Our SXSW 2017 Favorite Films And Shorts That Feature People of Color Doing Epic Things


This year, the film list for the South by Southwest® (SXSW®) film festival was overwhelming. From larger featured films to smaller indie projects, there was no lack in variety of what film badge holders could view. As a platinum badge holder, my genre of choice for film was simple: films that showed people of color doing epic stuff.

Now, before you go through this list, realize that epic is subjective. For me, I wanted to see films that showed people of color as multidimensional, as opposed to focus on "the struggle" of what it means to be a person of color, especially for Black characters. While there is a place and appreciation for movies about slavery, living on the borderline of poverty and barbershops, there is definitely a lack of representation of movies where the actors of color are not tied down to a stereotype.  

Where are the films and digital series that focus on people of color that are bohemian, creativepreneurs, coming-to-age teenagers or just overall bad asses? Apparently, at SXSW. Check out our favorite film finds from the SXSW Film Festival:

1. I LOVE BEKKA & LUCY by Rachael Holder

I have not been this excited about a digital series since Issa Rae debuted Awkward Black Girl back in 2011. I am constantly looking for myself in new film releases and TV shows, only to be greeted with exaggerated stereotypes about what it means to be a black woman...emphasis on Black. I LOVE BEKKA & LUCY is so refreshing, as it focuses on the lives two bohemian millennial woman without making the central theme center around their "blackness".

Bekka and Lucy are best friends who are each other’s favorite people. They live together in Eagle Rock, in Los Angeles, on an abandoned block where they enjoy keeping to themselves with their roaming backyard chickens and getting to the town pool early enough to avoid interacting with other people. All is well on their secluded block until a new neighbor moves in next door and Lucy’s boyfriend unexpectedly proposes.

Check out the trailer below:

2. Mayhem by Joe Lynch

The Walking Dead fans, Uncle Glenn is back in a new feature film, Mayhem (maybe this is part of the reason they offed him so abruptly in TWD?). While we still miss seeing Steven Yeun every week on AMC, the movie Mayhem is right up his alley.

A dangerous virus, one that prevents the infected from controlling their inhibitions, is discovered in a corporate law building, the very same firm that recently cleared an infected man on murder charges. When a quarantine is issued and the building goes on lockdown, all hell breaks loose inside, while a disgruntled employee (Steven Yeun) and an irate client (Samara Weaving) must fight and even kill their way to the top to “have a word” with the corrupt executives who wronged them before time runs out.

3. Fits and Starts by Laura Terruso

This film was basically the best depiction of what life is like for some creative entrepreneurial couples.

David Warwik is a struggling writer who has been toiling away at the same novel for years. His wife Jennifer is a hot young literary figure, who has just released a new masterpiece. When her publisher invites the couple to an artists' salon at his home in Connecticut, the pair embark on a twisted journey, and David must face his demons and try to “not be weird” among the waspy salon guests and competitive art set in attendance.

He encounters a dentist with publishing aspirations, a book critic full of condescending advice, a fellow writer who may know his wife a little too well, an old “friend," and a high powered bipolar literary agent who just might be able to help him...for a price.

Learn more about Fits and Starts here.

4. Tragedy Girls by Tyler MacIntyre

Can we get an amen for gory satire? Fans of Winona Ryder in Heathers will definitely add this film to their favorites list.

Sadie and McKayla are two social-media obsessed best friends who will stop at nothing to build their online following. The self-titled "Tragedy Girls" kidnap Lowell, an unambitious local serial killer, and force him to mentor them into modern horror legends by committing murders to blow up on the internet. As the bodies fall, the girls become national news and panic in their small town hits a fever pitch — just then, Lowell escapes! Now with the local Sheriff closing in and their relationship on the rocks, the girls must rethink their plan before they find themselves the latest victims of their own killing spree.

Check out this awesome review from Variety about Tragedy Girls.

What are your thoughts on diversity in the mass media and film industry? Do you feel like the representation of people of color is improving?