SXSW 2020

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“Avoid Time Blur”: at CPH:DOX, the Red Heaven Filmmakers on Surviving Isolation

Keeping calm and carrying on (digitally, that is) during the global pandemic, CPH:DOX fittingly launched its five-day CPH:CONFERENCE series with a program titled “Science is Culture.” The “day celebrating the value of science in society and exploring how new approaches to science storytelling can engage the audience” was moderated by Jessica Harrop, supervising producer of science-centric doc studio Sandbox Films. (And impressively so. Not only did Harrop seem to be downloading questions directly from my head, but she kept the proceedings running swiftly and smoothly, all while sheltering in place from her Brooklyn apartment no less.) While every discussion was […]

“Flying Blind”: Writer/Director Caleb Johnson On the Production, “SXSW Screening” and Future of His Feature The Carnivore

In light of SXSW’s cancellation, a private “homespun” screening of the only local production in the festival’s narrative line up, Caleb Johnson’s The Carnivores, was arranged at its cinematographer’s (Adam J. Minnick) Austin residence on the night it was scheduled to premiere. The event hoped to encapsulate the spirit of the festival all at once. Upon entrance, invited press, programmers and audience got their photo taken on a polaroid against a classic yellow backdrop and laurels. That polaroid fit snug inside an imitation festival badge. After attendees stuffed themselves with Tacodeli they dragged over the red carpet to their seats […]

Death of a Moment: A Muslim Filmmaker at SXSW

For the first time in its 34-year history, the SXSW Film Festival got cancelled amid coronavirus fears. For an indie filmmaker like me, I’ll Meet You There – Bismil, which was one of only ten films out of thousands to be selected in the narrative competition, was the film of my life; that personal story I was dying to tell, as best as I could, with as little as I had. The film that took a decade to decide to really shoot. The film that faced hundreds of rejections before one yes. Being in competition at a world-renowned festival like SXSW is not […]

How I Dealt With the Loss of My Dad, and Then My Movie

It took me a few days to leave the house after my dad died. I only left because I needed to get a dress for his funeral. Nobody at the Paramus Park Mall seemed to notice that my eyes were red and puffy, that the sleeves of my white sweatshirt were stained with snot. I walked among the living, scouring the store racks for a black dress. It was the end of the summer and everything was floral, pastel, or had shoulder holes. (Why, New Jersey, why?) I finally spotted an appropriate one on the sale rack, a size too […]