Learning never goes out of style, and the Austin Film Festival knows that. This year’s lineup includes some incredible documentaries. The city of Austin will be celebrating film once again and celebrating 25 years of the Austin Film Festival on October 25 through November 1. Here are five documentaries we recommend watching if you’re headed to the festival!
“Also Starring Austin”
We’ve all heard the cliché ‘the setting was like another character in the movie.’ Well, “Also Starring Austin” sets out to explore how Texas’s capital city plays a role in so many of the films made there. Written by Mike Blizzard, Laura Colwell and Lara Morgan – and directed by Blizzard – the documentary showcases how Austin has evolved over time and what its culture has provided to the film industry. The footage comes from nearly five decades of films and the movie features commentary from well-known producers, directors and industry leaders.
If you’re like me, you’ve never heard of the ancient martial art known as Bokator. Written by Mark Bochsler, Kevin Schjerning and Fernanda Rossi, as well as directed by Bochsler, this documentary feature follows the story of Grandmaster Sean Kim San as he attempts to resurrect the sport of Bokator and preserve it in Cambodian culture. The movie is an eye-opening look at a genocide survivor who not only has to deal with his own past, but also the pushback he gets from his community in his mission to revive a part of the culture. This will be a tough one, but surely informative too.
Despite what you may be thinking, this has nothing to do with Alfred Hitchcock. Instead, this documentary that was filmed over five years’ time is about a woman named Kathy and her role in animal advocacy. “For the Birds” was directed by Richard Miron and takes place in a small New York town. At first the subject was Kathy’s battle with local animal rescuers, but it soon became more about how her relationship with her husband and her own mental health have deteriorated due to her living with two hundred pet chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. This is a one-of-a-kind story that is sure to have many interesting aspects.
Among the many stories you don’t hear during war times are those of the interpreters. Directors Andres Caballero and Sofian Khan work to remedy that with their documentary feature that follows a few of the men who did some work interpreting for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and Iraq and now face danger in their own countries because of it. Threats of death, separation from their families and refugee status are just some of the many problems these men face.
Alzheimer’s disease is a terrifying thing, and for many people, it’s terrifyingly real and close. In “Turning Point,” director James Keach follows researchers who believe they are on the cusp of making a difference in the outcome of this malady. Alzheimer’s has been called the final frontier of medicine, the real healthcare moonshot and the holy grail of science, and it’s no wonder why that’s the case. This documentary may offer some hope that there are answers to the problems we face.
Are there any documentaries we didn’t mention that you’re looking forward to watching at this year’s Austin Film Festival? Please tell us in the comments below or on Twitter – we’d love to hear from you! Keep checking back for more content on the 2018 Austin Film Festival.