Docs

SXSW ’21: “Lily Topples the World” takes top doc prize

The 2021 virtual edition of the South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival has unveiled its documentary and narrative film competition winners, with Jeremy Workman’s Lily Topples the World (pictured) taking ...
March 19, 2021

The 2021 virtual edition of the South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival has unveiled its documentary and narrative film competition winners, with Jeremy Workman’s Lily Topples the World (pictured) taking the prize for best documentary feature.

The film follows Lily Hevesh, aka artist and domino toppler Hevesh5, in what’s billed as a “coming of age story of artistry, passion and unlikely triumph.”

The jury for the doc feature category, comprised of Jacqueline Coley, Sean Fennessey and Steven Zeitchik, had this to say about the winning film: “A joyful portrait of grace in artistry and commitment in engineering, Lily Topples the World shows a life online that transcends virality and touches something deeper. In Lily Hevesh, aka Hevesh5, the film features a collaborative, creative soul who comes by community and entrepreneurship naturally. A rare achievement in nonjudgmental subcultural exploration and a gorgeously rendered portrait of burgeoning adulthood that tumbles forward, like Lily’s domino art, into something beautiful.”

Special jury recognition for exceptional intimacy in storytelling was awarded to Introducing, Selma Blair, directed by Rachel Fleit, while special jury recognition for humanity in social action was awarded to Not Going Quietly from director Nicholas Bruckman.

In the documentary shorts category, top honors went to Águilas from directors Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Maite Zubiaurre. The short follows the Aguilas del Desierto volunteer force as it sets out along the southern desert border of Arizona to recover missing loved ones.

The jury for the category, comprised of Opal H. Bennett, Omid Fatemi and Sheila Nevins, said this of the winner: “Águilas is a film that most poignantly displays the need immigrants feel to come to America — even at the cost of starvation and death. Failed attempts are presented by a backpack, a sweater, and scattered bones. How desperate the dream is of a perfect landing that ends so tragically.”

Special jury recognition for courage went to Red Taxi, directed anonymously. Special jury recognition for poetry, meanwhile, went to I Ran From It and Was Still in It from director Darol Olu Kae.

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