Guy Clark Documentary Premiere – ‘Without Getting Killed Or Caught’

Without Getting Killed Or Caught Doco

Without Getting Killed Or Caught

The Story of Guy Clark, Susanna Clark and Townes Van Zandt

A Film By Tamara Saviano and Paul Whitfield To Premiere at South-By-South-West 2021

Without Getting Killed or Caught is a documentary film about the mythical, complicated relationship between legendary songwriters Guy Clark, Susanna Clark and Townes Van Zandt, and the music and art it inspired.

The film, produced and directed by longtime Americana music producer and executive Tamara Saviano and filmmaker Paul Whitfield, will make its virtual world premiere at the 2021 South-By-South-West (SXSW) Film Festival March 16-20. Without Getting Killed or Caught was originally scheduled to debut at SXSW in 2020 before the pandemic shuttered the festival. 

A trailer for the film follows:

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 Clark, 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 Van Zandt.

Narrated by Academy-Award winner Sissy SpacekWithout Getting Killed or Caught follows Guy, Susanna and Townes on their journey from obscurity to reverence. The film is based on both the diaries of Susanna Clark (the film tells the saga from Susanna’s point of view) and Saviano’s brilliant and insightful 2016 book Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark. READ MORE ABOUT THE BOOK

Saviano, a long-time 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 Guy 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 extensive 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 reportedly, 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.

Public Tickets

The first public showings start in late March.  Readers can sign up to be notified and then buy tickets at the link above or below.




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Author: Rob Dickens

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  1. Hi LTTL. Thanks so much for posting this! I want to add that the first public showings start in late March. Your readers can sign up to be notified & then buy tickets at the Official Site link at the bottom of your post.

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    • Hi Jay

      Thanks for getting in touch. I wondered about the public run of the film. I’ve updated the post. We look forward to seeing the film and reviewing it Rob

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      • Rob, so sorry that I didn’t scroll far enough to see your reply before now. One week until the first public showings via the web–they are live events featuring Q&A with friends of Guy (Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, etc). Several end up being midday in Melbourne. Again, thank you.

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        • Pleasure Jay. Looking forward to the live events.

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