Docs

“I Love You, Now Die”, “For Sama” among SXSW ’19 doc premieres

Erin Lee Carr’s I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth Vs. Michelle Carter, and Waad al-Khateab and Edward Watts’ For Sama are among the documentaries selected to screen at the 26th edition ...
January 16, 2019

Erin Lee Carr’s I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth Vs. Michelle Carter, and Waad al-Khateab and Edward Watts’ For Sama are among the documentaries selected to screen at the 26th edition of the SXSW Film Festival.

During the nine-day event, which runs from March 8 to 17 in Austin, Texas, a total of 102 features and episodics will be shown, with additional titles to be announced on Feb. 6. The complete SXSW Film Festival program typically includes between 320 and 340 total projects.

The 2019 program was selected from 2,351 feature-length film submissions, with a total of 8,490 films submitted this year.

“As always, we looked for a wide range of work, contemplating scale, style, tenor and tone,” said Janet Pierson, director of film at SXSW, in a statement. “We hope that this year’s outstanding array of films from accomplished to emerging talent will entertain, surprise, and provoke.”

Director Erin Lee Carr will be world premiering I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth Vs. Michelle Carter at the festival. The HBO special documentary will chronicle the actions of 17-year-old Michelle Carter whose actions led to the involuntary manslaughter of an American marine salvage captain, and showcases the prosecution’s point of view while alternating with the defense’s. I Love You, Now Die will screen in the Documentary Spotlight category.

Elsewhere, Waad al-Khateab and Edward Watts’ For Sama will showcase in the Documentary Feature Competition and tells the story of a young woman’s journey through love, war and motherhood across five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria.

All categories, with the exception of special events, will be eligible for section-specific audience awards.

Below is a listing of the films screening as part of this year’s Documentary Feature Competition, as well as the Documentary Spotlight, 24 Beats Per Second, and Global sections, with descriptions provided by SXSW:

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
Selected from 1,005 feature documentary submissions in 2018.

Ernie & Joe
Director: Jenifer McShane
Ernie & Joe follows two officers with the San Antonio Police Department mental health unit who are diverting people away from jail and into mental health treatment — one 911 call at a time. (World Premiere)

For Sama (United Kingdom)
Directors: Waad al-Khateab, Edward Watts
For Sama tells the epic story of a young woman’s journey through love, war and motherhood across five years of the uprising in Aleppo, Syria. (World Premiere)

Museum Town
Director: Jennifer Trainer, Screenwriters: Noah Bashevkin, Pola Rapaport, Jennifer Trainer
From the ashes of a deserted factory, an ambitious center for contemporary art has emerged. With MASS MoCA, a familiar story of deindustrialization in a rural American town finds an unconventional route to recovery. (World Premiere)

Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy (United Kingdom, U.S.)
Director: Elizabeth Carroll
Award-winning cookbook author, diehard environmentalist and feisty British nonagenarian Diana Kennedy reflects on an unconventional life spent mastering the cuisines of Mexico. (World Premiere)

Stuffed (Canada, U.S.)
Director: Erin Derham
Stuffed is a documentary feature film about the surprising world of taxidermy and the passionate artists across the world who see life where others only see death. (World Premiere)

Tread
Director: Paul Solet
Pushed to his breaking point, a master welder in a small town at the foot of the Rocky Mountains quietly fortifies a bulldozer with 30 tons of concrete and steel and seeks to destroy those he believes have wronged him. (World Premiere)

Vision Portraits
Director/Screenwriter: Rodney Evans
A feature-length documentary that chronicles the creative paths of blind and visually impaired artists including a photographer (John Dugdale), dancer (Kayla Hamilton), writer (Ryan Knighton) and the film’s director, Rodney Evans. (World Premiere)

We Are The Radical Monarchs
Director: Linda Goldstein Knowlton
Meet the Radical Monarchs, a group of young girls of color at the front lines of social justice. Set in Oakland, the film documents the journey of the group as they form, grow, and earn badges for units like “Black Lives Matter” and “Radical Beauty” (World Premiere)

Well Groomed
Director/Screenwriter: Rebecca Stern
Well Groomed travels the humorous, visually stunning world of Competitive Creative Dog Grooming alongside the colorful women transforming their beloved poodles into living sculptures. (World Premiere)

Why Can’t I Be Me? Around You
Directors/Screenwriters: Harrod Blank, Sjoerd Dijk
Rusty, a male race enthusiast, decides at 53 to get breasts.  His father cuts his pay, his motorcycle friends abandon him and the women he dates all reject him. Rusty pursues her new identity and only hopes to gain acceptance from others. (World Premiere)

DOCUMENTARY SPOTLIGHT

Any One Of Us
Director: Fernando Villena
Through the inspiring journey of a recovering athlete, Any One of Us offers an unprecedented glimpse into the traumatic world of spinal cord injuries. (World Premiere)

Autonomy
Director: Alex Horwitz
A feature documentary about the emerging technology of self-driving vehicles and the big questions they raise: what is control and who do we become as we relinquish it to machines? (World Premiere)

Bellingcat — Truth in a Post-Truth World (Netherlands)
Director/Screenwriter: Hans Pool
Bellingcat — Truth in a Post-Truth World explores the exclusive world of Bellingcat, a highly-skilled and controversial collective of “citizen investigative journalists” dedicated to redefining breaking news in the 21st century. (North American Premiere)

Breakthrough
Director/Screenwriter: Bill Haney
Breakthrough tells the story of a renegade, blues-playing, Nobel prize-winning Texas scientist who created a cure for the world’s deadliest disease. Narrated by Woody Harrelson with a country-blues soundtrack. (World Premiere)

Building the American Dream
Director: Chelsea Hernandez
In Texas, construction workers face the deadliest conditions in the country. Building the American Dream follows three immigrant families who are rising up to seek justice and equality in an industry rife with exploitation. (World Premiere)

Community First, A Home for the Homeless
Director: Layton Blaylock
Community First, A Home for the Homeless, is a feature documentary about a totally unique concept for mitigating homelessness. Conceived and created in Austin, Texas, Community First! Village is truly transforming the lives of homeless people. (World Premiere)

Human Nature
Director: Adam Bolt, Screenwriters: Adam Bolt, Regina Sobel
A once-in-a-lifetime scientific discovery called CRISPR gives us the power to change what it means to be human. Now it’s up to us to decide how far we should go. (World Premiere)

I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth Vs. Michelle Carter
Director: Erin Lee Carr
Teen Michelle Carter’s actions shocked a nation — but what really happened behind closed doors? This HBO special showcases the prosecution’s point of view and alternately the defense’s. Which side do you fall on? (World Premiere)

It Started As a Joke
Directors: Julie Smith Clem, Ken Druckerman
It Started As a Joke documents the decade-long run of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival. The film celebrates Eugene’s unique brand of humor and reminds us of the healing properties of comedy – even in the most challenging of life’s circumstances. (World Premiere)

Jump Shot
Director: Jacob Ryan Hamilton
Jump Shot uncovers the inspiring true story of Kenny Sailors, the developer of the modern day jump shot in basketball, and how he defined the game, but why the game never defined him. (World Premiere)

Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story
Director: Troy Miller, Screenwriter: Kathy Griffin
In her first ever comedy concert film, comedian Kathy Griffin details the aftermath of lost work and being the subject of a federal investigation following the release of her now infamous photo depicting President Donald J Trump. (World Premiere)

Qualified
Director: Jenna Ricker
In the world of motorsports, the Indianapolis 500 has long been considered the only race. In May 1977, Janet Guthrie — the first woman to attempt Indy — earned herself a spot in the prestigious field of 33. (World Premiere)

Red Dog
Directors: Casey Pinkston, Luke Dick
In the early 1980s, the only family that toddler Luke knew were the strippers, bouncers, and outcasts that made OKC’s rowdiest strip club their home. (World Premiere)

The River and the Wall
Director: Ben Masters
Five friends venture into the unknown wilds of the Texas borderlands to document the environment before a wall is built. As the wilderness gives way to the bustling Rio Grande Valley, they encounter the unexpected and enter uncharted emotional waters. (World Premiere)

Running with Beto
Director: David Modigliani
Follow Beto O’Rourke behind the scenes of his breakaway campaign to unseat Ted Cruz in the U.S. Senate. With intimate access to the candidate, his family and team, the film captures Beto’s rise from a virtual unknown to a national political sensation. (World Premiere)

Sunset over Mulholland Drive (Germany)
Director: Uli Gaulke, Screenwriters: Uli Gaulke, Marc Pitzke
The vital power of creativity — a behind the scenes look into Hollywood’s retirement home. (North American Premiere)

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

Amazônia Groove
Director/Screenwriter: Bruno Murtinho
Leaving Belem and crossing much of the Para State Amazon region, its towns and riverside villages, Amazônia Groove reveals artists and their traditions, faith and mysticism, music and life that pound in the northern region of Brazil. (North American Premiere)

Bluebird
Director: Brian Loschiavo
Discover the origin stories of megastars like Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift while following emerging singer-songwriters as they chase their dreams inside The Bluebird Cafe, Nashville’s accidental landmark that has altered the course of music history. (World Premiere)

The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story
Director: Aaron Kunkel
The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story charts the life and crimes of boy band impresario Lou Pearlman. The film tracks his life from discovering NSYNC and Backstreet Boys, to his perpetration of one of the largest ponzi schemes in U.S. history. (World Premiere)

Boy Howdy! The Story of CREEM Magazine
Director: Scott Crawford, Screenwriters: Scott Crawford, Jaan Uhelszki
Ripping back the curtain on legendary rock rag CREEM Magazine‘s wild and disruptive newsroom; a dysfunctional band of unruly outsiders who weren’t all that different from the artists they covered. (World Premiere)

Brainiac: Transmissions After Zero
Director: Eric Mahoney
The film explores the seminal ’90s band Brainiac from Dayton, OH and its creative force Tim Taylor. Just days before signing a major record contract Taylor was killed in a bizarre auto accident leaving his family and bandmates to pick up the pieces. (World Premiere)

Carmine Street Guitars (Canada)
Director: Ron Mann, Screenwriter: Len Blum
Five days in the life of Greenwich Village guitar shop Carmine Street Guitars.

The Chills: The Triumph and Tragedy of Martin Phillipps (New Zealand)
Director: Julia Parnell, Rob Curry
New Zealand music genius Martin Phillipps fights his creative demons, conquers the music world, inspires a generation, and then retreats into depression, addiction and anonymity. (World Premiere)

David Crosby: Remember My Name
Director: A.J. Eaton
David Crosby reflects on his life of music stardom, while forging new paths to relevancy at his age of 77 in this deeply personal documentary. (World Premiere)

Everybody’s Everything
Directors: Sebastian Jones, Ramez Silyan
Everybody’s Everything is the story of artist Lil Peep (Gustav Ahr) from his birth in Long Island and meteoric rise as a genre blending pop star & style icon, to his death due to an accidental opioid overdose in Arizona at just 21 years of age. (World Premiere)

The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash
Director: Thom Zimny, Screenwriter: Warren Zanes
Johnny Cash stands among the giants of 20th century American life. But his story remains tangled in mystery and myth. This documentary brings Cash the man out from behind the legend. (World Premiere)

Mr. Jimmy
Director: Peter Michael Dowd
Dowd Akio Sakurai has dedicated his life to honoring Jimmy Page. For 30 years he recreated vintage Zeppelin concerts note-for-note in small Tokyo clubs. Moving to L.A. to pursue his tribute dream, cultures clash and Akio’s idyllic vision meets reality. (World Premiere)

Nothing Stays The Same: The Story of The Saxon Pub   
Director: Jeff Sandmann, Screenwriters: Jeff Sandmann, Jeffrey Brown, Lisa Kay Pfannenstiel
Nothing Stays the Same celebrates the last 30 years of live music in Austin, while also examining the challenges faced by musicians and music venues in one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, all through the lens of the legendary Saxon Pub. (World Premiere)

Show Me The Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall (United Kingdom)
Director: Alfred George Bailey
Jim Marshall was a maverick with a camera. An outsider who captured the heights of Rock’N’Roll music and the seismic changes of an era, from the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, to the civil rights movements and some of the most iconic moments of the 60′s. (World Premiere)

Strange Negotiations
Director: Brandon Vedder
A documentary exploring the existential, artistic and family life of musician and former evangelical, David Bazan (Pedro The Lion), set against America’s own crisis of faith highlighted during the 2016 presidential election. (World Premiere)

Who Let The Dogs Out (Canada)
Director: Brent Hodge, Screenwriters: Brent Hodge, John Diemer, Jasleen Kaur<
The origin story of the smash hit “Who Let the Dogs Out” goes back further than anyone could have imagined; steeped in legal battles, female empowerment and artist integrity, which beckons the question: will we ever know who let the dogs out? (World Premiere)

Wild Rose (United Kingdom)
Director: Tom Harper, Screenwriter: Nicole Taylor
A musician from Glasgow dreams of becoming a Nashville star. Cast: Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo (U.S. Premiere)

GLOBAL
A diverse selection of international filmmaking talent, featuring innovative narratives, artful documentaries, premieres, festival favorites and more.

Being Impossible (Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of)
Director: Patricia Ortega, Screenwriters: Patricia Ortega, Enmanuel Chávez
A young woman discovers she was submitted to several surgeries to correct her intersexual body as a baby. She has to find her own self outside gender binaries. (North American Premiere)

Cachada: The Opportunity (El Salvador)
Director/Screenwriter: Marlén Viñayo<
Five Salvadoran saleswomen want to take their cruel life stories to the stage. During the rehearsal process of their play, they’ll discover themselves as victims and victimizers in a cycle of violence that has plagued their families for generations. (World Premiere)

Vai (New Zealand)
Directors: Nicole Whippy, ‘Ofa-Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Matasila Freshwater, Amberley Jo Aumua, Mīria George, Marina Alofagia McCartney, Dianna Fuemana, Becs Arahanga
Vai is a portmanteau feature film by nine Polynesian directors and filmed on seven different pacific islands. It is about the journey of empowerment through culture, over the lifetime of one woman, Vai. (World Premiere)

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