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Reviewed by Leah Churner, March 16, 2012, Screens

Documentary Shorts 1

Documentary Short Competition
D: Various

Drawing a crowd of cold, wet fans on Saturday morning was a showcase that included Chioke Nassor's "Major/Minor: The TV on the Radio Tour Documentary," dedicated to bassist Gerard Smith, who died last April. Filmed in 2006, TVOTR members give a razor-sharp rundown of pet peeves: Internet album leaks, label pressure to cut song duration, and the inescapable "race question" from journalists. Austin filmmaker Ben Steinbauer's eponymous short "Brute Force" is about another musician beleaguered by the majors; Mr. Force never escaped the novelty-act ghetto after recording the F-bomb-laden single "King of Fuh" for Apple in 1967. Equally irreverent but more famous is the subject of "A Brief History of John Baldessari." Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman's film about the charismatic conceptual-art pioneer is zippy and unpretentious; narrator Tom Waits gives equal attention to Baldessari's major retrospective at the Met and Baldessari's wi-fi password. Other films in this smorgasbord of portraits pack an emotional punch: Caleb Slain's "It Ain't Over" is narrated by a man dying of – actually, living with – Lou Gehrig's disease. And Wholphin co-founder Brent Hoff's "The Love Contest" seeks to fathom the romantic experience by scanning lovers' brain activity with an fMRI.

Friday, March 16, 11:15am, Alamo Lamar

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