A clutch of Philly-based filmmakers is heading to the Texas capital to screen new work at the influential South By Southwest Film Festival, March 11-19. Don Argott and Sheena Joyce, the folks behind the controversial hit doc about the Barnes, The Art of the Steal, have their new one, Last Days Here, ready to go to SXSW. It’s about Bobby Liebling, frontman of the venerable doom metal band Pentagram, as he struggles to overcome addiction and personal issues -- and living in his parents' basement -- as interest in his music surges anew. Last Days Here is in the featured documentary competition, one of eight chosen out of 808 submitted to the fest.
A short-form doc, also with a music angle and Philadelphia ties, is “Diplo,” about Wesley Pentz, aka DJ Diplo. Director Wing-Yee Wu’s website has a synopsis: “We join Wesley Pentz, aka DJ Diplo and part of Major Lazer soundsystem, at the annual Philadelphia block party of record label Mad Decent. In a candid portrait of an artist better known for Mad Decent's madcap antics, Diplo shares his thoughts on people, culture and traveling - as well as what he would do should he stop making music.”
And Alison Bagnall, whose credits include co-writing Buffalo 66 with Vincent Gallo and writing and directing the festival-proven 2003 feature, Piggie, is represented with The Dish & the Spoon. Mumblecore icon Greta Gerwig and Brit actor Olly Alexander star. The film was shot on the Delaware shore, and Bagnall has Philly history.
And Michael Lerman, artistic director of the Philadelphia Film Festival, is one of the producers of a cool looking black-and-white feature, Surrogate Valentine. It stars San Francisco singer/songwriter Goh Nakamura as a struggling musician hired to teach a TV star (Chadd Stoops) how to play the guitar. Adventures and bonding ensue.
So where do we put the Phillywood sign?