You might have noticed our Boys On Film picks at SXSW this year in our previous post. Well, consider this a bonus post! There is so much good film content at SXSW that it’s hard to collectively agree on films, so I’ve put together a list of extra films from SXSW that I personally recommend in addition to our Boys On Film picks.
Please seek these films out when they make their way to you via on-demand or theatrical. I got quite a bit of joy from these features which consist of a short-to-feature film, a heartfelt indie crowd pleaser, a riveting documentary about a girl obsessed with dominos, the joyous biography of indie film legend Kevin Smith, a gripping drama about the aftermath of a school shooting and a bonus hot doc about donuts from last year’s festival which didn’t quite get the attention it deserved at the beginning of the pandemic.
Hands down this is by far my favourite film at SXSW this year. Adapted from the critically-acclaimed short film Little Potato, which you can watch below, Potato Dreams Of America tells the true story of an American-obsessed gay Russian boy who dreams of going to America and living his best gay life. This film is adorably cute and funny and it’s so outrageous that this is is the true story of the director. Truth is stranger than fiction as they say. With great performances all-round including appearances from Lea DeLaria and Jonathan Bennett who plays Jesus Christ, Potato Dreams Of America is one film you won’t want to miss. Please give director Wes Hurley a huge round of applause here.
This film is so fresh, it doesn’t even have a trailer yet, but visit the website to learn more about it and watch Little Potato below as a pre-cursor to the feature film.
Homeless Danny is skating through life – quite literally. However she’s a mom that will do whatever it takes to take care of her daughter and get her the apartment they deserve. Living in a tent off the highway, Danny spends the day doing delivery orders to make ends meet. Needless to say, she meets a cast of characters that try to stand in her way of achieving the goals she desires. This film is full of heart and I loved it. It’s sad and happy all at the same time and I hope I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking) gets some attention this year as it’s one of best selections from SXSW this year.
Lily Hevesh is the domino toppling queen – no question about it. I literally knew nothing about her until I curiously watched this documentary. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this film. The film tells the story of Asian-American Lily who is as smart as a whip and throws away her advanced college ambitions to pursue being the face of domino toppling. She builds a brand empire online and now makes a living doing corporate events and YouTube videos all centered around her insane domino creations. She even has her own brand of dominos that she designed and developed with a toy company.
Lily Topples The World is an impressive documentary and right after watching it, you’ll want to buy a set of Havesh5 dominos and subscribe to her YouTube channel to see what she builds next…
Make no mistake, I’m a big Kevin Smith fan, so to have a full documentary at SXSW about the indie film legend himself…let’s just say I was more than thrilled and was bursting with fruit flavor before I hit the play button. You might have thought that Kevin Smith led a charmed life after breakout indie hit Clerks established him as a name. Well, Clerks is just part of the story and this film delves into the hits and misses that Kevin Smith has had along the way in becoming a pop culture icon. It’s not always been a bed of roses. From his headline making recent heart attack to interviews with his closest friends and family, Clerk is a must-see if you are as fascinated by the jort-wearing mogul as I am.
Wow – what a film! What can we say here other than The Fallout way exceeded our expectations. Telling the story of the aftermath of a school shooting and it’s effects on the survivors, The Fallout is one of the year’s best films in my opinion. With wonderful performances by Jenna Ortega and rising star Maddie Ziegler, this character piece film really delves deep behind the emotions that our young people feel after surviving trauma that often goes unnoticed to the rest of us after the CNN and Fox headlines fade away. To be honest, I was expecting a teen angst film here mostly, but what The Fallout delivers is a tour de force examination into the psyche of today’s teenagers who are taking the hits for one of the biggest systematic problems in America right now. Gun control needs to be on the forefront of everyone’s mind after watching this fantastic film. Bravo to the director Megan Park for making such a bold film.
The Donut King (SXSW 2020)
And a bonus film! Although The Donut King was not included in the 2021 SXSW Film lineup, it was in the 2020 set of films that many did not get to see due to the pandemic ruining a lot of the 2020 festival screenings. Janet Pearson and her team did the best they could to make some screenings available online in March 2020 and I was lucky enough to get to view The Donut King as part of that diverted plan. This wonderful documentary tells the story of an unassuming immigrant named Ted Ngoy who built a donut empire that rivals the biggest donut chains including Dunkin Donuts, Winchells and Krispy Creme. You’ve seen all those independent donut shops in strip malls right? But have you ever considered that most all of them have one thing in common in Ted Ngoy? Yeah, me neither. The Donut King is available to stream on-demand now and I highly suggest you watch this joyous rags-to-riches to rock bottom story. The Donut King is one of my favorite docs of the past few years and proves that if you have the ambition to achieve the American dream, you can do it and lose it.