Somebody Up There Likes Bob Byington

The Austin-based writer and director's new film, which is premiering at the South by Southwest film festival, may soon find mainstream embrace.
Somebody Up There Likes Bob Byington
Photo by Sean Price Williams

Among followers of the independent film scene, the name Bob Byington usually inspires a knowing, if furtive, smile of recognition: The Austin-based writer-director is one of those best-kept secrets that fans prefer to keep to themselves, for fear that if everyone knows about him, he won’t seem nearly as cool.

Byington first gained attention with his third feature, RSO [Registered Sex Offender] (2008), a scabrous faux documentary, shot over the course of eighteen months, that follows a convicted sex offender making a not-exactly-smooth re-entry into society. He followed that with the unexpectedly warm-hearted Harmony and Me (2009), shot in just eighteen days, about a rudderless would-be songwriter sputtering his way through Austin.

Along the way, he has collected an impressive number of industry prizes, including

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