SXSW Film

Interviews and reviews

TV Junkie

D: Michael Cain and Matt Radecki

After the first SXSW showing of TV Junkie, Alamo Drafthouse co-founder Tim League grinned and admitted he'd just had a "movie experience." More about that later, but for now, consider that we are on the cusp of a video diarist age. First was Houstonian Jonathan Caouette's 2003 tale of growing up gay with a mentally imbalanced mother in Tarnation. Now comes Rick Kirkham, an Oklahoman who has obsessively videotaped his life since age 14 and offers an anti-drug message stronger than anything Nancy Reagan could concoct. He handed some 3,000 hours of tape to Deep Ellum Film Festival founder Michael Cain, who brought in editor Matt Radecki to cull it down to an intense, disturbing drama. Smartly, they trusted Kirkham's story and resorted to few camera tricks. Kirkham, an extreme-sports reporter for TV's Inside Edition, is a family man with two kids in Dallas, but on the side he's nursing a growing addiction to crack cocaine. The camera captures self-destruction and self-denial as Kirkham's life crumbles. It's gripping, real, squirmy stuff, even more so when Kirkham's sweet, long-suffering wife takes hold of the camera and vents. Back to what League was talking about. At the end of that first screening, the co-directors called Kirkham up to the stage. He admitted to getting physically sick at previous Sundance Film Festival showings, then pointed to the audience, noted that the mother of his children was watching the film for the first time and admitted they fought the night before. Talk about cinema vérité. What was on the screen was watching the screen and followed the audience out the door into the real world.

6:30pm, Alamo South Lamar

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