All our SXSW 2012 coverage can be found here.
Even without the countless panels and the lure of free impromptu concerts and Sixth Street ever present, the SXSW Film Festival can be incredibly overwhelming. This year alone, there are 130 features running the gamut from an documentary about British ventriloquist Nina Conti produced by Christopher Guest (“Her Master’s Voice”) to a Russian sci-fi comedy involving Nazis and Udo Kier in the year 2018 (“Iron Sky”) with plenty of homegrown fare in between. Add in an incredible shorts program featuring new work from “The Square” director Nash Edgerton (“Bear”), “Catfish” duo Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (“A Brief History of John Baldessari”) and “Daddy Longlegs” directors Benny and Josh Safdie (“The Black Balloon”) and you’ll wind up throwing up your hands.
Since going through the schedule can be equally daunting (we could only write our own summaries for half the films and have relied on SXSW for the rest), we’ve compiled all of the features on one page, including links out to the official SXSW schedule, trailers and various other ports of information to best make your selections if you’re going down to Austin this week or if you’re simply following the films from home. To that end, we’ve also created a Twitter list of all available films as well as provided links to their Facebook pages and of course, we’ll be covering the festival starting Friday, so please stay tuned to The Moveable Fest for reviews, interviews and more from SXSW 2012.
In the mean time, feel free to scroll down the page or use the following navigation to jump to a section to find films.
Narrative Feature Competition, Documentary Feature Competition, Headliners, Narrative Spotlight, Documentary Spotlight, Emerging Visions, 24 Beats Per Second, SX Global, Festival Favorites, Special Events, Midnighters
“Booster” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, Kickstarter, trailer)
Cast: Nico Stone, Adam DuPaul, Seymour Cassel, Kristin Dougherty, Brian McGrail
Written and Directed by: Matt Ruskin
After working in various capacities on such documentaries as “Wiliam Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe” and “The Hip Hop Project,” which he directed, Ruskin makes the transition to helming a drama. Yet he clearly hasn’t lost interest in capturing real life by casting two nonprofessional actors as the leads of this thriller set in Ruskin’s hometown of Boston, where a civilian (Stone) might have to break the law if he wants to help his brother get out of prison on the armed robbery charges he’s being held for. Although Ruskin likely won’t need to go to the same lengths to get the film to SXSW, he currently is raising funds on Kickstarter to finish the film’s post-production before the film’s premiere.
“Eden” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook)
Cast: Jamie Chung, Matt O'Leary, Beau Bridges, Jeanine Monterroza, Scott Mechlowicz
Directed by: Megan Griffiths
Griffiths wasted no time in following up the acclaimed 2011 Amy Seimetz-led Sundance selection “The Off Hours” with a new drama featuring “Sucker Punch” star Chung in a decidedly more serious role. Based on a true story, the film centers on a young Korean-American woman who was abducted and taken across state lines to Las Vegas where she was forced into the sex trade, though she gradually becomes wise to her captors and begins to plot an escape. The real-life Eden, Chong Kim, is co-credited with Richard B. Phillips with a “Story by” credit, so expect authenticity from this Seattle-shot production.
“Gayby” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, Slackerwood profile, trailer)
Cast: Jenn Harris, Matthew Wilkas, Mike Doyle, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Jack Ferver, Dulé Hill, Sarita Choudhury
Written and Directed by: Jonathan Lisecki (Twitter)
An actor in Clay Liford’s SXSW 2011 comedy “Wuss,” Lisecki is making his feature directorial debut with an expansion of his 2010 comedic short of the same name and inviting a host of fellow SXSW alums such as Alex Karpovsky, “Green”’s Sophia Takal, and “Small, Beautifully Moving Parts”’ Anna Margaret Hollyman to surround Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas, who are reprising their roles from the short as best buds — one gay, one straight — who decide to conceive together when they hit their thirties and subsequently deal with the complications that brings to their relationship.
“Gimme the Loot” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Cast: Tashiana Washington, Ty Hickson, Meeko, Zoe Lescaze, Sam Soghor
Written and Directed by: Adam Leon
A former apprentice of Woody Allen, Leon makes the jump to features following his acclaimed short “Killer” with a film described on its Facebook page as an “urban comedy action adventure” that follows a veritable Bonnie & Clyde of the New York graffiti circuit (Washington and Hickson) after their most recent work is defaced by rivals. Seeing red after their tagging is covered with the New York Mets’ home run apple, the two teens decide to take revenge by taking spray cans to the real thing to cement their status as the city’s most notorious street artists, though of course, things don’t go according to plan.
“Los Chidos” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site)
Cast: Kim Stodel, María De Jesús Canales Ramírez, Manuel Ramos, Cecillia Gutiérrez
Written and Directed by: Omar Rodriguez Lopez (Twitter)
Lopez , the Mars Volta guitarist/producer-turned-filmmaker, enjoyed success on the festival circuit with 2010’s “The Sentimental Engine Slayer” and will make his return with the story of an uncouth family that presides over a junkyard of used tires that faces a hint of the reality that exists outside their gates with the arrival of a foreign industrialist whose car is in need of a new tire. Once the stranger is invited into their laidback, politically incorrect lifestyle, a culture clash and some other troubling developments emerge in this social satire with unexpected results.
“Pilgrim Song” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, iW Meet the Filmmaker profile, trailer)
Cast: Timothy Morton, Bryan Marshall, Karrie Crouse, Harrison Cole, Michael Abbott Jr.
Directed by: Martha Stephens (Vimeo page)
Appalachian native Martha Stephens heads out to Kentucky’s Sheltowee Trace Trail with her sophomore feature about a disillusioned music teacher who leaves his wife at home while he takes an introspective hike through the hills over the summer after being laid off. SXSW audiences will remember that Stephens previously won a Chicken and Egg “We Believe In You” award in 2010 for her debut “Passenger Pigeons,” so one can only expect that promise has been fulfilled here.
“Starlet” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter)
Cast: Dree Hemingway, Besedka Johnson, Stella Maeve, James Ransone, Karren Karagulian
Written and Directed by: Sean Baker (Twitter)
Quite possibly one of SXSW’s most anticipated films, Sean Baker follows up his acclaimed New York-set films “Prince of Broadway” and “Take Out” with this Southern California-set dramedy about an aimless 21-year-old (Hemingway) who forms an unlikely relationship with the 85-year-old widow (Johnson) next door. Although Baker’s films have been known for their naturalism, and one expects “Starlet” not to buck the trend, the film could pave the way to stardom for Hemingway, a model/actress who indeed as the daughter of Mariel comes from the famed bloodline.
“The Taiwan Oyster” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Cast: Billy Harvey, Jeff Palmiotti, Leonora Lim
Directed by: Mark Jarrett
An Austin local, having worked as a location manager on “Friday Night Lights,” Jarrett’s directorial debut was inspired by his time teaching in Taiwan after graduating from college. Shot on location, the dark comedy stars musicians Harvey and Palmiotti as Simon and Darin, two American Kindergarten teachers who take it upon themselves to find a resting place for a corpse of a fellow ex-pat while evading gangsters and encountering other strange and foreign elements of Taiwanese culture.
For her feature debut, Eastman returns to Bahia, Brazil where she was once worked in the local water slums in her early 20s. After more than a dozen visits in the past six years, she’s now put together a film about the families struggling to survive there, particularly three single mothers — a manager at a pizza place, a launderer, and a trash picker with 16 kids to take care of – who are faced with eviction from their homes when the government wants to reclaim the land. Currently, the film is raising funds on Kickstarter to finish post-production in time for the festival.
“Beware of Mr. Baker” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Facebook, Twitter, iW Meet the Filmmaker profile, trailer)
Directed by: Jay Bulger (Twitter)
Contrary to reports of his demise after decades of hard living, Ginger Baker, the famed drummer of Cream and Blind Faith, emerges from his compound in South Africa to tell his life story in a documentary from model-turned-journalist Bulger, who has experience with idiosyncratic and challenging subjects as his profile of “Boardwalk Empire” star Paz de la Huerta proved. Here, Bulger cajoles the 73-year-old to talk about a painful past that included seeing his father boarding a train to the concentration camps during World War II, driving the very first Range Rover from England to Nigeria to find a new beat drumming for Fela Kuti and ultimately settling down, sort of, with a young wife and a farm full of polo ponies, his true passion.
“The Central Park Effect” (SXSW listing and schedule, official site, trailer)
Directed by: Jeffrey Kimball
When Jeffrey Kimball took a stroll with a friend in Central Park on a cold winter day and spotted 26 different species of birds, he realized he had the foundation for a documentary about the place Central Park has carved out for itself in natural migration cycles and by extension, for urban birdwatchers like himself, “The Corrections” author Jonathan Franzen and the many others who populate this hour-long documentary.
“Jeff” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Kickstarter trailer)
Directed by: Chris James Thompson
Milwaukee native Chris James Thompson may have named his film after Jeffrey Dahmer, who terrorized his community during the early 90s, but his first feature is less about the acts of the notorious serial killer than the impact it had on the locals. An assistant editor for “Collapse” director Chris Smith, Thompson’s spent the last four years interviewing everyone from detective Patrick Kennedy to neighbors to compile the hidden history of a secretive man, complete with reenactments and animation.
“Seeking Asian Female” (SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, iW Meet the Filmmaker profile, trailer)
Directed by: Debbie Lum
For her first feature as a director, Lum isn’t only behind the camera, but in front when she’s pulled into the marriage as a translator and makeshift counselor between Steven, a 60-year-old American Caucasian man and Sandy, a 30-year-old woman from China, who meet online and get married. Seeing as though Sandy had never been on a plane before, let alone met Steven in person, Lum chronicles in this lighthearted doc the couple’s bumpy road ahead.
“The Sheik and I” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, clip)
Directed by: Caveh Zahedi (official site)
As someone who knows something about making “art as a subversive act” after last directing the fictional, but autobiographical comedy “I Am a Sex Addict,” Zahedi documents what happened when he was offered a $15,000 commission by the curators of the Sharjah Biennial in the Persian Gulf to make a 20-minute film and wound up causing an international incident with complex legal ramifications. While there was a time when it seemed as if the film “Plot for a Biennial” might never be seen, audiences in Austin will be the first to see what all the fuss was about.
“The Source” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Facebook, Twitter)
Directed by: Jodi Wille (Twitter) and Maria Demopoulos
Although The Source was a famous Los Angeles organic eatery that catered to the likes of Julie Christie and John Lennon during the early ‘70s, far less well-known to the general public was the cult behind it who operated out of a mansion in the Hollywood Hills. That changed with the 2007 book published by co-director Wille, who has further delved into the utopian, acid-dropping and tantric sex-charged lifestyle of the group in this new documentary that lifts the vow of silence for some members to reveal their life under a bearded vet named Father Zod, who took 14 wives under his wing and became a sensation in the world of psych rock with the band YaHoWa 13.
“Welcome To The Machine” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, iW Meet the Filmmaker profile, trailer)
Directed by: Avi Zev Weider (Twitter, official site)
A producer on SXSW alums “Cinemania” and “Scott Walker: 30th Century Man,” Avi Zev Weider returns to Austin as the director of this look at how human values shape technology and vice versa. Inspired by the birth of his triplets which were immediately cared for in a high-tech neonatal facility, Weider hit the road to interview the likes of futurist Ray Kurzweil and former Wired exec editor Kevin Kelly among others — the Kickstarter page alludes to correspondence with the ultimate technology-phobe Ted Kacynski — to discuss our connection to technology and the potential for disconnection.
Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, Ice Cube
Directed by: Phil Lord (Twitter) & Christopher Miller (Twitter)
Far better than you ever would’ve imagined, this extremely loose adaptation of the ‘80s TV show where a group of young cops goes undercover in a high school is the live-action directorial debut of “Clone High” and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” helmers Lord and Miller with a script from “Scott Pilgrim” co-writer Michael Bacall. Tatum and Hill star as two officers new to the beat who find their previous social status when they were seniors has been reversed a decade later in the age of Facebook and environmental consciousness and try to not let it get in the way of breaking up a drug ring passing around an acid-like substance.
"Big Easy Express” (SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, trailer)
Directed by: Emmett Malloy
Having toured with the White Stripes across Canada for the 2010 SXSW selection “Under Great White Northern Lights,” Malloy gets onboard a train with Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and the Old Crow Medicine Show to tour the American countryside, stopping in six cities in front of huge crowds and countless other impromptu stops along the way. As this year’s festival’s closing night film, it surely will be a crowdpleasing conclusion, especially now that it's been announced members of the various bands will be performing after.
"The Cabin in the Woods" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, trailer)
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz, Anna Hutchison, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford
Directed by: Drew Goddard
Word out of the first screening of the Joss Whedon-penned thriller nearby at Aint It Cool News’ Harry Knowles Butt-Numb-A-Thon was overwhelmingly positive — as well as overwhelmingly discouraging of watching the trailer beforehand. Still, it’s a complete turnaround in buzz after the film got lost in original studio MGM’s bankruptcy filing in 2010 well after filming in 2009, putting the directorial debut of “Cloverfield” and “Lost” writer Drew Goddard on the shelf until Lionsgate saw the potential in it. Part of that involves the new visibility of “Thor” star Hemsworth, who is one of a quartet of friends who find trouble in the forest on a break from school, though it’s a thriller that turns all genre conventions on their head. Lionsgate will release the film to the masses a month after its SXSW debut on April 13th.
“Decoding Deepak” (SXSW listing and schedule, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Gotham Chopra (Twitter)
In an interview with SXSW, Gotham Chopra said, “I started making this film in an effort to reconcile what the world sees in my father that maybe I don't. How is it that the whole world comes to him for answers, but I've struggled to in my own life?” To find out the answers, Chopra hit the road with his dad Deepak for a year to gain a greater understanding of the mythos that now surrounds the famed spiritualist him as well as his own personal relationship to him.
“The Hunter” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, trailer)
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Frances O'Connor, Sam Neill
Directed by: Daniel Nettheim
A veteran of Australian television, Nettheim returns to the big screen after a decade by plunging Willem Dafoe in the Tasmanian wilderness as the titular gunsmith who seeks out a rare and possibly extinct species of tiger for a company wanting to preserve its DNA. Of course, not entirely knowing the motives of his employer and unfamiliar with his surroundings, the mission is substantially more complex than expected, especially when he begins to bond with a family of natives.
“Killer Joe” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, MUBI review roundup, Facebook, clip)
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church
Directed by: William Friedkin
Recently handed an NC-17 by the MPAA (and being appealed), the second collaboration between “French Connection” director Friedkin and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts is the down-and-dirty adaptation of Letts’ play about a young man (Hirsch) who sees the only way out of his debt as hiring a hitman (McConaughey) to kill his mother for the insurance money, though he quickly finds himself in over his head when the rest of his family comes into the picture and puts up his sister (Temple) as collateral. After successful premieres in Venice and Toronto, the film was picked up by Lidell Entertainment for distribution later this year.
"Marley" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Kevin Macdonald
On hiatus from narratives such as “The Eagle” and “State of Play,” Macdonald heads back to the nonfiction territory of earlier hits “One Day in September” and “Touching the Void” for this biography of the legendary Jamaican reggae singer Bob Marley. Though the film has the blessing of the Marley family, it has had a bumpy road to the big screen passing through the hands of both Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme before Macdonald came in to start the film anew, shaping the archival footage and conducting new interviews with many of Marley’s closest friends and confidants. Bob's son Ziggy already took to the official site to say, "This is the most personal Bob film anyone will ever see" before its international premiere in Feburary at Berlinale. Magnolia Pictures will release the film in April.
“The Babymakers” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule)
Cast: Paul Schneider, Olivia Munn, Kevin Heffernan, Wood Harris, Nat Faxon, Aisha Tyler, Colette Wolfe
Directed by: Jay Chandrasekhar (Twitter)
Although every member of the Broken Lizard crew makes an appearance, the team behind the SXSW hits “Super Troopers” and “The Slammin’ Salmon” left the script duties to “Black Knight” writing duo Peter Gaulke and Gerry Swallow and step back to let Schneider and Munn take the lead in this comedy as Tommy and Audrey, a couple whose infertility problems inspire Tommy to attempt to break into a sperm bank with the help of his friends as a way of saving his marriage.
While the film’s successful (and unusual) Kickstarter campaign may have had the filmmakers believing in miracles, this adaptation of Donald Miller’s bestselling essay collection about finding religion outside of the Christian faith he grew up with centers on a young man (Allman) who heads to the ultra-liberal Reed College in Oregon after becoming disillusioned when attending a Baptist school in Texas. The film is the first for Taylor, who left his job as a marketing director for a financial planning company to pursue his true calling as a photographer and subsequently a filmmaker. Roadside Attractions will release the film on April 13th.
“Crazy Eyes” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule)
Cast: Lukas Haas, Madeline Zima, Jake Busey, Tania Raymonde, Regine Nehy
Directed by: Adam Sherman
Following the semi-autobiographical feature “Happiness Runs” about growing up on a commune, writer/director Sherman finds Lukas Haas as a father battling alcoholism, an ex-wife after his fortune and a new woman in his life (Zima) with whom he has an unhealthy obsession. His only solace comes in the form of his son who he needs to stay clean for while the world around him get crazier. Strand Releasing has picked up the rights before the film even hits Austin.
“The Do-Deca-Pentathalon” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus)
Cast: Mark Kelly, Steve Zissis, Elton LeBlanc
Written and Directed by: Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass (Twitter)
Originally shot over four weeks nearly four years ago, “The Do-Deca Pentathlon” is the rare film to benefit from such a delay as the co-directors had to put the comedy about a 25-event Olympic-style competition between brothers on the backburner when their shared career took off with studio films such as “Cyrus” and “Jeff, Who Lives at Home.” The film, which will likely be distributed by Fox Searchlight later this year, was said to be inspired by another pair of siblings who grew up nearby in New Orleans.
“Fat Kid Rules The World” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Facebook, Twitter)
Cast: Jacob Wysocki, Matt O'Leary, Billy Campbell, Lilli Simmons, Dylan Arnold
Directed by: Matthew Lillard (Twitter)
Hot off the heels of his well-received turn in “The Descendants,” Lillard makes his directorial debut with this adaptation of K.L. Going’s young adult novel about an overweight teen in Seattle (Wysocki, the star of last year’s SXSW selection “Terri”) who contemplates suicide before he’s taken under the wing of a charismatic punk rocker (O’Leary, star of SXSW ’11 big winner “Natural Selection) with a drug problem.
“frankie go boom” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus)
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Chris O'Dowd, Lizzy Caplan, Ron Perlman, Chris Noth
Written and Directed by: Jordan Roberts
Anyone who saw the sentimental 2004 multi-generational Christopher Walken-Josh Lucas road trip comedy “Around the Bend” would be surprised to learn that the official description of his follow-up would include the phrase “crybaby fuck” in it. Yet that’s apparently the description of the titular Frankie, the character played by “Sons of Anarchy” star Hunnam whose older brother Bruce (“Bridesmaids” and “IT Crowd” star O’Dowd) has tormented him without end, though Frankie sees an opportunity to turn the tables when Bruce stops using drugs. If you’re not sold, did we mention Ron Perlman is playing a transsexual named Phyllis?
“Hunky Dory” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, trailer)
Cast: Minnie Driver, Aneurin Barnard, Danielle Branch, Robert Pugh, Haydn Gwynne
Directed by: Marc Evans
After an odd obsession with films and TV concerning car accidents (the ’04 Colin Firth thriller “Trauma,” the ‘06 Sigourney Weaver drama “Snow Cake” and the ’09 UK miniseries “Collision”), Evans is treading towards lighter territory with this nostalgic coming-of-age film about a Welsh drama teacher (Driver) who stages “The Tempest” in the ‘70s with a soundtrack comprised of era-appropriate tracks from David Bowie, the Beach Boys, and ELO and Lou Reed.
“In Our Nature” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus, Facebook, trailer)
Cast: Zach Gilford, Jena Malone, John Slattery, Gabrielle Union
Written and Directed by: Brian Savelson
Savelson has moved up considerably from the $17 popsicle stick/cardboard-enhanced animated short “Counting Water” played Slamdance in 2006, having served as an associate producer on the recent Broadway revival of “A Raisin in the Sun” and directing music videos for the likes of Band of Horses before making his feature debut with this film about a distant father (Slattery) and son (“Friday Night Lights”’ Gilford) who awkwardly reunite one weekend at the family’s country house with their girlfriends (Union and Malone, respectively) in tow.
“Keyhole” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, MUBI review roundup, Facebook, trailer)
Cast: Isabella Rossellini, Jason Patric, Udo Kier, Kevin McDonald, Tattiawna Jones
Directed by: Guy Maddin
Loosely inspired by “The Odyssey,” the latest from Guy Maddin is finally heading south after a premiere in Toronto and scoring the Best Canadian Feature prize at Whistler Film Festival in December. Naturally, Patric plays a gangster named Ulysses, but he has a far shorter journey to make when he needs only to explore his house in search of his wife (Isabella Rossellini). His obstacles? The house may be haunted, letting Maddin’s own idiosyncratic spirit free. Monterey Media will release the film in the U.S. this summer.
Odd to think that the director who brought the divisive, deranged and inspired “The Catechism Cataclysm” to SXSW last year has already turned around what is expected to be one of the hottest acquisition titles of this year’s festival, but that’s exactly what’s happened with Rohal’s third feature, which positions Oswalt opposite Knoxville as Randy and Kirk, two brothers whose already contentious relationship gets worse when a Cub Scout camping trip intended to honor their father ends up in chaos.
“See Girl Run” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Facebook, Twitter)
Cast: Robin Tunney, Adam Scott, Jeremy Strong, William Sadler, Josh Hamilton
Written and Directed by: Nate Meyer
Since Meyer’s debut “Pretty in the Face” was warmly received when it made its world premiere in Austin in 2007, it’s no surprise to see the writer/director coming back with this higher profile production starring “The Mentalist” star Tunney as a woman in her 30s wondering if she’s really where she wants to be in her life, particularly when she returns to her hometown to see what her high school boyfriend (Scott), now an artist, is up to. Meyer’s fellow North Carolina School of the Arts alums David Gordon Green and Lisa Muskat are onboard as executive producers.
"Small Apartments" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Facebook, Twitter)
Cast: Matt Lucas, Billy Crystal, James Caan, Johnny Knoxville, Juno Temple, James Marsden, Dolph Lundgren, Saffron Burrows, Rosie Perez, DJ Qualls
Directed by: Jonas Åkerlund (Twitter, official site)
Like Joseph Kahn, who found some success last year with the outrageous high school horror comedy “Detention,” Åkerlund arrives in Austin as an incredibly successful music video helmer with a rather dubious résumé in features, having helmed the buried Dennis Quaid horror flick “Horsemen” in 2009 after his 2002 provocation “Spun” fell on deaf ears. (Though it did set a record for most cuts in a film.) Nine years after the later film played at SXSW, Åkerlund is back with another eclectic and starry ensemble for an adaptation of Chris Millis’ darkly humorous novel about a man (“Little Britain” star Lucas) whose desire for a simple life is made impossible after his landlord dies and he’s left to deal with the fallout.
“Somebody Up There Likes Me” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, trailer)
Cast: Keith Poulson, Nick Offerman, Jess Weixler, Stephanie Hunt, Kevin Corrigan
Written and Directed by: Bob Byington
SXSW favorite and Austin local Byington (“Registered Sex Offender”) hasn’t remade the Paul Newman boxing drama of the same name, but is looking to score a knockout nonetheless with this “deadpan fable” about Max (Poulson), a young divorcé who feels as if life is passing him by, even as he falls for a co-worker (“Alexander the Last” star Weixler). Byington regular and “Parks and Rec” star Offerman gets bumped up to a lead as Max’s pal and as a producer on the project, even coaxed a cameo out of his wife Mullally.
“$ellebrity” (SXSW listing and schedule, official site, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus)
Directed by: Kevin Mazur (official site)
A veteran rock photographer for the likes of the Rolling Stones and U2 before co-founding the photo agency WireImage, Mazur finds out what it’s like to be on the other end of the camera from celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Sheryl Crow, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kid Rock, as well as media brokers including Dan Abrams, Bonnie Fuller and Ken Sunshine, to reveal the price of fame for better or worse and the pitfalls of celebrity culture.
“America's Parking Lot” (SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, trailer)
Directed by: Jonny Mars
One year Jonny Mars is appearing as an actor in the 2010 SXSW fave “The Happy Poet” and another he’s directing a documentary about Dallas Cowboys fans clinging onto their pre- and –post-game traditions in the face of the impending demolition of Texas Stadium to make way for the billion dollar Cowboys Stadium in Arlington in 2009. Mars spent four years on the project chronicling the rise and fall of Gate 6 tailgate party.
“The Announcement” (SXSW listing and schedule, official site)
Directed by: Nelson George (Twitter, official site)
Debuting on the big screen a few days ahead of its debut on ESPN, George’s latest film allows Magic Johnson to speak in his own words about the shocking moment on November 7, 1991 when he announced his retirement from basketball after learning he was HIV-positive. Everyone from Johnson’s wife Cookie to former players Larry Bird, Karl Malone and James Worthy to celebrities such as Chris Rock and Arsenio Hall reflect on the startling decision and how Johnson changed the perception of the disease while for George, it provides another opportunity after his narrative “Life Support” to keep the spotlight on HIV, a cause near and dear to his heart.
"Beauty is Embarassing" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus, trailer)
Directed by: Neil Berkeley
After working on several documentaries such as “The Cool School” and “Air Guitar Nation” as a design producer, Berkeley is making his debut as a director after first meeting Southern-born artist Wayne White at a design studio and became enamored with his surreal art creations across separate disciplines, many prominently a part of pop culture in such places as Pee Wee’s Playhouse and the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight” video. Matt Groening, Paul Reubens and Todd Oldham are among those who sing his praises in this doc that promises to be as wonderfully offbeat as its subject.
“Brooklyn Castle” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Katie Dellamaggiore (Twitter)
A veteran with various production roles on docs such as “American Teen” and “51 Birch Street,” Dellamaggiore makes her feature debut on this inner-city-set doc centering on five kids from Intermediate School 318 who compete on the public school’s celebrated yet underfunded chess team including Justus, a 10-year-old prodigy, Patrick, an 11-year-old who plays to counter his ADHD, Alexis, a 12-year-old who has plans to parlay chess into higher education, Rochelle, a 13-year-old African-American who could become the first of both her race and gender to become a master, and Pobo, the 12-year-old who plays chess not only in competition, but within the political arena of his own school as he runs for class president as an advocate against the seemingly endless waves of budget cuts.
“Code of the West” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Rebecca Richman Cohen
Two years ago, Richman Cohen took home a Special Jury Prize at SXSW for the Sierra Leone doc “War Don Don,” which served as a precursor to two Emmy nominations, so surely the Harvard Law lecturer and filmmaker hoping to repeat that success with this look inside the legal battle brewing in the Montana State Legislature over medical marijuana. The film follows three bills looking for passage within the State Senate and House that could serve as the template for other states around the country and how the aims of government collide with the actual will of the people it represents.
“Degenerate Art: The Art and Culture of Glass Pipes” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, trailer)
Directed by: M. Slinger
A glass pipe artist himself, Slinger follows in the footsteps of the graffiti doc “Style Wars” to celebrate and put together a history of the illegal and naturally largely undocumented artform of pipe-making. Slinger has been working on the doc since 2006, interviewing over a hundred people throughout the entire subculture from the artists to collectors to distributors for a far-ranging look at the world that began when glassblower Bob Snodgrass accidentally created the first color-changing glass pipe during the ‘90s.
“Girl Model” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Ashley Sabin, David Redmon
The latest film from Sabin and Redmon, who previously attended SXSW with the docs “Kamp Katrina” and “Intimidad,” actually found its subject when a modeling scout approached the two after seeing those previous films at MoMA. What Sabin and Redmon discovered from there was a far cry from the glamorous world often depicted onscreen, trailing a 13-year-old Siberian girl named Nadya who is shuttled off to Tokyo after being discovered by Ashley, a model-turned-scout who doesn’t stick around long enough to serve as a guide. The film, which won raves at the Toronto Film Festival, follows both their journeys in the morally grey area of the fashion industry.
“Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters” (SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Twitter, Facebook, trailer)
Directed by: Ben Shapiro
For nearly as long as he’s been producing programs for NPR on shows such as “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition,” Shapiro has spent the last decade sneaking off to capture the truly unique work of photographer Crewdson, who meticulously crafts stills of small-town life, staging them as if they were a movie production and getting the effect of both the real and surreal as a result. The film focuses on Crewdson’s Western Massachusetts series “Beneath the Roses,” though naturally it spills over into asides about his influences, the many obstacles he’s had to overcome with such an elaborate production process and insights about the imagery he’s created over the years.
“Just Like Being There” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Scout Shannon
The one thing that’s certain about this documentary is that it surely will have a great poster since Shannon and producer Johanna Goldstein met at Los Angeles’ offbeat art space Gallery 1988 for a John Hughes show “The Road to Shermer” and hit the road themselves to profile some of the world’s finest gig poster artists such as Daniel Danger, Jay Ryan and Kevin Tong. Naturally, the film will also showcase some of the musicians and movie events that the posters commemorate and give a glimpse of the entire ecosystem of gig posters from designers to collectors to distributors such as Austin’s own Mondo.
“Scarlet Road” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, trailer)
Directed by: Catherine Scott
For those intrigued by the idea behind this year’s Sundance winner “The Surrogate” with John Hawkes and Helen Hunt, you’ll not only want to check out the short film “Breathing Lessons” by SXSW selection “Last Call at the Oasis” director Jessica Yu, but also his Australian doc about Rachel Wotton, a sex worker who specializes in servicing the disabled. Scott, a veteran of the alternative media company Paper Tiger, tells not only the story of Wotton, but of her clientele including men with multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.
“Trash Dance” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Our review, Facebook, trailer)
Directed by: Andrew Garrison (Twitter)
Filmmaker and UT professor Garrison won’t have to travel far to his latest film’s premiere at the Paramount, nor did he have to go that far to find his subject after learning Austin Community College dance teacher and choreographer Allison Orr had convened 25 of the city’s sanitation workers to create a performance with the sounds and movement of garbage trucks after once doing the same with the local fire department.
Rosenberg, a member of the Bandito Brothers production company that recently brought you “Act of Valor,” began filming for this documentary about groundbreaking skateboarder Danny Way in 1991, chronicling his rise to prominence to a devastating neck injury to when he successfully jumped the Great Wall of China. X Games staples such as Tony Hawk and Travis Pastrana, as well as Way’s friends and family are all onhand to reflect on his life and career.
“Wikileaks: Secrets & Lies” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, trailer)
Directed by: Patrick Forbes
Featuring an interview with its founder Julian Assange, this British-produced documentary about the rogue media organization that has made private and classified documents public that came to fame with the release of the Guantanamo Bay Files. The film details how the files filtered through the mainstream media by way of the site and gives what it claims is the definitive look at what went down between Assange and Bradley Manning, the soldier alleged to have fed him the information. Of course, Wikileaks has already issued a rebuttal to their portrayal in the film.
“Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, Kickstarter page)
Directed by: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan
While that David E. Kelley-produced pilot for “Wonder Woman” didn’t get picked up by NBC this season Kristy Guevara-Flanagan’s new documentary should do more than pick up the slack by not only taking a look back at the famous DC Comics creation, but also looking forward to all the strong women it inspired in pop culture and in real life such as actresses Lynda Carter and Lindsay Wagner, feminist activists Gloria Steinem and Shelby Knox, and authors Trina Robbins and Gail Simone.
“Black Pond” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Cast: Chris Langham, Simon Amstell, Amanda Hadingue, Colin Hurley, Will Sharpe
Directed by: Tom Kingsley and Will Sharpe
SXSW Official Synopsis: Nominated for Outstanding Debut at this year's BAFTAs, "Black Pond" tells the story of an ordinary family who are accused of murder when a stranger dies at their dinner table. Two-time BAFTA winner Chris Langham stars as bumbling father Tom Thompson and inimitable British comedian Simon Amstell makes his film debut as a sinister psychotherapist. Combining the quietly surreal with the beautifully mundane, Black Pond tells the hilarious and heart breaking story of how The Thompsons became known as the 'Family of Killers'.
“Dollhouse” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Cast: Seana Kerslake, Johnny Ward, Kate Stanley Brennan, Shane Curry, Ciaran McCabe
Written and Directed by: Kirsten Sheridan
SXSW Official Synopsis: "Dollhouse" explores a night in the life of a group of street teens from Dublin's inner city who break into a house in an upper class suburb. The break-in quickly moves into a night of frenzy, driven by a series of revelations that will leave lasting marks on each of them, and resulting in an emotional conclusion that they will carry with them.
“Eating Alabama” (SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Andrew Beck Grace
SXSW Official Synopsis: In search of a simpler life, a young couple returns home to Alabama where they set out to eat the way their grandparents did – locally and seasonally. But as their new diet forces them to navigate the agricultural industrial complex, they soon realize that nearly everything about the food system has changed since farmers once populated their family histories. A thoughtful and often funny essay on community, the South and sustainability, "Eating Alabama" is a story about why food matters.
“Electrick Children” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Facebook, Twitter, Kickstarter page, trailer)
Cast: Julia Garner, Rory Culkin, Liam Aiken, Billy Zane
Written and Directed by: Rebecca Thomas
SXSW Official Synopsis: Pregnant by music? On her 15th birthday, Rachel, a young Mormon girl from a fundamentalist Utah community, discovers a forbidden cassette tape with rock music on it. Having never heard anything like it, she has a miraculous experience and three months later, claims to have had an immaculate conception from listening to the music. Her parents arrange a marriage, but Rachel runs away to the closest city, Las Vegas, to search for the man who sings on the tape, thinking he has something to do with her mysterious pregnancy…
“Extracted” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, producers' page, Facebook, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus, trailer)
Cast: Sasha Roiz, Dominic Bogart, Jenny Mollen, Nick Jameson, Brad Culver
Written and Directed by: Nir Paniry
SXSW Official Synopsis: Thomas Jacobs invents a way to watch people's memories from the inside. Going against his morals, he accepts an offer to enter a heroin addict's memories to literally see if he committed a crime. However,a malfunction causes his consciousness to become trapped inside the criminal's mind. He remains a prisoner in the addict's memories for more than four years until he discovers the possibility of escape.
“Francine” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, clip)
Cast: Melissa Leo, Keith Leonard, Victoria Charkut
Written and Directed by: Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky (Twitter)
SXSW Official Synopsis: Academy-Award-winner Melissa Leo gives a fierce and restrained performance as Francine, a woman struggling to find her place in a downtrodden lakeside town after leaving behind a life in prison. Taking a series of jobs working with animals, Francine turns away those who take an interest in her and instead seeks intimacy in the most unlikely of places. Gritty, elliptical, and voyeuristic, Francine is a portrait of a near-silent misfit and her fragile first steps in an unfamiliar world.
“Funeral Kings” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus, trailer)
Cast: Dylan Hartigan, Alex Maizus, Jordan Puzzo, Charles Odei, Kevin Corrigan
Written and Directed by: Kevin and Matthew McManus
SXSW Official Synopsis: It's always a good day for a funeral at St. Mark's Middle School. Andy and Charlie, two altar servers, don't just get to miss class anytime a parishioner kicks the bucket, they cut out early and play hooky as soon as the service is over. Eventually their irreverent personalities will put them in a situation that is too big for them to handle.
“Hard Labor” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, MUBI Cannes review roundup, trailer)
Cast: Helena Albergaria, Marat Descartes, Naloana Lima, Marina Flores
Written and Directed by: Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra
SXSW Official Synopsis: Helena is on the verge of fulfilling a dream as she prepares to open her own business: a neighborhood grocery store. She hires a maid, Paula, to take care of her house and daughter. But when her husband Octavio is suddenly fired from his job as an insurance executive, Helena is left to support the family alone.
“King Kelly” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook)
Cast: Louisa Krause, Libby Woodbridge, Roderick Hill, Will Brill, Patrick Murney
Directed by: Andrew Neel
Official SXSW Synopsis: King Kelly is an aspiring internet star who performs webcam stripteases. When Kelly's car – filled with illegal narcotics that she must deliver – is stolen by her bitter ex-boyfriend on the 4th of July, Kelly and her best friend Jordan embark on an epic whirlwind of drugs, sex, violence and mischief-making as Kelly tries to reclaim what's hers. Kelly’s biggest online fan, a wayward State Trooper, joins the journey as the night spirals into chaos. Made entirely from camera-phone footage, "King Kelly" is a sensational journey through hedonistic American youth culture and the YouTube generation.
“La Camioneta – The Journey of One American School Bus” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Mark Kendall
SXSW Official Synopsis: Every day dozens of decommissioned school buses migrate from the United States to Guatemala, where they are repaired, repainted, and resurrected as the brightly-colored camionetas that bring people to work each day. Since 2006, nearly 1,000 camioneta drivers and fare-collectors have been killed for not paying the extortion money demanded by local gangs. "La Camioneta" follows the migration of one bus as a vehicle into the stories of five men whose lives become intertwined with its resurrection. Like the bus that unites their stories, the choice between obsolescence and innovation defines their decisions, propelling them toward an increasingly uncertain future.
“The Last Fall” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, iW Meet the Filmmaker profile, trailer)
Cast: Lance Gross, Nicole Beharie, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Harry Lennix, Keith David
Written and Directed by: Matthew A. Cherry
When Matthew Cherry attended the University of Akron Ohio, he took radio/TV/broadcast classes on weekdays and a wide receiver for the Zips on Saturdays before ultimately going pro in 2004. But after a career that saw him with the Jaguars, Bengals, Panthers and Ravens over the course of two years, he moved onto a new career, working his way up from serving as a production assistant on the sitcom “Girlfriends” to making his directorial debut that’s clearly inspired by his personal experience. “House of Payne” star Lance Gross loosely fills in for Cherry as an NFL player faced with having to move on with his life at 25 and unlike Cherry, he doesn’t have a promising film career ahead. “Shame” star Nicole Beharie, Henry Lennix and Keith David lend their support.
“Leave Me Like You Found Me” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook)
Cast: Megan Boone, David Nordstrom
Written and Directed by: Adele Romanski (Twitter)
Official SXSW Synopsis: After a year of heartbreak and loneliness, Erin and Cal have forgotten enough of each other's flaws to get back together. They take what they hope will be a romantic camping trip in Sequoia National Park. Alone in the majestic landscape, they begin to revisit their past relationship. As cracks start to show each is left wondering whether the other has changed enough to make it work this time.
“Low & Clear” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, iW Meet the Filmmaker profile, trailer)
Directed by: Kahlil Hudson and Tyler Hughe (Twitter)
Official SXSW Synopsis: A story of friendship and life in the disappearing wilderness of the West, "Low & Clear" follows two formerly close friends who re-unite for one last fly fishing trip to British Columbia. Over the course of their time together they come to understand how much they’ve each changed and how these changes now threaten their friendship.
“Pavilion” (SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, Kickstarter page, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus, trailer)
Cast: Max Schaffner, Zach Cali, Cody Hamric, Addie Barlett, Aaron Buyea
Written and Directed by: Tim Sutton
Official SXSW Synopsis: Max leaves his lakeside town to live with his father on the fringe of suburban Arizona. Both fever dream and quiet trip, "PAVILION" creates a deep and ethereal world, showing us an innocent way of life coming apart at the seams, constructing an indelible image of the enigma of youth. One of ten films selected for IFP's 2011 Narrative Lab, "PAVILION" was also selected by the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 2011 Emerging Visions Workshop.
“Sun Don't Shine” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule)
Cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Kentucker Audley, AJ Bowen, Kit Gwinn, Mark Reeb
Written and Directed by: Amy Seimetz
Official SXSW Synopsis: "Sun Don't Shine" is a subtly cryptic story driven by the powerful performances of its lead actors and its eerily poetic setting. The film follows Crystal (Kate Lyn Sheil) and her boyfriend Leo (Kentucker Audley) on a tense and mysterious road trip through the desolate yet hauntingly beautiful landscape of central Florida. As the couple travels up the Gulf Coast the disturbing details of their excursion gradually begin to emerge, revealing Crystal’s sinister past and the couple’s troubling future.
“Sunset Stories” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, iW Meet the Filmmakers profile)
Cast: Monique Curnen, Sung Kang, Joshua Leonard, Mousa Kraish, Michelle Krusiec
Directed by: Silas Howard, Ernesto Foronda
Official SXSW Synopsis: May, a high-strung and overly meticulous nurse, must return to Los Angeles to retrieve bone marrow for a transplant. Soon after her trip begins, her world turns upside down when past and present collide and she runs smack into JP, the man she left behind five years ago. Flustered, May loses the cooler containing the marrow. With only 24 hours remaining, the two embark on an offbeat search through the streets of Los Angeles only to discover that just when you think all is lost you find what you least expected.
“Tchoupitoulas” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus, trailer)
Directed by: Bill and Turner Ross (Twitter, Facebook)
Official SXSW Synopsis: "Tchoupitoulas" is a story of the New Orleans night. It is a visually exhilarating and aurally immersive record of one night in the many lives of a thriving nocturnal populace. Three young boys act as our wide-eyed conduits to a parade of entertainers and revelers as they dance through the lamp lit streets and doorways of the Crescent City. From dusk to dawn, from Rampart to the river, we explore the lives and locales of one of the world's most unique cities. In moments, vignettes, performances, and exchanges, "Tchoupitoulas" is a kaleidoscopic odyssey into another side of New Orleans.
“Thale” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus, trailer)
Written and Directed by: Aleksander L. Nordaas
Official SXSW Synopsis: Next up from the Norwegian folklore is ”Thale”, revolving the mythical hulder, a tailed, female forest creature. “Thale” is the story of a certain hulder, found by two crimes scene cleaners in a concealed cellar. The creature never utters a word, unable to tell her tale herself, but the pieces of the puzzle soon come together; She's been kept down here for decades, for reasons soon to surface. Someone is approaching from outside. They want her back.
“Wildness” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, iW Meet the Filmmakers profile, trailer)
Written and Directed by: Wu Tsang (Blog, Twitter)
Official SXSW Synopsis: Rooted in the tropical underground of Los Angeles nightlife, "Wildness" is a portrait of the Silver Platter, a historic bar that has been home to Latin/LGBT immigrant communities since 1963. With a magical-realist flourish the bar itself becomes a character, narrating what happens when a weekly party (organized by Director Wu Tsang, DJs NGUZUNGUZU, and Total Freedom) called Wildness explodes into creativity and conflict. What does “safe space” mean? Who needs it? And how does it differ among us? At the Silver Platter, the search for answers creates coalitions across generations.
“Wolf” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, producers' page, Facebook, iW Meet the Filmmakers profile, Slackerwood profile, trailer)
Cast: Irma P. Hall, Mikala Gibson, Jordan Cooper, Shelton Jolivette, Eugene Lee
Written and Directed by: Ya'ke Smith
Official SXSW Synopsis: A family is shaken to the core when they discover their son has been molested. As they struggle to deal with the betrayal, their son heads towards a total mental collapse because of his love for his abuser, while his abuser attempts to exorcise his own past demons. The film stars Irma P. Hall ("The Ladykillers", "Collateral"), Eugene Lee ("Lackawanna Blues", "Coach Carter") and newcomers Mikala Gibson, Shelton Jolivette and Jordan Cooper.
“Amor Cronico” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Facebook, trailer)
Cast: Cucu Diamantes, Adela Legra, Liosky Clavero, Andres Levin, Jorge Perugorria
Directed by: Jorge Perugorria
Official SXSW Synopsis: "Amor Cronico" follows the flamboyant Grammy nominated Cuban-born and New York based singer CuCu Diamantes on her tour around Cuba. The film interweaves footage of live musical performances with a fictional love story narrative. The result is an energetic display of CuCu Diamantes' glamorous performance style with a fresh Latin soundtrack and comical twist. It is at unique road movie and portrait of a Cuban artist traveling back to her roots.
“Bad Brains: Band in DC” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Mandy Stein and Benjamen Logan
Official SXSW Synopsis: Bad Brains are one of the most important and influential American bands still working today. They melded punk and reggae into an innovative style that has yet to be copied. Their impact and influence can be heard in groups like Beastie Boys, No Doubt, Nirvana, Jane's Addiction and countless more. Despite the troubles of an eccentric front man they have stayed together for 30 years without ever reaching the level of success so many think they deserve. Using rare archival footage and original comic illustrations the film re-constructs Bad Brains' rich and complicated history.
“Charles Bradley: Soul of America” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Poull Brien
Official SXSW Synopsis: "Charles Bradley: Soul of America" captures the extraordinary late in life rise of 62 year old aspiring soul singer Charles Bradley, whose debut album, "No Time For Dreaming," took him from a hard life of poverty, homelessness and tragedy and rocketed him onto Rolling Stone magazine’s top 50 albums of 2011. This documentary follows Charles from his 62nd birthday through the electrifying and transformative months leading up to his unprecedented debut, world tour and ultimate triumph over an impossible dream 48 years in the making.
“Daylight Savings” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Facebook)
Cast: Goh Nakamura, Michael Aki, Yea-Ming Chen, Lynn Chen, Ayako Fujitani
Directed by: Dave Boyle
Official SXSW Synopsis: San Francisco musician Goh Nakamura (playing himself) is at the height of his career. With a national tour on the horizon and one of his songs being featured in a widely-seen TV commercial, Goh has the life he always wanted. But when an unexpected breakup occurs, a lost and devastated Goh forces himself to leave it all behind and hit the road with his irresponsible cousin to pursue a promising rebound with fellow musician Yea-Ming Chen (playing herself). This pseudo–sequel to the 2011 SXSW hit "Surrogate Valentine" stands on its own as a completely new adventure.
“Grandma Lo-fi: The Basement Tapes of Sigrídur Níelsdóttir” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, trailer)
Directed by: Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir
Official SXSW Synopsis: At the tender age of 70 she started recording and releasing her own music straight from the living room. 7 years later she had 59 albums to her name with more than 600 songs – an eccentric myriad of catchy compositions mixing in her pets, found toys, kitchen percussions and Casio keyboards. Sigrídur Níelsdóttir is her name, and before long the Icelandic/Danish musician became an adored cult figure in the Icelandic music scene. Shot mostly on Super-8 and 16mm "Grandma Lo-fi" is a cinematic tribute to her boundless creativity, created by three musicians and artists whom she has inspired.
“Lost and Sound” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Facebook, Twitter)
Directed by: Lindsey Dryden (Twitter)
Official SXSW Synopsis: “Lost and Sound” is a moving creative documentary, made by a partially deaf filmmaker. It weaves its way through a startling world of sound and silence, via the ears and brains of three extraordinary people as they try to rediscover music: a dancer deaf since birth, a young pianist who lost her hearing as a baby, and a music critic facing sudden partial deafness. Music is one of the greatest of all human experiences; millions of us fall under its spell every day, and it engages more parts of the brain than any other human activity. But what if you lost the ability to hear it? Could you find music again… could music find you?
“Paul Williams Still Alive” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, HitFix review, Our review from Toronto)
Directed by: Stephen Kessler
Official SXSW Synopsis: In the seventies, Paul Williams wrote hits like “We’ve Only Just Begun” "Evergreen" and “Rainbow Connection." He starred in Battle for the Planet of the Apes and on Johnny Carson’s couch and then, he kind of disappeared. Williams struck a chord with many, including director Stephen Kessler–who found him. “Paul Williams Still Alive” is both a rollicking pop-culture flashback and the humorous journey of an awkward documentarian and his reluctant subject. Yet it ultimately evolves into the touching tale of a man who has made peace with the beast that fame and celebrity awoke.
“Rock 'N' Roll Exposed: The Photography of Bob Gruen” (SXSW listing and schedule, producers' page, trailer)
Directed by: Don Letts
Official SXSW Synopsis: From Led Zeppelin to The Rolling Stones, Elvis to Madonna, Bob Dylan to Bob Marley, John Lennon to Johnny Rotten, Bob Gruen has captured half a century of music through the eye of a lens. In this landmark documentary, Grammy award-winning filmmaker Don Letts reveals the stories behind some of the most famous rock 'n' roll photographs of all time. "Rock 'N' Roll Exposed" features interviews with Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, Yoko Ono, Alice Cooper, Billie Joe Armstrong and many more.
“Sunset Strip” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Written and Directed by: Hans Fjellestad
Official SXSW Synopsis: Birthed as a dusty trading route at the turn of last century, Sunset Strip became the world's center of gravity for music, glamour, fashion, sex, and decadence. This curvy, mile-and-a-half strip of road falls just outside LA city limits, beyond the reach of LAPD, where it grew into a place like no other on the planet. A place where dreams are started, chased, loved, hated, displayed, ignored, ended, or all of the above. You make your last stand in Eden, and this is Eden.
“Under African Skies” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Facebook, Twitter, USA Today profile, THR interview, trailer)
Directed by: Joe Berlinger (Twitter)
Official SXSW Synopsis: "Under African Skies" travels with Paul Simon back to South Africa on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his historic Graceland album. Paul reunites with the original band to give a reunion concert and to explore the story of the turbulent birth of the album. Featuring interviews with the key anti-apartheid activists of the time and such musical legends as Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte, Paul McCartney, David Byrne and Steve Van Zandt, the film is both an anatomy of a profound artistic achievement and a meditation on the role of the artist in society.
“Uprising: Hip Hop & The LA Riots” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Facebook)
Directed by: Mark Ford
Official SXSW Synopsis: 20 years after riots ripped through Los Angeles, "Uprising" documents how hip hop forecasted – and some say ignited – the worst civil unrest of the 20th century. The film revisits the riots in gripping detail and draws from a diverse collection of voices – the rappers, rioters, victims, police officers, journalists and everyday citizens of South Central Los Angeles. The documentary traces the rise of dissent in Los Angeles in the 80's and 90's and explores why citizens chose to rise up violently against police abuse and perceived injustices.
“Searching for Sugar Man” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, iW Meet the Filmmaker profile, MUBI review roundup, IDFA synopsis)
Directed by: Malik Bendjelloul
Official SXSW Synopsis: "Searching for Sugar Man" tells the true story of the greatest '70s US rock icon who never was, how he was rediscovered in a far off land and finally became the legend he always deserved to be. It is a story of hope, inspiration and the power of music.
“Bijuka” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Ashtar Sayed
Official SXSW Synopsis: "Bijuka" (Scarecrow) tells the true story of Lalli, a young woman who is attempting to escape from an abusive arranged marriage. After she is forced to stand trial for her efforts to flee, Lalli is gang raped by the members of the village Councilmen. Lalli is now serving a life sentence in Rajasthan for killing her husband Painku, who kept her bound and gagged while the rape occurred.
“Crulic – The Path to Beyond” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus, trailer)
Directed by: Anca Damian
Official SXSW Synopsis: The animated documentary feature “Crulic – The Path to Beyond” tells the life’s story of Crulic, the 33 year old Romanian who died in a Polish prison during a hunger strike. The acclaimed Romanian actor, Vlad Ivanov, narrates Crulic’s ironic voice over from beyond the grave.
“Cubaton – El Medico Story” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, trailer)
Directed by: Daniel Fridell
Official SXSW Synopsis: Can a capitalist music producer and a communist doctor and artist work together? In Cuba they can! Michel Miglis is a Swedish music producer, known for his provocative ideas and El Medico is a doctor and a singer, born and raised in the midst of the Cuban Revolution, whose values are in total contrast to the cynical, Western music industry.
“Global Home” (SXSW listing and schedule, official site, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus, trailer)
Directed by: Eva Stotz
Official SXSW Synopsis: Director Eva Stotz visited interesting people all over the world, whom she found through online host networks, emerging for a limited time in their everyday life. The film introduces a music-loving Tuareg in Mali, a wildlife enthusiast in Tokyo, an ecologist in the Palestinian West Bank, a dancemaniac in Turkey, and a visionary in the US. In doing so, the film explores a thrilling new way of traveling.
“Her Master's Voice” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Nina Conti (official site)
Official SXSW Synopsis: Schiller said there is a watcher at the gate of the mind, and it is the watcher that prevents creativity, because creativity and insanity are almost the same thing. The ventriloquist’s doll can kill off the watcher of the mind allowing access to spontaneity and imagination. Acclaimed ventriloquist Nina Conti, takes the bereaved puppets of her mentor and erstwhile lover Ken Campbell on a pilgrimage to 'Venthaven', the resting place for puppets of dead ventriloquists. She gets to know her traveling partners along the way, and through them deconstructs both herself and her lost love in this ventriloquial docu-mocumentary requiem.
“Italy: Love It, or Leave It” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Gustav Hofer and Luca Ragazzi
Official SXSW Synopsis: Luca and Gustav have to decide: should they stay in Italy, or leave it, like so many of their friends have done already? Looking for reasons not to do the same, the two Italians jump into their old Fiat 500 and go on a emotional trip through their country to find out: Italy. Love it, or leave it?
“Mustafa's Sweet Dreams” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Angelos Abazoglou
Official SXSW Synopsis: The documentary tells the story of Mustafa, a 16-year-old boy who works as a pastry shop apprentice in Gaziantep, the "Capital of Baklava", in Eastern Turkey. His dream is to become a famous pastry chef in Istanbul. The journey he goes through leads him to find more than bright lights at his destination.
“Pompeya” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Cast: José Luciano González, Joel Drut, Chang Sung Kim, Vladimir Yuravel, Miguel Forza de Paul
Directed by: Tamae Garateguy
Official SXSW Synopsis: A junior screenwriter called Juan Garófalo is hired by film director Samuel Goldszer to write his new film: a gangster movie set in Buenos Aires. In each meeting, the filmmakers create a story that takes place in an imaginary Pompeya neighborhood.
“¡Vivan las Antipodas!” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, producers' page, Facebook, trailer)
Directed by: Victor Kossakovsky
Official SXSW Synopsis: What would be the shortest route between Entre Ríos in Argentina and the Chinese metropolis Shanghai? Simply a straight line through the center of the earth, since the two places are antipodes: they are located diametrically opposite to each other on the earth’s surface. During his visits to four such antipodal pairs, the award-winning documentary filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky captured images that turn our view of the world upside down. These antipodes seem mythically connected, somehow united by their oppositeness. Kossakovsky’s movie is a feast for the senses, a fascinating kaleidoscope of our planet.
“The Will” (SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, trailer)
Directed by: Christian Sønderby Jepsen (Vimeo page)
Official SXSW Synopsis: Henrik is in deep trouble. His girlfriend has split, drug and alcohol abuse have gotten the upper hand, and he's deeply in debt. When everything is most dire and his woes seem wholly insurmountable, a door to new life is opened when Henrik’s wealthy grandfather dies, leaving behind him a huge fortune. But at the promise of money, family war breaks out, and years of failure and betrayal are revealed.
“Beast” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, DFI profile, trailer)
Cast: Nicolas Bro, Marijana Jankovic, Nikolaj Lie Kaas
Written and Directed by: Christoffer Boe
Official SXSW Synopsis: Bruno loves his wife Maxine, but his love and body are slowly undergoing a transformation. Something is beginning to stir inside him and there is nothing he can do to stop it. Because when you first delve into the dark side of love to find power, aggression and hatred, there is no turning back.
"Chasing Ice" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Sundance Meet the Artist video, official site, Facebook, Twitter)
Directed by: Jeff Orlowski (Twitter)
Official SXSW Synopsis: Photographer James Balog was once a skeptic about climate change. But through his Extreme Ice Survey, he discovers undeniable evidence of our changing planet. In "Chasing Ice", Balog deploys revolutionary time-lapse cameras to capture a multi-year record of the world's changing glaciers. Traveling with a team across the brutal Arctic, Balog risks his career and his well-being in pursuit of the biggest story facing humanity. As the debate polarizes America, and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, "Chasing Ice" depicts a heroic photojournalist on a mission to deliver fragile hope to our carbon-powered planet.
“The Comedy” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, iW Meet the Filmmaker profile, Sundance Meet the Artist video, exclusive clip)
Cast: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, James Murphy, Kate Lyn-Sheil, Alexia Rassmusen
Directed by: Rick Alverson
Official SXSW Synopsis: Indifferent even to the prospects of inheriting his father's estate, Swanson (Tim Heidecker) whiles away his days with a group of aging Brooklyn hipsters, engaging in acts of recreational cruelty and pacified boredom. Desensitized and disenchanted, he strays into a series of reckless situations that may offer the promise of redemption or the threat of retribution. A scathing look at the white male on the verge of collapse, Rick Alverson's carefully observed portrait provokes and disorients; a cautionary fable for the autumn of the American Era.
"Compliance" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter)
Cast: Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, Pat Healy, Bill Camp
Written and Directed by: Craig Zobel
Official SXSW Synopsis: When a police officer tells you to do something, you do it. Right? On a busy day at a suburban Ohio fast food joint, high-strung manager Sandra receives a phone call from a police officer saying that a pretty young employee, Becky, has stolen money from a customer. Convinced she's doing the right thing, Sandra commences the investigation, following instructions from the officer on the line, no matter how invasive they become. As we watch, we ask ourselves: “Why don’t they just say no?” and perhaps more troubling, "Am I certain I wouldn't do the same?" Inspired by true events.
“Dreams of a Life” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Carol Morley
Official SXSW Synopsis: "Dreams of a Life" is an imaginative and multilayered quest to go beyond the newspaper reports and solve the mystery of who thirty-eight year old Joyce Vincent was and why she lay undiscovered for three years after her death in one of the busiest parts of London. Joyce Vincent died in her bedsit above Shopping City in Wood Green. Nobody noticed. Nearly three years later, her flat was forced into by authorities due to lack of rent payment. Her skeleton was found surrounded by Christmas presents that she was in the process of wrapping. Her television was still on.
"God Bless America" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Our interview with Goldthwait from TIFF, trailer)
Cast: Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr
Written and Directed by: Bobcat Goldthwait
Official SXSW Synopsis: Loveless, jobless, possibly terminally ill, Frank has had enough of the downward spiral of America. With nothing left to lose, Frank takes his gun and offs the stupidest, cruelest, and most repellent members of society. He finds an unusual accomplice: 16-year-old Roxy, who shares his sense of rage and disenfranchisement.
“The Imposter” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus profile, Twitter, official site)
Directed by: Bart Layton
Official SXSW Synopsis: In 1994 a 13-year-old boy disappeared from his home in San Antonio,Texas. Three and a half years later he is found alive thousands of miles away in Spain with a shocking story of kidnap and torture. His family are overjoyed to bring him home. But all is not what it seems. He bears many of the same marks but why does he have a strange accent? Why does he look so different? And why doesn't the family notice these glaring inconsistencies? It's only when an investigator starts asking questions that this astonishing true story takes an even stranger turn…
“Indie Game: The Movie” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, iW Meet the Filmmakers profile, Mashable interview, Kickstarter page, Twitter, Facebook, trailer, clips)
Directed by: Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky
Official SXSW Synopsis: With the twenty-first century comes a new breed of artist: the indie game designer. These innovators design and program their distinctly personal games in the hope that they may find connection and success. After years of work, designer Edmund McMillen and programmer Tommy Refenes work toward the release of their first major game for Xbox, Super Meat Boy. At a big video-game expo, developer Phil Fish unveils his highly anticipated, FEZ. Designer Jonathan Blow considers a new game after his very successful game, Braid. Four developers, three games, one ultimate goal— to express oneself through a video game.
“KID-THING” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Kickstarter page, official site, Facebook, iW Meet the Filmmaker profile)
Cast: Sydney Aguirre, Susan Tyrrell, Nathan Zellner, David Zellner
Directed by: David Zellner (Twitter, official site)
Official SXSW Synopsis: Annie is a rebellious ten-year-old girl. She lives on the outskirts of town with her father Marvin, who, when not herding goats, mostly sleeps the day away. Virtually devoid of parental guidance, Annie is left to fend for herself and do as she pleases. With no moral compass, she roams the neighboring lands, shoplifting and engaging in general destructive behavior. Her routine is broken one day while playing in the woods; she hears an old woman calling from deep within an abandoned well, asking for help. Scared and untrusting of the unseen stranger, Annie deliberates on her course of action.
“Last Call at the Oasis” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Jessica Yu
Official SXSW Synopsis: Developed, financed and executive produced by Participant Media, the company responsible for "An Inconvenient Truth", "Food, Inc.", and "Waiting for Superman", "Last Call at the Oasis" presents a powerful argument for why the global water crisis will be the central issue facing our world this century. Illuminating the vital role water plays in our lives, exposing the defects in the current system and depicting communities already struggling with its ill-effects, the film features activist Erin Brockovich and such distinguished experts as Peter Gleick, Alex Prud’homme, Jay Famiglietti and Robert Glennon.
“Lovely Molly” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus, trailer)
Cast: Gretchen Lodge, Johnny Lewis, Alexandra Holden
Directed by: Eduardo Sanchez (Twitter)
Official SXSW Synopsis: "Lovely Molly" is a gripping horror thriller that begins as newlywed Molly Reynolds moves back into her long-abandoned childhood home. Soon, she experiences unnerving and impossible things. What starts as a simple story about things going bump in the night escalates into a battle for dominion over Molly's spirit, as she is beset by a cunning, malevolent force bent on wreaking havoc and terror on Molly and her family. Richly exploring the parallels between psychosis, addiction, and demonic possession to chilling effect, "Lovely Molly" shows us what really happens before the exorcist arrives. "Lovely Molly" premiered to critical acclaim at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival's Midnight Madness.
"Monsieur Lazhar" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, official site (French), Facebook (French), trailer)
Cast: Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, Émilien Néron, Danielle Proulx, Brigitte Poupart
Directed by: Philippe Falardeau
Official SXSW Synopsis: Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, "Monsieur Lazhar" tells the poignant story of a Montreal middle school class shaken by the death of their well-liked teacher. Bachir Lazhar (Fellag), a 55-year-old Algerian immigrant, offers the school his services as a substitute teacher and is quickly hired. As he helps the children heal, he also learns to accept his own painful past. This moving film features exquisite performances by Fellag and a stunning ensemble of child actors.
“The Raid: Redemption” ( IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Our review from Toronto, official site, official blog, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Cast: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian, Pierre Gruno
Written and Directed by: Gareth Huw Evans (Twitter)
Official SXSW Synopsis: Rama, a member of a special forces team, arrives at a rundown apartment block with a mission to remove its owner, a notorious drug lord. The building has become a sanctuary to killers, gangs, rapists and thieves seeking accommodation in the one place they know they cannot be touched by the police. When a spotter blows their cover, Rama and his team must fight their way through every floor and every room not just to complete their mission but to survive their bloody ordeal.
"Safety Not Guaranteed" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, Sundance Meet the Artist video)
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni
Directed by: Colin Trevorrow
Official SXSW Synopsis: “WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. "Safety Not Guaranteed". I have only done this once before.” When an unusual classified ad inspires three cynical Seattle magazine employees to look for the story behind it, they discover a mysterious eccentric named Kenneth, a likable but paranoid supermarket clerk, who believes he’s solved the riddle of time travel and intends to depart again soon. Together, they embark on a hilarious, smart, and unexpectedly heartfelt journey that reveals how far believing can take you.
"Shut Up and Play the Hits" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace
Official SXSW Synopsis: On April 2nd 2011, LCD Soundsystem played its final show at Madison Square Garden. "Shut Up And Play The Hits" documents this once in a life time performance and paints an intimate portrait of James Murphy as he navigates the lead-up to the show, the day after, and the personal and professional ramifications of his decision to consign the band to history.
"Sleepwalk With Me" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, iW Meet the Filmmaker profile, clip)
Cast: Mike Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose, James Rebhorn, Carol Kane, Cristin Milioti, Aya Cash
Directed by: Mike Birbiglia (Twitter)
Official SXSW Synopsis: "Sleepwalk With Me" is a comedy written by, directed by and starring comedian Mike Birbiglia, based on a true story he told in his one-man off-Broadway show and his first book. The film follows the journey of an aspiring comedian in denial about his girlfriend, his career, and, most significantly, his sleepwalking disorder. The more he fails to express his true feelings, the more his anxiety comes out in increasingly funny and dangerous sleepwalking incidents.
“We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, trailer)
Directed by: Brian Knappenberger (Twitter)
Official SXSW Synopsis: "WE ARE LEGION: The Story of the Hacktivists" takes us inside the world of Anonymous, the radical "hacktivist" collective that has redefined civil disobedience for the digital age. The film explores early hacktivist groups like Cult of the Dead Cow and Electronic Disturbance Theater, then moves to Anonymous' raucous beginnings on the website 4chan. Through interviews with current members, people recently returned from prison or facing trial, writers, academics, activists and major players in various "raids," the documentary traces Anonymous’ evolution from merry pranksters to a full-blown movement with a global reach, the most transformative civil disobedience of our time.
“An Evening With Sacred Bones Records” (SXSW listing and schedule, official site)
Directed by: Jacqueline Castel (official site, Vimeo)
Official SXSW Synopsis: Mysterious Brooklyn-imprint Sacred Bones Records presents an evening of original and curated programming for a special SXSW film & music crossover event featuring music videos, short films, works in progress, and live musical performances from the label's roster. Exclusive to this one time event are the premieres of brand new music videos, worldwide Super 8mm & 16mm film exploits, and a rare screening of the first Sacred Bones film production, Twelve Dark Noons. Featured artists include Amen Dunes, Blank Dogs, Crystal Stilts, Cult of Youth, Gary War, Moon Duo, Naked on the Vague, Pop. 1280, Timmy's Organism, & Zola Jesus.
“Bernie” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, trailer)
Cast: Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey, Brady Coleman, Richard Robichaux
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Official SXSW Synopsis: In the small town of Carthage, TX, assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede was one of the most beloved and appreciated residents, so it came as no surprise when he befriended the town’s richest and meanest widow, Marjorie Nugent. Soon, Marjorie became fully dependent on Bernie and his generosity as he struggled to meet her increasing demands. When the townspeople went months without seeing Marjorie, the people of Carthage were shocked when it was reported that she had been dead for some time, and Bernie Tiede was being charged with the murder.
“Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me” (SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Twitter, Slackerwood profile, trailer)
Directed by: Drew Denicola
Official SXSW Synopsis: “Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me” is a feature-length documentary about legendary Memphis band Big Star. While mainstream success eluded them, Big Star’s three albums have become critically lauded touchstones of the rock music canon. A seminal band in the history of alternative music, Big Star has been cited as an influence by artists including REM, The Replacements, Belle & Sebastian, Elliot Smith and Flaming Lips, to name just a few. With never-before-seen footage and photos of the band, in-depth interviews and a rousing musical tribute by the bands they inspired, “Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me” is a story of artistic and musical salvation. (Work in Progress)
“Casa de mi Padre” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus, trailer)
Directed by: Matt Piedmont
Official SXSW Synopsis: Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell) has lived and worked on his father's ranch in Mexico his entire life. As the ranch faces financial strains, Armando's younger brother Raul (Diego Luna) shows up with his new fiancée, Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez) and pledges to settle all his father's debts. It seems that Raul's success as an international businessman means the ranch's troubles are over, but when Armando falls for Sonia, and Raul's business dealings turn out to be less than legit, the Alvarez family finds themselves in a full-out war with Mexico's most feared drug lord, the mighty Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal).
"Girls" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, trailer)
Cast: Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver
Directed by: Lena Dunham (Twitter)
After conquering the festival with her sophomore feature “Tiny Furniture” in 2010, Lena Dunham returns with the debut of the first three episodes of her TV series “Girls” in advance of its premiere on HBO in April. The show about twentysomething girls in the city including “Furniture” co-star Jemima Kirke and ubiquitous cable staple Zosia Mamet will be accompanied by a panel discussion on March 13th with Dunham, executive producer Judd Apatow and additional cast and crew.
“Girl Walk // All Day” (SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Twitter, Facebook, trailer)
Cast: Anne Marsen, John Doyle, Daisuke Omiya
Written and Directed by: Jacob Krupnick (official site)
Official SXSW Synopsis: Girl Walk // All Day is a feature-length dance music video and tale of urban exploration that follow three dancers across New York City. They turn the city's sidewalks, parks, and stadiums into an evolving stage as a story of rebellion, love, and discovery unfolds. Shot entirely in public spaces, and funded entirely by crowd-sourcing, Girl Walk // All Day is a statement about the power of community and public space. Set to the album All Day by mashup musician Girl Talk, it's also an insanely fun love letter to New York.
"The Oyster Princess" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Bee Vs. Moth official site, SXSW Filmmakers in Focus)
Cast: Ossi Oswalda, Victor Janson, Julius Falkenstein, Harry Liedtke
Directed by: Ernst Lubitsch
After a successful screening of Buster Keaton’s “The Cameraman” last year, the Austin-based jazz/rock band Bee Vs. Moth once again will be involved in one of the more unique experiences the festival has to offer by composing yet another original score to accompany Ernst Lubitsch’s 1919 Weimar Republic-era comedy about a princess who looks to one-up a fellow aristocrat by getting married with little attention paid to who the groom will be. If The New Yorker’s Richard Brody is a fan, one shouldn’t think much either before putting it on their SXSW schedule.
“Re:Generation” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Twitter, Facebook, trailer)
Directed by: Amir Bar Lev
Official SXSW Synopsis: “Re:Generation Music Project” is a documentary film about original music collaborations that examine and re-imagine the history of different musical genres through the eyes of five of the most influential electronic producer/DJ’s in music today. For the film, Mark Ronson, DJ Premier, The Crystal Method, Pretty Lights and Skrillex each take a specific musical style and explore it by writing and recording a brand new track with an influential collaborator in that genre.
“Renga” (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Directed by: Adam Russell and John Sear
Official SXSW Synopsis: wallFour presents Renga, their ground breaking feature-length show controlled entirely by the audience. With its complex gameplay and 90-minute running time, Renga delivers a compelling dramatic arc with sufficient scale to rival a feature film. It is the first viable example of a standalone interactive show capable of running in commercial movie theatres. Using laser pointers to interact directly with the cinema screen, 100 players work together towards collective victory. Renga combines strategic conquest elements from video games such as Civilisation with action phases inspired by old-school arcade classics such as Defender. Arrive as an audience, leave as a team!
"The Aggression Scale" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Filmmakers in Focus profile, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Cast: Fabianne Therese, Ryan Hartwig, Dana Ashbrook, Derek Mears, Jacob Reynolds, Joseph McKelheer, Boyd Kestner, Lisa Rotondi, Ray Wise
Directed by: Steven C. Miller
Official SXSW Synopsis: Charged with murder and likely going to jail, crime boss Reg Bellavance is out on bail and wants to skip town with his son. The only problem is that the money he had stashed away for just such an occasion has gone missing. Bellevance gives his right hand man Lloyd a simple order: Find his money, kill everyone who had a hand in stealing it and make it messy. Lloyd and his crew tear out into the city and begin carrying out the order in brutal fashion… They have no idea just how dangerous their job is about to get.
"Citadel" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, iW Meet the Filmmakers profile, Filmmakers in Focus profile)
Cast: Anuerin Barnard, James Cosmo, Wumni Mosaku, Jake Wilson, Amy Shiels
Directed by: Ciarán Foy (Twitter)
Unfortunately, Irish helmer Foy had to experience being attacked in the streets before he was inspired to write this thriller about an agoraphobic single dad (Aneurin Barnard) who leads the uninfected in the small community of Edenstown against a pack of feral kids in hoodies armed with syringes to add to their number. Foy’s short “The Faeries of Blackheath Woods” should give a sense of the type of film to expect.
"Girls Against Boys" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site)
Cast: Danielle Panabaker, Nicole LaLiberte, Liam Aiken, Michael Stahl-David, Andrew Howard
Written and Directed by: Austin Chick
Official SXSW Synopsis: "Girls Against Boys" is a character-driven, psychological thriller about two girls on a killing spree in New York. With edgy and ironic humor and a darkly meditative tone that is far more European or Asian than typically American, it is also a coming-of-age story about a young woman coming to understand how the world really works. It’s a ride for sure, and it even gets more than a little gruesome, but it's character-driven rather than action-driven, and it has a psychological twist that's more like a way of reading the film than a big reveal.
"Intruders" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Cast: Clive Owen, Carice Van Houten, Daniel Brühl, Pilar López de Ayala
Directed by: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Official SXSW Synopsis: Though no one can see him, Hollow Face lurks in the corners, desperately desiring love but only knowing how to spread fear and hate. He creeps into the life of John Farrow (Clive Owen) after Farrow’s beloved 13-year-old daughter Mia (Ella Purnell) is assaulted in their home. The line between the real and the imaginary blurs as fissures start to open within the family unit. It seems that no security measure can keep Hollow Face out.
"Iron Sky" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Cast: Julia Dietze, Götz Otto, Christopher Kirby, Peta Sergeant, Stephanie Paul, Tilo Prückner, Michael Cullen, Udo Kier
Directed by: Timo Vuorensola
Official SXSW Synopsis: World War II did not end with complete defeat for the Nazis – some of them managed to utilize their secret technologies to flee to the dark side of the Moon. There, deep within their swastika fortress, Schwarze Sonne, they have plotted the reconquest of the Earth for over 70 years. In 2018, the flagship of their space armada, the gigantic Götterdämmerung, is nearing completion, but when the next American crewed moon mission lands too close to the Nazi base for comfort, the plans are rushed forward.
"John Dies at the End" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, teaser trailer)
Cast: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman, Doug Jones
Directed by: Don Coscarelli (Twitter)
Official SXSW Synopsis: On the street, they call it “soy sauce.” It's a paranormal, psychoactive drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. Its users drift across time and dimensions, but some who come back are devoid of all humanity. While most of Earth’s inhabitants remain blissfully oblivious to its threat—make no mistake—an otherworldly invasion is under way, and mankind needs to be saved. Enter John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. How can these guys possibly be expected to rescue mankind from certain destruction?
"Modus Anomali" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site, Facebook, Twitter, trailer)
Cast: Rio Dewanto, Hannah Al Rashid, Izziati Amara Isman, Aridh Tritama, Surya Saputra, Marsha Timothy, Sadha Triyudha, Jose Gamo
Written and Directed by: Joko Anwar (Twitter)
Official SXSW Synopsis: A man is on a holiday in the woods with his wife and two kids when they are surprised by the arrival of an uninvited guest. Suddenly, he experiences a time lapse. Before he understands what’s going on, he finds himself separated from his family. And when he starts finding several alarm clocks that seem to have been planted throughout the woods, he knows he has to race with time if he wants to see his family alive. Meanwhile, another family is in the woods, who may be related to the strange going-on.
"[REC] ³ Genesis" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, official site (Spanish), Facebook (Spanish), Twitter, trailer)
Cast: Leticia Dolera, Diego Martin
Directed by: Paco Plaza
Official SXSW Synopsis: Koldo and Clara are about to celebrate the most important day of their lives: their wedding. Everything appears to be running smoothly and the bride, the groom and their families are enjoying a wonderful day in the countryside until some of the guests start showing signs of a strange illness. Before they know what’s happening, the bride and groom find themselves in the middle of a hellish ordeal, as an uncontrollable torrent of violence is unleashed on the wedding. What started off as an idyllic day quickly descends into a nightmare of the worst kind…
"The Tall Man" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule)
Cast: Jessica Biel, Jodelle Ferland, Stephen McHattie, William B.Davis
Written and Directed by: Pascal Laugier
Official SXSW Synopsis: Cold Rock, U.S.A. Children have gone missing over the years leaving neither a clue nor a witness. Superstitious locals talk of The Tall Man, a legendary, mysterious dark figure who takes children away never to be seen again. Julia, a nurse living in cold rock, doesn’t believe in legends. Until one night, she goes to her son’s bedroom and finds his bed empty. She rushes after them willing to do whatever it takes to get her son back. The chase is on and with it the quest for answers: who is The Tall Man? What becomes of the children?
"V/H/S" (IMDb, SXSW listing and schedule, Producer Bloody Disgusting's announcement)
Cast: Joe Swanberg, Adam Wingard, Sophia Takal, Kate Lyn Sheil, Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes
Directed by: Adam Wingard, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, David Bruckner, Joe Swanberg, Ti West
Official SXSW Synopsis: "V/H/S" is a POV, found footage horror film from the perspective of America's top genre filmmakers. In "V/H/S", a group of misfits are hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house in the countryside and acquire a rare tape. Upon searching the house, the guys are confronted with a dead body, a hub of old televisions and an endless supply of cryptic footage, each video stranger and more inexplicable than the last…
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