SXSW brought out the big guns with a star-studded film lineup: Nicolas Cage, Channing Tatum, Anne Hathaway and Daniel Radcliffe all had a film showing at this year's festival. However, for every big studio production, there are a dozen independent films and even less time to watch them all.
There are hundreds of films to choose from at SXSW, from feature-length movies, to documentaries, to episodic content, to local short films, but here are a few we checked out this week.
Crows are White
Encircling the subject of religion and how it impacts our lives, director Ahsen Nadeem travels to Kyoto, Japan to meet with an ancient Buddhist sect of monks who complete acts of extreme physical endurance in the name of enlightenment. Hoping to find the answers to his own troubles as he struggles to tell his strict Muslim parents that he has married a woman outside his religion, Nadeem enters the monastery to a less-than-thrilled reception and is quickly put to the test. For a few days, Nadeem follows a monk named Kamahori on his daily walks and rituals until he is abruptly escorted out and asked not to return.
When Nadeem returns, hoping to masquerade as a tourist, he meets a monk named Ryushin, who would rather spend his days listening to heavy metal and searching the city for the best ice cream sundae. Ryushin agrees to visit with Nadeem in secret and the pair forms an unlikely friendship.
Over the course of five years, Ryushin and Nadeem watch each other through their ups and downs. Nadeem values Ryushin's comfort with himself, despite breaking the rules—a trait Nadeem wishes to foster in himself. "Crows are White" will take you over three continents, intertwining the director's own story with the monks', telling stories of two religions and Nadeem's personal reckoning.
"Crows are White" is playing twice more on March 16, with one showing at 12:30 p.m. and another at 1 p.m., at Violet Crown Cinema.
Following the brief rise and lengthy fall of Leslie, a single West Texas mother, after winning $190,000 in the lottery and quickly drinking it away. The film, directed by Michael Morris, begins years after her lottery win with Leslie—homeless, an alcoholic and down on her luck—waiting to be picked up by her now young adult son, James, who gives her a roof over her head and clothes on her back with one condition: no drinking.
After she breaks James' rule less than one day later, her son sends Leslie back to her hometown to confront the consequences of her actions and the people that she hurt in the process. After being kicked out of every place she was given to stay, motel clerk Sweeney takes a chance on Leslie and gives her a job.
Sweeney's influence leads Leslie to come face-to-face with herself and gives her the chance to turn things around. You may not feel sorry for Leslie but you'll root for her, share in her joys and sorrows, and hope she makes it through to the other side.
To Leslie is playing one last time on March 18 at 9:45 p.m. at Alamo Lamar A.
Who do you call to clean up the mess on the worst day of your life? Australians might call Sandra Pankhurst, a trauma cleaner who cleans spaces that nobody else would go near—hoarder homes, meth labs, crime scenes and shudder-worthy sights—with extreme kindness for the folks that live in them.
"Clean," directed by Lachlan McLeod, not only goes into the details of what it takes to be a trauma cleaner but tells the tale of how Pankhurst started the first trauma cleaning business in Melbourne. From an extremely traumatic background herself, Pankhurst was adopted and rejected by her new family at a young age, transitioned from male to female as a young adult, and went into prostitution all before starting the business.
You'll follow McLeod as he visits with clients to learn how the service has changed their life but you'll also bear witness to ongoing changes in Pankhurst's life, like living with a terminal lung illness from cleaning unprotected and getting in touch with her birth mother for the first time in her more than 70 years on Earth. "Clean" shows the fragility of life and gives hope of human connection.
"Clean" has one more screening on March 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Alamo Lamar A.
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So you want to buy a house?
To anyone trying to get on the "housing ladder," it's been a discouraging couple of years as prices skyrocketed in a market crowded with buyers bidding against each other for just about any available home.
Things may be calming down, with the Austin Board of REALTORS reporting fewer sales and more available homes this summer.
Mortgage rates have more than doubled in the last year, from around 3% to well over 6% on a 30-year fixed rate loan, getting even more of a bump this week after the Federal Reserve raised bank rates on Wednesday.
So how affordable are homes right now? That, of course, depends on what you want and how much you're able or willing to pay, but here are some rough estimates of what a typical buyer would pay to buy a $650,000 home, which would be considered "mid-price" in today's market.
Mortgage banker Chris Holland (NMLS 211033) of Austin's Sente Mortgage ran some numbers for Austonia to illustrate a typical purchase.
Holland says that while the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is often mentioned in the media, the most popular loan that he's seeing now is a 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage, which has a fixed rate for 7 years and then adjusts every year based on market rates, with a limit on how much it can increase each year. The interest is amortized over a 30-year period. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) offer lower rates than fixed rate loans.
Here are the numbers, which are examples. In practice, exact numbers vary with a buyer's credit rating and overall financial situation, and with the rate, which can move up or down at any time.
- $650,000 home purchase price
- 7/1 ARM at 5.875%
- 5% down payment, equals $32,500
- 95% financed, equals $617,500
- $4,990 payment, including principle and interest (P&I), insurance, and property tax
- Typically, a borrower's debt to income ratio needs to be at or below 45%. So for this mortgage, a borrower, or borrowers, would need income of roughly $11,100/month, or $133,200/year. That number could be higher, depending on the buyer's outstanding credit balances on things like credit cards and car loans.
Holland says he's had a lot of clients approved for loans who were house hunting but have put that on hold, hoping prices come down.
Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!
Fall promises to be a one-of-a-kind camping experience. From Sept. 16 to Nov. 24, weekends will be packed with fall-themed activities, including special Halloween weekends in October. Campers can enjoy activities like fall crafts, campground trick-or-treating, costume contests, site decorating, outdoor movie nights, and more!
Packages and Ways to Stay
Camp Fimfo Waco
Located just 5 miles from McLane Stadium, Camp Fimfo Waco is the perfect place to stay during home game weekends. Skip the stuffy hotel room and embrace the great outdoors before cheering on the Baylor Bears! Campers can purchase a Baylor Tailgating Package that includes a pre-game meal from Executive Chef Sean Kelley and transportation to and from the game! Chef Kelley will also be cooking up delicious, elevated tailgating meals near the stadium so make sure to check out The Plaid Plate food truck before the game.
Stay in style and comfort, no matter your camping preference! At Camp Fimfo Waco, there are multiple ways to stay. Red Carpet RV sites come with a concrete pad and patio, full hook-ups, cable hook-up, a charcoal grill, fire ring and fire pit. Back-in or pull-thru options are available, as well as coveted spots tucked along the Bosque River!
Don’t have an RV? Not a problem, Camp Fimfo Waco has cabins too! Book a Riverview Firewheel Cabin if you’re looking for an air-conditioned oasis for the whole family. Complete with a kitchen and private bathroom, this cabin can fit up to 10 people. Elevate your stay by adding on a golf cart or snag a private cabana by the pool for guaranteed shade. With wifi available throughout the park, you can stay connected during your stay!
Amenities and Activities
Camp Fimfo Waco
Camp Fimfo Waco features lots of amenities to fill your days with fun, whether you’re a kid or kid at heart. After challenging your friends to a game of pickleball, basketball, or mini golf, go for a dip in the resort-style, heated pool - open daily through October! Stay on the weekends through October to enjoy the interactive splash playground. With plenty of ways to burn off energy, like the jumping pillow or playground, you can be sure to end the day with a peaceful night around the campfire!
Right now, you can get the fourth night FREE when you book three nights with the promo code BONUS! Check out the Offers page for full details and more promo codes!