SXSW 2017 Talking Movies

SXSW 2017

Talking Movies reports from Austin in Texas and looks back at some of the highlights of this year's South by Southwest Film Festival.

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Time now on BBC News for Talking Movies.


Hello and welcome to Texas in our special South by Southwest Film


Festival addition. In today's programme, the opening night film


from a visionary American director. Did eat live up to expectation? Most


girls out there have the same formula. This has a different one.


The action big budget films also came to town. It takes them on a


ride. It is designed to be seen big and loud. It totally normalises the


image of the average American Muslim and the average American Mexican


immigrant. And Melissa Leo playing and activist. The question of


religious freedom. And storytelling devices. All that and more in this


special South by Southwest Film Festival addition of Talking Movies.


Austin has been enveloped by South by Southwest Film Festival, a


sprawling interactive media music and film festival that overwhelms


the city. This year, 130 features were showcased. South by Southwest


Film Festival opened amid great excitement with stars arriving to


the premiere of song the song. It is very much a local tale involving in


the correct that lovers in the backdrop of the music scene.


Struggling Song writers. I played somebody who is trying to find some


sort of transcendence and he does that through sexual encounters,


drugtaking, any heightened experience. It is somebody who is


very manipulative but also somebody who is a little bit lost himself. A


very powerful, very wealthy but very destructive, self-destructive


person. Song the song has many of the landmarks of its director. The


story that is more impressionistic than leapfrog. For some it had an


intoxicating effects. He is one of the most unique, original humans I


have ever met. He is so brilliant and just his own person. This is one


of the most unique experience I have ever had. He makes beautiful films.


What is interesting about Jerry is he makes them differently from the


usual format. Most films have the same formula and Terence Malik has a


different formula. Terence Malik does not do interviews. He has


become a mythical figure. He withdrew from filmmaking in the


1970s. Since the tree of life, his most recent films have not brought


him much claim. Would this restore his reputation? Critics for the most


part hand it. -- panned. What is it you do? More enthusiasm for the


Hollywood studio movies. Baby Driver was well liked. Aislinn Derbez as


the getaway driver. It is really fun for everyone. Very fun movie feature


movie, a date movie, a movie he can go with your friends. Baby Driver is


made by British direct Edgar Wright. It is something he cannot live


without and that is the movie you see. Also banning some decent


reviews was Atomic Blonde in which Charlize Theron plays a lethal MI6


James Bond spy on assignment. The Room, dubbed the Citizen Kane of


current movies, brought credit to its star producer and director James


Franco. The narrative films are a bit of a mishmash but several had


immigrant themes. A portrait of a young Nigerian American working on


Wall Street weighed down by obligations to his immigrant family.


In telling the story of this particular guy who I found


fascinating - at once an American on who dreams of artwork mobility, and


African, an African-American. You get the experience through that


particular lens, the Niger in America. And finally, the story of a


Muslim Lesbian immigration lawyer whose love for a Mexican American


woman and her interest in wrestling puts it in conflict with a very


traditional Pakistani mother. In the light of the rising views, her film


has been perceived in political terms. I was making a story about


Muslims and Mexicans before Donald Trump made it popular to talk about


Muslims and Mexicans in the same sentence. I set out to tell a story


that reflected the people I know. The truth I know, the love that I


see. Now in a bit more detail. This year there were documentaries about


blacks being shot by police. This seems a routine aspect of life in


America today. One focuses on one particular incident. Shots fired. In


Milwaukee and Wisconsin April 2013 31-year-old is napping in a public


park. Citizens call police complaining he looked suspicious. An


altercation between him and a police officer ended in him being shot to


death. He was diagnosed schizophrenic. Direct Eric Young


found elements of this story troubling so he made contact with


Hamilton's family. I work as a journalist in Milwaukee. I travel


all around. I had done some stories on social activism so I knew a lot


of the main players in social movements and went to one of the


rallies at the Hamilton families had. They knew and could vouch for


me. I kind of trying to explain. They just thought I was another


newsgroup but I kept coming to all the rallies and talking to them more


and they got a better sense of what I was tried to do. Do you have any


reservations about being a white person telling a story rooted in


African-American context. Am I missing something? Were our my blind


spots? We tried to consult with people and do the best you can but


it is definitely something that crossed my mind and it was a


concern. It is a documentary that shows more than a family 's grief.


In the film, frustration built as a city of the walk it takes months at


a time to respond to these tragedy officially. During that period the


family became more politically active. Our film is unique cause we


were really on the ground right after this happened following the


family, trying to reset the narrative in the media about their


loved one and about fighting for justice and this family is really


unique in that they are kind of leaving the social movement in


Milwaukee. They got community members to come out once a week and


they would talk about what the plan was for the week. In the film, we


see the formation of the coalition for Justice as they rally against


police and even quarrelled with others over political tactics. The


director says his agenda was less political and more about the


training and family driven to action by the loss of a loved one. My main


thing was really to show from families Perspex if because it is


easy for people to sit at an judge this family. -- perspective. If you


got to know this family anybody can relate to this family. Nate and


Maria are really good people and a lot of fun and even despite the


tragedy they maintained a sense of humour and were able to have a good


time. What would you do if that happened? Given that there are


numerous instances of police shooting television airways are


often seek with these tragedies and some believe the public has become


numb. And a documentary make any difference? Nate Hamilton believes


in the films ability to impact individuals more than anything else.


Everything in this film will show our self expression and the love we


have for our family and the love that has grown from the community.


Seeing this film you can say I have seen this family, I can see me in


this family, I can see myself marching in protest and talking to


officials the same way this family was with courage, dignity and


self-respect. The story raises question about how the Milwaukee


police department handle this racially charged case. The film has


topicality because at the end of last month, the new Attorney General


Jeff Sessions indicated the Federal government will pull back on


investigating police department that may have violated the civil rights


of minorities. Eric Young says he finds Jeff Sessions rhetoric


terrifying. He has only been in the White House for a few weeks but a


ready president Trump with his policies is changing the way the


rest of the world sees America. Deceptions of Americans and how they


match with reality. Mainland looks at these perceptions. Her


documentary follows to Chinese teenagers, they travel to the US to


study in the State of Maine. They are part of a bigger phenomenon of


economic leap privileged students from China on study of broad


programmes in the US. There is an enormous wave of Chinese students


coming to the US and to other parts of the world who seek higher


education so they can experience American culture and learn the


language. The goal is to go to college in the US and afterwords it


is more of an open? . Do they go back or stay? Mainland touches on


the differences between Chinese and American culture is. It is the


subject matter familiar to the direct Miao Wang,, because she moved


to the US when she was 13. How happiness varies between the two


countries. How the Chinese happiness is different from American


happiness. In America a lot of times people go to a sports game and feel


really happy but in China most people just do not... That has to be


some kind of basic, fundamental security... Like financial security


before people can really feel like they can allow themselves to feel


happy and I think in some ways she appreciates levels of the


American... That sort of carefree in S. Carefree nurse. It shows that it


is a sobering experience for the students to come to America.


They had this idealistic American dream which is you can probably


become wealthy, have a nice life here he is. But in a lot of ways,


they are worse than China. Mainland took three years to make and was


shot in the US and China. The director lets the visuals speak for


themselves. At South by Southwest, it won an award for Excellence in


Observational Humour. I watched a famous movie called High School


Musical and decided to study in America. One Austin resident who


loomed large was Mao Glenn Murray Ohare, and activists atheist. -- an


activist atheist. She was once lauded as the most hated woman in


America. Now there is a movie about her rise and very lurid fall. The


film shows her as a larger than life figure. Her actor applauds her


achievements. In the early 1960s single-handedly with the help of her


young son got Christian prayer out of public schools in the United


States of America by taking it to The Supreme Court where it was found


to be indeed an infringement on the Constitution. You have just ruined a


television show. She became a media star and was a difficult women


according to many accounts off. -- woman. She had an interesting


relationship with her father. He was too religious and she needed


something to strike out against. As she got older and became more and


more committed to the notion and got more and more informed about all of


it, she also went on later in her life to form the American Atheist


Association. The director said he was interested in the dynamics of


her family life. I wanted to tell a story about a woman who had a very


complex relationship with her family. A person who really believed


in something and was seduced by the limelight and greed and ended up


pushing away many of those people that loved her the most. Hello. A


former employee was her downfall. Knowledgeable that the American


atheist empire had sizeable funds, she saw an opportunity. She was


kidnapped along with her son and granddaughter and they were all


murdered by him in 1985. He was a career criminal. He was fascinating


and deeply charming. And I think very much they had this rather


extraordinary and bizarre relationship. O'Hare. And her


relatives were mutilated and buried and it was indeed a gruesome. There


were documentaries made about her, but this new film is a fictionalised


account. Liberties were taken, but the director says a lot was true. A


lot comes directly from interviews. We are lucky to have quite a few


books that she wrote and plenty of articles and TV appearances to pull


from. Religious conservatives who believe there is a place for prayer


in public schools probably will not rush to see this movie, but to her


supporters, this film shows her achievements still have great


topical relevance. The question of religious freedom has come up again


in our world, I don't think it actually died away. I think it gives


pause to many of the things she says and what she says in the film. She


is not asking people to stop their religion, she is not asking people


to believe what she believes, she does not want to be rolled over into


someone else's belief and me to do things according to someone else's


belief. That is it. And after all, that is truly the American way.


Nobody can hurt me. As a festival, South by Southwest is jampacked with


corporate branding. But, some subversive works to emerge from


other commercial infrastructure. For example, this year was Rat Film, a


truly idiosyncratic documentary which defies easy categorisation.


Tristan Daley reports. In his first documentary feature, Rat Film, Mr


Anthony uses the rat to explore different topics, like housing the


scammer nation, and current methods of pest control. -- discrimination.


It takes place in Baltimore and uses the rat as a tool. I don't have


strong feelings for the rat, but I do believe in the rat as a vessel


for ideas and histories of people. That is what I am interested in, not


actually the rat. Anything that cuts across boundaries and moves people.


I could have made a film about garbage routes. Anything but


transverse is distance and people and geography has the potential to


create really strange connections. -- transverses. The film shows how


the scammer nation contributed to the rise of rat populations in poor


neighbourhoods in Baltimore. Videogame perspectives showed the


perspective of the rats. The rat is a theme throughout. But critics


could say it lacks coherence. There are so many ideas. I don't want to


be confined to a mythical linear narrative that will give catharsis


and resolution at the end. Anything that I try to push back on, that


expectation of solution and a payoff and coming out of the film learning


what we have to do next. I think the most effective a film can be is that


you come out feeling radically different and not knowing what to


do. And that is the most important step, I think. Open interpretation


seems to be Theo Anthony's biggest priority. Watching Rat Film, it is


easy to think that the animals are being used to show something


profound. Fight he says there is no singular interpretation. It is


whatever you bring to it. If you want to see people running around


Baltimore killing or helping rats, it has that. If you want to learn


about how a city is mapped and modelled and built, you can do that


as well. The film premiered to positive reviews. It seems fitting


that this should screen at South by Southwest, which is known for its


mixed media brand. And any hopes this home-grown project will for a


wrench into the expectations of the audience about what a documentary


film should be. Well, that brings this special South


by Southwest Film Festival edition of Talking Movies to a close. We


hope you enjoyed the show. You can always find us on line and at


Facebook. From me and the rest of the Talking Movies crew, it is


goodbye, as we leave you with one of the music video is shown here at


South by Southwest. -- videos. #Girl, you're too young, don't give


up on life. Don't, don't give up on life. Don't stop believing#. #Girl,


you're too young, don't give up on life. Don't, don't give up on life.


Don't stop believing#. The cloud has slowly crept


across the UK through the day Not rain for all, but this


was the view through Friday There will be some rain around


for many of us this weekend,


Talking Movies reports from Austin in Texas and looks back at some of the highlights of this year's South by Southwest Film Festival.

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