SXSW 2024: World Premiere of Dandelion Captivates with Authenticity

I look forward to viewing films from the 24 BEATS PER SECOND category at the SXSW Film & Television Festival every year. SXSW describes this category as “vibrant films showcasing the sounds, culture, and influence of music and musicians.” Unfortunately, I did not view every single film offered in this category as much as I wanted to. One I did view is Dandelion by Director/Screenwriter Nicole Riegel (Holler).

About: Dandelion follows a singer-songwriter in a downward spiral as she takes a last-effort gig at a motorcycle rally in South Dakota, where she meets Casey, a guitarist who walked away from his dream long ago.

Dandelion (KiKi Layne, If Beale Street Could Talk) is a singer-songwriter from Cincinnati who has a local gig in a bar and is getting increasingly frustrated by patrons who are talking loud to each other, on the phone or otherwise rude as we see and try to hear the artist pour her heart out. She bears the situation as she needs to help her mother, who is ill. She invests time in writing her songs, but before it is too soon, she decides to change and find opportunities to be heard. One with possibilities leads her to pack up and find another audience, even if the fame and fortune take time to come.

Layne is superb at portraying an artist with goals. She certainly conveys her feelings without always using words. She can quite express herself with body language, and her eyes speak volumes. Suffice it to say, she is a strong woman.

If you are a fan of music and musicians, this is a film to view. I admire the songwriting process, and when Dandelion is out on the road and meets Casey (Thomas Doherty, The Invitation (2022), “Gossip Girl” TV series), a struggling musician while she is far from home, she experiences a whole other world. She is not looking for a romance, but their connection through songwriting takes them there. Some beautiful landscape shots add so much to the scenes of them creating songs so effortlessly and yet full of emotion. Their chemistry is powerful on screen.

The film is not all romance and days full of wine and roses. Don’t let me take you on a wrong turn about Dandelion’s journey. She wears the battle scars of learning more about Casey’s life, which he omitted to tell her about. This experience certainly adds more to the soul and gives reasons to write with different emotions afterward.

Plenty of a musician’s reality is on display, and it is so satisfactory to see Dandelion move forward from the “on the road” experience far and away from Cincinnati.

Cast (additional): Melanie Nicholls-King, Brady Stablein, Jack Stablein, Grace Kaiser

Producers: Rian Cahill, Adam Cobb, Nicole Riegel, Peter McClellan, and continues the festival circuit.

Source: SXSW

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