Class of 2012: SXSW Edition

Earlier today the South by Southwest film announced their lineup of films that will feature during the festival’s March 9–17 run. Please follow this link to the 2012 Program Page for more details.

Like I did with Sundance, I have reviewed the films and marked off the ones that piqued my interest; because this list is pretty exhaustive, I decided to highlight the narrative and documentary feature competitive categories. For the other categories (not in competition), I simply listed which films looked interesting to me. Please refer to the website for descriptions, etc.

 

CATEGORY: NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

Gimme the Loot, directed by Adam Leon (also screenplay)

SYNOPSIS

Malcolm and Sofia, two determined teens from the Bronx, are the ultimate graffiti-writers. When a rival gang buffs their latest masterpiece, they must hatch a plan to get revenge by tagging an iconic NYC landmark, but they need to raise $500 to pull off their spectacular scheme. Over the course of two whirlwind, sun-soaked summer days, Malcolm and Sofia travel on an epic urban adventure involving black market spray cans, illicit bodegas, stolen sneakers, a high stakes heist, and a beautiful, stoned girl whose necklace is literally their key to becoming the biggest writers in the City.

 

Starlet, directed by Sean Baker (also co-wrote)

SYNOPSIS

STARLET explores the unlikely friendship between 21 year-old Jane (Dree Hemingway), and 85 year-old Sadie (Besedka Johnson), two women whose worlds collide in California’s San Fernando Valley. Jane spends her time getting high with her dysfunctional roommates, Melissa and Mikey, while taking care of her Chihuahua, Starlet. Sadie, an elderly widow, passes her days alone, tending to her flower garden.

 

CATEGORY: DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION

The Source, directed by Jodi Wille & Maria Demopoulos

SYNOPSIS

It’s 1971 and communes and new religions are on the rise. The Source Family are an “Aquarian tribe,” a secretive but outlandish group of 140 beautiful young people who stroll Los Angeles in colorful robes, devotees of “Father Yod,” a controversial restaurateur-turned-spiritual leader with fourteen wives and his own psychedelic rock band.

The Family lives in a mansion and operates a popular restaurant on the Sunset Strip, serving vegetarian cuisine to musicians and movie stars, pioneering a national trend. But their radical lifestyle instigates the authorities. Their demise is dramatic and painful, but Yod’s spirit lives on.

 

Welcome to the Machine, directed by Avi Zev Weider

SYNOPSIS

Upon becoming the father to triplets, filmmaker Avi Zev Weider explores the nature of technology. Woven together with expert interviews and portraits of people who have intimate relationships with technology, WELCOME TO THE MACHINE reveals that all discussions about technology are ultimately about what it means to be human.

 

CATEGORIES: HEADLINERS/NARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT/DOCUMENTARY SPOTLIGHT

(HEADLINERS) Big names, big talent: Headliners bring star power to SXSW, featuring red carpet premieres and gala film events with some major and rising names in cinema.  (NARRATIVE) High profile narrative features receiving their World, North American or U.S. Premieres at SXSW. (DOCUMENTARY) Shining a light on new documentary features receiving their World, North American or U.S. Premieres at SXSW.

  • Hunky Dory (Narrative)
  • $ELLEBRITY (Documentary)
  • The Announcement (Documentary)
  • Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines (Documentary)

CATEGORY: EMERGING VISIONS

Audacious, risk-taking artists in the new cinema landscape that demonstrate raw innovation and creativity in documentary and narrative filmmaking.

  •  Black Pond
  • Eating Alabama
  • The Last Fall

CATEGORY: 24 BEATS PER SECOND

Showcasing the sounds, culture and influence of music and musicians, with an emphasis on documentary.

  • Charles Bradley: Soul of America
  • Sunset Strip

CATEGORY: SX GLOBAL

A diverse panorama of international filmmaking talent, including premieres, interactive documentaries and shorts.

  • Italy, Love it, or Leave it 

CATEGORY: FESTIVAL FAVORITES

Acclaimed standouts and selected previous premieres from festivals around the world.

  •  The Comedy

 

As someone who loves cinema, it is always a fun task to take a look at what is going on at the leading edge of the film industry. Last year, this is where Attack the Block generated a great deal of buzz.

So what do you think? Are you interested in any of the films? Do you plan on going to SXSW?


* All photos, synopses courtesy of South by Southwest (SXSW)

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