Every March, Austin plays host to South by Southwest, a gargantuan festival of new media, film, music, comedy, and everything in between. Although much of the week is closed to the chosen few badge holders, non-badged visitors can purchase single-admission tickets to film screenings, space permitting. With that in mind, we’ve curated a quick list of films that may be of particular interest to those attendees who study or are generally fans of American Studies.
Click each title for screening times and locations.
Recently discovered Super 8 home movies filmed by three of Richard Nixon’s closest aides – and fellow Watergate conspirators – offer an intimate and complex new glimpse into his presidency in this all-archival documentary.
On the outskirts of the Civil War, a boy is sent north by a bounty hunter gang to retrieve a wanted man.
12 O’Clock Boys
Pug, a young boy growing up on a combative West Baltimore block, finds solace in a gang of illegal dirt bike riders known as The 12 O’Clock Boys.
We Always Lie to Strangers
A story of family, community, music and tradition set against the backdrop of Branson, Missouri, the remote Ozark Mountain town that is one of the biggest tourist destinations in America.
Set mostly in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Hours is the story of a man who battles looters, the elements and exhaustion for two days in a hospital while his newborn daughter clings to life inside a ventilator powered only by a manual crank.
A darkly comedic satire that follows TV producer Mickey Wagner and his amoral attempt to re-invent the reality genre. Mickey’s big idea is to pick a family and put them under all encompassing surveillance…without their knowledge.
Continental is a stylish examination of a lively and lascivious piece of real estate that transcended sexual identity and acted as a beacon to the hip, beautiful and infamous. Housed at the site of the legendary Ansonia Hotel,the Continental became one of the most important keystones for a sexual revolution, fostering an environment of tolerance and contributing to a level of mainstream gay acceptance the likes of which has never been seen again.
Getting Back to Abnormal
New Orleans’ long history of political dysfunction and complicated racial dynamics gets a new lease on life when Stacy Head, a polarizing white woman, wins a seat on the city council after Katrina. Four years later, she needs to get black votes to be re-elected. But will her record of blunt racial talk doom her chances? Getting Back to Abnormal follows the unlikely odd couple of Head and her irrepressible black political advisor Barbara Lacen as they try to navigate New Orleans’ treacherous political scene. With its cast of only-in-New-Orleans characters, Getting Back to Abnormal is a provocative and amusing look at race in America, set against the backdrop of New Orleans’ rich culture.
Spark: A Burning Man Story
Each year, 60,000 people from around the globe gather in a dusty windswept Nevada desert to build a temporary city, collaborating on large-scale art and partying for a week before burning a giant effigy in a ritual frenzy. Rooted in principles of self-expression, self-reliance and community effort, Burning Man has grown famous for stirring ordinary people to shed their nine-to-five existence and act on their dreams. Spark takes us behind the curtain with Burning Man organizers and participants, revealing a year of unprecedented challenges and growth. When ideals of a new world based on freedom and inclusion collide with realities of the “default world,” we wonder which dreams can survive.