The 2019 SXSW Film Festival is almost upon us and we can’t wait to have you here! Before you make your way down to Austin, TX get to know films from our lineup a little bit better with our Filmmaker In Focus series. Dive into our Q&A with director Aaron Kunkel, as he tells us about his film The Boy Band Con: The Story of Lou Pearlman, which will world premiere in 24 Beats Per Second. Former *NSYNC member Lance Bass is one of the producers for the film and will be speaking at the SXSW Conference in a Featured Session!
In your own words, what does this film mean to you?
Aaron Kunkel: This film really does mean a lot to me. The story we tell I hope resonates with a lot of people, both those that grew up in the 90s as I did, as well as those interested in a human story about the glitzy and glamorous music industry. On top of that, this is my first documentary feature, and I can't express how honored and grateful I am to get to tell stories and be creative for a living. Making art with people I love and respect, and getting those stories out to the world is the dream, and through premiering our film at SXSW I'm getting to live that. I could retire happily. (But I won't – I hope to premiere at least 10 more films at SXSW!)
What motivated you to tell this story?
AK: My personal motivation really comes down to two words: truth and lies. This is a story wrought with both, and Lance, myself, and the whole team really took to heart striving to uncover the real story amongst the rumors, half-truths, and full blown lies. We're living in a time when truth and lies are seeming to blur together more and more and I wanted to examine the difference between them, while trying to understand why they're becoming, and in a lot of ways have always been, really difficult to tell apart.
What do you want the audience to take away?
AK: I would love it if the audience was inspired to think about truth and lies in their own lives. How many things in our lives do we believe just because we want to? Who in our lives and in positions of power is actually looking out for us, and who is looking out for themselves? We're in a time of feedback loops and bubbles and just speaking for myself, I've fallen into that trap repeatedly. When is something the truth, and when is something not, but we want it really badly to be true, so we let ourselves believe it? Hopefully we will always keep striving for these answers.
What were you doing when you found out you were coming to SXSW?
AK: I was fortunate enough to be with my team and I'd love to say I handled it like a cool and composed character but really there was a lot of cheering and hugging and calling my wife and parents in celebration.
What made you choose SXSW to showcase your film to the world?
AK: Our movie fits right in the middle of the film world and the music world and what better showcase for that mixture is there than SXSW? On top of that, it's one of the best festivals in the world. It is a no brainer to have our world premiere here and we are honored and humbled to be invited.
How did you find your subject?
AK: The idea was first conceived when our producer Matthew Ducey and another friend of ours were both drawn to the fascinating complexity and darkness buried in this story about a pop music maestro named Lou Pearlman. He was responsible for a huge movement in pop music but that's far from all there is to him. We spoke with Lance Bass, who's band *NSYNC had been created by Lou, and his motivation was inspiring: he had always wanted this story, which involves so much of his life and the lives of those close to him, to finally be told truthfully and in the right way. With him, we set out to do exactly that.
Add The Boy Band Con: The Story of Lou Pearlman to your SXSW Schedule. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we share more interviews with our SXSW 2019 filmmakers!
Join Us For SXSW 2019
Register and book your hotel now to save! The Film Badge gets you primary access to all SXSW Film events including Film Keynotes and Featured Sessions, world premieres, round tables, workshops, parties, and more. Over the course of nine days, the SXSW Film Festival hosts over 450 screenings! Film registrants also have primary access to Convergence events, including the Comedy Festival and nine unique Conference tracks, as well as secondary access to most Interactive and Music events.
See you in March!
The Boy Band Con: The Story of Lou Pearlman - Photo by Diane Bass