SXSW audience awards announced: fans love 'Armistead Maupin,' 'Dealt,' 'Becoming Bond' and more
Judd Apatow projects collect two awards, including one for documentary he co-directed on Avett Brothers
A documentary about a man closely identified with San Francisco is finding love in Austin.
The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, about the famed SF-based writer, won the audience award in the Documentary Spotlight section of the SXSW Conference and Festivals. Jennifer Kroot directed the film, which includes the participation of Maupin friends Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis who co-starred in the PBS adaptation of his book Tales of the City.
Dealt by director Luke Korem took the audience award in the Documentary Feature Competition category. The film tells the story of Richard Turner who became one of the world's greatest card magicians despite being totally blind.
In the Visions category of SXSW, Becoming Bond won the audience award. The film by Josh Greenbaum takes an innovative approach to recounting the unlikely story of how George Lazenby went from selling cars in Australia to starring in the 007 movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Greenbaum hired actors to play Lazenby and other figures in recreations based on the actor's memories of becoming Bond.
Lazenby, charismatic and handsome at age 77, appeared at the world premiere of the documentary in Austin on March 11.
"It's the biggest thing I supposedly did in my life," Lazenby said on the arrival line, regarding his lead role in the 1969 Bond film. "As you know I was never in mind to be an actor. But to be James Bond, [I thought], 'Oh, I'll be that.'"
Judd Apatow, one of the most successful producer/directors in Hollywood, collected a couple of audience awards for projects he brought to SXSW.
May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers, which Apatow co-directed with Michael Bonfiglio, won the audience award in the music-themed 24 Beats Per Second section of the film festival. The documentary follows the musicians Scott and Seth Avett as they create their album "True Sadness."
With the recording process as a backdrop, the film intimately depicts a lifelong bond and unique creative partnership, as the band -- fronted by brothers Scott and Seth Avett -- weathers marriage, divorce, parenthood, illness, and the challenges of the music business.
The Apatow-produced comedy The Big Sick won the SXSW audience award in the Festival Favorites category. Michael Showalter directed the film which stars Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan. Nanjiani co-wrote the film with his wife Emily V. Gordon and it closely follows their bumpy real-life courtship.
In the SXSW Global category it was the documentary Divine Divas that won the audience award.
Leandra Leal directed the film about a pioneering group of transvestite performers in Brazil who challenged their country's mores in the 1960s, a period when Brazil was run by a right-wing military dictatorship.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.