Gabby Giffords, “9 to 5″ docs among world premieres at SXSW 2022

The SXSW Film Festival released its full programming slate on Wednesday (February 2). Screenings will be in-person with select films available for online viewing, though access to virtual screenings will ...
February 2, 2022

The SXSW Film Festival released its full programming slate on Wednesday (February 2). Screenings will be in-person with select films available for online viewing, though access to virtual screenings will largely be restricted to the U.S.

“The last two years have been complicated, and full of uncharted new waters for all of us. While there’s been innovation in building community in isolation and figuring out how to pivot, we’ve intensely missed being able to gather together,” said Janet Pierson, SXSW vice president and director of film. “For our 29th edition of SXSW Film Festival, we are thrilled to share a bounty of creative work to experience together, in-person, with some virtual possibilities, as well.”

The festival’s 2022 edition will feature more than 60 documentaries across six programming categories, including a number of films that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

Eight films are making their world premieres in the festival’s Documentary Feature Competition. Bad Axe follows an Asian American family struggling to keep their restaurant afloat in Trump’s America; Clean studies a trauma cleaning service in Melbourne, Australia; It’s Quieter in the Twilight spotlights the team behind the NASA Voyager program; while Mama Bears profiles conservative Christian mothers who have undergone a conversion into LGBTQ+ allies and advocates.

The Competition slate is rounded out by Master of Light, about the homecoming of an ex-con painter; The Pez Outlaw, the chronicle of a smuggler of rare Pez dispensers; Spaz, a portrait of computer-animation pioneer and Jurassic Park lead digital designer Steve “Spaz” Williams; and The Thief Collector, which examines the mysterious 1985 theft of a famous painting by William de Kooning.

Notable titles from the Documentary Spotlight section, which numbers 19 world, international, North American or U.S. premieres, include Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down (pictured), a profile of the U.S. congresswoman who survived a 2011 assassination attempt; Facing Nolan, about MLB pitching legend Nolan Ryan; Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks, which explores the history and legacy of the beloved Canadian comedy troupe; Mickey: The Story of a Mouse, which examines the cultural impact of the Disney icon; Still Working 9 to 5, a look back at the legacy of the hit 1980 comedy; and Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets, about the amateur online investors who beat Wall Street at its own game in the GameStop stock inflation.

Also, this year’s edition of the festival’s doc-dominated music section 24 Beats Per Second includes films on such subjects as Ronnie James Dio (DIO Dreamers Never Die), King Crimson (In the Court of the Crimson King), Chumbawamba frontman Dunstan Bruce (I Get Knocked Down), XXXTentacion (Look at Me!), Sheryl Crow (Sheryl), and Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (This Much I Know to be True).

All titles in the Documentary Feature and Documentary Spotlight sections are listed below; the full festival line-up can be found here.


Bad Axe (World Premiere)
Director: David Siev
Producers: Jude Harris, Katarina Vasquez, David Siev

Clean (World Premiere)
Director: Lachlan McLeod
Producers: David Elliot-Jones, Charlotte Wheaton

It’s Quieter in the Twilight (World Premiere)
Director: Billy Miossi
Producers: Alissa Shapiro, Matt Reynolds

Mama Bears (World Premiere)
Director: Daresha Kyi
Producers: Laura Tatham, Daresha Kyi

Master of Light (World Premiere)
Director: Rosa Ruth Boesten
Producers: Roger Ross Williams, Anousha Nzume, Ilja Roomans

The Pez Outlaw (World Premiere)
Directors/Producers: Amy Bandlien Storkel, Bryan Storkel

Spaz (World Premiere)
Director/Producer: Scott Leberecht

The Thief Collector (World Premiere)
Director: Allison Otto
Producers: Caryn Capotosto, Jill Latiano Howerton, Joshua Kunau


Crows are White (World Premiere)
Director: Ahsen Nadeem
Producers: Riel Roch-Decter, Sebastian Pardo, Ahsen Nadeem, Ben Renzon, Ryan Ahrens, Jill Ahrens

Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets (World Premiere)
Directors: Drea Cooper, Zackary Canepari
Producers: Gary Kout, Myles Estey, Drea Cooper, Zackary Canepari, Molly O’Brien

Facing Nolan (World Premiere)
Director: Bradley Jackson
Producer: Russell Wayne Groves

Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down (World Premiere)
Directors: Julie Cohen, Betsy West,
Producers: Lisa Erspamer, Sam Jinishian

Kids in the Hall: Comedy Punks (World Premiere)
Director: Reginald Harkema
Producers: Nick McKinney, Kim Creelman

Mickey: The Story of a Mouse (World Premiere)
Director: Jeff Malmberg
Producers: Morgan Neville, Meghan Walsh, Chris Shellen

More Than Robots (World Premiere)
Director: Gillian Jacobs
Producers: Jason Sterman, David Gelb, Brian McGinn

Nothing Lasts Forever (North American Premiere)
Director: Jason Kohn
Producers: Amanda Branson Gill, Jared Goldman

Shouting Down Midnight (World Premiere)
Director: Gretchen Stoeltje
Producers: Kristi Frazier, Katy Drake Better

Skate Dreams (World Premiere)
Director: Jessica Edwards
Producers: Erin Owens, Jessica Edwards

Split at the Root (World Premiere)
Director: Linda Goldstein Knowlton
Producers: Maria Grasso, Linda Goldstein Knowlton, Miranda Bailey

Still Working 9 to 5 (World Premiere)
Directors/Producers: Camille Hardman, Gary Lane

Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off (World Premiere)
Director/Producer: Sam Jones

Under the Influence (World Premiere)
Director: Casey Neistat
Producers: Christine Vachon, Casey Neistat, Mason Plotts

We Are Not Ghouls (World Premiere)
Director: Chris James Thompson
Producers: Jessica Farrell, Jack Turner, Andrew Swant

We Feed People (World Premiere)
Director: Ron Howard
Producers: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, Meredith Kaulfers, Walt Matteson

What We Leave Behind (World Premiere)
Director: Iliana Sosa
Producers: Emma D. Miller, Iliana Sosa, Isidore Bethel (coproducer)

A Woman on the Outside (World Premiere)
Directors: Lisa Riordan Seville, Zara Katz
Producers: Kiara C. Jones, Zara Katz, Lisa Riordan Seville

Your Friend, Memphis (World Premiere)
Director: David Zucker
Producers: Luke Terrell, Benjamin Edelman

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.