Sunday, March 9, 2014

SXSW 2014 Film: Documentary Short Program 1

The great thing about a shorts program is the films are short. If it's a good film, it feels even shorter or makes you wish it were full length. If it's not a good film, at least it didn't waste a bunch of your time. There were six shorts in the program I watched at SXSW yesterday. The films varied in their subject matter and length but all of them were at least entertaining. The worst of the six was the shortest and it wasn't bad, it just felt like a web video. My favorite was Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace, which was the longest film in the set but also the most engaging. The subject matter was interesting and the film itself was very well-done. I would most certainly watch a full-length feature about or inspired by the artist Kehinde Wiley.

Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace - Official Trailer video via YouTube

Obviously, I'm a big music nerd so I was excited to see short films about the New Orleans Bounce scene, a DFA Records documentary, and a very short film about kid-metal group Unlocking the Truth. The Unlocking the Truth documentary definitely could have been longer. Since, the group played FunFunFun Fest last year I feel like there is a lot more to their story than what was in the short documentary but I suspect that festival appearance happened after this film was shot.

There was also a documentary about an openly gay baseball player who INVENTED THE HIGH FIVE. Isn't that crazy? Someone was the first person to give a high five and it turns out that dude was gay. As a gay man, I will think of this film whenever I see a Republican giving a high five. I'll think, I wonder if he/she knows how gay that is?

The feature in this program that I have yet to mention was a documentary about Shephard Fairey. I love art documentaries and I think Shephard Fairey is a really interesting person but this really should have been a feature-length documentary. The film makers crammed WAY too much story into this short, which made it feel like a trailer or show about a movie. It either needed more focus or more screen-time.

There are about a billion shorts playing at SXSW and I highly recommend checking them out especially if they're showing at the Topfer, which was very posh.