Under African Skies

Spend enough time on the festival circuit and certain films just keep coming back around – but fortunately, they’re usually good ones we’re happy to see again. As the first big film festival of the year, Sundance often features some of the best independent films that people like us Rejects will be jawing about for months to come. SXSW offers the chance for cinephiles to catch a bevy of films that other people have been carrying on about for weeks and weeks, thanks to both their regular programming and their ever-clever Festival Favorites section, which is packed with (you can probably guess) films that have played recently at other festivals that the SXSW crowd will eat right up. After the break, get reacquainted with ten films we saw, reviewed, and (in some cases) loved back in January in snowy Park City, Utah. All ten are playing at this month’s (let’s be real, this week’s) SXSW Film Festival in Austin, our very own hometown film fest. Luckily enough, some of our favorite Sundance films pop on this list, including one I enjoyed so much that I am going to see it again in Austin.

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South by Southwest is our favorite film festival not just because it’s in our own backyard (relatively speaking) or because it affords us a chance to eat BBQ on daily basis or even because it means we can sit in the Drafthouse all day but because – wait, no, it’s our favorite film festival for precisely those reasons. What else could you possibly want from a film festival? Good films? Fair enough. Luckily, finding good films at SXSW isn’t hard, not even remotely, which explains why our list of Our 16 Most Anticipated Films came together with no overlap – there’s truly something for everyone. For Rob Hunter, that means a lot of guns and violence, for Dear Leader Neil Miller, he just wants to stop being the last person in America who hasn’t seen The Raid. We even let Jack pick some films too. Sixteen in total, these films encapsulate the variety that makes SXSW so great – stick with this list and you probably can’t go (too)  wrong. Why sixteen films? Because we’re sweet. Or just suffering from anticipatory exhaustion from our favorite film festival. Check out all the movies we’re aching to see after the jump.

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Sundance 2012: Under African Skies

I’ve listened to Paul Simon’s Graceland at least a thousand times (no exaggeration), so if you’re looking for an objective analysis of Under African Skies, Joe Berlinger’s documentary about that seminal work, you won’t find it here. Perhaps someone who doesn’t have virtually every lyric of every song on Simon’s masterpiece memorized, someone who doesn’t tear up just thinking of the “Mississippi Delta shining like a national guitar,” could do a better job of telling you what’s what when it comes to this movie.

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Sundance is many things – cold temperatures, snow, memorizing the shuttle schedule, training your body to take two hour “naps” each night, Simon Baker stopping your delirious self from walking into on-coming traffic on Main Street (a true, and embarrassing, story), but most importantly – it’s about movies. The Sundance Film Festival is the first big film festival of the year and as such, it never fails to set the bar high with standout programming from premiere features to moving documentaries to midnight scare-a-thons. With an impressive (and at times overwhelming) slate of films to choose from, I narrowed down the films that seem to be getting the most buzz already and are popping up on people’s “must-see” lists. Of course there will probably be a film or two here that do not live up to expectations while there is also a good chance that I have left something out that will end up being a standout at this year’s festival, but it is that unpredictability that’s part of the fun. Stay tuned to FSR as Kate Erbland and I head to Park City this weekend to take in as many of these titles as we can and report back on whether they live up to the hype and what should stay on your must-see lists as these films (fingers crossed) get picked up for distribution over the next eleven days. A mix of features and documentaries, comedies and horror, this list features both actors and filmmakers returning to Sundance and […]

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