With Docu-Weeks under way in L.A. and N.Y. through August 20, keep an eye out for a couple of strong titles, including Kimjongilia, a topical portrait of the North Korean leader, and Garbage Dreams, about the recycling caste system in
Aron Gaudet’s The Way We Get By is a surprisingly moving account of a group of lonely older people who stay connected with the world by welcoming returning Iraq War soldiers at the Bangor, Maine airport. These troop greeters are dealing with aging and isolation in their own way. It opens in L.A. August 14.
Also at Docu-Weeks is Soundtrack for a Revolution, for which executive producer Danny Glover hosted a screening in L.A. The concept is to put some of today’s musicians, from Wyclef Jean to John Legend, in a recording studio performing some of the great protest songs that accompanied the 60s Civil Rights movement. I preferred hearing anthems like “We Shall Overcome” in their original context. I thought I knew this material--harrowing feats of the men and women, black and white, who faced real danger by participating in the early Civil Rights protests in the deep South-- better than I did.
One terrific audience pleaser at SXSW was Trimpin, a straightforward bio-portrait--with extraordinary sound--of the Austrian-born musician/artist now based in Seattle. It's a must-see for anyone who loves music and culture. The Kronos Quartet collaborates with Trimpin in a memorable performance.
Still on the fest circuit is the SXSW Jury prize winner 45365 directed by Bill Ross, who returned with his brother Turner to their home town Sidney, Ohio (that’s the zip code) to follow some folks around with multiple cameras. They set out to capture the town they loved growing up, and caught a sense of an America that may not be with us much longer. 7th Art Releasing will distribute the movie. Here's the trailer: