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SXSW: It Begins

by Stephen Becker 13 Mar 2015 11:40 AM

sxsw logoIn a few hours, I’ll be pointing the car south and heading down I-35 for another edition of South by Southwest. It’s my 11th time covering the festival, which you’ve no-doubt heard has either a) gotten, like, SO big or b) gotten, like, TOO big.

We’ll see if both “a” and “b” are true over the weekend. But until then, I’m going to be optimistic. Mostly because I’m looking forward to checking out:

Welcome to Leith – I’ll be starting this year off with this documentary about white supremacist Craig Cobb’s attempt to takeover a small town in North Dakota. It’s one of the 10 films that the Dallas International Film Festival has announced will be part of this year’s lineup. I’ll be talking to the film’s director, Michael Beach Nichols, after the film, so check back here for a post on that interview on Saturday.

Ava DuVernay – From a white supremacist to arguably the most notable black filmmaker of the last year. DuVernay will give this year’s keynote address Saturday morning. With the 50th anniversary of the march on Selma last weekend and her Oscar snub firmly in the past, she’ll be sharing her thoughts on her experience with Selma and the outlook for black women in film. It looks as if she has a few projects coming up, so if she shares any details, you’ll find them here Saturday afternoon.

Manglehorn – Richardson native and Austin resident David Gordon Green shows his latest project on Saturday afternoon. I’ll be talking to him on Sunday about his turn towards more serious films after Pineapple Express and Your Highness and about working with Al Pacino, who plays a guy grieving over the loss of the love of his life. In the meantime, here’s our Big Screen conversation from 2013, in which we talked about his film Prince Avalanche and about him being an extra in JFK.

I’m also planning to catch Being Evel, a documentary about Evel Knievel that’s also showing at DIFF, and a conversation with Beau Willimon about taking House of Cards from script to screen.

I’ll be blogging all weekend here, posting on the Art&Seek Facebook page and sending out some micro observations and pics on Twitter. Follow me @stephenbecker.

‘Til soon.