When the initial lineup for the 2018 SXSW Film Festival was released this week, there were a number of films and documentaries that drew my interest. Some of these were no-brainers like Blockers and The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From A Mythical Man.
Blockers is the feature directorial debut of Pitch Perfect screenwriter Kay Cannon. The premise is simple: three parents try to stop their daughters from having sex on prom night. I’ve been looking forward to the film from the moment that it was announced in late 2015 that Cannon would direct the film, when it was titled The Pact.
As far as The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From A Mythical Man, this film is directed by Tommy Avallone, who was one of the producers of Ghostheads. Murray is one of those interesting figures in the world of comedy. If people want to book him for a film, they have to call a number and there’s no guarantee that the legendary comedian will bother to return the call, let alone show up on set when required.
I’ve yet to see A Quiet Passion, starring Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson, but it will certainly be interesting to see SNL vet Molly Shannon tackle the same role in Wild Nights With Emily. This is one of those instances similar to both Bryan Cranston and Woody Harrelson tackling the role of President Lyndon Johnson in both All the Way and LBJ.
As a transgender woman and film critic, I was very excited to see the selection of TransMilitary, co-directed by Gabriel Silverman and Fiona Dawson. The film was funded in part by GLAAD. Both Sundance and Slamdance saw a small selection of films that had trans subjects or trans filmmakers. I’m happy to see that SXSW will continue the trend of having a film with trans subjects.
“The TransMilitary team is thrilled to be premiering at SXSW 2018. We thank all of our supporters who have been by our side for the last several years,” said Dawson in a statement released by GLAAD. “At a time when the Pentagon and White House continue to deliberate on open transgender service, now is the perfect time for this film to be released.”
Outside In premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival but heads to Austin for the U.S. premiere. Jay Duplass, Edie Falco, Kaitlyn Dever, and Ben Schwartz co-star in the film written by Duplass and Lynn Shelton. What really excites me about the film is Kaitlyn Dever. While she was cast as the younger daughter on Last Man Standing, she’s shown that she has a promising career in her future through her performances in films such as Short Term 12 and Detroit. The Orchard will distribute the film shortly after the fest.
Being a Kentucky native, it comes as no surprise that Ali & Cavett: The Tale of the Tapes is on my list of films to see during my time in Austin come March.
Directed by Jenny Murray, ¡Las Sandinistas! shares some of the stories of the women who have fought for democracy and equality in Nicaragua from the 1979 Sandinista Revolution through today.
There’s a number of films to play SXSW in March that also played Sundance in January: Blaze, American Animals, Eighth Grade, Generation Wealth, Half the Picture, Narcissister Organ Player, Never Goin’ Back, On Her Shoulders, Pass Over, The Rider, and Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Elvis Presley: The Searcher consists of two different films. It looks fun.
Stay tuned for more over the next few weeks to come!