Continuing our week-long look at the docs of SXSW 2009, we focus on films screening in the SX Global (International) and 24 Beats Per Second (Music) sections of the festival. Again, we supply lots of notes and links and trailers, descriptions via the festival. The latter lineup is after the jump.
CALLING E.T. (Netherlands)
Directed by Prosper de Roos
A close-up look at a small group of people listening, watching, waiting and preparing for their perceived inevitable earthly encounter with extraterrestrial intelligence. (U.S. Premiere)
Note - The film screened at IDFA in November.
FAVELA ON BLAST (Brazil)
Directed by Leandro HBL
Globe trotting taste-maker DJ Diplo presents a look at Brazil's Baile Funk music scene from directly inside the mountain ghettos where it spawned and thrives.
Note - A truly good film that I had the pleasure of seeing in Copenhagen at CPH:DOX. Here's a clip from the film:
THE FORGOTTEN TREE (Mexico)
Directed by Luis Rincon
A documentary that revisits the slums featured over fifty years ago in LOS OLVIDADOS (Luis Buñuel), and reveals the current and similar conditions for the people in this area of Mexico City.
Note - LOS OLVIDADOS earned Best Director honors for Buñuel at the 1951 Cannes Film Festival.
JOURNEY TO THE END OF COAL (France)
Directed by Samuel Bollendorff
Millions of Chinese coal miners are making sacrifices everyday, risking their lives and spoiling their land to satisfy their country’s appetite for economic growth. Meet them and learn more about how they live in this valley of death and pollution in the frozen winter of Northern China.
Note - Bollendorff is an acclaimed and accomplished photojournalist in France. JOURNEY TO THE END OF COAL is also an interactive web documentary (not entirely clear on how or if it varies from the film that SXSW will screen) that is available at the film's website.
LOVE ON DELIVERY (Denmark)
Directed by Janus Metz
In a remote fishing village in Denmark, 575 Thai women are married to Danish men. An intimate look at the unique relationships between these Danish men and their Thai wives.
Note - Screened at IDFA and CPH:DOX, where it won two awards - Best Short Doc and Best Cinematography award. Metz directed a second film on this topic, TICKET TO PARADISE, which also screens here at SXSW.
ROADSWORTH: CROSSING THE LINE (Canada)
Directed by Alan Kohl
Stencil artist Peter Gibson’s personal and professional struggle to defend his work, define himself as an artist and address difficult questions about art and freedom of expression.
Note - A six-minute trailer is available for viewing at the Wooster Collective's website.
Directed by Vikram Jayanti
Rachael Scdoris, 23, and legally blind since birth, is racing in her third Iditarod, the grueling 1,100 mile dog sled race in Alaska that's the toughest race in the world.
Note - Rachel has her own website where you can track her progress on the various Iditarods in which she competes. SPOILER ALERT - it might reveal the end of the movie... Favorite feature? - What's in Rachel's Sled Bag?
SOUNDS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT...A POPUMENTARY (England)
Directed by Jamie Johnson
Behind the scenes look at of the world’s premiere youth music spectacle: The Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
Note - Variety's Dennis Harvey had this rave after the film debuted in Toronto at TIFF 2008:
We summed up the response at Toronto here.
TICKET TO PARADISE (Denmark)
Directed by Janus Metz
The sequel to Janus Metz' Love on Delivery’ follows the story of a young Thai-girl's journey from peasant to sex worker.
Note - See LOVE ON DELIVERY above.
24 BEATS PER SECOND
ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL
Directed by Sacha Gervasi
At 14, Toronto school friends Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner made a pact to rock together forever. They meant it. Cast: Steve “Lips Kudlow,” Robb Reiner.
Note - Nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and a Cinema Eye Honor, we also named this 2008 Sundance fave as one of our top nonfictions of last year.
ALL TOMORROW'S PARTIES
Directed by All Tomorrow’s People
A kaleidoscopic journey into the parallel musical universe of cult music festival All Tomorrow’s Parties.
Note - While the SXSW release pegs the director of the film to "All Tomorrow's People", the doc was long noted as Jonathan Caouette's follow-up to TARNATION.
YOUSSOU NDOUR: I BRING WHAT I LOVE
Directed by Chai Vasarhelyi
Youssou Ndour, one of Africa's most prominent musicians, returns home for the release of his highly controversial album, Egypt.
Note - Premiered at Toronto. We summed up the response here.
INTANGIBLE ASSET NUMBER 82
Directed by Emma Franz
An Australian drummer searches for an enigmatic Korean shaman and is transformed by the journey.
Note - You can find a trailer for the film on the website.
NUMBER ONE WITH A BULLET
Directed by Jim Dziura
A feature-length documentary that pulls back the curtain on gun violence in Hip Hop.
Note - A trailer for the film is up over at Current. Dziura worked as an A.C. (assistant camera) on Doug Pray's BIG RIG and SURFWISE.
THE PROMISED LAND – A SWAMP POP JOURNEY
Directed by Matthew Wilkinson
The story of South Louisiana super group Lil' Band o'Gold. 8 members, 25 egos, 6 livers - coming together to just play music.
Note - The definition of "swamp pop", according to Wikipedia:
RiP: A REMIX MANIFESTO
Directed by Brett Gaylor
A documentary feature exploring issues of copyright in the information age, mashing up the media landscape of the 20th century and shattering the wall between users and producers.
Note - Took home the Audience Award at IDFA.
Directed by Jeffrey Levy-Hinte
Jeffrey Levy-Hinte takes us on an epic trip back to 1974 when the most famous R & B acts in the world, including James Brown, B.B. King, and Bill Withers, put on 12 hour long concert to help promote Muhammad Ali and George Foreman's historic "Rumble in the Jungle" in Kinshasa, Zaire.
Note - Levy-Hinte is nominated for a 2009 Cinema Eye Honor for his producing work on ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED. Here's a brief interview with Levy-Hinte about the film:
WHEN YOU'RE STRANGE
Directed by Tom DiCillo
Using only original footage shot between 1966 and 1971, When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors, attempts to disentangle truth from myth, depict Jim Morrison, artist and alcoholic/addict, and showcase the other members of the band: Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and John Densmore, who together channeled the group's magic.
Note - The controversial Sundance title gets a second airing...