SXSW 2022: Documentary Overview

Festival:
The 29th SXSW Film Festival

Dates:
March 11-20

About:
This Austin event makes its in-person return with a lineup of more than 100 new features and episodics – with docs making up more than half that number.

Among the offerings:

Documentary Feature Competition:

BAD AXE
Director: David Siev
Producers: Jude Harris, Katarina Vasquez, David Siev
A real-time portrait of 2020 unfolds as an Asian-American family in Trump’s rural America fights to keep their restaurant and American dream alive in the face of a pandemic, Neo-Nazis, and generational scars from the Cambodian Killing Fields.

CLEAN
Director: Lachlan McLeod
Producers: David Elliot-Jones, Charlotte Wheaton
A fly-on-the-wall insight into the world of trauma cleaning through the journey of larger-than-life business owner Sandra Pankhurst and the workers at Melbourne’s Specialised Trauma Cleaning Services.

MASTER OF LIGHT
Director: Rosa Ruth Boesten
Producers: Roger Ross Williams, Anousha Nzume, Ilja Roomans
George Anthony Morton, a classical painter who spent ten years in federal prison, travels to his hometown to paint his family members, forcing him to face his past in a quest to rewrite the script of his life.

THE THIEF COLLECTOR
Director: Allison Otto
Producers: Caryn Capotosto, Jill Latiano Howerton, Joshua Kunau
Unraveling the mystery of the infamous 1985 heist of Willem de Kooning’s seminal painting, “Woman-Ochre,” one of the most audacious and puzzling crimes of a generation.

Documentary Spotlight:

CROWS ARE WHITE
Director: Ahsen Nadeem
Producers: Riel Roch-Decter, Sebastian Pardo, Ahsen Nadeem, Ben Renzon, Ryan Ahrens, Jill Ahrens
After decades of living a secret life, a filmmaker travels to a strict Japanese monastery in search of guidance but the only monk who will help him prefers ice cream and heavy metal over meditation.

GABBY GIFFORDS WON’T BACK DOWN
Directors: Julie Cohen, Betsy West
Producers: Lisa Erspamer, Sam Jinishian
A gunman ended her skyrocketing political career, but didn’t stop Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

MICKEY: THE STORY OF A MOUSE
Director: Jeff Malmberg
Producers: Morgan Neville, Meghan Walsh, Chris Shellen
An exploration of Mickey Mouse’s significance, getting to the core of what Mickey’s cultural impact says about each of us and about our world.

MORE THAN ROBOTS
Director: Gillian Jacobs
Producers: Jason Sterman, David Gelb, Brian McGinn
Four teams of teenagers from around the world prepare for the 2020 First Robotics Competition, but in a year like no other, the kids learn that there is more to the competition than just robots.

SKATE DREAMS
Director: Jessica Edwards
Producers: Erin Owens, Jessica Edwards
The rise of women’s skateboarding, profiling a group of women whose pursuit of self-expression, equality, and freedom have created an international movement of independence and empowerment.

SPLIT AT THE ROOT
Director: Linda Goldstein Knowlton
Producers: Maria Grasso, Linda Goldstein Knowlton, Miranda Bailey
When a Guatemalan mother seeking asylum was separated from her kids under Zero Tolerance Policy, a group of women sprang into action.

STILL WORKING 9 TO 5
Directors/Producers: Camille Hardman, Gary Lane
An exploration of why workplace inequality is no laughing matter in the 40 years since the seminal comedy, 9 TO 5, was released in 1980.

UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Director: Casey Neistat
Producers: Christine Vachon, Casey Neistat, Mason Plotts
The rise and fall of the biggest YouTuber in the world whose feel-good videos masked the dark and reckless new ethos of online celebrity culture.

WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND
Director: Iliana Sosa
Producers: Emma D. Miller, Iliana Sosa, Isidore Bethel (co-producer)
A gentle love letter to farmworkers, mutual caregivers, and transnational families through the filmmaker’s portrait of her grandfather.

Visions:

SELF-PORTRAIT
Director/Producer: Joële Walinga
A portrait of humanity as captured by its surveillance cameras.

SELL/BUY/DATE
Director: Sarah Jones
Producers: Sarah Jones, David Goldblum, Julie Parker Benello
A heartfelt, witty hybrid following Tony-winning performer/comedian Sarah Jones and her multicultural characters on a journey exploring her personal relationship to the sex industry through a social justice lens.

24 Beats Per Second:

CESÁRIA ÉVORA
Director: Ana Sofia Fonseca
Producers: Ana Sofia Fonseca, Irina Calado
World renowned performer Cesária Évora’s voice took her from poverty to stardom.

CYPHER
Director: Chris Moukarbel
Producers: John Hodges, Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, Chris Moukarbel, Tierra Whack, Anthony Seyler, Sanjay Sharma, Roya Rastegar
A hybrid psychological thriller about and starring the artist Tierra Whack that delves into fame and the conspiracy theories surrounding the music industry.

JAZZ FEST: A NEW ORLEANS STORY
Directors: Frank Marshall, Ryan Suffern
Producers: Frank Marshall, Sean Stuart, Ryan Suffern
This soulful and heartfelt celebration of 50 years of the funky and fabulous New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival invites you to bliss out on New Orleans’ unique culture.

LOOK AT ME!
Director: Sabaah Folayan
Producer: Darcy McKinnon, Chloe Campion
An exploration of how Jahseh Onfroy tapped raw talent, a gift for connecting with disaffected youth, and a mastery of social media to fashion himself into SoundCloud rapper XXXTentacion – one of the most streamed artists on the planet.

OMOIYARI: A SONG FILM BY KISHI BASHI
Directors: Kaoru Ishibashi, Justin Taylor Smith
Producer: JJ Gerber, Jim Angelo, Jenny Mills
Violinist and songwriter Kishi Bashi travels on a musical journey to understand WWII era Japanese Incarceration, assimilation, and what it means to be a minority in America today.

THE RETURN OF TANYA TUCKER
Director: Kathlyn Horan

Producers: Kathlyn Horan, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn
Rising star Brandi Carlile writes an album for her hero, trailblazing country music legend Tanya Tucker, spurring the greatest comeback in country music history.

Episodic Premieres:

Courtesy HBO Max

THE LAST MOVIE STARS
Director: Ethan Hawke
Producers: Emily Wachtel, Lisa Long Adler, Adam Gibbs, Ryan Hawke
An epic 6-chapter film chronicling Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s iconic careers and decades-long partnership.

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

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