After pouring blood, sweat and tears into raising money to make a movie, endure a grueling production schedule and spend months sorting through all the footage to see what you’ve actually made, you get the fantastic news that you’ve been accepted to the SXSW Film Festival. Only problem? You have just a little over a month to make sure that the movie is in the best possible shape when it’s projected onto the big screen for the first time, meaning costly last-minute touches like color correction and securing music rights, and find a way to get as much of your cast and crew to Austin so they’re able to be part of the celebration of their hard work. A poor first impression could mean all that hard work was for naught, so we wanted to highlight four promising SXSW selections currently raising funds on Kickstarter to help them on their home stretch. Just click on the Kickstarter link to contribute.
Featuring Moveable Fest favorites Sam Fleischner (“Stand Behind the Closing Doors” director, acting as cinematographer here) and Louisa Krause (“Bluebird,” “Ava’s Possessions”) in the cast and crew, respectively, Kris Avedisian’s first feature is an adaptation of his darkly humorous short of the same name about two childhood friends, now in their twenties, who awkwardly try to reconnect when one is led back to the hometown the other stayed in, following the death of his grandmother. The film is produced by Kyle Martin, whose credits read like a list of SXSW greatest hits that includes Jody Lee Lipes’ “Brock Enright: Good Times Will Never Be the Same,” Lena Dunham’s “Tiny Furniture” and Margaret Brown’s “The Great Invisible,” so one can feel pretty confident he’s bringing another to Austin, with the additional stamp of approval of the Museum of Modern Art’s New Directors/New Films, where “Donald Cried” will be playing in late March. (Kickstarter Deadline: March 11; follow the film’s progress on Facebook and Twitter)
From personal experience, let me tell you there was no way to get into the premiere of Matthew Cherry’s directorial debut “After the Fall,” which played like gangbusters when it was first unveiled at the Violet Crown in 2012. It’s likely that the second feature from this football pro-turned-budding auteur is even more anticipated. While the intrigue is upped by the fact Cherry shot the film entirely with iPhone 6s with 4k resolution, there’s no doubt the writer/director will keep things lively enough with this New Year’s Eve-set story about an Uber driver (Dorian Missick) who gets to bear witness to some life-changing moments in the lives of the passengers he carries while finding out some big news of his own. Tracie Thoms and “The Mindy Project”’s Xosha Roquemore co-star in this wild night out, which is effectively teased here. (Kickstarter Deadline: March 8; follow the film’s progress on its official site)
Who wouldn’t want to see a movie about a female biker gang from East Los Angeles? That’s the promise of Joanna Sokolowski and Kate Trumbull-LaValle’s feature directorial debut, following the splash each of them made on the festival circuit last year with films they produced — the rollicking New Yorker cartoon doc “Very Semi-Serious” and “No Mas Bebes,” a harrowing expose of Mexican mothers who were pushed into sterilization by their doctors in Los Angeles shortly after giving birth, respectively. Here, their combined talents are being put to use for the portrait of three Latina women who ride through Boyle Heights and beyond, rallying support to take back the streets from gangs and empowering young women of color in the community who think there may be no way out. One way to show that there is would be this Kickstarter campaign that will help the film’s three main subjects Xela, Andi and Evie fly out for the Austin premiere and give them a place to stay so they can witness appreciative audiences see how their changing the culture in their hometown. (Kickstarter Deadline: March 3; follow the film’s progress on Facebook and Twitter)
Nine years after Laura Dunn debuted the elegiac environmental doc “The Unforeseen,” which won a Truer Than Fiction prize at the Spirit Awards, at SXSW, the Austin-based filmmaker returns with this film inspired by Wendell Berry, whose poetry gave her last film such a powerful crescendo. Becoming a donor to “The Seer” would mean joining the company of “Parks and Recreation” star Nick Offerman, who lent his woodworking skills to the project which follows Berry as well as the converging paths of residents in his hometown of Henry Country, Kentucky as they live through the four seasons of the farming cycle, adapting to changes in the agriculture industry that threaten their way of life. However, knowing Dunn’s lyrical style, “The Seer” will hardly be some polemic, instead likely aiming higher to understand man’s continually evolving connection to the earth. As they did for “The Unforeseen,” Terrence Malick and Robert Redford have given their blessing as executive producers on the film and such ambition suggests that you’ll want to also this early in the game. (Kickstarter Deadline: March 23; follow the film’s progress on its official site, Facebook and Twitter)