SXSW 2024: 5 Captivating Documentaries To Be Screened at the Festival

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Written By Sedoso Feb

SXSW (South by Southwest) 2024 commenced on March 8 and will conclude on March 16, 2024. Founded in the 1980s, this Texas-based event is an annual celebration of film, music, and interactive media. Also, several important panel discussions will be organized during this festival.

SXSW is famous for showcasing some of the finest documentaries ever created. Since its inception, many talented documentary makers have been able to screen their films to a wider audience. Later in their careers, many have successfully established themselves in this filmmaking genre. Just like every year, SXSW 2024 is screening several projects that range in various subjects.

Here are 5 captivating documentaries that are being screened at this year’s SXSW.

7 Beats Per Minute

Directed by Yuqi Kang, 7 Beats Per Minute narrates the life of the first Chinese female freediving champion, Jessea Lu. However, Lu had a near-death experience in 2018. Reports suggest that during a world record attempt, she had blacked out and remained underwater for almost 20 minutes.

Thankfully, Jessea Lu survived this ordeal. In 2022, she returned to freediving with renewed hope and determination to attain a bigger and more dangerous feat.

According to SXSW’s official website, the synopsis of 7 Beats Per Minute reads, “During a world-record attempt, freediving champion Jessea Lu blacked out and was lifeless for four minutes. Director Yuqi Kang’s documentary captures the descent of a lifetime, when Jessea returns to the site of her near-death experience to face the traumas of her past and find a way back to connection.”

Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story

Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story delves into the extraordinary life and career of transgender singer Jackie Shane. Born on May 15, 1940, Shane became immensely popular in the 1950s for working on several hit projects. However, she mysteriously disappeared, only to re-enter the world of music, better than ever. Jackie Shane passed away on February 21, 2019, in Nashville.

Directed by Michael Mabbott and Lucah Rosenberg-Lee, Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story  features never-before-heard phone conversations of the singer. The film also documents the journey of the departed singer’s family as they learn about her fascinating musical journey.

According to SXSW’s official website, the synopsis of Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story  reads, “Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story” reveals the extraordinary rise to fame, sudden disappearance, and resurgence of trailblazing Black trans soul singer Jackie Shane. Told in her own voice through never-before-heard phone conversations and dynamic rotoscope animation—alongside her family’s powerful journey to discover her legacy—the film conjures the spirit of an ahead-of-her-time icon who dared to live life on her own terms, even when it came at a great personal cost.”

Black Box Diaries

Black Box Diaries is perhaps one of the most soul-crushing documentaries featured in SXSW 2024. It showcases the struggles of Shiori Ito, a journalist who courageously investigates the case of her sexual assault, to bring down her high-profile criminal.

Screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Ito is also the director of Black Box Diaries. Apart from this film, she is known for Yuparo My Beautiful Dying City (2020) and Temple Family (2021).

According to SXSW’s official website, the synopsis of Black Box Diaries reads, “Black Box Diaries” follows director and journalist Shiori Ito’s courageous investigation of her own sexual assault in an improbable attempt to prosecute her high-profile offender. Unfolding like a thriller and combining secret investigative recordings, vérité shooting and emotional first-person video, Shiori’s quest becomes a landmark case in Japan, exposing the country’s desperately outdated judicial and societal systems.”

Cheech & Chong’s Last Movie

Cheech & Chong’s Last Movie, directed by David Bushell, is reportedly the first-ever documentary about the comedy duo. They rose to stardom in the 1970s and brought a fresh change in showbiz.

Their comedy explored topics such as drugs, sex, and rock’n’roll, which gradually made them Hollywood Stars. Ultimately, the question arises — How did Cheech & Chong stay relevant for over half a century? This documentary answers this question.

According to SXSW’s official website, the synopsis of Cheech & Chong’s Last Movie reads, “Bursting onto the comedy scene in the early 1970s. Cheech and Chong brought drugs, sex, and rock’n’roll into the oeuvre. Transforming them into stand-up-icons, counterculture rock stars, and Hollywood legends. Explosively funny, their irreverent stoner humor has translated into sold-out concerts, platinum-selling records, and box-office-smashing films.”

Dickweed

Dickweed showcases the investigation of Hossein Nayeri, a criminal who is currently in prison. According to AP News, Nayeri had kidnapped and murdered the owner of a marijuana dispensary. The victim was castrated because his kidnapper believed that the former had hidden $1 million in the Mojave Desert.

Directed by Jonathan Ignatius Green, this documentary elaborates on the incident and the investigation that followed. It encompasses the horrific revelation that the victim never learned the identity of his kidnapper.

According to SXSW’s official website, Dickweed’s synopsis reads, “Two people got kidnapped. One man lost his d—. No-one got any money. This heist-gone-horribly-wrong led one Newport Beach detective on an international manhunt for the most twisted criminal he’d ever hunted. In 2012, Michael, a local weed dispensary owner, got home from work and plopped down on the sofa like any other weeknight.”

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