This year’s SXSW Festival has given us short films that make a massive impact without long runtimes. These three documentaries premiered at 2022’s South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival. Documentaries can educate and inspire in a unique way. These documentaries are definitely worth the watch.
Long Line of Ladies:
This documentary tells the story of Ahty, a young Indigenous girl of the Karuk Tribe of Northern California. Ahty and her family prepare for her Ihuk (flower dance), a long-dormant ceremony to mark a girl’s first period. This short documentary is incredibly empowering, and is an excellent venue to have conversations about menstruation that are still considered taboo to this day.
This is a female led project, that takes great care to lift up women’s’ voices. The damage of colonialism is addressed, and a sobering reminder of what it has tried to destroy. Additionally, this film makes sure to also show men supporting women, and discussing menstruation themselves. Long Line of Ladies is the 2022 SXSW Short Film Jury Award Winner.
El Carrito tells the story of Nelly, a street vendor living with her elderly father. She’s learned to trust no one as she makes her living in the cutthroat world of those selling street food. Although it tells the story of immigrants in New York City, it’s a unique take on the narrative typically seen in media.
The twist in the story is an effective one, and genuinely comes as a surprise. The audience is set up to think the story will go in a completely different direction. This is incredibly strong storytelling, and is a testament to the talent involved in this short drama.
This short comedy tells the story of Izzy and Sophia, two disabled college students who are put together as roommates in their dorm. While they initially get off to a rocky start, they begin to bond over alcohol and always being underestimated because of their disabilities.
What follows is a funny and poignant story about college friendships. The characters are incredibly endearing and relatable. The movie is also a challenge to consider how inaccessible too much of the world is, and how this excludes disabled people by design. Don’t forget to stay for the credits scenes…they’re hilarious, trust me.
More Than I Remember:
More Than I Remember is an animated documentary that tells the story 14-year-old Mugeni who flees for her life from a militia attack. From there, the film follows her four year journey to find her family and the stability that she so desperately needs. The film reminds us that in any humanitarian crisis that creates refugees, children are among the most vulnerable.
More Than I Remember brings attention to the denial of citizenship and humanitarian crisis happening in southeastern Congo where militia attacks are common against the Banyamulenge people who are a persecuted minority. It’s a heartbreaking look at survival, and the trauma of upheaval experienced by refugees around the world.
The SXSW Festival always delivers on quality program, and this year’s Festival has been no exception. Although perhaps not given as much attention as feature releases, short films can be incredibly enjoyable to delve into. This is just a sampling of the incredible works of art that were seen as part of the SXSW Shorts program.