The 2020 SXSW Film Festival is upon us, bringing a vast collection of intriguing films and documentaries from filmmakers all over the world and North America. This year’s documentary films promise to deliver some of the most powerful stories that pull back the curtain on some of our most beloved public figures and gripping topics facing society today.
With over 50 documentaries set to premiere at SXSW this year, it will be impossible to see them all within 10 days of festivities and films. Before you formulate your own SXSW film and chill experience, we’ve selected 8 of our most anticipated documentary films to keep your eye on at this year’s festival.
Cursed Films is a five-part documentary series which explores the myths and legends behind some of Hollywood’s notoriously “cursed” horror film productions. From plane accidents and bombings during the making of The Omen, to the rumored use of real human skeletons on the set of Poltergeist, these stories are legendary amongst film fans and filmmakers alike. But where does the truth lie? Cursed Films reveals the events that haunted these productions through interviews with experts, witnesses and the cast, directors and producers who lived through the real-life events. Were these films really cursed, as many believe, or just the victims of bad luck and bizarre circumstances? Writer/Director Jay Cheel
Premiere – Mar 13 6:15pm —7:38pm at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar
‘Clerk’ is an examination and celebration of the life of Kevin Smith – and an exploration on how one kid from Jersey completely transformed the cultural landscape. A journey which began 25 years ago at the Sundance Film festival where his DIY film ‘Clerks’, financed on credit cards took the film world by storm. Leading to a career as a filmmaker, podcaster, stand-up comedian, author, comic book writer, television producer – a veritable pop culture icon with a very large and loyal fanbase.
PREMIERE SCREENING – Mar 17, 2020 5:30pm —7:22pm
You Cannot Kill David Arquette is a documentary that follows actor David Arquette as he attempts to make a comeback in the world of pro-wrestling. Following his infamous championship as part of a marketing stunt for the film Ready to Rumble, Arquette is widely known as the most hated man in pro-wrestling worldwide. Nearly 20 years after he “won” the initial title, through ups and downs in his career, with his family, and with his struggles with addiction, David Arquette seeks redemption by returning to the ring…for real this time.
Screening – Friday, March 20th at the ZACH Theatre
Feels Good Man a documentary feature about the artist who accidentally created the world’s most recognizable meme, Pepe the Frog, and the pandemonium that ensued. The film premiered a few weeks ago at Sundance 2020, where my partner/director, Arthur Jones, won the Special Jury Prize for Emerging Filmmaker. The film was also edited by Aaron Wickenden (Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Finding Vivian Maier).
Premiere – Austin Convention Center SXSW Film Theater, Mar 17, 11:00am —12:33pm
In the slums of Kampala, two men from opposite sides of the world come together over a shared love for America’s greatest hero: Rambo. Against all odds, the two make their own action movies with no money — and bring joy to millions of people on the internet. Welcome to “Wakaliwood.” Through comedy and kung-fu, ONCE UPON A TIME IN UGANDA chronicles the unlikely friendship between Isaac Nabwana, a director hailed as “Africa’s Tarantino,” and Alan Hofmanis, a film programmer from New York. While Isaac tirelessly makes feature after feature, Alan brings his films to international audiences. But tensions flare as Isaac’s star rises — threatening their partnership and all of Wakaliwood. Directed by Cathryne Czubek & Hugo Perez.
Screening – Monday, March 16th at 1:45pm at Alamo Lamar E
Life-affirming and profound, AN ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM beautifully captures the heartbreaking, mundane and even the funny moments in the lives of several young children who have recently lost one or both parents. The Good Grief community in New Jersey focuses on a holistic approach to mourning, where children can give in to rage in ‘the volcano room’ or say goodbye to a dying teddy bear patient in ‘the hospital room.’ Over the course of a year, we get close to Kimmy, Nicky, Peter, Nora, Nolan and Mikayla along with their constant companion: grief, as they attend their weekly group meetings at Good Grief, practice small rituals to remember their loved ones, and go about the daily work of living. Directed by: Katrine Philp
Premiere Screening – Monday, March 16, 2020 at Alamo Lamar E @11:00am
Bulletproof observes the age-old rituals that take place daily in American schools: homecoming parades, basketball practice, morning announcements, and math class. Unfolding alongside these scenes are an array of newer traditions: lockdown drills, teacher firearm trainings, metal detector inspections, and school safety trade shows. Bulletproof weaves together these moments in a cinematic meditation, bringing viewers into intimate proximity with the people self-tasked with protecting the nation’s children, as well as with those most deeply impacted by these heightened security measures: students and teachers.
Beastie Boys, Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz, tell you an intimate, personal story of their band and 40 years of friendship in this live documentary experience directed by their longtime friend and collaborator, and their former grandfather, filmmaker Spike Jonze. SXSW World Premiere presented in The IMAX Experience. Directed by Spike Jonze
Screening – March 16th, 9:30pm Paramount Theater