SXSW Film is my favorite part of SXSW. For 5 years now I’ve gotten the Film wristband ($80 or so) and seen basically everything I’ve wanted to see, with little hassle. This year I saw some ammaaaazzzziinng movies. It might be my favorite year yet.

If you live in Austin and like to watch moving pictures that make you feel things, you should get a wristband next year. I’d been nagging my friend Andy to get one since 2013, and this year he finally did. Besides getting his bike stolen (classic SX), he had no regrets and says he’s going to do this every year.

Join the club.

Here’s a too-long breakdown of everything I saw that’s worth mentioning. You should see these 7 full length documentaries, 7 documentary shorts, and 2 narrative feature films. Or at least watch the trailers.

Documentaries

The Bandit

It’s about the making of Smokey and the Bandit, and it was fascinating even to non Smokey and the Bandit fans. These guys found some crazy amazing archival footage.

Even though I once had the very short term nickname “Smokeypedia”, I didn’t know half of what was in this documentary. Had no idea of Hal Needham’s huge role in making it, or that most of the lines were ad-libbed. Mainly though, this movie made me want to leave another button or two undone on my shirts this summer.

Prr1gsa

Orange sunshine

No movie has made me more curious about LSD than this one. What an incredible story about a group of people who wanted to turn the world on, and ended up being some of the biggest drug dealers the world has ever seen.

Fantastic Lies

Remember that Duke LaCrosse team rape thing? Turns out they were all innocent, and maybe you didn’t realize that due to the media shitstorm about how 100% guilty they were…without having the proper evidence to back that claim. When they were proven innocent, there wasn’t nearly as much coverage.

This is about that media shitstorm, and how the public and media can attach themselves to a fantastic lie, and be hellbent on its truth.

The Incomparable Rose Hartman

This lady took some great photos, and it’s because she just didn’t give a single fuck about what people thought about her. Still doesn’t. She put herself out there, snuck in there, and got the shot.

Accidental Courtesy

“How can you hate me, when you don’t even know me?”

An accomplished black musician who befriends members of the KKK, many of whom have never met a black person. When some of these people decide to leave the Klan, Daryl keeps their robes and hoods.

Tower

About the UT tower sniper in 1968. A friend of mine worked on the animation for this movie, and the entire thing was really well done. A partially animated documentary seems odd on paper, but it turned out great.

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru

Honestly, I knew nothing about Tony Robbins walking into this movie. The movie was basically behind the scenes at one of his 5 day seminars, boiled down to two hours. I thought it was really fascinating and inspiring. Andy absolutely despised everything about it. YMMV.

Documentary Shorts

Bacon and God’s Wrath

A 90 year old jewish woman tries bacon for the first time and gets her beliefs shattered by the internet.

Phil’s Camino

This guy wanted to hike the Camino de Santiago trail in Spain, and when he found out he had cancer, he recreated the experience in his backyard. Then he went and did the real thing. This was really beautiful, and he had some great things to say about life and death. I cried. I fucking wept.

Alive and Kicking: Soccer Grannies of South Africa

Love Bite: Laurie Lipton and her disturbing black & white drawings

I can’t find a trailer for this, but this gives you a sense of who she is and what she does. She had this great quote that I wrote down because I loved it so much, and it was about how when computers were coming around in the 60s, the dream was that they were going to save us so much time. Now, we’re turning into slaves to our devices, she said “We’re feeding the beast that will probably destroy us”.

The Shining Star Of Losers Everywhere

The strange but true story of how Japanese racehorse Haru Urara became a nationally celebrated symbol of perseverance while enduring a losing streak of epic proportions. Director and artist Mickey Duzyj traveled to Japan to uncover the story behind the horse’s unlikely rise to fame, and presents this animated short as the answer to how an undersized horse who vowed to “Never Give Up” became known as The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere.

Shiningstar

These C-cksucking Tears

In 1973, the son of a tenant dairy farmer released the first and only gay-themed country music album. But with only 1000 copies made, the album soon disappeared and became a gay urban myth.

I’d never heard of this, and the songs on the album are really good. Maybe you saw that article that was all over the place a while back called ‘Don’t Sneak’: Dad’s Unexpected Advice To His Gay Son In The ’50s? That’s this guy!

The Artful Vandal

Narratives

Both of these movies are gonna be up for some awards in 2016, I’m sure.

Born To Be Blue

The life of Chet Baker. Ethan Hawke is was amazing in this.

Miles Ahead

A couple of scenes in this movie blew me away, and overall I loved the whole thing.

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