Although Covid-19 once again ruined our plans to be on-the-ground in Austin, TX this year for SXSW, we have to take our hats off to the festival’s film programming team for making this year’s online curation of new films truly world class. Janet Pearson, your team knocked our socks off once again.

Normally, we’d break our SXSW coverage up into multiple posts, but this time you are getting our Top 5 SXSW film recommendations in one mega post this year. These are the films that Phil and Raj highly recommend from the festival that you should definitley be on the lookout for.

There is a lot to unpack, so let’s get right into it…

Swan Song

If you’re a fan of indie gay classics such as Edge Of Seventeen and Another Gay Movie, you won’t be disappointed with Swan Song by director Todd Stephens. Full of heart, humor, fabulosity and shade, Udo Kier delivers a wildly camp performance as an over-the-hill gay hairdresser who escapes his nursing home to fix up the hair of his most fabulous and wealthy client (played by Linda Evans) who has passed. This film will leave you howling and there even is a Robyn moment that will uplift the soul.

Swan Song has a limited theatrical release on August 6th and will be released on VOD August 13th.

Introducing, Selma Blair

To be honest, we really didn’t know too much about the life of 90s/00s actress Selma Blair. Yeah she kissed Buffy in Cruel Intentions and she was Hellboy’s main gal in the first iteration of the franchise, but other than that, did any of us really know the girl with that oh-so-familiar glamorous face? Introducing, Selma Blair dives into the daily struggles of the actress’ life as a mother with multiple sclerious (MS) a disease that effects the central nervous system. This film is powerful and telling and pull the curtain back on living with a disease whilst having a career in the public eye. If you weren’t a fan of Selma Blair before, you’ll most certainly will be after watching this touching documentary.

Femme (short film)

Femme is THE best short film we’ve seen in a long time and is written and directed by Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping. Shot in London’s Shoreditch and starring Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You) and Harris Dickinson (Beach Rats), Femme tells the story of what can go wrong when you know you shouldn’t get into a drug dealer’s car – but you do anyways. For an 18 minute film, Femme packs a massive punch and needless to say, both Phil and Raj were blown away by the artistry displayed in this anxiety-inducing mini movie.

Femme is currently making the film festival rounds, but if you have a chance to catch it – you must.

Paul Doddโ€™s Deadly Lunch Break (with interview with director Nick Gillespie)

Who doesn’t like a good British bloodbath with a twist of comedy? There is something to be said about movies like Shaun of the Dead and Prevenge – it’s good, bloody fun isn’t it?! Well if you like those films like Phil and I do, Paul Doddโ€™s Deadly Lunch Break will not disappoint. The premise: Poor unlucky Paul Dodd – all he wants to do is make it to his big telly variety show audition so he can finally dazzle us with his dance routine and gain fame and riches…but he’s just having a really bad day it seems. This film is full of faffy comedy that you just can’t help but love. You’ll laugh out loud at this one and wonder why we don’t engage in a little murder over our lunch breaks when we have a bad case of the Mondays.

Them

If you haven’t binge-watched Them yet on Amazon Prime video, what the hell are you waiting for?! We are loving this renaissance period of black storytellers in the horror genre ever since Jordan Peele opened Pandora’s box with Get Out. If you like Jordan Peele’s work, you’ll really dig what Little Marvin is doing in the television space with Them. The premise involves a Black family who moves into an all-white Los Angeles neighbourhood (early Compton in Los Angeles) where malevolent forces threaten to taunt, ravage and destroy them. There is one episode that is so horrific that it haunted me for days. This television show is powerful stuff and you can’t deny the genius that has gone into making this anthology series. I can’t wait to see what season 2 brings us…

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