Whedon’s “Cabin in the Woods,” Åkerlund’s “Small Apartments” Are the Only Places to Stay During SXSW 2012

Joss Whedon and "Cloverfield" scribe Drew Goddard's horror deconstruction will open this year's festival while other highlights include the return of "Tiny Furniture" writer/director Lena Dunham and a new...

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The long-delayed yet eagerly anticipated Joss Whedon-Drew Goddard horror flick “The Cabin in the Woods” will kick off this year’s SXSW Film Festival. Following in the footsteps of 2010 opener “Kick-Ass,” which also was distributed by Lionsgate and received a near-rapturous response during a secret sneak at Harry Knowles’ Butt-Numb-a-Thon in December, the deconstruction of the old “five teens in the forest” story stars “Thor”’s Chris Hemsworth and “Dollhouse” star Fran Kranz, as well as vets Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford. From early reports, the less you know going in, the better, but Austin audiences will get a one-month jump on everybody else on March 9th, after which Whedon will fit a panel conversation on March 10th before flying back to work on “Avengers” post-production.

While that’s the main headline of Thursday’s first announcement of films, it certainly isn’t the only one for an already diverse slate. SXSW will also premiere the first three episodes of “Tiny Furniture” writer/director Lena Dunham’s HBO series “Girls,” followed by a panel discussion on March 13th with Dunham and the cast and crew, including executive producer Judd Apatow. Similarly off the beaten path, the 1919 Ernst Lubitsch satire “The Oyster Princess” will be shown on the big screen with a live score from the Austin band Bee vs. Moth.

Other premieres include “One Day in September” director Kevin Macdonald’s biography on the Jamaican legend “Marley,” Neil Berkeley’s comedic look at idiosyncratic artist Wayne White “Beauty is Embarrassing,” Ciarán Foy’s Irish horror film “Citadel” about an agoraphobe who must face his fears to save his daughter from a syringe-wielding gang, and perhaps most intriguingly, “Small Apartments,” featuring an all-star cast including “Little Britain”’s Matt Lucas, Johnny Knoxville, Billy Crystal, Rosie Perez, Juno Temple…and Dolph Lundgren. The adaptation of Chris Millis’ darkly comic novel comes to us from “Spun” director Jonas Åkerlund, who like the director of last year's “Detention,” Joseph Kahn, hasn’t quite converted his success in music videos to the feature world, but appears to once again be pushing the envelope here.

Though hotels are said to be long gone, badges are still available for the festival running from March 9th through 17th in Austin, Texas and if purchased before January 13th, they’re 20 percent off the walk-up rate. In the mean time, check back with The Moveable Fest for full coverage of this year's festival.

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