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Two Canadian documentaries heading to Austin’s prestigious film showcase. World premieres of Yuqi Kang’s 7 Beats Per Minute and Michael Mabbott and Lucah Rosenberg-Lee’s Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story at SXSW.


(Images provided by the NFB)

February 7, 2024 – Montreal – National Film Board of Canada (NFB)

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film & TV Festival in Austin, Texas (March 8 to 16, 2024) will spotlight powerful new Canadian non-fiction storytelling with world premieres of two feature-length documentaries co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB):

Yuqi Kang’s Intuitive Pictures/NFB-co-produced 7 Beats Per Minute, capturing freediving champion Jessea Lu’s return to the site of her near-death experience to face the traumas of her past;

Michael Mabbott and Lucah Rosenberg-Lee’s Banger Films/NFB-co-produced Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story, revealing the extraordinary story of a trailblazing Black trans soul singer who vanished from the spotlight on the eve of stardom.

7 Beats Per Minute (96 min) – Documentary Spotlight section

• Directed by Yuqi Kang
• Produced by Ina Fichman and Sherien Barsoum (NFB)
• Executive produced by Ina Fichman, Shirley Vercruysse (NFB), Anita Lee (NFB), Kate Baxter and Neeraj Bhargava
• Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/7beatsperminute

  • About the film

During a world-record attempt, freediving champion Jessea Lu (Lu Wenjie) blacked out and was lifeless for four minutes.

7 Beats Per Minute follows Jessea’s physical and mental journey back from the depths, with intimate cinéma vérité camerawork, astonishing underwater imagery and raw personal interviews. Set against the world of freediving, the film places the audience and the filmmaker herself in the immediacy of the experience. When barometric pressure compresses the body, the heart slows and the pulse drops, it is the power of the mind that proves critical.

As the boundaries between the filmmaker and her subject grow more fluid, the two return to the site of Jessea’s near-death experience to face the traumas of her past and find a way back.

This is Yuqi Kang’s second time at SXSW, which previously presented her award-winning 2017 debut feature doc, A Little Wisdom.

  • Filmmaker biography

Yuqi Kang is a Mongol Chinese Canadian filmmaker driven by a passion for crafting psychological profiles set in extreme circumstances. Her directorial feature debut, A Little Wisdom, premiered at Busan, SXSW, Karlovy Vary and Hot Docs, where it won Best Canadian Feature. It was released by Amazon Prime worldwide. Yuqi was nominated for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and the Directors Guild of Canada’s Discovery Award and was awarded 40 Under 40 by DOC NYC.

Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story (99 min) – 24 Beats Per Second section

• Written and directed by Michael Mabbott and Lucah Rosenberg-Lee
• Produced by Amanda Burt, Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen, Michael Mabbott and Justine Pimlott (NFB)
• Executive produced by Scot McFadyen, Sam Dunn, Chanda Chevannes (NFB), Anita Lee (NFB), Elliot Page and Matt Jordan Smith (PAGEBOY Productions), Martin Katz, Nia Long and CJ Mac
• Produced in association with Bell Media
• Original music by Murray Lightburn
• Animation directed by Luca Tarantini and Jared Raab
• Press kit: mediaspace.nfb.ca/epk/any-other-way-jackie-shane

  • About the film

Nashville-born soul singer Jackie Shane boldly carved a new path as one of music’s pioneering Black trans performers. On the edge of stardom, why did she suddenly leave the spotlight? Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story hands the mic over to one of the most beguiling artists of the 20th century to finally reveal her truth, in her own unmistakable voice.

From leaving the Jim Crow South to performing with Etta James and becoming a chart-topping ingénue in Toronto, discover Jackie’s extraordinary story, as well as her family’s journey to reclaim the relative they never knew.

Through never-before-heard phone recordings, dazzling rotoscope animation and an original score by Murray Lightburn, directors Michael Mabbott and Lucah Rosenberg-Lee beam a spotlight on the legacy of an unsung icon who lived on her own terms, then waited for the rest of the world to catch up.

Any Other Way is executive produced by Academy Award-nominated actor, director, producer and writer Elliot Page and PAGEBOY Productions. This is Michael Mabbott’s second time at SXSW, which previously screened his feature The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico.

  • Filmmaker biographies

Michael Mabbott is a Toronto-based filmmaker. His first feature, The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico, which he wrote and directed, premiered at TIFF to popular and critical acclaim, receiving the Best Canadian First Feature Award. His second directorial effort, Citizen Duane, also premiered at TIFF. Michael co-created, executive produced and directed the six-part half-hour comedy series The Yard, for HBO Canada/TMN/Movie Central. His first documentary film, Music Lessons, premiered at Hot Docs.

Lucah Rosenberg-Lee is a Toronto-based independent filmmaker, speaker and entrepreneur. Lucah was adopted from the Dominican Republic into a Toronto family, where he developed his love of activism through film and his passion to tell stories of marginalized voices. Lucah has produced and directed a variety of film projects, including Passing and For Nonna Anna, that have been screened at TIFF, Inside Out and Sundance. He specializes in both documentary and LGBTQ+ content, bringing unique stories to life, including his own.

About the co-producers

Intuitive Pictures (7 Beats Per Minute)

Intuitive Pictures is a Montreal-based company dedicated to producing quality creative documentary and narrative features and series, and interactive projects. They have developed an expertise in international co-production and collaborate with partners worldwide. Oscar, BAFTA, Emmy-nominated and Peabody award-winning producer Ina Fichman, founder and president of Intuitive Pictures, has been producing high-profile documentaries for 30 years. Her creative documentaries have played at Sundance, Berlin, Hot Docs, RIDM, CPH:DOX, Venice, SXSW, TIFF and others. Ina recently produced the acclaimed and Academy-nominated documentary Fire of Love, which premiered at Sundance 2022, where it was sold to National Geographic and subsequently released by Neon in the US, Dogwoof in the UK and MK2. Other films include Adrianne & the Castle (SXSW 2024), The Bones, Stolen Time, Stray, The Gig Is Up, Blue Box, Inside Lehman Brothers, Gift, The Oslo Diaries, Laila at the Bridge and The Wanted 18.

Banger Films (Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story)

Banger Films is an award-winning global leader in music and documentary storytelling, founded in 2004. Banger’s catalogue includes critically acclaimed documentary films and series, live concerts and kids’ programs featuring the biggest names in pop culture and entertainment. Past projects include the Emmy- and Peabody-winning series Hip-Hop Evolution, Grammy-nominated films Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage and ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band from Texas, Tribeca audience choice award winner Super Duper Alice Cooper, the Netflix series This Is Pop, and YouTube Originals’ K-Pop Evolution.

Banger’s films and series have premiered at every major festival from TIFF to SXSW to Tribeca, and streamed worldwide on Netflix, Paramount+, A&E, YouTube Originals, and other major platforms. Banger’s brand is constantly expanding towards new frontiers while maintaining a unique anthropological ethos.

PAGEBOY Productions (Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story)

PAGEBOY Productions endeavors to develop and produce entertaining, original, commercial and socially responsible stories. PAGEBOY actively seeks creators and content from underrepresented communities and uplifts collaborators denied equitable access to mainstream Hollywood. PAGEBOY will pursue storytelling that prioritizes safety, representation, and intersectional equity in all facets of making film and television; we believe that making quality art by and for intentionally marginalized voices is necessary to dismantle and redistribute power balances – within entertainment institutions and broader systems of oppression – and to push the boundaries of what we think subversive storytelling and representation can be and achieve.

National Film Board of Canada

The NFB is Canada’s public producer and distributor of award-winning documentaries and auteur animation, working with talented creators across the country. The NFB is taking action to combat systemic racism and become a more open and diverse organization, while working to strengthen Indigenous-led production and gender equity in film. NFB productions have won more than 7,000 awards, including 12 Oscars. To access this unique content, visit NFB.ca.

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