Just hours to go now before one of the most fun festivals on the calendar pops open. Kimberley Jones introduces the Austin Chronicle's bulging SXSW Film preview package: "We've chosen to champion a dozen-plus films in these pages that in turn champion trailblazers in art, music, politics, the pleasures of the flesh, and more."
Inside, you'll find Margaret Moser's profile of Gilbert Shelton, who'll be talking with Harry Knowles on Monday about his Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers project, Grass Roots. And there's a related exhibition at the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture on view from Saturday through May 8.
Also: Kate X Messer tells "the true story behind the coming-together of the documentary Thunder Soul, about the Kashmere Stage Band — a Houston high school jazz band — and the music director that led them." She also interviews Malcolm Ingram, director of Bear Nation, "an examination into the subculture of big, beefy, burly men and the often big, beefy, burly men who love them."
James Renovitch talks with director Aaron Katz and actor Cris Lankenau about Cold Weather; Richard Whittaker with Matt Harlock, "half of the team behind new documentary American: The Bill Hicks Story," and with Meredith Danluck about her debut feature, The Ride; Robert Faires with Ellen Bar about NY Export: Opus Jazz; Marc Savlov with Bryan Poyser about his third feature, Lovers of Hate, and Bahman Ghobadi about No One Knows About the Persian
Cats; Marjorie Baumgarten with Eyad Zahra and Omar Majeed about, respectively, The Taqwacores and TAQWACORE: The Birth of Punk Islam (no, really); Melanie Haupt with Kerthy Fix about Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields; and Joe O'Connell with Gregory Kallenberg about Haynesville.
"In being more focused on audience reaction than distributor bidding wars, the festival has a more celebratory feel and isn't judged on which films sold for how much," report Mark Olsen and John Horn for the Los Angeles Times. "'I think South-By has been lucky so far not to get that,' says Ben Stambler, a producer of this year's entry Cold Weather and a former acquisitions executive, 'because once those expectations emerge, it's difficult to regain control of where things go from there.'... Typical of the smaller films premiering at the festival is Tiny Furniture, a story of female post-collegiate ennui playing as part of this year's narrative feature competition. The movie marks a personal and professional leap that could only have been achieved through the support of SXSW, which played filmmaker Lena Dunham's debut feature, Creative Nonfiction, in last year's lineup."
Interviews with filmmakers with work at SXSW carry on rolling in at Filmmaker, Hollywood Bitchslap and indieWIRE.
"The festival is already spitting out plenty of outlandish, wacky, and inspiring ideas," notes Max Fisher in a preview roundup for the Atlantic Wire focusing primarily on SXSW Interactive (and see, too, the Chronicle's Interactive Issue).
Post-Apocalypse Now! is a series of double features running Fridays in March at Cinefamily in Los Angeles: "We're not interested in Armageddon itself as much as the world created out of its ashes, realms where gas shortages make roller skates the logical form of transportation, where people form neo-savage faux-punk clans, and where fashion is somewhere between 'sports team' and 'leather daddy.'" Christoph Huber has an overview in LA Weekly.
A preview screening of Louis Sullivan: The Struggle for American Architecture is slated for Sunday at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The Chicago Reader's Ed M Koziarski has background and more info.
Updates, 3/12: Michael Tully posts a terrific SXSW preview at Hammer to Nail.
LA Weekly's Karina Longworth: "6 SXSW Film Must-Sees."
At Cinematical, Erik Childress recommends ten titles to catch.
Image: Taqwacore: The Birth of Punk Islam.
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