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Austin filmmaker’s Guy Clark documentary will premiere at SXSW

Peter Blackstock
Guy Clark holds up a picture of his wife, Susanna Clark. Their lives are the primary focus of “Without Getting Killed or Caught,” a documentary film that will premiere at SXSW 2020. [Contributed]

Among the long list of films announced Wednesday for this year’s South by Southwest in mid-March is “Without Getting Killed or Caught,” a music documentary based upon part-time Austin resident Tamara Saviano’s recent Guy Clark biography of the same name.

Directed by Saviano and Paul Whitfield, the film covers not just Clark’s life but also that of his wife, renowned songwriter Susanna Clark, and their close friend Townes Van Zandt (whose own documentary film “Be Here to Love Me” premiered at SXSW in 2005). In addition to interviews with Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Vince Gill and others, the film intriguingly features Oscar-winning actress Sissy Spacek narrating passages from Susanna Clark’s private journals.

“Guy and I were friends for 18 years and spent the last eight of those years working together on his biography and then the documentary,” said Saviano, who lives partly in Austin and serves as director and facilitator of the Gary Keller-funded ALL ATX Leadership program. “I hope the documentary will give fans new insights into the extraordinary artistic life Guy shared with his wife Susanna and best friend Townes Van Zandt.”

Saviano, who won a Grammy as co-producer of the 2004 Stephen Foster tribute album “Beautiful Dreamer” and also produced the 2011 Guy Clark tribute album “This One’s for Him,” shares screenwriting credit on the film with Austinite Bart Knaggs. Others who took part include film editor Sandra Adair, renowned for her work on Richard Linklater’s films.

The film’s title comes from a lyric in “L.A. Freeway,” one of Guy Clark’s best-known songs.