I have another festival favorites edition this month. I didn’t watch every film–that would be impossible. Therefore, out of the forty-eight I watched–here is a breakdown of twenty-eight SXSW 2021 films. Similar to the Sundance edition–The film links point to their festival program page and the synopsis come from that same page.
Narrative Feature Films
Inbetween Girl – “Teen artist Angie Chen turns to secret hookups with the heartthrob of her private school after her parents’ sudden divorce.
The Drovers Wife – The Legend of Molly Johnson – “The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson is a reimagining of Leah Purcell’s acclaimed play and Henry Lawson’s classic short story. A searing Australian western thriller asking the question: how far do you go to protect your loved ones?
Gaia – In the depths of an ancient forest, something has been growing. Something older than humanity itself, and perhaps greater too. When a park ranger discovers a man and his son living wild, she stumbles onto a secret that is about to change the world.
Here Before – After new neighbors move in next door, a bereaved mother begins to question her reality in this unsettling psychological thriller.
I’m Fine (Thanks for asking) – When a recently widowed mother becomes houseless, she convinces her 8-year-old daughter that they are only camping for fun while working to get them off the streets.
The Fabulous Filipino Brothers – From Northern California to The Philippines, four brothers confront their issues with love, family, and culture, surrounding a highly controversial Filipino wedding. Told in four vignettes with cockfights, adultery, romance, food, and family.
Bantú Mama – An Afropean woman escapes after being arrested in the Dominican Republic. She is sheltered by a group of minors, in a dangerous district of Santo Domingo. By becoming their protégée and maternal figure, she will see her destiny change inexorably.
Documentary Feature Films
Mau – Mau follows the unlikely story of design visionary Bruce Mau and his ever-optimistic push for massive change.
We Are As Gods – “We are as gods and might as well get good at it,” Stewart Brand wrote in ‘68. The legendary pioneer of LSD, cyberspace, futurism, and modern environmentalism now urges people to use our god-like powers to fight extinction by reviving lost species.
Narrative Short Films
Malignant – Chynna travels to a West Texas health retreat to visit her terminally ill mother. As she learns more about the faith based wellness preached in the commune, Chynna desperately attempts to convince her mother to leave.
The Other Morgan – When a dopey young exterminator discovers there’s another version of her out in the world, she begins to question her life choices.
The Mohel – After celebrating the birth of their first child, James & Lola are faced with family expectations and financial strain as they fly in a Mohel to perform their son’s Brit Milah – The circumcision ceremony.
Plaisir – A lonely American faces unrequited love on a farm commune in the south of France.
Are you Still There? – Safa’s been through a lot. Now her car battery is dead in a strip mall parking lot.
Chuj Boys of Summer – Speaking only his native language, a Guatemalan teenager begins his new life in rural Colorado.
The Nipple Whisperer – Maurice Sanders has a gift. He’s a nipple whisperer. Once he was known as “Magic Sandy”. But that was years ago, before Doris, a famous model and Sander’s muse, fell ill. Now, after more than a decade, Doris wants to meet Maurice again.
Soak – A 16 year old tries to convince her runaway mother to return home.
Sales Per Hour – A young woman faces a moral dilemma when she witnesses a sexual encounter in a dressing room at the clothing store where she works.
Marvin Never Had Coffee Before – Marvin Wexler tries coffee for the first time and desperately tries to talk about it with anyone who will listen.
Femme – When Jordan gets into the car of a flirtatious drug-dealer, his night takes a dangerous turn.
Doretha’s Blues – Doretha goes out for her evening drink at her local watering hole when a news story dredges up old memories.
Summer Animals – Living out of a motel, 15 year old Tommy makes a drastic decision in order for her siblings to escape the heat before the summer’s over.
The thing that ate the birds – On the North Yorkshire Moors, Abel, Head Gamekeeper, discovers the thing that is eating his grouse.
Documentary Short Films
Plant Heist – California’s fight to protect valuable native succulents from an international poaching ring.
Joe Buffalo – Joe Buffalo is an Indigenous skateboard legend. He’s also a survivor of Canada’s notorious Indian Residential School system. Following a traumatic childhood and decades of addiction, Joe must face his inner demons to realize his dream of turning pro.
The Box – The Box is a hybrid documentary that explores the effects of solitary confinement through three people’s harrowing true stories – they’ve spent a combined nine years in isolation, and one of them co-directed this film.
Aguilas – Along the scorching desert border in Arizona, it is estimated that only one out of every five missing migrants are ever found. ÁGUILAS is the story of one group of searchers, the Aguilas del Desierto.
The Unlikely Fan – “She’s a Sri Lankan born, Dallas-based, retired teacher and mother. She’s also crazy about basketball. Meet “The Unlikely Fan” who knows a thing or two about hoops.