Because it was lost in the press reports about this year’s festival, here are a few specific words about this year’s SXSW award-winners. Here are the jury’s official statements: On the overall selection: “An unusually strong competition is testament to the strength of documentary storytelling and technique. Particularly remarkable this year were the many memorable central characters we were drawn to and came to understand.” As for “Billy the Kid,” our top winner, we called it “a haunting and intense cinematic experience that truly allows the viewer to enter the world of its all too easily misunderstood protagonist.” Our two special jury awards were specifically for “Catdancers” for “editing, sound and visual design” and “Audience of One” for “sheer entertainment value.”
As the above comments testify, just about all of the docs were good. Even “Campaign,” a sad and funny documentary about a Japanese candidate running for local public office that absolutely needs to be cut down by about 45 minutes, had genuinely amazing material. Judging from the beleaguered appearence of the dramatic film jury, I think us documentary jurors got the better end of the bargain.