Our World Movies programmer Ally is still on ground at this year’s SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Here she takes some more time out from the latest premieres and casual celebrity spotting to share some more of her festival highlights.
Things at SXSW have REALLY just stepped up a notch. The music festival side of SXSW is about to kick off so the city is about to get even more crazy- if that were possible. Coldplay, Imagine Dragons and London Grammer will be kicking off the iTunes Festival tonight – check out the whole line-up, it’s insane! http://sxsw.com/itunes-festival-sxsw
Now, back on the film side of things – since I was last in touch I’ve been treated to everything from cult favourites to intriguing biopics – and none have disappointed.
This amazing documentary marks Mike Myers’ directorial debut and documents the life of Hollywood legend Shep Gordon. Whilst Shep may not be a household name in Australia, by a chance of fate he was responsible for managing Alice Cooper’s astounding rock career, as well as that of Blondie, Anne Murray and even Pink Floyd – for a whole 9 days. He also has been dubbed the man who invented the ‚Äòcelebrity chef’ and has worked closely with the Dalai Lama. The playful use of archival footage, current interviews and enhanced re-enactments combined with Mike Myers’ comedic direction produce a thoroughly entertaining documentary. Even if you don’t know who Shep Gordon is right now, his enthralling stories of time spent with stars such Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Sylvester Stallone and Jim Morrison make sure you’ll want to get to know him by the end of the film.
The Raid 2
Next the let’s move on to the highly anticipated sequel to the Indonesian cult favourite The Raid – I promise I’ll keep this short, no spoilers allowed! Getting back to where things left of, Rama fights his way through the challengers of the criminal world to protect and save his family. More action, more thrills and definitely more kills. Unfortunately the premiere didn’t quite go to plan with the English subtitles falling victim to a technical difficulty. Being told to return the next night to do it all over again was a little disheartening to those who had lined up for hours. As a consolation, the two main actors played out an impromptu martial arts battle on stage whilst the techies did what they could. In the end I have to say though that the film was worth the wait, and it won’t disappoint the huge fan base back home in Australia. The Raid airs on World Movies next at 2.20pm Wednesday 19 March
Monday marked the North American Premiere of Cesar Chavez. Coming from Australia I must admit that although I had heard the name, I didn’t know the story of Chavez. This film was so enticing however, and so excitingly intriguing, that immediately upon leaving the cinema I began Googling Chavez’s story like a madman. I guess that’s the effect of a great biopic – if a story really leaps off the screen, you are always left hungry to know more. Cesar Chavez is a story about basic civil rights, labor organisations and American migrants during the 1960s and 70s. The film really does justice to a man who led a peaceful fight to change the system throughout America.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson is back and definitely in a big way. The Grand Budapest Hotel is everything you would expect in an Anderson film and more. His recurring cast are all back – Owen Wilson, Bill Murray & Jason Schwartzman, the jokes are witty and quick and he has really upped the ante with his editing techniques. The film features a mix of animation, picturesque long-shots and dramatic music that I’m sure even Wes had a hard time choosing what approach was best whilst editing. After the premiere Richard Linklater, Wes Anderson and Jason Schwartzman took to the stage to chat over their creative processes. The Grand Budapest Hotel will be a must-see when it hits Australian cinemas later this year.
I also had the chance to listen to Lena Dunham (writer, director and star of the HBO series Girls) as she spoke about how SXSW was the launching pad for her hugely successful career. It was mind boggling to hear of all she has achieved by the age of 27!