Michael Bergeron
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SXSW Film Preview

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No matter how many films and events you try to go to at SXSW you still end up missing something. The SXSW Film, Interactive, and Music Conference and Festival, now in its 30th year, shows no sign of slowing down.

Leon casino, Free Press Houston has chosen ten films to highlight; yet with over 100 features, documentaries and short subjects it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Midnight Special – Writer/director Jeff Nichols has impressed audiences with films like Take Shelter and Mud. Nichols’ latest mixes road movie conventions with sci-fi plotting and a great cast that includes Michael Shannon, Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst, and Joel Edgerton.
  • The Bandit – This documentary chronicles the making of Smokey and The Bandit, its star Burt Reynolds and its director, former stuntman, Hal Needham. Smokey and The Bandit was the second highest grossing film of 1977, behind Star Wars. Both films were released during the same week.
  • Presenting Princess Shaw – Samantha Montgomery works her magic as her alter ego Princess Shaw on Youtube and other social media. Ophir “Kutiman” Kutiel discovers her videos and arranges for Samantha to travel half way around the world to perform her songs in concert.FilmStill-150
  • Orange Sunshine – A journey through the ‘60s and a group of drug smugglers known as the Brotherhood of Eternal Love. Before the government shut them down they changed the landscape of how psychedelics and hash were distributed in America.
  • Operation Avalanche – A group of filmmakers infiltrate NASA in the late-60s with the intention of blowing the lid on the real purpose of the Apollo program. Director (also writer and actor) Matt Johnson really has a knack for mixing found footage and recreating the look of the era.
  • Miles Ahead – An advance screening of Don Cheadle’s biopic of the famed musician. Cheadle (who stars, writes and directs) finds inspiration in an artist trying to regain his mojo.FilmStill-47
  • Thank You Del: The Story of the Del Close Marathon – Documentary that goes behind the scenes of the man who influenced literally dozens of the top comedians to emerge from the Uptight Citizens Brigade and other improve comedy groups.
  • Silicon Cowboys – An in-depth look at how Compaq was started and how the fledgling computer company eventually triumphed over IBM.
  • The Liberators – Amazing documentary that traces an 9th century illustrated manuscript, and other stolen art, from a cave in Germany at the end of World War II to its rediscovery decades later in a small Texas town. The Samuhel Gospel, now in its original home of Quedlinburg, Germany, is valued at over $200-million.
  • Don’t Think Twice – Writer/director Mike Birbiglia’s new film follows a theatrical troupe that starts to come apart when one of the members gets a huge break. Birbiglia stars with Keegan-Michael Key and Gillian Jacobs.

 — Michael Bergeron