Given the current national climate, it is no surprise that South by Southwest Film Festival, which has grown in importance and impact over the last half decade, will be highlighting a number of political films. Alexandra Pelosi’s Journeys with George is sure to attract national attention. Named by President George W. Bush, it is a surprisingly intimate backstage look at the past presidential campaign. The film succeeds as a personal documentary about Pelosi’s experience and a “Boys on the Bus” look at journalists covering the campaign. More startling is its intimate portrait of the President, joking, teasing and hanging out. This is not just President Bush but an American president as you’ve never seen him. The film will screen Friday, March 8, 2002 at the Paramount Theater in Austin. The event kicks off SXSW Film featuring a four day film conference, March 9-12 at the Austin Convention Center, and nine day film festival, March 8 – 16. SXSW Film has become an important showcase for daring and visionary films as well as a gathering place for industry professionals of all stripes who are interested in quality filmmaking.
These films are also almost guaranteed to generate serious political discussion:
“Last Party 2000” directed by Donovan Leitch and Rebecca Chaiklin. Philip Seymour Hoffman hosts an exploration on the state of American democracy during the one U.S. presidential campaign in history that would ultimately put it all in question.
“See How They Run” directed by Emily Morse. With unlimited behind-the-scenes access, filmmakers follow conservative San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown in his fight for re-election. When an openly gay city supervisor/stand-up comedian stages a historic write-in campaign, a showdown erupts.
“People Like Us: Social Class In America” directed by Andrew Kolker and Louis Alvare. The first documentary that examines America’s 800 pound gorilla–its social class system. In a series of provocative and funny vignettes, the film shows how, whether they admit it or not, social class
plays a role in the lives of all Americans.
Other confirmed highlights of the SXSW Film Festival include:
“Chelsea Walls” directed by Ethan Hawke. A group of residents living in New York’s legendary Chelsea Hotel search for someone – or something – that got away.
“Money For Nothing” directed by Sut Jhally. In an age of big business ruling high art, Jhally takes a fascinating and in-depth look at the corporatization of the modern music industry.
“Master of the Game” directed by Jeff Stolhand. A Jewish World War II prisoner eludes his German captors in the midst of a raging storm taking shelter in an isolated cabin where unbeknownst to him, four German soldiers have also holed up. Trapped, the audacious captive challenges them to a lethal battle of wits.
“The Cat’s Meow” directed by Peter Bogdanovich. A party on William Randolph Hearst’s boat leads to murder, cover-ups, and a lot of celebrity scandal.
“The Search For John Gissing” directed by Mike Binder. An expatriate American couple (Mike Binder and Janeane Garofalo) comes to London and has their lives turned upside-down after a series of misunderstandings and bizarre events keep them out of reach of an elusive businessman (Alan Rickman).
“You’ll Never Wiez In This Town Again” directed by Pauly Shore. Faced with too many box office bombs and a canceled network sitcom, actor/comedian Pauly Shore decides to fake his own death to gain sympathy from a cynical public. When the plan backfires and he’s thrown in jail, Shore gains insight from cellmate Todd Bridges, guardian angel Sam Kinison, and a slew of celebrity friends.
Other features screening at SXSW Film Festival include: “Welcome to the Club: The Women of Rockabilly” from Beth Harrington; “Martin and Orloff,” directed by Lawrence Blume; “CQ,” by acclaimed filmmaker Roman Coppola; “The Scoundrel’s Wife,” directed by Glen Pitre; “1 Giant Leap,” directed by Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgeman and much more.
For more info, call 512-467-7979 or e-mail SXSW or visit the official web site for SXSW.
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