Seven features and shorts with ties to San Antonio will screen at the 2015 South by Southwest Film Festival. Last week, the San Antonio Current spoke to each of the directors behind the films. If you didn't buy a badge this year, there will be single-admission tickets available for festival screenings. Tickets are $10 each and go on sale 15 minutes prior to screening time. For a complete schedule of screenings, visit sxsw.com.
After graduating from Clark High School in 1995, director/screenwriter Micah Magee attended the University of Texas at Austin and earned degrees in Plan II liberal arts and film production. This led to a Fulbright Fellowship for Journalism in Berlin, Germany, where she studied at the German Film and Television Academy. In her first feature narrative, Magee tells the story of a San Antonio teenager facing an unplanned pregnancy and the life choices she has to make when she decides to keep the baby. "I hope the film will break some of the silence and isolation that a lot of young people, unfortunately, have to face growing up," Magee said. "I would love to encourage everyone to look at a pregnant teen not as a burden on society or some girl who made a mistake, but as a source of enormous potential, be it as a mother or any of the other amazing things she might choose to do and be in life." Petting Zoo, which was shot in San Antonio, was one of 18 films nominated for Best First Feature at the 65th Annual Berlin International Film Festival this past February. (Full disclosure: San Antonio Current creative services manager John Mata is a producer on the film).
Making its world premiere in the 24 Beats Per Second section of the film festival is director Joe Nick Patoski's feature documentary on legendary San Antonio-born musician Doug Sahm, who emerged as one of the best performers of rock 'n' roll, Tex-Mex, and blues when he formed the Sir Douglas Quintet in 1964 with Augie Meyers. Patoski remembers working in a small Ft. Worth record shop in the early '70s when they got a shipment of SDQ's album The Return of Doug Saldaña. Although the group had already put out five albums before that, it was at that moment when Patoski became a huge fan. "To see that cover where Doug is wearing his cowboy boots and a hat and drinking Big Red on that porch really just spoke to me in a way no image ever had," Patoski said. "That album remains one of my all-time favorites because it's Doug coming back to San Antonio after he had been in San Francisco for a while."
In this 14-minute short, co-director/co-writer Lacey Dorn, who grew up in San Antonio and attended Alamo Heights High School and Saint Mary's Hall before studying at Stanford University, peers into the lives of a group of young adults who stumble across a website where ordering drugs online is only a mouse click away. It's a film, she said, that explores "a general disconnect in our generation." Dorn, who now calls New York City home, adds, "You can know someone intimately in the analog world and have no clue about their identity in the cyber world. Silk Road encompasses this society rich in cyber connectivity but poor in human interaction."
Saint Mary's Hall junior Alexia Salingaros returns to SXSW after premiering a short film last year with her sister. This time, two of her shorts were accepted into the Texas High School Shorts Competition. In the stop-motion animation Luminosity, imaginative creatures attempt to save their dying civilization. In the documentary KERS, Salingaros follows a classmate who shares her experiences as a graffiti artist. "I thought what my friend was doing was amazing and I wanted to learn more about her," Salingaros said. "She was on her own creative journey."
Loosely adapted from a short story by sci-fi author Ray Bradbury, North East School of the Arts junior Caitlin O'Brien tailors this narrative by adding a human character to her screenplay about a terminally ill girl whose artificially intelligent home is programmed to care for her during her final days. Bradbury's original story does not include people. "Even though there were no characters in his story, I could really feel for all the little machines in the home," O'Brien said. "It still brought me to tears at the end."
During a trip with his North East School of the Arts cinema class to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, senior Jose Couvillion made this documentary on artist Clark Whittington and his collection of vending machines that contain small pieces of original art for purchase. "I really liked the idea of spreading art to the masses," Couvillion said. "That really sparked my interest." After high school, Couvillion plans to study film at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.
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