If you’re planning to attend SXSW Film Festival 2019, you probably have a long list of screenings you want to attend. As you’re firming up your schedule, consider these four locally-oriented documentaries. From unforgettable personalities to irreplaceable communities, these films highlight bright lights across Austin’s past and present.
1/ Becoming Leslie
Leslie Cochran is one of the most adored and reminisced about characters in Austin lore. An oft-homeless man with a flair for dramatic ensembles, which often included thong underwear or tutus, Leslie always gave Austin the “weird” it craved. Like anyone living on the streets, Leslie’s story can break your heart. There was pain, mental illness, destitution. But there was also laughter, dancing, and kindness.
“Becoming Leslie” by Tracy Frazier, produced by Lauren Barker, Michelle Randolph Faires, and Ruby Martin, will have its world premiere at SXSW Film on Friday, March 8, 2019. March 8 is also the official Leslie Day in Austin, as proclaimed by former Mayor Lee Leffingwell.
Telling tales of friendships or random encounters with Leslie is practically a competitive sport for Austinites. If you lived here at all during the couple of decades before his death, then you likely have a Leslie story, too. I know I do.
- Friday, March 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the Rollins Theater at The Long Center
- Saturday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Satellite Venue: AFS Cinema
- Wednesday, March 13 at 7:15 p.m. at Alamo Drafthouse Ritz
➡️ Keep reading: Everything You Need to Know About SXSW Film Festival Venues for 2019
2/ Raising Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins
Love or hate her, Molly Ivins paved her way in the world of journalism with gumption, grit, and laughter. Nobody worked harder or laughed more than Ivins, or at least that’s how it seemed. While from Texas, Ivins became a national figure who either inspired you or rubbed you the wrong way, or sometimes both at the same time.
Ivins realized the urgency of truthful reporting and investigative journalism. However, she also kept herself sane by making sure to laugh at the ridiculousness of politics, particularly our—ahem—colorful Texas politics. Director, producer, and writer Janice Engel and writer Monique Zavistovski are finally putting Ivins’s story on the big screen at SXSW Film 2019. If she were around today, I’m certain Ivins would still be raising hell. I can’t wait to see this documentary!
- Monday, March 11 at 11:30 a.m. at Paramount Theatre
- Tuesday, March 12 at 6 p.m. at Satellite Venue: AFS Cinema
- Thursday, March 14 at 10:45 a.m. at Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar
3/ Nothing Stays the Same: The Story of the Saxon Pub
The Saxon Pub, one of Austin’s original beacons of live music, is still with us today–hallelujah. The Saxon Pub has hosted many of the great Austin music legends. Today, The Saxon’s music program is as lively as ever, with a steady roster of local favorites like Hayes Carll, Bob Schneider, Robynn Shayne, and living legends like James Hand.
Places like the Saxon Pub are not merely good for nostalgic reasons. These paying venues maintain our musical scene’s high quality and keep food on our musicians’ tables. While other noted music venues have shuttered their doors to make way for condos, The Saxon Pub is struggling for its existence alongside hipster bars and restaurants. Director Jeff Sandmann, with producers Lisa Kay Pfannenstiel and Jeffrey Brown, show us the history, struggle, and charm of Austin’s Saxon Pub.
- Wednesday, March 13 at 12 p.m. at Paramount Theatre (world premiere)
- Saturday, March 16 at 1:45 p.m. at Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar
4/ Community First, A Home for the Homeless
Community First! Village is a unique housing community created to help the chronically homeless get and stay off Austin’s streets. The tenants all pay rent and opportunities for dignified work abound within the community. The residents can work in the Genesis Gardens, Community Cinema, Community Inn, or on grounds maintenance. They can also work in the on-site blacksmith shop or art studio, creating items for sale.
The village used the tiny home movement as inspiration to build a sustainable, long-term housing solution for the chronically homeless. In this documentary, Director and Producer Layton Blaylock shares the stories of the community’s origins, along with heartfelt stories from residents.
According to the film’s press release, “As of summer 2018, there are almost 200 people living at the Village. You’ll hear about the heartbreaking events that cause homelessness, and the heartwarming stories of being welcomed into a nurturing environment where dignity and self-worth are restored.”
- Saturday, March 9 at 10:45 a.m. at the Rollins Theater at The Long Center
- Monday, March 11 at 9 p.m. at Satellite Venue: AFS Cinema
- Saturday, March 16 at 12:30 p.m. at ZACH Theatre
➡️ Keep reading: Community First! Village Goes Beyond Housing for Austin Homeless
@theAustinot wants to know:
Which of these documentaries are on your watch list?