SXSW Sydney announces first features for screen program

'Slice of Life: The American Dream. In Former Pizza Huts'

A documentary capturing the rise of Australian 80s punk band The Hard-Ons and a contemporary snapshot of the US told through former Pizza Hut restaurants are among the first features to be included in this year’s SXSW Sydney screen program.

More than 500 new speakers, workshops, artists, screenings, games, and experiences were unveiled today for the event’s second edition, which will take place October 14–20.

They include Jonathan Sequeira’s documentary The Most Australian Band Ever!, which details how a trio of teenagers from Punchbowl wrote themselves into Australian music folklore as punk rock band The Hard-Ons, selling more than a quarter of a million albums and at one point stringing together a run of 17 consecutive number one listings on the alternative music charts.

Australian-born, Brookyln-based filmmakers Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker will also premiere their new documentary Slice of Life: The American Dream. In Former Pizza Huts. The film examines former Pizza Hut buildings across the country and how the nostalgic spaces provide something new and special for the communities that continue to flow through them. From an LGBTQ+ church in Florida, to a karaoke bar in Texas, to a cannabis dispensary in rural Colorado, the stories are paralleled with the journey of Pizza Hut, and the two brothers who founded the company in Wichita, Kansas in 1958. Salleh and Tucker previously premiered their documentary Barbecue on the opening night of SXSW 2017 in Austin.

‘Alien Weaponry: Kua Tupu Te Ara’.

Joining The Most Australian Band Ever! in the festival’s music strand is David Charles Rodrigues’ S/He Is Still Her/e, a portrait of controversial performance artist Genesis P-Orridge, co-founder of pioneering industrial music outfit Throbbing Gristle. The film, which was made during the last year of their life, had its world premiere at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival and will screen as part of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival next month.

From across the Tasman, there is Kent Blecher’s Alien Weaponry: Kua Tupu Te Ara, about two brothers that attempt to storm the world of thrash metal with the Māori language, despite the fact they’re both still teenagers, while Wellington-based animation studio Floating Rock will conduct a live Commentary Session on Kyoryu, the viral trailer which garnered 1 million views within 10 days, with creator and animator Benjamin Mulot.

As part of the screen festival, there will be a showcase of 24 music videos with a focus on Australian artists, including Amyl and the Sniffers, Bad//Dreems, and The Buoys.

Tuesday’s line-up announcement comes after the first round of short films for the festival were revealed last month, consisting of Wendi Tang’s Fishtank (China/USA), Eros V’s Meat Puppet (UK), Hweiling Ow’s Vivie (NZ), and Talia Shea Levin’s Make Me a Pizza (US).

View the full schedule of what has been announced across tech and innovation, games, music, and screen here.