Anyone who’s ever attended SXSW immediately appreciates the sense of fun in the air. In that spirit, Indiewire‘s latest curation of Hulu’s Documentaries page includes a series of lighter, and often funny, docs that can help you approximate the Austin experience, even from afar. Watch these films now for free!
A great place to start is with a SXSW alum, Michael Stephenson’s “Best Worst Movie,” still one of the most enjoyable documentaries ever made about bad films and fan culture. Stephenson, the child star of the so-bad-it’s-amazing “Troll 2,” revisits his fellow castmates and filmmakers to find out the impact of being involved with one of the worst movies ever made.
Of course, SXSW’s Interactive conference has proven to rival music and film as the event’s most popular gathering, bringing together emerging technology and innovative gaming. Flashing back more than thirty years, Lincoln Ruchti’s “Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade” focuses on the early years of video games and gaming culture with this entertaining look at Iowa’s Twin Galaxies archade and the 1982 Video Game Championships.
Speaking of championship events, another SXSW alum, Alexandra Lipsitz’s infectious “Air Guitar Nation,” follows contenders Björn Türoque and C-Diddy, among others, as they compete at the first US Air Guitar Championships in a bid to strut their (imaginary) stuff at Finland’s World Championships.
Filmmaker Amy Do spotlights some equally memorable characters in her competition doc about the National American Rabbit Convention, “Rabbit Fever.” If the more than 20,000 rabbits of various breeds aren’t enough to draw you in, their quirky and obsessive handlers give the “Best in Show” cast a run for their money.
A portrait of eccentricity writ large, Kaspar Astrup Schröder’s “The Invention of Dr NakaMats” introduces audiences to the titular Japanese idea man, an octogenarian responsible for over 3,000 inventions, from the floppy disk to the push-up bra. Often laugh out loud funny, the film celebrates NakaMats’ ingenuity and whimsy.
Finally, this sampling of this latest curation fittingly wraps up with SXSW alum “Hell on Wheels.” Director Bob Ray’s fast-paced film details how Austin was ground zero for the revival of the once-popular but long-moribund roller derby, springboarding it back into international prominence, though not without some in-fighting and drama.
EDITOR’S NOTE: “Indiewire @ Hulu Docs” is a regular column spotlighting the Iw-curated selections on Hulu’s Documentaries page, a unique collaboration between the two sites. Be sure to check out the great non-fiction projects available to watch free of charge. Disclosure: Some of the selections are titles provided to Hulu by SnagFilms, the parent company of Indiewire.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Basil Tsiokos is a Programming Associate, Documentary Features for Sundance, Shorts & Panel Programmer for DOC NYC, and a consultant to documentary filmmakers and festivals. Follow him on Twitter (@1basil1) and visit his blog (what (not) to doc).