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SXSW 2016 INTERVIEW: THE SEER COMPOSER & MUSICIAN KERRY MUZZEY
by Jason Whyte
""THE SEER is a documentary film that is about the changes happening in present-day rural America, in this era of industrial agriculture; but as seen through the mind's eye of Wendell Berry, the American poet, farmer and activist. The film revolves around the stories of several residents of Henry County, Kentucky, and they each face difficult choices and tough times that are reshaping their relationship with their land and their community. Itís an example of this very quiet ideological struggle in rural parts of the country thatís becoming louder and louder as industrial agriculture takes over many of our countrys' small farms. The challenges and decisions these farmers face have become urgent. And this way of life that has always been very iconic American and very simple and beautiful is quickly disappearing." -- Kerry Muzzey, the composer and musician behind the South By Southwest 2016 entry THE SEER." (more)
SXSW 2016 INTERVIEW: PEE WEE'S BIG HOLIDAY DIRECTOR JOHN LEE
by Jason Whyte
""I'm not a person who likes to sell anything. If you're someone who needs me to convince you to see the movie then we would probably not be friends, and I wouldn't bring it up. If we just talked like people and made each other laugh, I would bring it up." Director John Lee giving me a very good pitch to go see PEE WEE'S BIG HOLIDAY at the 2016 edition of South By Southwest Film." (more)
SXSW 2016 INTERVIEW: OPERATOR DIRECTOR LOGAN KIBENS
by Jason Whyte
""Joe (Martin Starr) decides to use his wife Emily (Mae Whitman) as the template for a new digital customer service agent. As Emily becomes more independent, Joe comes to rely on the replica more and more for his emotional and even sexual needs." Director Logan Kibens on OPERATOR which screens at the 2016 edition of South By Southwest Film." (more)
SXSW 2016 INTERVIEW: ACCIDENTAL COURTESY: DARYL DAVIS, RACE & AMERICA DIRECTOR MATT ORNSTEIN
by Jason Whyte
""ACCIDENTAL COURTESY is a documentary about a black musician whose hobby is meeting guys in the KKK, many of whom he becomes friends with. It's sadly more relevant today than we ever dreamed it could be." Director Matt Ornstein on ACCIDENTAL COURTESY: DARYL DAVIS, RACE & AMERICA which screens at the 2016 edition of South By Southwest Film." (more)
SXSW 2016 INTERVIEW: LITTLE SISTER DIRECTOR ZACH CLARK
by Jason Whyte
""LITTLE SISTER is a schmaltz-free, pathos-drenched feel good movie for the little goth inside all of us. It stars Addison Timlin and Ally Sheedy." Director Zach Clark on LITTLE SISTER which screens at the 2016 South By Southwest Film Festival." (more)
SXSW 2016 INTERVIEW: CHICKEN PEOPLE DIRECTOR NICOLE LUCAS HAIMES
by Jason Whyte
""In a high stakes world where a single broken feather can mean a shattered dream, CHICKEN PEOPLE follows the trials and tribulations of those who competitively breed show poultry. CHICKEN PEOPLE is a charming and surprisingly uplifting look at passion and the drive for success." Director Nicole Lucas Haimes on CHICKEN PEOPLE which screens at the 2016 edition of South By Southwest Film." (more)
SXSW 2016 INTERVIEW: BEFORE THE SUN EXPLODES DIRECTOR DEBRA EISENSTADT
by Jason Whyte
""Someone described it as a feminist take on AFTER HOURS. I like that." Director Debra Eisenstadt on BEFORE THE SUN EXPLODES which screens at SxSW Film, 2016 edition. A bit more of a synopsis: Ken Cooper (Bill Dawes) was a successful comedian in the 1990's, but his single-guy jokes are irrelevant twenty years later. Now he's an anxiety ridden, stay-at-home dad, clinging to a TV show dream that his breadwinner wife (Christine Woods) doesn't believe in. Tonight could be a big break for Ken- a final shot at selling his pitch. But after an epic fight with his wife, Ken's no longer welcome home. Their clash alters everything- on stage and off. Ken is crushed, with nowhere to turn, until he meets Holly (Sarah Butler), a bright, charismatic comedienne, who lures him out of his shell and into her bizarre world. Their very real connection leads to a somewhat surreal, unforgettable and possibly unforgivable night." (more)
SXSW 2016 INTERVIEW: THE ALCHEMIST COOKBOOK DIRECTOR JOEL POTRYKUS
by Jason Whyte
""Young outcast Sean has isolated himself in a trailer in the woods, setting out on alchemic pursuits, with his cat Kaspar as his sole companion. Filled with disdain for authority, heís fled the daily grind and holed up in the wilderness, escaping a society that has no place for him. But when he turns from chemistry to black magic to crack natures' secret, things go awry and he awakens something far more sinister and dangerous. [That is] the synopsis on the SXSW website, but if I were drop it direct, I'd call it a Folk Tale from the Crypt. We're telling the story of a hermit messing with alchemy but no old wizards with long white beards. None of that garbage." Director Joel Portrykus on THE ALCHEMIST COOKBOOK which screens at the 2016 edition of South By Southwest Film." (more)
SXSW 2016 INTERVIEW: AND PUNCHING THE CLOWN DIRECTOR GREGORI VIENS
by Jason Whyte
""Henry Phillips, a hapless comic songwriter, gets lured to L.A. when a powerful TV producer hears about his catastrophic career path and decides to make a show about a loser. But when a major network gets involved, Henry must decide whether his legacy will be to make jokes for a living, or become the butt of them. Sisyphus meets Charlie Brown." Director Gregori Viens on AND PUNCHING THE CLOWN which is screening at the 2016 edition of the South By Southwest Film Festival." (more)
A GUIDE TO THE 19TH ANNUAL EUROPEAN UNION FILM FESTIVAL: WEEK TWO
by Peter Sobczynski
"Now in its 19th year, Chicagoís Gene Siskel Film Center once again presents the European Union Film Festival, a month-long program designed to highlight the newest films coming out of the EU member nations by offering a canny mix of highly anticipated titles and lesser-known films that may never again be seen in these parts. This yearís iteration offers up 62 titles from all 28 EU nations that include the latest efforts from such acclaimed filmmakers as Alexandra Sokurov, Mattero Garrone, Terrence Davies, the Taviani Brothers and the late Chantal Akerman. Over the next four weeks, I will be presenting a brief highlight reel of some of the more notable titles that will be unspooling and the guests that are scheduled to appear. All screenings will be held at the Gene Siskel Film Center at 164 North State Street. For a full schedule of films and showtimes, you should log on to the Film Center website at siskelfilmcenter.org" (more)

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