I’m a little behind so I’m just going to dive in with what I’ve seen the past 2 days.
I saw the festival’s animated short selection on Monday morning. Of the 14 shorts, all were good, but two specifically stood out:
Edmond (Nina Gantz, 2016) – Beautiful stop motion art style and an ingenous dark story made Edmond stand out.
LOVE (Reka Bucsi, 2016) – Seemingly inspired by “Fantastic Planet”, the imaginative world evolution depicted in “LOVE” was my favorite of the shorts.
The Alchemist Cookbook (Joel Potrykus, 2016)
I loved the Joel Potrykus’s 2014 film “Buzzard”, so when I saw that he was premiering his new film at SXSW, I knew that I would have to see it. While similar in style and theme, at first review I don’t believe that “The Alchemist Cookbook” holds up to the high bar that “Buzzard” set. It lacks the character depth that made “Buzzard” so enjoyable.
Boone (Christopher LaMarca, 2016)
A very raw documentary on the last few weeks of an independent dairy farm in Oregon. “Boone” isn’t trying to be a big ticket documentary, but instead depicts a slice of these farmers lives without any artifice. The compassion that they had for their job sells the purpose of the documentary despite the lack of talking heads or other traditional documentary techniques.
Claire in Motion (Annie J Howell and Lisa Robinson, 2016)
Day 5 started with an early morning showing of “Claire in Motion”. An absolutely brilliant depiction of the mourning process, this film is the most complete narrative that I’ve seen this festival. Betsy Brandt’s performance as Claire was emotional without feeling exploitative. This is the kind of film that I think has real possibility of picking up some form of distribution, and the screenplay deviates enough from expectations that I don’t want to give anything away. Keep this one on your list.
Good Night Brooklyn: The Story of Death by Audio (Matthew Conboy, 2016)
An impromptu decision to walk to the Rollins Theater led me to this really well done documentary on the fall of one of the premier underground music scenes at the greedy hands of Vice. “Good Night Brooklyn” perfectly executed its goal. After seeing it, I have a strong urge to find some of the local music and art scenes when I get home. If you have any love of underground, DIY art, this film will be a great sit.
Silicone Cowboys (Jason Cohen, 2016)
Someone suggested this film to me while standing in line a few days ago, so when it fit into the time slot that I was trying to fit perfectly, I decided to give it a shot. Depicting the rise of computer company Compaq, Silicone Cowboys was a well-made traditional documentary, though nothing about it really stood out. Interesting while watching but overall forgettable.
The Incomparable Rose Hartman (Otis Mass, 2016)
While Silicone Cowboys didn’t stand out to me, “The Incomparable Rose Hartman” will stick with me. That may be a little biased as I have a love of photography, but no real connection to the personal computer boom of the early 1980s. Rose Hartman is also an amazingly energetic and fascinating person. Hearing her speak, and others speak about her brings an enjoyment to the film.
I have three more days of screenings, and anticipate slowing down a little as the exhaustion of 20+ film screenings exerts its toll.