For a non-badge holder at South By Southwest Film you can count on never seeing the premieres or the runaway hits. You can however usually snag tickets to a second screening or those overlooked gems that aren’t all hyped out by the hype machine. I was able to check out a few choice documentaries that will surely make the festival circuits this year.
“Self Made,” directed by Gillian Wearing, is a first feature for this renowned video artist. Wearing often engages the public in her video works. For “Self Made” she took out an ad in a local paper for non-actors who wanted to be in a film playing both themselves and a character. Wearing enrolled her class in an intensive method acting class that called upon them to summon emotions deeply buried to fuel their characters. The film was a moving version of a more nuanced and deeply felt realty show.
“The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye” is a wild ride into the world of industrial musician Genesis P. Orridge (of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV) and the love of his life, Lady Jaye. The filmmakers followed this couple for seven years documenting what they describe as their “androgyny experiment” where they grow to physically resemble one another through plastic surgery. Although the film purports to be about a love story, it is more of a character study of Genesis. It left me wanting to see a little more of their collective story and a little less of Genesis’s long winded interviews. Still, a pretty fascinating take on love and partnership.
“Outside Industry: The Story of SXSW” http://www.outsideindustrymovie.com/ was actually the most refreshing 2hrs I spent in the madness of SXSW 2011. As the director said before the screening “This is the most meta thing you’ll do today,” and it was. But it gave a blessed sense of perspective to Austinites and those in the music biz who both love and loath the corporate monster and hype monger that has become SXSW.