Cooper's Bar Review

(The SXSW Film Festival may have been cancelled, but our coverage will go on with reviews of films and TV shows made available to our critics.)

Los Angeles is a tough city. It’s filled with dreams and aspiring who-knows-whats all just trying to make their dreams come true. Some hustle hard enough to break through, others get flat out lucky. The rest? Well, the rest just find themselves with a lot of broken dreams and empty bank accounts. Cooper’s Bar takes a look at two men who are hoping to fall somewhere in those first two categories and desperately trying to avoid becoming the third.

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Digital SXSW Lineup

Earlier this month, Amazon put out the word that they were interested in hosting a digital SXSW film festival, giving filmmakers a chance to debut titles they were unable to premiere at the now-canceled fest. The overall reaction to the idea was mixed – some were into the idea, but others felt that filmmakers wouldn’t want to debut their features on a digital platform. As a result, most filmmakers passed on the idea. But some got in on the action, and now Amazon has revealed its digital SXSW film lineup, which consists primarily of short films.

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sxsw online

The South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas was one of the first festivals hit by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, leaving the various participating filmmakers scrambling to find new venues for their indie films. Enter: Amazon Prime Video with the seemingly generous offer to host a SXSW Online Festival, in partnership with SXSW. But despite the much-needed publicity that this would give to indie filmmakers, many of them are balking at handing over their films to the streamer for fear of messing up potential distributor sales.

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sxsw 2020 pilot showcase

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has effectively brought Hollywood to a standstill as movie theaters, businesses, and public spaces shutter out of abundance of caution for the virus. The first to feel these effects were film festivals, which thrive in all of the above, and grant indie filmmakers a wider audience and outreach than they could hope through their own limited resources.

Now with film festivals essentially cancelled for the foreseeable future, a few indie filmmakers are taking things into their own hands. The South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, apart from spotlighting films and technology, also holds a SXSW Episodic Pilot Competition, rewarding promising TV pilots that debut at the festival. Left without a festival to debut their pilots, a group of filmmakers selected for the competition have banded together to launch a SXSW 2020 Pilot Showcase on Vimeo.

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Lusty Crest Review

(The SXSW Film Festival may have been cancelled, but our coverage will go on with reviews of films and TV shows made available to our critics.)

There’s something strange afoot at the lecherous hotel Lusty Crest. Humans and the supernatural alike come together to have their darkest desires satisfied in Lusty Crest’s ridiculous and fun pilot, and it’s up to Kasha (Erica Dasher) to get to the bottom of the sexy mystery. The young maid may have come to the sex hotel to escape her romantic past, but she quickly finds that past isn’t as done with her as she is with it. 

Just to be clear from the jump, Lusty Crest is hot nonsense. If that’s not your thing, you’re probably not going to have a lot of fun with this one. With that in mind, the SXSW jury thought it was fun enough to receive special jury recognition for comedy. After my own viewing, I have to agree with that assessment. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like for an over the top anime script to be played out in live action, this pilot is the answer. 

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The Dream Review

(The SXSW Film Festival may have been cancelled, but our coverage will go on with reviews of films and TV shows made available to our critics.)

It seems pilots about chasing the dream in Los Angeles were supposed to be hot this year at SXSW! But of all the TV shows about this idea, The Dream is the one that worked the best for me. The pilot follows Daryl (Micah Bijon) as he struggles to find his path right out of film school. How hard is he struggling? Well, we kick things off with his middle school-aged nephew giving him ten dollars for gas to ensure he can get home, get to work that day, and presumably collect him at the end of the day. Turns out college is expensive. Living in LA probably isn’t helping him out much either. 

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This Isn't Me Review

(The SXSW Film Festival may have been cancelled, but our coverage will go on with reviews of films and TV shows made available to our critics.)

You ever have one of those days where you feel like the you that everyone sees isn’t the real you? Like you’ve got these ideas in your head of how you want things to go, but absolutely nothing goes that way? That’s the gist of This Isn’t Me. Fred (Ben Kawaller) starts his day off with a plan. It’s a weird plan, but damn it, it’s his! But life has a different plan for our protagonist in this pilot. 

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Chemo Brain Review

(The SXSW Film Festival may have been cancelled, but our coverage will go on with reviews of films and TV shows made available to our critics.)

All of us think we’re invincible right up until the moment life smacks us in the face and reminds us just how fragile we are. Oliver (Adam Ild Rohweder) is your average guy, living his life as any 28-year-old would. He hangs with his friends, he studies for school, and has a casual fling with the lovely Signe (Stephanie Nguyen). The two aren’t official just yet but Chemo Brain takes the time to establish that they’re seeing each other from the jump, so expect her to have some importance. 

Oliver might not have the perfect life, but he seems pretty chill with what the cards have dealt him. The one exception is that he’s been experiencing a bit of nagging back pain. Like a responsible adult, he heads to have it checked out. He had no idea that the pain in his back was actually a sign of testicular cancer.

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Bored Review

(The SXSW Film Festival may have been cancelled, but our coverage will go on with reviews of films and TV shows made available to our critics.)

There’s this weird in-between time when you’ve put in the work for a thing but the work for said thing hasn’t paid off just yet. That feeling manages to be one of the most nagging, frustrating sensations on the spectrum of nagging and frustrating sensations. It’s the time of doubt, confusion, fear, a whole gamut of questions that all ultimately end in “did I waste all of my time and make a terrible mistake?”

That’s exactly where Jamie (Coral Amiga) finds herself at the beginning of Georgia Oakley’s pilot of for the new series Bored, which is currently looking for a home (and will hopefully find one).

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

sxsw online

SXSW was canceled this year – a move that was entirely unprecedented and left the future of the festival in some question. However, SXSW may be down, but it’s not out yet. Amazon Prime Video is teaming with SXSW for Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection, a one-time online film festival showcasing films from the SXSW 2020 lineup. And oh yeah, it’s free.

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