colorado involving a man with a bulldozer run amok; and Elizabeth Carroll’s NOTHING FANCY: DIANA KENNEDY, about the nonagenarian British author, an expert in regional Mexican cuisine.

RUNNING WITH BETO

The bulk of the fest’s remaining nonfiction appears in the Documentary Spotlight, which includes: David Modigliani’s RUNNING WITH BETO, which follows Beto O’Rourke’s trailblazing campaign last year; Jesse James Miller’s I AM RICHARD PRYOR, on the legendary comedian; Julie Smith Clem and Ken Druckerman’s IT STARTED AS A JOKE, on the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival; Casey Pinkston and Luke Dick’s RED DOG, about Dick’s unconventional upbringing in an Oklahoma City strip club; Fernando Villena’s ANY ONE OF US, which follows a professional mountain biker is followed after a spinal cord injury; Adam Bolt’s HUMAN NATURE, which explores the potential implications of DNA discovery CRISPR; Uli Gaulke’s SUNSET OVER MULHOLLAND DRIVE, about the residents of the Motion Picture & Television Fund senior home; Erin Lee Carr’s I LOVE YOU, NOW DIE: THE COMMONWEALTH VS MICHELLE CARTER, on the infamous case involving a woman who urged her boyfriend via text to commit suicide; and Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s STATE OF PRIDE, which explores the enduring importance of LGBT pride celebrations.

MR JIMMY

SXSW’s music-focused strand, 24 Beats Per Second, is dominated by docs, and includes work like: Thom Zimny’s THE GIFT: THE JOURNEY OF JOHNNY CASH, about the iconic performer; Peter Michael Dowd’s MR JIMMY, about a Japanese Led Zeppelin fan who moonlights as Jimmy Page; Alfred George Bailey’s SHOW ME THE PICTURE: THE STORY OF JIM MARSHALL, about the acclaimed music photographer; Aaron Kunkel’s THE BOY BAND CON: THE LOU PEARLMAN STORY, on the infamous man behind the boy band phenomenon of the 1990s; and Scott Crawford’s BOY HOWDY! THE STORY OF CREEM MAGAZINE, about the influential, irreverent rock magazine.

JR “BOB” DOBBS AND THE CHURCH OF THE SUBGENIUS

Remaining nonfiction appears in Visions, with work like Sandy K Boone’s JR “BOB” DOBBS AND THE CHURCH OF THE SUBGENIUS, on the origins of the satiric religion; and Andrew Hevia’s LEAVE THE BUS THROUGH THE BROKEN WINDOW, a personal reflection of an American in Hong Kong; in Special Events, with a work-in-progress screening of Morgan Neville and Jeff Malmberg’s SHANGRI-LA, on music producer Rick Rubin; and Festival Favorites, which showcase recent docs from Sundance, Toronto, and True/False.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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