Austin film scene, film reviews, films, general

American: The Bill Hicks Story

American: The Bill Hicks Story

We were lucky enough to get tickets a couple of weeks ago to American: The Bill Hicks Story screening put on by the Austin Film Society. When I got them, I didn’t realize the filmmakers Paul Thomas and Matt Harlock would be in attendance for a Q&A afterward. As a special treat, Bill Hicks’ mother and brother were able to join in the conversation over Skype, which compounded the emotional impact the film had.

American: The Bill Hicks Story
American: The Bill Hicks Story

The film debuted at SXSW, and although it’s been released in Europe for a little while, it’s just now debuting in the U.S. It opens in Austin at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar this Friday, and we both highly recommend going to see it whether you’re a fan of documentary films or the comedian.

The filmmakers gained the trust of the Hicks’ family, and captured a more intimate portrayal of Bill Hicks’ life that anything about him has been able to so far. Weaving together childhood film and photos, stories from his best friends, and family, they’ve created an enlightening glimpse into the life of the inspiring and provocative comic whose life was cut much too short. Using Aftereffects and Photoshop, they’ve created rich animations to illustrate his life.

Bill Hicks' Family at Austin Sneak Peak of "American"
Bill Hicks' Family via Skype at Austin Sneak Peak of "American"

I discovered Bill Hicks in college, on a grainy VHS tape I picked up from the local alternative video store, after hearing about him as a cult favorite among friends. Michael discovered him in junior high school courtesy of Austin Access television. His ideas really impacted me and have stayed with me over the years, and I am so glad to see a documentary that does him justice and will expose his immense talent and ideas to a wider reach. I’ll leave you with my favorite Bill Hicks quote:

“We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution.”

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