Without Getting Killed or Caught is the true story of Guy Clark, the dean of Texas songwriters, who struggles to write poetic, yet indelible songs while balancing a complicated marriage with wife Susanna, and a deep friendship with singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt, on whom Susanna forged a passionate dependence. Clark, who died in 2016, wrote and recorded unforgettable songs (“L.A. Freeway,” “Desperados Waiting for a Train”) for more than forty years. His lyrics and melodies paint indelible portraits of the people, places, and experiences that shaped him, and no one inspired Guy more than his wife, painter, and songwriter Susanna Talley Clark, and their best friend, fellow songwriter Townes Van Zandt.
Today, the team behind the film has announced a number of additional screenings beginning on March 23rd. All of the events will include a 90-minute showing of the documentary—available to view during the allotted screening time—followed by a 20-minute discussion with special guests. All showings will be priced at $25 and are scheduled on a variety of days and times to fit all viewers’ daily schedules. A full list of screenings is below and more information, including where to purchase tickets, can be found at www.withoutgettingkilledorcaught.com/tickets.
Without Getting Killed or Caught virtual screening schedule: (All screenings powered by Seer.)
Tuesday, March 23 @ 7 PM Eastern: Kessler Presents, discussion with Rodney Crowell.
Thursday, April 8 @ 7 PM Eastern: YETI Presents, discussion with Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay.
Friday, April 16 @ 9 PM Eastern: YETI Presents, discussion with Sarah Jarosz.
Sunday, April 18 @ 1 PM Eastern: SiriusXM Outlaw Country Presents, discussion with Steve Earle.
Thursday, April 22 @ 7 PM Eastern: YETI Presents, discussion with Andrew Combs.
Sunday, April 25 @ 1 PM Eastern: American Country Countdown with Kix Brooks Presents, discussion with Kix Brooks.
Upcoming in-person screenings:
Wednesday, May 19 @ Laguna Gloria, hosted by Austin Film Society and The Contemporary Austin. Tickets will be available at www.austinfilm.org
Thursday, September 9 @ Acorns & Antlers Songwriters Festival in Boone, NC. More information available at www.facebook.com/antlersandacornsboone
Without Getting Killed or Caught—which will make its virtual World Premiere at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival on March 18th at 10 AM CST and can be watched by badge holders at any time throughout the duration of the festival—was produced and directed by longtime Americana music producer and executive Tamara Saviano and filmmaker Paul Whitfield.
Narrated by Academy-Award winner Sissy Spacek, Without Getting Killed or Caught follows Guy, Susanna, and Townes on their journey from obscurity to reverence: Guy, the Pancho to Van Zandt’s Lefty, struggling to establish himself as the Dylan Thomas of American music, while Susanna pens hit songs and paints album covers for top artists and Townes spirals in self-destruction after writing some of Americana music’s most enduring and influential ballads. Based on the diaries of Susanna Clark—the film tells the saga from Susanna’s point of view—and Saviano’s 2016 book Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark, which No Depression called “an intimate, affectionate, sometimes sad, often hilarious, and vibrant chronicle of one of our most memorable artists.”
Saviano, a longtime figure on the Americana scene, as a journalist, artist manager, and Grammy-winning producer, wrote the film with Bart Knaggs. She had the complete cooperation of Clark, who sat for numerous interviews on and off-camera. Without Getting Killed or Caught (the title comes from “L.A. Freeway”) also offers poignant reflections from Clark’s closest friends and musical allies, most prominently Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Vince Gill, Verlon Thompson, and Terry and Jo Harvey Allen, as well as record executive Barry Poss.
The film makes excellent use of Clark’s songs, family photographs and archives, vintage film footage, and radio talk shows on which Clark appeared solo and in tandem with Van Zandt. But the real emotional zing comes from Susanna’s pained remembrances, culled from her private journals and secret audio diaries, as well as taped conversations that Susanna made of the trio and of the “salon” that regularly gathered around them—all serving as witnesses to this seemingly fated intersection of love, art, and tragedy.