SXSW Film

Fox Searchlight Pictures

From Texas Standard.

Film has now been part of South by Southwest for 25 years. It’s grown from a local fest to a competitive international stage for filmmakers and has launched the careers of many big names. Academy Award winner Brie Larson credits SXSW with launching her career and so does Oscar nominee Greta Gerwig.

When SXSW Film began in the mid-90s, it was a very different event than it is today.

Bernardo Ruiz

This story comes from Texas Standard.

A documentary at SXSW – “Kingdom of Shadows” – forces us to look at the ongoing violence south of the Texas-Mexico border.

The film is told through three people – a Mexican nun working to find answers about tens of thousands of disappearances, a U.S. drug enforcement agent and a former Texas drug smuggler. Bernardo Ruiz directed the film.

facebook.com/thejonesfamilysingers

The Jones Family Singers is made up in part of five sisters, two brothers and their father. The gospel music band is based in Bay City, Texas – outside of Houston.

For the last several decades, the Jones Family Singers have been touring churches and winning singing competitions. But it wasn’t until recently that the group started getting some real attention.

That’s thanks in major part to music critic Michael Corcoran. Austin-based Arts and Labor produced an album last year. And now, their story is being told in a film getting its world premiere at South by Southwest: The Jones Family Will Make a Way.

SXSW Film: Day Five from The Daily Buzz

Mar 17, 2015
Courtesy of the film

It was drizzling this morning in Texas on Day Five of The Daily Buzz at SXSW Film. If you were walking by our broadcasting studio on N. Congress Ave. earlier today, you may have heard violin and cello strings being tuned as we talked with Christine Vachon from Killer Films, award-winning producer of Boys Don't Cry, Far From Heaven and, most recently, Still Alice.

Cody Rea for Texas Standard.

From Texas Standard:

The SXSW Film Conference marks a sort of homecoming for MacArthur genius and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer’s 2012 film, The Act of Killing, looks at how the perpetrators of Indonesia’s military coup cope with their past. His new documentary, The Look of Silence, follows victims of the coup and how they continue to live alongside the people who killed their family members.

SXSW Film: Day Four from The Daily Buzz

Mar 16, 2015
Courtesy of the film

It’s Day Four of The Daily Buzz at the Historic Stateside Theatre, and there's excitement brewing at the Paramount in anticipation of the 30th anniversary screening of John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club.

SXSW Film: Day Three from The Daily Buzz

Mar 15, 2015
Courtesy of the film

Episode Three of The Daily Buzz assembles a motley crew of experts: SXSW Producer and Senior Programmer Jarod Neese; General Manager of SXSW Music Fest James Minor; SXSW Music Fest Programmer Stacey Wilhelm; and the show's co-hosts, Joe Leydon (Variety) and Kim Voynar with special guests Jeff Yang (Wall Street Journal) and Justin Chang (Variety). 

SXSW Film: Day One from The Daily Buzz

Mar 13, 2015
Courtesy of Possible Films

SXSW Film began today, and festival podcast the Daily Buzz is out gathering interviews, previews and reviews with some of the filmmakers, writers and actors appearing at this year's fest, which features more films this year than ever before.

Micah Magee, Petting Zoo

Filmmaker Micah Magee has been all over the world – but just wanted to capture the Lone Star State in her SXSW Film "Petting Zoo."

Micah Magee directed "Petting Zoo." It's making its North American premiere at SXSW.

"When I was in film school in Berlin I’d go like sit in the cactus section at the biological gardens because I missed the way it smelled so much and you can’t really get smells to be in a film," Magee says. "So I had to find the ways to have that feeling of really being there that I really missed so much. I wanted to like transport that to everywhere else in the world where the film could and, hopefully, would go."

South by Southwest is the biggest conference of its kind in Texas. It draws in tens of thousands of people and has an economic impact of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Janet Pierson heads up SXSW Film, which is screening 150 films this year – the most ever.

“We actually really wanted to show fewer films. The last couple of years we had settled on about 130-133 features – down from 140 – and we wanted to actually pull it down to about 125, and then there was just too much work that was interesting,” Pierson says.

Courtesy "Two Step"

Update: Austinites have another chance to see "Two Step" on the big screen. After showing at SXSW and the Little Rock Film Festival, the Austin Film Society is screening Austin-based writer/director Alex R. Johnson's dark feature.

KUT talked with Johnson about the film back in March.

Original Story (March 10, 2014): The Texas drama "Two Step" debuts at SXSW Film. It is Austin-based writer/director Alex R. Johnson's first feature-length film. It has a "No Country for Old Men" vibe – along with a memorable villain who you're better off not running into.

Johnson is pretty new to Austin. He talked with KUT about "Two Step" and how moving here inspired him to make it.

Ben King

Update: Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater's much-anticipated 12-year film project "Boyhood" opens in theatres across Austin today. KUT talked with star Ethan Hawke when he was in town for South by Southwest.

Original Story (March 11): Actor Ethan Hawke is in not one but two films that headlined SXSW Film this year.

“Boyhood” is the 12-year-long film project about growing up by Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater. “Predestination” is a time-travel sci-fi thriller.

KUT sat down with Hawke to talk with him about the films and about his Texas ties – Hawke was born in Austin.

Martin Scali

Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is now in theaters across the country.

A South by Southwest audience got a sneak peek last week. The highly-stylized filmmaker himself even made a trip to Austin for the screening and an extended Q&A. That's something SXSW Film Head Janet Pierson said she'd been trying to make happen for about a decade. 

FORMAX Group

If there’s one thing Austinites love – it’s hearing people talk about how great Austin is. The film “The Road to Austin” features a lot of that. It premiered at South by Southwest Film.

"The Road to Austin" is part documentary, part concert and features a lot of well-known voices – from Kris Kristofferson and Joe Ely to a couple of KUTX DJs – all talking about what makes the Austin music scene so special and how it became the live music capital of the world.   

KUT talked with "The Road to Austin" producer/director Gary Fortin:

Jack Zeman

Writer/Director Riley Stearns grew up in Pflugerville – but has been making his living in L.A. He says bringing the movie to SXSW Film for its World Premiere is like a homecoming.

“Faults" follows a cult deprogrammer who is hired by some parents to kidnap and de-program their brainwashed daughter. But as the film progresses, the cult deprogrammer – and the audience – start to question who is really the most negative influence.

KUT talked with Stearns about his film:

Courtesy "Thank You A Lot"

In Austin, it seems like everyone's a musician and there’s live music every night. But between that dynamic of stage and crowd, there’s a cast of characters: including band managers, doormen and promoters.

The film “Thank You A Lot” premiered at SXSW Film. It explores some of these characters – particularly a father-son pair caught in the middle of all the bustle.

KUT sat down with Austin-based writer/director Matt Muir:

Robert Voets

Austin-based writer/director Rob Thomas’s film “Veronica Mars” hits theatres this week. But South by Southwest audiences got to see it first.

The film revisits the characters Thomas created for the “Veronica Mars” TV show – which was canceled back in 2007 after three seasons. But fans demanded more. And an enormously successful Kickstarter campaign provided the budget for the much-anticipated follow up.

KUT sat down with Thomas to talk about the journey of making this film:

Lauren Logan

Austin-based writer/director Kat Candler’s star continues to rise. Her short film “Black Metal” attracted the attention of critics and her feature film “Hellion” premiered at Sundance.

“Hellion” is also screening at South by Southwest Film. It's about a father and two sons struggling to deal with a recent death and the consequences of their poor choices in reaction to it.

KUT talked with Candler about her latest film:

Television show creators are peering into the geeky and moneyed world of computer programmers with a new comedy from HBO and a drama from AMC, both debuting this spring.

"The Legend of Shorty"

In a film that premieres at SXSW Film, two filmmakers set out to do what authorities could not: find Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Authorities eventually did catch up with Guzman – just last month.

But directors Angus Macqueen and Guillermo Galdos were hot on his trail in their documentary “The Legend of Shorty."

KUT talked with Macqueen and journalist Anabel Hernandez about the film, El Chapo and what they say is the real danger in Mexico.

Courtesy of Sob Noisse

Adam Minnick came to Austin from Michigan about nine years ago to work in the semiconductor field – after his photography plans did not take off.

"Buzzard" is his first step into the film world. A world he entered when an old college buddy asked him to be the director of photography in the feature film he was working on. "Buzzard" debuted at SXSW Film.

KUT talked with Minnick about the film and his unlikely path to filmmaking:

Jess Pinkham

It’s the summer of 1985 – when teenagers carried boom boxes on their shoulders and poured pop rocks into soft drinks. For Austin-based writer/director Michael Tully – that summer is also all about table tennis – or ping pong.

“Ping Pong Summer” premiered at Sundance this year – and has been picked up for theatrical release. But before it hits movie houses, it hits SXSW Film.

Michael Tully talked with KUT about his film:

Courtesy of Participant Media

The annual South by Southwest film festival kicks off in Austin today. The 10-day fest features more than 89 world premieres and a total of 133 feature films. Janet Pierson heads SXSW Film. And it’s ultimately her job to weed through the thousands of submissions to come up with the slate of film offerings.

Janet Pierson stopped by KUT to talk about this year’s lineup.

On What Makes a Good SXSW Film:

"It's a total picture that we're looking for. You know, you look for a lot of things. Original voices is a big deal, something that surprises you, something that really works - that has a depth. We look for a transformational experience. We want to be moved somehow."

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: "The Punk Syndrome" won the SXGlobal Audience Award. See pictures from the Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät concert, below.

Original Story  (March 15, 6:01 a.m.): A punk band from Finland is the focus of a film that’s showing at South by Southwest this week. The band is also playing a gig in the SXSW Music festival.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

On the last day of SXSW Film, Dennis Quaid, Zac Efron and Ellen Page were some of the stars at the Paramount for screenings of "At Any Price" and "The East."

"At Any Price," starring Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron as father and son, examined a family farming business struggling with an unexpected crisis. The drama directed by Ramin Bahrani gets a wide release April 26. 

erbp

The South by Southwest Film Festival is drawing to a close this weekend. KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Terrence Henry sat down to talk about some trends at the festival this year, what moviegoers are buzzing about, and which films truly stood out.

"One thing that really struck me this year is that everything visually just looks better," Henry said. 

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl was at the Paramount Theater yesterday for the South by Southwest screening of his new film "Sound City".

The documentary features the famed LA studios of the same name, where Nirvana, Queens of the Age, Rage Against the Machine and hundred of other bands recorded albums.

SXSW Film: One Maiden's Fantastic Voyage

Mar 13, 2013
Maidentrip filmmakers

A word of warning: if you're going to see “Maidentrip” at SXSW Film this week (and by all means, you should), you may want to secure a large line of credit beforehand, as afterwards you'll likely have the inclination to go out, buy a boat, and set off to circumnavigate the globe.

The city of Branson, Missouri is home to under 11,000 permanent residents, but enjoys more than 7.5 million visitors a year. A new documentary premiering at SXSW Film this week takes a peek behind the rhinestone curtain to look at the lives of the performers when they’re not on stage. It’s called ‘We Always Lie to Strangers.’

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Starting with Richard Linklater's latest film "Before Midnight" screening Saturday, SXSW Film saw several Texans walk the red carpet.

Sunday saw the screening of "Mud," starring Texas actor Matthew McConaughey, along with "Tree of Life" actor Tye Sheridan and first-time actor Jacob Lofland. The feature from director Jeff Nichols tells the adventure of two boys who meet a fugitive in the middle of an island and try to help him reunite with his true love.

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