The Best of SXSW 2019: Solzy Awards Edition

Charlotte Field (Charlize Theron) and Fred Flarsky (Seth Rogen) in LONG SHOT. Photo Credit: Hector Alvarez.

The 2019 SXSW Film Festival has come and gone but some films and performances have left a lasting impression on my mind.


  1. Long Shot
  2. Booksmart
  3. Good Boys
  4. The Garden Left Behind
  5. Saint Frances
  6. Olympic Dreams
  7. Pink Wall
  8. Villains
  9. Go Back to China
  10. The Day Shall Come
  11. Extra Ordinary

I naturally gravitate towards comedies so it should come as no surprise that many of the films that found their way to the top of my list are comedies.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite able to fit Sword of Trust into my schedule.  I’m hoping to see the film at some point!

The fact that Long Shot is my top film should come as no surprise.  I love a good political comedy.  Both Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron have great chemistry together on screen in this laugh riot.  While Theron previously acted in a comedy in Jason Reitman-directed and Diablo Cody-penned Young Adult, this is one of the funniest performances of her career.  I’ll be one of the first to get this film on Blu-ray later this year.

Olivia Wilde delivered a strong feature directorial debut in Booksmart.  This will surely be a film that we talk about all year long.  One of the things that I love the most about it is that it puts female friendship front and center.  It’s an instant classic and can be perfectly placed alongside the great high school comedies.

I cannot stress this enough: The Garden Left Behind does right by the transgender community.  This is the second year in a row in which a transgender-focused project took home an audience award in Austin.  I’m working on writing a trans-led feature comedy but the reception of these films in Austin show that SXSW audiences are very receptive to these films.

While I found Stuber to be very hysterical, it was a special work-in–progress screening and not for review.  There was an announcement made in addition to a sign posted at the theater.  I’m certainly awaiting the final print for review after laughing my ass off during the screening.  I will say that both Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista have great chemistry in the 80s action comedy throwback.


  1. The River and the Wall
  2. Romantic Comedy
  3. It Started As A Joke
  4. I am Richard Pryor
  5. The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash
  6. Jump Shot
  7. State of Pride

I fell in love with The River and the Wall from the very minute that I started watching the pre-fest screener.  It’s such a timely film with it’s importance.  Hopefully more people watch this film and realize that the border situation isn’t as easy as a certain someone would like you to think.  The thing that’s great about this film is that director Ben Masters raises up the voices of those people who are actually living among the border.  If Trump gets his way, they’ll lose access to property because of the wall.


In all fairness, Shrill is the only episodic that I watched having binge-watched all six episodes just before diving into SXSW coverage.  I would love to see Aidy Bryant taking on more leading roles and can’t wait to see the direction Shrill takes during the second season.


While I watched a number of short films, the best one of the bunch that I was watched Tim Wilkime’s Milton without a doubt.


Olympic Dreams director Jeremy Teicher gets a special mention here for essentially being a one-person crew when it came to directing the film during the 2018 Winter Olympics.


I’m not going all out with acting awards during SXSW but these are some performances that stood out to me:

  • Charlize Theron, Long Shot
  • Kaitlyn Dever, Booksmart
  • Beanie Feldstein, Booksmart
  • Billie Lourd, Booksmart
  • Carlie Guevara, The Garden Left Behind
  • Kelly O’Sullivan, Saint Frances
  • Anna Akana, Go Back to China
  • Keith L. Williams, Good Boys

The 2019 SXSW Film Festival ran March 8-16, 2019 in Austin, Texas.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.