FEELS GOOD MAN (SXSW2020) – Review by Nell Minow

Feels Good Man is not just comic artist Matt Furie’s story, or even that of his creation, Pepe the frog. It is the story of us, and it illuminates some confusing and painful realities about the way we communicate, form opinions, and make vital decisions about the future of our country, and so much that doesn’t feel good, man.

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DARK CITY BENEATH THE BEAT (SXSW)2020 – Review by Nikki Baughan

Baltimore itself is the stage where rappers and poets perform on street corners, dancers hotfoot their way across bridges and through buildings, clubs host sweaty dance-off competitions, where crowds gather to watch those with the best moves crowned King or Queen. And in one poignant sequence, a tulle-clad dancer performs a beautiful mixture of ballet and club moves in the graveyard where Tamika Ray (aka FatGirl), a pioneer of Baltimore dance, lays buried.

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Filmmaker Emily Barclay Ford on THE PUSHBACK, Purpose and Pushing Back (Guest Post)

We raced to finish The Pushback in time for our SXSW delivery deadline and then the festival was canceled the same day. Although we are sad that we did not get to premiere at the festival and in Texas, where the documentary was shot, we feel like we have to make lemonade out of lemons and find the opportunity in this moment. Due to the shutdown of other productions, there will likely be more appetite for finished content in the coming months. And with social distancing, cancellation of group events, and potentially the inability to canvas, we’re thinking that a film like ours can be a useful tool to reach people through their living rooms at a safe distance.

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THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE (SXSW2020) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Are you ‘cliterate’? How many of you out there know the exact physiological structure of the clitoris? How many of you are uncomfortable with it being brought up, or even written in a sentence? That is what the new documentary The Dilemma of Desire considers as part of a larger examination of the disconnection from, and vilification of, women’s sexuality, and how it damages self-acceptance and self-value for women around the world

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FOR MADMEN ONLY (SXSW2020) – Review by Lois Alter Mark

I was a little wary about watching For Madmen Only because I had never heard of its subject, Del Close. But with the perfect timing of the comedians it celebrates, narrator Michaela Watkins begins this fascinating documentary by reassuring viewers, “If you never heard of Del Close, well, congratulations. That means you’re not a comedian, which, all in all, is probably good news for you.”

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WE DON’T DESERVE DOGS (SXSW2020) – Review by Tara McNamara

We Don’t Deserve Dogs is a documentary that shows how dogs are truly man’s best friend all across the globe, in a series of vignettes. People in one location in one country share their experience with how one dog has impacted their lives. Usually, the animal helped them with a positive transformation, but not always. Ultimately, as all dog films, it’s not really about the dogs. It’s about the humans.

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FINDING YINGYING (SXSW2020) – Review by Ulkar Alakbarova

Yingying Zhang left China for America to pursue her dream. She was enrolled in the University of Urbana Champaign College of Agricultural Consumer and Environmental Sciences in Illinois. She liked studying, enjoyed being independent, and wrote in her own diary. Everything was going according to her plans when one man, viciously and heartlessly, took everything away from her, including her life.

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CRIP CAMP – Review by Susan Granger

In 1971, when theatrical/film sound designer Jim LeBrecht was 15, he spent an extraordinary summer at an experimental camp for disabled kids. After sharing his memories with Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Nicole Newnham, they decided to make a movie. Of course, they had no idea that final funding would come from Higher Ground, the production company run by Barack and Michelle Obama.

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RED HEAVEN (SXSW2020) – Review by Pam Grady

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano may seem like an unlikely setting for space exploration, but for a group of intrepid scientists and would-be astronauts, it becomes exactly that in this NASA experiment captured by filmmakers Lauren DeFilippo and Katherine Gorringe in this fascinating documentary.

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