Two for the road

Sundance may be the most important American film festival, but that doesn’t mean it’s infallible. In fact, the Park City programmers seem to get as many wrong as they do right, sort of like the Academy Awards®. The good news is that when Sundance falters, SXSW takes advantage. This year, the annual Austin bonanza will feature tow films by filmmakers I adore, both personally and professionally. This March, SXSW will premiere Caleb Slain‘s lovingly-crafted short doc, NEW YORK ACCENT, and Matthew Lillard‘s spot-on directorial debut, FAT KID RULES THE WORLD.

NEW YORK accent helps redefine an approach to cinema verite with exceptional cinematography. FAT KID rules because it is that rare youth film that refuses to pander to either parents or festival programmers, that is, it represents teen lives honestly, not as a succession of PG fart jokes nor as a string of R-rated, drug-fueled escapades. The film’s fantastic lead, Jacob Wysocki, rings true because he acts natural, an amorphous, adolescent blend of humility, hubris and self-deprecating humor thats more misty than funny.

I had the good fortune of serving as one of Caleb Slain‘s instructors when he attended TheFilmSchool and have been honored to nurture a friendship with Matthew Lillard over the past few years and multiple interviews, including his trip last year to visit The High Bar.

Watch the show, see the movies. But first, a toast to Caleb Slain, Matthew Lillard and… the wise curators of SXSW.

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