I thought about doing a Best Documentaries of SXSW feature, but that would have included too many repeats from past festivals. For instance, a number of my favorite docs of 2011 so far, such as 'Armadillo,' 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams,' 'The Interrupters' and 'How to Die in Oregon,' were in Austin last week and honestly would have trumped anything I'd just seen. Yet I couldn't limit myself to world premieres, either, because there are some films I caught up with at SXSW, like Sundance Audience Award winner 'Buck' and the wonderfully eccentric 'Convento.'
The truth is, I wasn't really excited about a lot of this year's non-fiction crop (including 'Buck'), and I already devoted full reviews to two favorites, 'The City Dark' (which won an award for its awesome score) and 'Conan O'Brien Can't Stop.' I didn't see all the docs of course -- that might have been impossible even if I didn't make time for friends, Franklin and a few fiction films; also, other Cinematical writers took on a few selections for coverage (see our reviews of 'Fightville,' 'El Bulli: Cooking in Progress' and 'Becoming Santa' as well as a look at the music docs of the 24 Beats a Second program). But I would like to share some thoughts on a handful of other films I like for one good reason or another.