South by Southwest Film Festival Talking Movies

South by Southwest Film Festival

In a special edition, Talking Movies reports from Austin, Texas. We look back at some of the highlights of this year's South by Southwest Film Festival.

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for the South by Southwest Film Festival.


Hello and welcome to the South by Southwest Film Festival


In today's programme we hear from hometown hero and top American


director Richard Linklater on his movie made in Texas.


A big comedy on opening night and I'm happy to make


With more music films from Britain and Japan shown


They might be the biggest band in the world.


And two very different festival documentaries,


one looking at a team of female bicyclists trying to reclaim


the streets and another reconstructing, by way of animation,


a mass shooting almost 50 years ago here in Austin.


There is a sniper on the university campas firing at will.


All that and more in this special South by Southwest edition


A music, interactive and film festival all rolled into one.


It's an event that certainly energizes and, in some instances,


almost overwhelms the city of Austin every spring.


Today we're going to be focusing on the film festival which came


It has grown to become a highly respected showcase for independent


cinema and also there's a smattering of Hollywood.


For the past 30 years, Austin, the state capital of Texas,


Last year it brought more than 80,000 people to the city.


When it comes to film, this year some 140


I think it is becoming more and more formidable as the years go on.


Ever since Bridesmaids premiered at South by Southwest,


it has been a very splashy festival for big comedy movies.


Trainwreck too was the big one last year and it went


This year, there's one called Sausage Party which is a very


It has really become the landing spot for really good


The festival has been the launching pad for several noteworthy films.


From blockbusters like Furious 7 to the low-budget Tiny Furniture


which helped put Lena Dunham on the map.


It also showcases local Texas films and film makers.


A case in point, the Oscar-nominated hometown hero, Richard Linklater,


pleased that for the first time a film of his, Everybody Wants Some,


has been selected for the opening night.


It's a great tradition to have a comedy on opening night


and so I am glad to have made a comedy that qualifies to be


A big event on the first day of the film festival wasn't just


the unveiling of that film, but President Obama being in town


I don't know how to say it any better.


It's an honour to have him here at the same time.


Given that South by Southwest incorporates a music festival,


music films have always loomed large.


Documentaries are very important in the lineup.


Not as important as comedies in the lineup but they are gaining


There are many music documentaries, many strange


Many documentaries are about eccentrics which sort of falls


So where at the end of the day does South by Southwest stand


in the constellation of world film festivals,


falling as it does between Sundance and Cannes?


Some of the locals think nothing can beat it.


It's a big and influential festival but I think because it's Austin,


it retains a bit of an outsider non-industry vibe,


It has got a really good feel and it is really about the movies.


But there are detractors who think South by Southwest shows mediocre


films and that the wider event is too commercial but there are also


avid fans who believe in South by Southwest and think that every


March, Austin in Texas is just the coolest place to be.


There was a British presence at South by Southwest this year


and one British electronic music pioneer, Gary Numan,


was the subject of a festival documentary.


Now we go to our correspondent who reports on that film.


Gary Numan is sometimes called the godfather of electro-pop,


probably best known for his 1979 hit Cars.


# Here in my car #


He was arguably one of the most famous men on the planet.


At one point he had three albums in the charts at the same time.


That is kind of Beatles level of success and fame.


The film is a portrait of a man who was a trail blazer


He would say himself he was not the only one at the time.


There are people like Bowie, of course, and Kraftwerk,


all of whom experimented with electronic music


and synthesizers but Gary was the first one who became


I would say he was the first to become, as he says


in the film, kind of the first synth-rock superstar.


The documentary follows Numan at a moment of transition


as he's moving his family from England to Los Angeles


and trying to rekindle his career with a new album.


The one I'm doing now has been six years.


My career is as strong as it has ever been.


We learn that the musician has Asperger syndrome and is often


And at some point you lose your grip and then you find yourself


in the middle of nowhere, a bit beaten up and totally lost.


His mannerisms, his personality, comes across clearly,


that he is really very nervous about the new album.


He is nervous about moving to the States, is it going to work


This documentary is generous to its subject.


It's an affectionate, relatively uncritical portrait that


will no doubt bring Numan fans much satisfaction.


Gary Numan has suffered for his art and the same goes for another film


It covers a Japanese pop group which has been plagued


by troubles the last few years, all of which has been overseen


I had a chance to sit down with Yoshiki.


Yoshiki and his childhood friend and lead vocalist started X Japan


They forged a music culture called visual kei that borrowed


from the glam rock scene emerging in the West and mixed up


The film shows that when it comes to Yoshiki, who is also classically


trained as a pianist, personal tragedy was at the centre


of his entrance to rock music and the birth of X Japan.


When he was ten, his father committed suicide.


I was so depressed, so angry but rock was perfect,


the perfect music to just throw all my emotion and sadness into.


But I didn't stop playing classical music either,


so now I play both, classical and rock.


What hardship has the band gone through over the years?


The vocalist, Toshi, got brainwashed and then our band broke up.


Our guitar player Hidei passed away and our bass player Taiji


The film depicts death and pain as a villain in your life but do


you think it has also fuelled your creativity?


I'm not sure, the new place where you are just sad,


So I started writing lyrics and composing melodies.


I don't know if I would have survived otherwise.


The band reunited in 2008 and has been touring since 2009.


Critics have found this film rewarding although there have been


complaints that it's superficial, but the live footage is seen


As you heard, Richard Linklater, who is perhaps the biggest name


in Texas film had a new picture released at the festival.


He made an impact recently with his ingeniously structured


Oscar-nominated coming-of-age drama Boyhood.


His latest picture is, to some extent, a sequel


Do you guys know anything about a party here tonight?


The director's picture Dazed and Confused focused on Texas teens


It was a well-received coming-of-age comedy and to its fans is one


of the best high school comedies ever made.


His new picture, Everybody Wants Some, moves on to paint a portrait


You're really good at dialogue and social observation


This comes across at times as a frat boy movie.


Did you try to get social observation very consciously into it


or were you operating on a different level?


I think I had so many years to think about this movie.


I started wanting to make it around 2002, so I couldn't help but see it


as a social or anthropological critique of young men


It's fun, they're the party and I am embracing their behaviour


but at the same time, I am sort of critiquing it


because I look back and it's amazing how driven


by entitlement and swagger these young men are.


No 2, no girls upstairs in the bedrooms.


Early reviews have been very positive, but one review said


Can you understand where that reviewer is coming from?


There is definitely a lot, but, too much?


At least the guys have some wit and humour to them.


I see some of that is a critique, but I don't know about too much.


It's not balanced out, it's very male.


It's very much a Texas film, set in Texas and, I think,


you shot it entirely within the state.


What is it in terms of its content that will make it appealing


to audiences who don't live in Texas, or who aren't


Either over time or geography there is a point in everyone's life


where they leave home and head out to the next adventure in their life,


and developmentally they are in a new stage.


And also the social situations you find yourself in.


You're the new kid thrown in with others,


whether it is your first date or a job, or...


One day in Austin history will live in infamy.


August 1st, 1966, when a sniper climbed to the top of the University


of Texas tower behind me and started firing at random individuals below.


16 people died and three dozen were wounded.


It was the first mass college shooting of its kind in the US.


One South By Southwest documentary artfully recreates what happened


on that day, partly through the use of animation.


There is a sniper on the university tower firing at will.


For those old enough to remember the shootings in Austin


on August 1st, 1966, it was horrifying.


A 25-year-old engineering student at the top of the tower engaging


This event really sliced a giant wound into the psyche of this town.


You have to remember that the shooting happened three


years after the JFK assassination, so the entire world had


To have this happen on the heels of that really changed the way


16 people were killed, so the connection points went deep


The film blends animation with live-action.


Using animation to simulate a mass killing may sound odd.


The words come from young people recounting the oral history


One student who was there that day really embraces


what the director did using animation.


It was so much better than acting or anything else would have been,


because they had the fluidity to get the idea across much


It would have been wooden with actors and actresses


The purpose was to get oral history, and the animation made


You could have put it together using live actors in a docudrama.


What do you think animation brought to the final result?


When I first pitched the animation to several producers


I was rebuffed because they said, "No, this is such a personal story,


and animation will keep audiences at arms length".


I have worked with animation, and I know the opposite is true.


There is a kind of intimacy you can't get without the tremendous


production costs of live action and that I knew I wouldn't be


A controversial law came into being saying that students


The fact that someone next to you on this campus


could have a gun in a backpack, that's absurd.


I do hope Texans see this movie and it makes them feel something


But Tower is not so much an overt political film as a look at how


One of the most remarkable characters is Claire Wilson,


who was 18 years old and pregnant at the time.


Not only was she shot, but she also lost her baby.


And her boyfriend, who was right next to her, died in the mayhem.


Yet she has forgiven Charles Whitman, the sniper


I guess I just believe that people constantly are making choices,


and he made some really horrible choices that hurt all of us.


I think we all have the capacity for great evil in us,


but we just keep making choices to not act out that evil.


Tower certainly engaged audiences at the festival and won


Although it's a film showing gun slaughter it's unlikely to shift


entrenched opinion on gun ownership in Texas.


But it does show, without doubt, the true heartbreak that


We did not know who was being killed.


There is a fair amount of biking in Austin,


and one of the films shown at the festival focused


There is a fair amount of biking in Austin,


and one of the films shown at the festival focused on a group


of female cyclists whose mission is to reclaim the streets.


They are also trying to dismantle a number of stereotypes.


The Ovarian Psychos sprung up in East Los Angeles in 2011,


A group of Latinos who were eager to reclaim streets that


could sometimes be dangerous for women.


The film-makers were very interested in how they presented themselves in


particular. They have a very powerful look,


they wear their politics on the body, they wear


bandannas over their faces, Everything about them


was so clever, so political The films two first-time feature


directors spent two years making the documentary focusing


on the Ovarian Psychos. They wanted to debunk


a number of stereotypes. In the film we cover


that they have been called a gang, that people have really focused


on the fact that they are brown women from East LA, in this


stereotypical language. I am not one of them but I can


imagine that would be very frustrating, especially


when the work they are doing It was a dream to have a collective


of women from our neighbourhood. They wear bandanna masks,


fiercely emblazoned with an image of the uterus and fallopian tubes,


partly to embrace their femininity, but also as an attention-getting


move to make people aware of their true commitment


to community healing, It's like a Trojan horse or a tool


to get people interested. But the Ovarian Psychos themselves,


what they do is much more personal and internal, and about


healing and sisterhood All of us have some kind


of trauma in our lives. For women, bicycling


can be a political act. In the US or Europe in the early


20th century a woman riding a bike They have faced a backlash,


as women engaging in all the fields considered the domain


of men always have. Women experience street harassment


so often. Yes, it's a political act to get


together as a group of women For the filmmakers, earning


the trust of the Ovarian Psychos I'm a white filmmaker,


making a film about an organisation of women with colour, and it was not


without complications. We had to have many conversations


off camera in order to build Texas is a state where 37%


of the population is Hispanic. But films about the lives


of Hispanics or Latinos don't feature that prominently in


South By Southwest's film line-up. Even then, it's about the experience


of Latinos living in another state. In the US media landscape that often


exploits conflict among women, such as on Real Housewives


and other programmes, the Psychos and their filmmakers


give what many find is a welcome portrait of female


solidarity and support. You can always reach us


online at our website. From everyone here in Austin


in Texas, it's goodbye as we leave you with a clip from the Gary Numan


documentary shown here at SXSW. I hope you are enjoying the weekend,


there is a lot of righty out


In a special edition, Talking Movies reports from Austin, Texas. We look back at some of the highlights of this year's South by Southwest Film Festival.

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