By Film Threat Staff | March 12, 2003

SXSW announced the winners last night, March 11th, of their 2003 festival:
JURY AWARD FOR NARRATIVE FEATURE ^ “SEXLESS” ^ Directed by Alex Holdridge. ^ Produced by Brian McCormick. ^ One month, two couples, one marriage, two plane tickets, one U-Haul. Hilarious sexual longing, perverse humiliation and genuine heartbreak all make Sexless anything but simple and hardly sexless. After five years together Karen (Kelly Dealyn) and Andy (Alex Holdridge) have been accepted into a program to teach English in Japan. The only way they can live together in Japan is to get married. In the midst of sexual dysfunction and genuine doubt the two twenty-somethings decide to split up until they leave, convincing themselves that if they make it through separation then they “deserve” to be together. Simultaneously, Andy’s best friend, Robert (Brian McGuire), is falling for Carissa (Camille Chen), who is leaving for grad school two thousand miles away at the end of the month. With vastly different prospects for the future, the two have little chance at a relationship. But logic gets lost in the haze of lust and love and things quickly turn as sexually exhilarating as they are emotionally painful and comically realistic. The slacker generation’s ideas of love, sex, jobs, money, parents, drugs, therapy and marriage are all put to the test in this bittersweet take on modern love.
SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR NARRATIVE FEATURE ^ “HAPPY HERE AND NOW” ^ Directed by Michael Almereyda. ^ Produced by Callum Greene and Anthony Katagas. ^ A young woman named Amelia (Liane Balaban) comes to New Orleans in search of her missing sister, Muriel (Shalom Harlow). Helping Amelia is a run-down, retired private-eye named Bill (Clarence Williams III). Their only clues to Muriel’s disappearance are the few fragments that remain on her sister’s wiped-clean computer hard drive of mysterious chat sessions with a philosophically-inclined young man calling himself Eddie Mars–a man reachable only in the disembodied realm of Cyberspace.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE ^ JURY AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE ^ “FLAG WARS” ^ Directed and produced by Linda Goode Bryant and Laura Poitras. ^ “Flag Wars” is a cinema verite documentary that follows the conflicts that arise when gay white professionals move into a black working-class neighborhood. Filmed over a four years in Columbus, Ohio, “Flag Wars” leads viewers on an eye-opening journey into a divided community.
SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR DOCUMENTARY FEATURE ^ “JON E EDWARDS IS IN LOVE” ^ Directed by Chris Bradley and Kyle La Brache. ^ Produced by Patrick Bradley and Ryan Magnussen. ^ In the age of pre-packaged teeny-pop franchises like Britney Spears, O-Town and The Backstreet Boys, it’s a tough go for the true iconoclast. Jon E. Edwards, self-proclaimed ‘”Number 3′” soul man in the world wantsto be ‘International Soul Rocker Number One’ – equal parts Frank Sinatra and Johnny Rotten, Jon is a self-styled crooner whose real talent lies in his belief in himself rather than in his singing ability. For Jon, fame is an elusive dream and show biz is a lifestyle that’s got him by the throat. When Jon learns that his mother is given one month to live, he leaves his New York City apartment to take care of her in Los Angeles. With his life on hold, Jon struggles to find legitimacy as a soul man while at the same time worrying about keeping his room clean so his mom will stay off his back.
JURY AWARD FOR BEST NARRATIVE SHORT ^ “MBOUTOUKOU” ^ Directed by Victor Viyuoh. ^ Produced by Zola Mashariki, Victor Viyuoh and Tanya Yuson. ^ Twelve year old Napo overhears his older brother, Abel, and his mother express doubts that he, Napo, will be able to take on a man’s responsibilities once Abel goes to boarding school. Hurt by their doubts, Napo sets out to prove them wrong.
SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR NARRATIVE SHORT ^ “FAMILY TREE” ^ Directed by Vicky Jenson. ^ Produced by Lisa Beroud. ^ Inspired by Ovid’s tale of Baucis and Philemon, “Family Tree” revolves around a Thanksgiving get-together by a family that seems to need their conflicts more than they need each other for love or support.
JURY AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT ^ “NUTRIA” ^ Directed and produced by Ted Gesing. ^ The nutria is an Argentinian swamp rat that’s destroying the wetlands of Louisiana. It is also a cultural touchstone, as scientists and mascots, SWAT teams, and chefs all respond to this bizarre pest. In the tradition of ‘”Cane Toads,'” “Nutria'” presents a people and the animal they love to hate.
SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR DOCUMENTARY SHORT ^ “OCULARIST” ^ Directed by Vance Malone. ^ Produced by David Allen Cress.
An ocular prosthetician unites the dexterity of a skilled craftsman with an artist’s textural caress in his unique creations: custom acrylic eyes so vibrantly alive it seems a cruel twist of fate that they are unable to see.
JURY AWARD FOR BEST ANIMATED SHORT ^ “INTELLIGENT LIFE” ^ Directed and produced by Jeff Spoonhower. ^ Does intelligent life exist? A clumsy robot, a ship full of micro aliens, and a troupe of showbiz claims have the answer!
SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR ANIMATED SHORT ^ “STILTWALKERS” ^ Directed by Sjaak Meilink. ^ Produced by Marly Page and Tom Crone. ^ A solitary fisherman carves and sketches to pass the time, but on this day his drawings seem to have a life of their own.
JURY AWARD FOR BEST EXPERIMENTAL SHORT ^ “ABLUTION” ^ Directed and produced by Eric Patrick. ^ A film ritual in three acts, “Ablution” traces a character’s disassociate journey through an archetypal cleansing.
SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR EXPERIMENTAL SHORT ^ “POWWOW” ^ Directed and produced by Kristin Pepe. ^ “POWWOW” is an abstract film dealing with movement, pacing, color – and the contrast and transitions between the literal and abstracted imagery of Native American powwows. The film stretches beyond the contextual and aesthetic elements into the space between perception and thought, where the rhythmic imagery implies emotion. In Los Angeles, there’s a community of people who attend powwows regularly; this film tries to portray some of the emotion and energy that exists at these celebrations.
JURY AWARD FOR BEST MUSIC VIDEO ^ PRECARIOUS WAREHAUS DWELLERS “Nuttella and Gummi Bear Sandwich” ^ Directed by David Zellner. ^ Produced by Nathan Zellner. ^ “Nuttella and Gummi Bear Sandwich'” is a music video for rock and roll group PRECARIOUS WAREHAUS DWELLERS. The song is taken from the LP “Stickz, Stonez, Kar-Phonez.”
SPECIAL JURY AWARD FOR MUSIC VIDEO ^ ROY DAVIS & THOMAS BANGALTER “Rock Shock” ^ Directed and produced by Joel Lava. ^ At the senior center, life is dull and monotonous. When the young exercise leader plays them a new song, the seniors’ world comes alive with the art deco style of their youth. Eventually, they reclaim their vitality in a nirvana of animated deco graphics.
NARRATIVE FEATURE ^ “SEXLESS” ^ Directed by Alex Holdridge.
Produced by Brian McCormick.
NARRATIVE FIRST FILM ^ MELVIN GOES TO DINNER ^ Directed by Bob Odenkirk. ^ Produced by Naomi Odenkirk, DJ Paul and Jeff Sussman. ^ “Melvin Goes to Dinner” with three almost complete strangers. They discuss marital infidelity, religion, a guy in heaven wearing a Wizard’s jersey, anal fetishes, cigarettes and schizophrenia, ghosts, stewardesses, masturbation, and how it’s all going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE ^ “GIRLHOOD” ^ Directed by Liz Garbus. ^ Produced by Liz Garbus and Rory Kennedy. ^ Shanae stabbed a girl to death when she was 12; Megan was guilty of assault with a deadly weapon at age 14. “Girlhood” is the story of their redemption, a tale of violence and healing, crime and its consequences, and the saving grace and corrosive power of family.
DOCUMENTARY FIRST FILM ^ “THE FLUTE PLAYER” ^ Directed by Jocelyn Glatzer. ^ Produced by Jocelyn Glatzer and Christine Courteny. ^ “The Flute Player” is a heroic story of one man’s fight against the legacy of war. Arn Chorn Pond is a survivor of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge genocide, an activist, and a gifted flute player who revives Cambodia’s once outlawed music while facing the dark shadows of his war-torn past.
For more information, visit the SXSW website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon