We’re just two weeks away from the kick-off of South by Southwest 2011 — and while I’m prepping for our big Spirit Awards weekend, I’m also trying to really dig into this year’s SXSW schedule. Thankfully, SXSW’s YouTube channel has almost 100 trailers uploaded. I picked out five of the more intriguing looking (but maybe a little lesser known) films to share here. This is what I picked:
Directed by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein
SXSW Premiere: Saturday March 12, 4:30 PM, Vimeo Theater
The newest documentary from the directors of “Gunner Palace” is the story of what a baseball fan like me would describe as the “minor leagues” of Mixed Martial Arts: the training ground where young fighters are made or destroyed. MMA is a huge part of the modern sports scene but it’s been almost completely unexamined from a documentary perspective, so I’m really looking forward to seeing this.
Directed by Dave Boyle
SXSW Premiere: Saturday March 12, 1:30 PM, Alamo Ritz
This film has one of those irresistible hooks: a musician (Goh Nakamura) plays himself in a film he co-wrote. Nakamura plays Goh, a down-on-his-luck San Francisco singer/songwriter who gets the opportunity to teach a TV star (Chadd Stoops) to play guitar for a part in a friend’s movie. The trailer promises pretty black and white photography and prettier acoustic ballads.
Directed by Kyle Smith
SXSW Premiere: Saturday March 12, 11:15AM
Ah, the siren song of the real-time movie: so powerful when it works, so painful when it doesn’t. Can’t say I’ve seen a lot of real time comedies, which makes “Turkey Bowl” particularly enticing. It’s about an annual football game between old friends, and it lasts as long as the game does, a little over one hour. SXSW.com has an interview with director Kyle Smith, who made the film with many of his own buddies and encouraged his actors to improvise their dialogue, particularly in the realm of game-time trash talk.
“Square Grouper: The Godfathers of Ganja”
Directed by Billy Corben
SXSW Premiere: Saturday March 12, 9:30 PM, Vimeo Theater
Billy Corben, director of “Cocaine Cowboys,” tackles the Southern Florida marijuana trade of the 1970s, when out-of-work fisherman turned to pot smuggling to feed their families. The trailer looks like it’s got a ton of interesting characters and twice as many interesting beards.
Directed by Sally Rowe
SXSW Premiere: Sunday March 13, 11:00 AM, Vimeo Theater
I don’t have time to watch a lot of television, but I’m fascinated by cooking shows, which is weird because I don’t cook. This documentary looks like the best cooking show ever mixed with a “mad genius” documentary like “Man on Wire”: Paul Liebrandt was the youngest chef to ever receive a three star review from the New York Times but still managed to find himself unemployed and floundering. And, yes, by God, that was a fish pun.
Also: here’s a little coming attraction from myself. It is cold and rainy here in New York City. Can’t wait for some of that Austin sunshine. And by sunshine, I mean barbecue sauce.