the festival circuit

Here Are All the Movies About COVID at SXSW This Year

Recovery. Photo: Soro Films

Despite the odds, COVID sure has produced a lot of art. A lot of indie, small budget, meta-ruminations about “what it means to produce art in the time of COVID” art. In 2020, South by Southwest was canceled due to the global coronavirus pandemic. This year, rather than descending upon Austin, the 2021 SXSW Film Festival will take place entirely online, with 75 features, 84 shorts, and a handful of television pilots and special events. Among those features and shorts are a variety of films explicitly grappling with the coronavirus, lockdown, and social distancing. Here is every film about COVID that you can watch at this year’s COVID-safe SXSW film festival:

Alone Together (Dir: Bradley Bell, Pablo Jones-Soler)
Log line: “Charli XCX, a popstar in quarantine, embarks on a whirlwind creative and romantic journey while making an album in 40 days that unites a community around the world.”

The End of Us (Dir: Henry Loevner, Steven Kanter)
Log line: “After a savage breakup, two exes must continue living together when California issues its stay-at-home order for COVID-19. Now they’ll try to move on without moving out.”

Recovery (Dir: Mallory Everton, Stephen Meek)
Log line: “Two directionless sisters brave a cross-country road trip to rescue their grandmother from a COVID outbreak at her nursing home.”

Ayar (Dir: Floyd Russ)
Log line: “Ayar, a first-generation American Latina, returns home to reunite with her daughter. But when her mother, Renata, refuses to let her see her due to Covid, Ayar is confronted by the many roles she’s been forced to play, including the role in this film.”

Twyla Moves (Dir: Steven Cantor)
Log line: “Interwoven with her storied career and prolific works, Twyla Moves sees legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp navigate her latest creative challenge: making a dance for a world plagued by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Disintegration Loops (Dir: David Wexler)
Log line: “As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 looms near, William Basinski contemplates the enduring legacy of The Disintegration Loops (his elegy to the 2001 Attacks), while quarantined in the midst of COVID-19.”

In the Same Breath (Dir: Nanfu Wang)
Log line: “Nanfu Wang’s deeply personal In the Same Breath recounts the origin and spread of the novel coronavirus from the earliest days of the outbreak in Wuhan to its rampage across the United States.”

The Last Cruise (Dir: Hannah Olson)
Log line: “The Last Cruise chronicles the first major COVID-19 outbreak outside of China. Using footage recorded by passengers and crew aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, we watch class divisions emerge as the world misses its chance to contain the virus.”

If you prefer your cinema less escapist and more remind-you-of-the-problem-at-hand-ist, check out the full lineup here. This is the festival that brought us The Big Sick, after all, and what is a pandemic if not the Biggest of Sicks?

Here Are All the Movies About COVID at SXSW This Year