St. Patrick's Day at SXSW meant a sea of green t-shirts on the backs of attendees and big smiles on the faces of the jury and audience award-winners, announced in the evening.
Awards: The Documentary Feature Competition jury awarded their prize to 45365, director Bill Ross' examination of a small town in Ohio, with honorable mention to Aron Gaudet's The Way We Get By, which our own Eugene Novikov described as "a lovely, uncondescending look at three lives enriched by kindness."
Judi Krant's Made in China took home the Narrative Feature Competition award; the film follows a novelty toy inventor from East Texas who travels to China to get his invention made. Scott Teems' That Evening Sun received a "Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble Cast." Hal Holbrook plays a displaced Tennessee farmer drawn into a grudge match with an old foe. The cast includes Ray McKinnon, Mia Wasikowska, Walton Goggins, and Carrie Preston.
Audience Award winners included Jennifer Steinman's Motherland (Emerging Visions), an account of six women from the US who travel to rural South Africa to help children in need; Geralyn Pezanoski's MINE (Documentary Feature), which accumulates power as the bonds between human and animal are put to the test by Hurricane Katrina and its disastrous aftermath; and That Evening Sun (Narrative Feature).
Cinematical Coverage: In Observe and Report, Seth Rogen gives "a lead performance that could change a whole lot of minds," says Scott Weinberg. "This is an aggressively unpredictable dark comedy." Will Goss notes: "Some of the actors in the legendarily awful Troll 2 still leave it off their resumes," while others have come to embrace it. "It's this curious development that makes the documentary Best Worst Movie such an effortlessly interesting watch."
Women in Trouble features an assortment of traditional exploitation roles for women, according to Jette Kernion: "Porn stars, tag-team hookers . . . stewardesses . . . unmarried-and-pregnant women, and a very understanding masseuse . . . [It's] a fun addition to the current trend of revisiting and reworking exploitation-film themes in a lighthearted way."
Hundreds came to hear Jeffrey Tambor give an acting workshop, among them our own Scott Weinberg: "Jeffrey Tambor, it seems, loves the craft of acting like most of us love our moms, and the advice that popped out of his mouth was simultaneously supportive, insightful, and frankly (sometimes shockingly) honest."
Katheryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, a tense drama about an Army bomb disposal unit in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2004, screened at the Paramount Theater last night; Erik Davis presented some brand new images for the film, which give you a fair idea of the film's milieu.
You can check out all of our SXSW coverage right here. We have more reviews upcoming, plus I'll try and share my first walkout and adventures on the shuttle bus.