True Stories

True Stories

Music icon David Byrne was inspired by tabloid headlines to make his sole foray into feature-film directing, an ode to the extraordinariness of ordinary American life. The Talking Heads front man plays a visitor to Virgil, Texas, who introduces us to the citizens of the town during preparations for its Celebration of Specialness. As shot by cinematographer Ed Lachman, Texas becomes a hyperrealistic late-capitalist landscape of endless vistas, shopping malls, and prefab buildings. In True Stories, Byrne uses songs to stitch together pop iconography, voodoo rituals, and a singular variety show—all in the service of uncovering the mysteries that lurk under the surface of everyday experience.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.


David Byrne


Director: David Byrne
Executive Producer: Edward Pressman
Producer: Karen Murphy
Screenwriter: Stephen Tobolowsky, Beth Henley, David Byrne
Cinematographer: Ed Lachman
Editor: Caroline Biggerstaff
Production Designer: Barbara Ling
Sound Designer: Leslie Shatz
Music: Talking Heads
Principal Cast: David Byrne, John Goodman, Jo Harvey Allen, Swoozie Kurtz, Spalding Gray, Annie McEnroe, Roebuck "Pops" Staples
Additional Credits: Costume Design: Elizabeth McBride, Fashion Show Costumes: Adelle Lutz, Casting Director: Victoria Thomas, Texas Production Associate: Christina Patoski


Warner Bros Home Entertainment
Public Film Contact
Kim Hendrickson
The Criterion Collection
Publicity Contact
Courtney Ott
Primary Entry: Platinum Badge, Film Badge
Secondary Entry: Music Badge, Interactive Badge, Film Festival Wristband

Genre: Comedy, Music
Screening Section: Special Events
Screening Category: Narrative Feature
Country: United States
Language: English
Runtime: 89:04 mins