Documentary Shorts Competition presented by IMDbPro

Documentary Shorts Program 1

Slices of life from across the documentary spectrum.

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

Program Includes:

A bus picks up some passengers on Friday morning to travel the route that brings them closer to the weekend, with their plans, their reflections, and their fears. The same bus will pick them up on Sunday afternoon to return them to where they came from.

Check out the Featured Session with Documentary Short Film, How to Rig an Election: The Racist History of the 1876 Presidential Contest's Producer/Screenwriter Jeffery Robinson: The most hotly contested presidential election in U.S. history did not take place in 2000, or even 2020. It took place in 1876, 11 years after the Civil War, when the country was barely unified, and bitter resentment lingered. "How to Rig an Election: The Racist History of the 1876 Presidential Contest" tells the story of an election that sealed the fate of a nation, permitting racism and racist violence to become more deeply embedded in U.S. culture and politics in ways that are still felt today. This 7-minute short was executive produced & narrated by Tom Hanks, conceived & written by Jeffery Robinson, animated by Reginald William Butler, and directed by Emily Kunstler & Sarah Kunstler.

'Roger J. Carter: Rebel Revolutionary' follows Chicago portrait artist Roger J. Carter as he creates colorful, unique images of African American revolutionaries through the use of toy soldiers on canvas. Staggering, vibrant, and complex, Roger’s work combines familiar faces with skilled craftsmanship and biting social commentary, highlighting the wars the marginalized face as they attempt to dismantle an established system.

In April 2019, after the fall of President Omar al-Bashir, Sudanese from across the country make their way to Khartoum to demand civilian rule. Protestors occupy the military headquarters, setting up tents and constructing barricades. In this liminal space, a group of young revolutionaries create an imaginary television station. What begins as play becomes an urgent conjuring of a new Sudan.

Each year, hundreds of people apply to join the Ball Crew at the US Open tennis tournament. Through a surprisingly rigorous tryout process, only a few dozen are ultimately selected.

"Birdsong" explores the dying whistling traditions of the Hmong people of northern Laos, whose sonic exchanges straddle the boundary between music and speech. The film follows the personal stories of three individuals from Long Lan village, as they reflect on their experience as practitioners of a vanishing musical language. "Birdsong" portrays the collision of an ancient linguistic practice with the modern condition of urban life in Laos. The film explores how listening can change our perception of both society and nature, offering a glimpse into the philosophical relationship between sound and reality.

Primary Access
Platinum Badge
Film & TV Badge
Secondary Access
Music Badge
Interactive Badge
Film & TV Festival Wristband
Screening Category:
95 mins