Written and directed by Todd Stephens, the SXSW Online Film Festival dramedy Swan Song stars the iconic Udo Kier as a retired hairdresser called into service one final time by a client he once considered a close friend. When Linda Evans’ Rita Parker Sloan dies, her will states that Kier’s Pat Pitsenbarger must do her hair and makeup for her funeral. But Pat—once considered “the Liberace of Sandusky,” Ohio—has lost both his desire to style hair and his flamboyant ways since locking himself away in a retirement home. Driven by the need for closure, Pat wills himself to escape the retirement home say his final goodbye to an estranged friend. Todd Stephens wrote and directed Swan Songin honor of the real-life Pat Pitsenbarger, who served as a source of comfort and inspiration from afar when the 17-year-old Stephens ventured into the Sandusky, Ohio gay community in the mid-1980s. Swan Song is now streaming through Saturday as part of the SXSW Online Film Festival. Todd Stephens previously directed Gypsy 83, Another Gay Movie, and Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild!, and wrote Edge of Seventeen. Swan Song completes the “Ohio Trilogy” that began withEdge of Seventeen and continued withGypsy 83. A ubiquitous presence in independent and genre cinema since the late 1960s, Udo Kier has appeared in Bacurau, The Painted Bird, the Iron Sky franchise, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, Downsizing, Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake, Shadow of the Vampire, Blade, Armageddon, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, My Own Private Idaho, Blood for Dracula, and Flesh for Frankenstein. Kier also has appeared in such films by director Lars von Trier as Europa, Breaking the Waves, Dancer In the Dark, Dogville, Melancholia, andNymphomaniac: Vol II. as well as the 1990s TV series The Kingdom. Kier will reunite later this year with Lars von Trier for the third and final season of The Kingdom, currently titled The Kingdom Exodus. Last year, Kier starred in the dark fairy tale The Blazing World, which was filmed during the pandemic lockdown in and around Austin and debuted during this year’s virtual Sundance Film Festival. Swan Song premieres 12 p.m. central March 18 during SXSW Online, which runs through March 20.
Aired: March 18, 2021.