The South by Southwest Film Festival has never historically been a market. Set in March in Austin’s vibrant film community, nourished by the concurrent SXSW Interactive Fest and the wildly popular Music Fest to follow, SXSW Film Fest has continued under the canny direction of Janet Pierson to nourish indie newcomers, launch male-driven commercial comedies (Simon Pegg sci-fi comedy Paul would be this year’s example) and pull a young hip moviegoing demo. One hot ticket this March will be Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood. Last year’s SXSW breakouts include Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture, Aaron Katz’s Cold Weather, Gareth Edwards’ Monsters and the doc Marwencol. (Full 2011 line-up is posted below.)
Pierson goes out of her way to distinguish SXSW as a different kind of discovery fest from Sundance; per usual she booked some 14 films that appeared at the January fest, some before she went to Park City (Win Win, How to Die in Oregon, Page One, In a Better World, Incendies>), some after (Terri, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, The Sound of My Voice, Being Elmo). Pierson doesn’t consider SXSW, whose submissions were up 23% this year, to function as a market at all (although some sales are made there). “We live in a more raw, DIY, emerging place,” she says, pointing out that SXSW alums Joe Swanberg and Mike Tully showed their films at Sundance this year. “We’re a creative collaborative petri dish of new emerging voices, risk-taking films where people are learning and trying new things. If we have a personality, we skew toward a naturalistic style, simplicity in films that work on their own terms in the world they have created.”
Mainly Pierson does not want SXSW’s success to be measured on market sales. But Cassian Elwes, who sold several titles at Sundance, foresees a continuation of buying and selling over to SXSW–where more of the current crop of films that did NOT get into Sundance will be on display, with eager audiences on hand. “The #sundance exuberance is likely to continue to sxsw and tribeca where traditionally very few have ever been bought,” tweets @cassianelwes. One Sundance title that will also play SXSW is apocalyptic Mumblecore title Bellflower, yet another micro-budget team effort (produced over seven years) starring rising 30-year-old writer-director Evan Glodell in the lead role. Oscilloscope acquired the violent buddy movie, which features a strong performance from Jessie Wiseman as a girlfriend from hell (here are reviews from indieWIRE and First Showing and a report from the LAT). More buys at SXSW may follow.
In the SXSW narrative competition, Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals) is one of the few experienced directors; most are first-timers, such as Irish screenwriter Terry McMahan and late-bloomer Janet Grillo, who put in her time as an industry exec and was once married to David O. Russell. Pierson is excited about sharing these new voices–and new acting talent, too– with fest attendees. The doc selection is also strong, including Conan O’Brien’s remarkably candid road movie Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, shot during a raw period for him, says Pierson, “when he was thinking about what to do next. It’s intimate, with amazing access.”
SXSW runs March 11-19 in Austin, Texas. During those nine days 130 features will screen, including 60 World, 12 North American and 15 U.S. premieres. Nearly 4,900 films were submitted to the festival, a record. Eight narrative and eight documentary features will compete for Grand Jury prizes and awards in the following categories: screenplay, editing, cinematography, music and acting. Duncan Jones’ Source Code will open the fest, and Summit agreed to premiere Jodie Foster’s The Beaver, starring controversy-magnet Mel Gibson, at the fest. “We can make a difference to this film, which will find it hard to get a fair reception,” Pierson says. “We can allow the film to be enjoyed for what it is.”
Still to come next week are titles for The Midnighter and SXFantastic feature sections (programmed by The Alamo’s Tim League) as well as the short film program and panels.
NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
This year’s 8 films were selected from 984 submissions. Each film is a World Premiere.
Films screening in Narrative Feature Competition are:
Director & Writer: Aimée Lagos
Four young lives. One night. One terrifying event. These 96 minutes will change everything.
Cast: Brittany Snow, Evan Ross, Christian Serratos, J. Michael Trautmann, and David Oyelowo
A Year in Mooring
Director: Chris Eyre, Writer: Peter Vanderwall
In his first leading dramatic role, Josh Lucas walks an isolated line between solitude and redemption. This quiet cinematic journey tells a of tale grief, solace and peace. Cast: Josh Lucas, Ayelet Zurer, James Cromwell, Jon Tenney, Taylor Nichols (World Premiere)
American Animal [pictured]
Director & Writer: Matt D’Elia
Jimmy – eccentric, delusional, dying – feels betrayed when roommate James gets a job. During one night of drinks, drugs and women, a classic battle of wills ensues as James prepares for work and Jimmy goes mad. Cast: Matt D’Elia, Brendan Fletcher, Mircea Monroe, Angela Sarafyan
Charlie Casanova (Ireland)
Director & Writer: Terry McMahon
A ruling class sociopath knocks down a working class girl in a hit-and-run and uses a deck of playing cards to determine his fate. Cast: Emmett J. Scanlan, Leigh Arnold, Damien Hannaway, Ruth McIntyre, Tony Murphy (World Premiere)
Director & Writer: Janet Grillo
A poignant yet humor filled story about a single mother of a teenager with autism, confronting her child’s future. What will sustain her daughter, and herself? A parent/child love story, when love means letting go. Cast: Beth Broderick, Ashley Rickards, Greg Germann, JR Bourne, Reno (World Premiere)
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Director & Writer: K. Lorrel Manning
A war torn marine returns home to face his fiercest battle yet — the one against himself.
Cast: Michael Cuomo, JD Williams, Monique Gabriela Curnen, Tina Sloan, Alan Dale (World Premiere)
Director & Writer: Robbie Pickering
When a dutiful, albeit barren, housewife discovers that her ailing husband has an illegitimate son, she sets out to find the young man and reunite him with her husband before he dies.
Cast: Rachael Harris, Matt O’Leary, Jon Gries, John Diehl (World Premiere)
Small, Beautifully Moving Parts [pictured]
Directors & Writers: Annie J. Howell & Lisa Robinson
Technology-obsessed Sarah Sparks is pregnant and ambivalent, afraid she relates better to machines than to people. Looking for answers, she hits the road in search of her estranged mother, now living off the grid. Cast: Anna Margaret Hollyman, André Holland, Sarah Rafferty, Susan Kalechi Watson, Mary Beth Peil (World Premiere)
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
This year’s 8 films were selected from 808 submissions. Each film is a World Premiere.
Films screening in Documentary Feature Competition are:
Director: Sally Rowe
Considered a rising star of haute cuisine, Paul Liebrandt found his career stalled in New York’s austere environment post 9/11. Paul struggles over the next decade as he tries to make his way back to the top. (World Premiere)
Better This World
Directors: Katie Galloway & Kelly Duane de la Vega
Two childhood friends from Midland, Texas cross a line that changes their lives forever. The result: eight homemade bombs, multiple domestic terrorism charges and a high stakes entrapment defense hinging on a controversial FBI informant. (World Premiere)
The City Dark
Director: Ian Cheney
The film chronicles the disappearance of darkness, following astronomers, cancer researchers, ecologists and philosophers in a quest to understand what is lost in the glare of city lights. (World Premiere)
Director: Tristan Patterson
Killer Films presents the transmissions of a lost kid, falling in love, in the suburbs of Fullerton, California. Featuring skateboarding, the usual drugs, and stray glimpses of unusual beauty.
Directors: Michael Tucker & Petra Epperlein
A documentary about the art and sport of fighting: a microcosm of life, a physical manifestation of that other brutal contest called the American Dream. (World Premiere)
Director: Vikram Gandhi
A documentary about a man who impersonates a wise Indian Guru and builds a following in Arizona. (World Premiere)
LAST DAYS HERE
Directors: Don Argott & Demian Fenton
The film follows middle-aged rocker Bobby Liebling, lead singer of the cult hard rock/heavy metal band Pentagram, as he leaves his parents’ basement in search of the life he never lived.
Where Soldiers Come From
Director: Heather Courtney
From a snowy small town in Northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan and back, the film follows the four-year journey of childhood friends and their town, forever changed by a faraway war. (World Premiere)
Big names, big talent: Headliners bring star power to SXSW, featuring red carpet premieres and gala film events with some major and rising names in cinema.
Films screening in Headliners are:
Director: Takashi Miike, Writers: Shoichirou Ikemiya & Daisuke Tengan
Distressed by the Lord’s murderous rampage, top Shogun official Sir Doi secretly calls on esteemed samurai Shinzaemon Shimada to assassinate the evil Naritsugu. Outraged by Lord Naritsugu’s vile acts, Shinzaemon willingly accepts the dangerous mission. Cast: Koji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yusuke Iseya, Goro Inagaki, Masachika Ichimura
Ain’t It Cool News 15th Anniversary Screening
Harry Knowles will curate a surprise screening in honor of the 15th Anniversary of his popular cult website Ain’t it Cool News.
Director: Jodie Foster, Writer: Kyle Killen
Two-time Academy Award® winner Jodie Foster directs and co-stars with two-time Academy Award® winner Mel Gibson in an emotional story about a man on a journey to re-discover his family and re-start his life. Plagued by his own demons, Walter Black was once a successful toy executive and family man who now suffers from depression. No matter what he tries, Walter can’t seem to get himself back on track…until a beaver hand puppet enters his life. Cast: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Cherry Jones (World Premiere)
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
Director: Rodman Flender
Did Conan O’Brien go on tour to connect with his fans or fill a void within himself? Rodman Flender’s documentary captures an artist trained in improvisation at the most improvisational time of his career. (World Premiere)
Director: Greg Mottola, Writers: Simon Pegg & Nick Frost
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reunite as two geeks who meet an alien named Paul (Seth Rogen) on a pilgrimage to America’s UFO heartland. Their road trip will alter our universe forever. Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Blythe Danner, John Carroll Lynch, with Sigourney Weaver, and Seth Rogen as Paul (North American Premiere)
Director: Duncan Jones, Writer: Ben Ripley
When soldier Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up in the body of an unknown man, he discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train. In an assignment unlike any he’s ever known, he learns he’s part of a government experiment called the “Source Code,” a computer program that enables him to cross over into another man’s identity in the last 8 minutes of his life. Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright (World Premiere)
Director & Writer: James Gunn
In this outlandish dark comedy, James Gunn has created what is perhaps the definitive take on self-reflexive superheroes. Cast: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker
Director: Tom McCarthy, Writers: Tom McCarthy & Joe Tiboni
Tom McCarthy, acclaimed writer/director of The Visitor and The Station Agent, once again explores the depths and nuances of human relationships in his new film about the allegiances and bonds between unlikely characters. Cast: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor, Burt Young, Melanie Lynskey, Alex Schaffer, Margo Martindale, David Thompson
Shining a light on new documentary and narrative features receiving their World, North American or U.S. Premieres at SXSW.
Films screening in Spotlight Premieres are:
A Bag of Hammers
Director: Brian Crano, Writers: Brian Crano & Jake Sandvig
An offbeat comedy about two misfit best friends incapable of growing up, whose direction is tested by an abandoned child, worn beyond his years; together they invent the family they’ve always needed. Cast: Jason Ritter, Jake Sandvig, Chandler Canterbury, Rebecca Hall, Carrie Preston (World Premiere)
Director: Jeff Myers
In an effort to rekindle his Christmas spirit, Jack decides to spend this season as Santa Claus, but the role of Kris Kringle is more complex than he thinks. (World Premiere)
Writer & Director: Mike Mills
A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover. Cast: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mélanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic, Kai Lennox (U.S. Premiere)
Bob and The Monster
Director: Keirda Bahruth
A highly compelling portrait of outspoken indie-rock hero Bob Forrest, through his life-threatening struggle with addiction, to his transformation into one of the most influential and controversial drug counselors in the US today. (World Premiere)
Director: Joseph Kahn, Writers: Joseph Kahn & Mark Palermo
A downtrodden 17-year-old girl is sent to detention where she must survive a slasher film killer and save the world in time for prom. Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Dane Cook, Shanley Caswell, Spencer Locke, Aaron David Johnson (World Premiere)
Director: Anne Buford
From a basketball academy in Senegal, to the high-pressure world of American prep schools, the film documents the extraordinary personal journeys of four particularly tall West African Muslim teenage boys with NBA dreams. (World Premiere)
Director: Sara Terry
Victims and perpetrators of Sierra Leone’s brutal war come together for the first time in an unprecedented reconciliation program of grassroots truth-telling and forgiveness ceremonies.
Fubar: Balls to the Wall (Canada)
Director: Michael Dowse, Writers: David Lawrence, Paul J. Spence
Documentarian Farrel Mitchner explores the lives of headbangers Dean Murdoch and Terry Cahill. Cast: Paul J. Spence, David Lawrence (U.S. Premiere)
Girl Walks Into a Bar
Director & Writer: Sebastian Gutierrez
A sharp-witted comedy that follows a group of apparent strangers in interlocking stories taking place in ten different bars during the course of one evening in Los Angeles. Cast: Carla Gugino, Zachary Quinto, Danny DeVito, Josh Hartnett, Rosario Dawson (World Premiere)
Director & Writer: Ti West
Hotel clerks by day, amateur ghost hunters by night, the last two employees of the historic Yankee Pedlar Inn set out to prove that their place of business is as haunted as its reputation.
Cast: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis (World Premiere)
It’s About You
Director: Kurt Markus
First-time filmmakers, photographer Kurt Markus and son, Ian, document John Mellencamp’s 2009 summer tour and recording of his latest album. This film celebrates the visual beauty and power of Super8 film and the human voice. (World Premiere)
Director & Writer: Alex Munt
A pop-art film based on the novel “Living Between Fucks” by Cry Bloxsome. It follows Goodchild, a young writer back home for his ex-girlfriend’s funeral, The Dead Girl. Love, Loss & Desperation.
Cast: Toby Schmitz, Bianca Chiminello, Gracie Otto, Septimus Caton, April Rose Pengilly
The Other F Word
Director: Andrea Blaugrund Nevins
When the most anti-authoritarian among us become the ultimate authorities… we might just have to use The Other F Word. (World Premiere)
Directors: Victor Köhler & David Dworsky
The first real testimony of the digi-creative revolution. It’s an 80 minute global journey capturing how digital technology and mindset has transformed the concept of art and culture.
(North American Premiere)
Directors: Dan Geller & Dayna Goldfine
Apple. Intel. Genentech. Cisco. Atari. This film tells the story of a handful of risk-takers who alongside visionary entrepreneurs created these revolutionary companies, and in the process ignited the industry known as venture capital. (World Premiere)
Director: Billy Corben
A colorful portrait of Miami’s pot smugglin’ scene of the 1970s, populated with redneck pirates, a ganja-smoking church, and the longest serving marijuana prisoner in American history. (World Premiere)
Directors: Dan Lindsay & T.J. Martin
A volunteer coach helps a neglected inner-city football team in their quest to win the first playoff game in the high school’s history. (World Premiere)
Yelling to the Sky
Director & Writer: Victoria Mahoney
As her family falls apart, seventeen year old Sweetness O’Hara is left to fend for herself in a neighborhood where her survival is uncertain. Cast: Zoe Kravitz, Jason Clarke, Antonique Smith, Gabourey Sidibe, Tim Blake Nelson (U.S. Premiere)
YOU INSTEAD (Scotland)
Director: David Mackenzie, Writer: Thomas Leveritt
Two rival musicians find themselves handcuffed together at the world renowned music festival, T in the Park, where they are both scheduled to perform. Cast: Luke Treadaway, Natalia Tena, Sophie Wu, Ruta Gedmintas, Kari Corbett (North American Premiere)
Innovation and creativity from new and emerging feature filmmakers, showcasing raw talent in documentary and narratives of varying premiere status.
Films screening in Emerging Visions are:
Director & Writer: Dustin Guy Defa
A humorless loner attempts to win the admiration of a drifter with his debut performance at the local comedy club. Cast: Kentucker Audley, Eléonore Hendricks, Annette Wright, Allison Baar
The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye
Director: Marie Losier
A portrait of the life and work of ground-breaking performance artist and music pioneer Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV) and his wife Lady Jaye, centered around their sexual transformations for their “Pandrogyne” project. (North American Premiere)
Director & Writer: Evan Glodell
A love story with apocalyptic stakes. Cast: Evan Glodell, Jessie Wiseman, Tyler Dawson, Rebekah Brandes, Vincent Grashaw
The Catechism Cataclysm
Director & Writer: Todd Rohal
Father William Smoortser drops his bible into a toilet at a rest stop just before embarking on a day-long canoe trip, breaking loose all glorious hell. Cast: Steve Little, Robert Longstreet, Walter Dalton, Miki Ann Maddox, Koko Lanham, Rico
Caught Inside (Australia)
Director: Adam Blaiklock, Writers: Adam Blaiklock & Matt Tomaszewski
A surfing holiday turns deadly when a group of friends fight over a beautiful woman. Cast: Ben Oxenbould, Daisy Betts, Sam Lyndon, Simon Lyndon, Peter Phelps (North American Premiere)
Director: Jarred Alterman
Artist Christiaan Zwanikken resurrects deceased wildlife by reanimating the skeletal remains with servomotors and robotics. He breeds these new species in a 400-year-old monastery in Portugal, restored from ruins and converted into his laboratory. (North American Premiere)
The Dish & The Spoon
Director: Alison Bagnall, Writers: Alison Bagnall, Andrew Lewis
In this poignant comedy, Rose (Greta Gerwig), reeling from her husband’s affair, collides and forms an unexpected bond with a marooned teenager from England (exciting newcomer Olly Alexander) in a boarded-up Delaware beach town. Cast: Greta Gerwig, Olly Alexander, Eleonore Hendricks, Amy Seimetz, Adam Rothenberg (World Premiere)
Fuck my life (Chile)
Director & Writer: Nicolás López
Love in the times of Facebook is worst than love in the times of cholera.
Cast: Ariel Levy, Lucy Cominetti, Andrea Velasco, Paz Bascuñan, Leonor Varela (U.S. Premiere)
Director & Writer: Sophia Takal
An intimate friendship between two women dissolves as they are drawn into an irrational, destructive spiral of jealousy and paranoid fantasy in this haunting examination of the female psyche.
Cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Sophia Takal, Lawrence Michael Levine (World Premiere)
THE KEY MAN
Director & Writer: Peter Himmelstein
Bobby Scheinman is an insurance salesman struggling to provide for his family. Enter Vincent and Irving, two con men who convince Bobby to join them for a moneymaking scheme that quickly spirals out of control. Cast: Jack Davenport, Hugo Weaving, Brian Cox, Judy Greer, Ben Shenkman
Director: R. Alverson, Writers: R. Alverson & Colm O’Leary
Ike (Will Oldham), an Evangelical Christian, befriends Sean, an Irish immigrant, and attempts to ensure his salvation. A meditation on the allure and limitations of modern utopian belief. Cast: Will Oldham, Colm O’Leary, Thomas Bowles, Walter Scott, Roxanne Ferris (North American Premiere)
No Matter What
Director & Writer: Cherie Saulter
The story of Nick and Joey, two best friends living in the crumbling landscape of rural Florida, whose lives and friendship are changed by the journey to find Joey’s mother. Cast: Matt Webb, Waylan Gross, Amy Seimetz (World Premiere)
Our Day Will Come (France)
Director: Romain Gavras, Writers: Romain Gavras & Karim Boucherka
Two outcast redheads set off on a roadtrip of hate, violence and self-destruction. The time for revenge has come… Cast: Vincent Cassel, Olivier Barthelemy (U.S. Premiere)
Director: Gustavo Pizzi, Writers: Gustavo Pizzi & Karine Teles
What’s the importance of luck in life? Is luck part of the craft? Cast: Karine Teles, Camilo Pellegrini, Dany Roland, Otavio Muller (North American Premiere)
Director & Writer: Michael Tully
A reclusive sports hustler returns home to his family farm after years of absence to reunite with his two eccentric, unhinged and emotionally damaged brothers. Cast: Robert Longstreet, Onur Tukel, Michael Tully, Rachel Korine, Mark Darby Robinson
Director & Writer: Joe Swanberg
Filmmaking and life converge around a werewolf film. Cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Ti West, Amy Seimetz, Joe Swanberg, Jane Adams (North American Premiere)
Director: Dave Boyle, Writers: Dave Boyle, Joel Clark, & Goh Nakamura
Musician Goh Nakamura is hired to teach TV actor Danny Turner how to walk and talk like a rock star for his new movie. Cast: Goh Nakamura, Chadd Stoops, Lynn Chen, Mary Cavett, Joy Osmanski (World Premiere)
Director & Writer: Kyle Smith
Ten friends gather to play an annual game of touch football in this real-time comedy.
Cast: Morgan Beck, Adam Benic, Kerry Bishé, Troy Buchanan, Tom DiMenna (World Premiere)
Director & Writer: Andrew Haigh
A one-night stand that becomes something else, something important – a (sort of) love story between two guys trying to take control of their lives. Cast: Tom Cullen, Chris New (World Premiere)
LONE STAR STATES
Texas proud! Documentaries and Narratives with a special connection to the Lone Star State.
Films screening in Lone Star States are:
Director: Aaron Rottinghaus, Writers: Aaron Rottinghaus & Josh Danziger
Young love is derailed by a rare psychological disorder known as icd-10 F24. Cast: Olesya Rulin, Josh Danziger, Michael Bowen, Bruce McGill, Joey Lauren Adams (World Premiere)
Director & Writer: Aaron Burns
Sad, fat, black, latino, nerd. It doesn’t get any worse than that. Cast: Austin Marshall, Devyn Ray, Tiger Sheu, Danny Trejo, Jeff Fahey (World Premiere)
Director: Turk Pipkin
Filmmaker Turk Pipkin’s promise to help build the first high school for a remote African community connects Americans and Kenyans in this true story. (World Premiere)
Five Time Champion
Director & Writer: Berndt Mader
A film about love, hope, petty theft, adultery, and the boundless opportunities presented by science. Cast: Betty Buckley, Dana Wheeler Nicholson, Jon Gries, Ryan Akin, Robert Longstreet
INCENDIARY: The Willingham Case
Director: Steve Mims
Cameron Todd Willingham: A martyr for anti-death penalty activists, a ‘monster’ for right-wing politicians and a flash point for an astonishing twenty-first century fight between science and folklore. (World Premiere)
Inside America (Austria)
Director & Writer: Barbara Eder
A portrait of six teenagers during their senior year at Hanna High School in Brownsville and “a relentless, downbeat but convincing indictment of a small Texas high school.” Cast: Raul Juarez, Aimeé Lizette Saldivar, Zuleyma Jaime, Luis De Los Santos, Carlos Benavides, Patty Barrera
My Sucky Teen Romance
Director & Writer: Emily Hagins
In a culture that is currently overrun with romanticized vampires, it is up to four geeky teenagers to defend their friend and beloved sci-fi convention from a group of very real, blood-thirsty vampires.
Cast: Elaine Hurt, Patrick Delgado, Santiago Dietche, Lauren Lee, Tony Vespe (World Premiere)
Otis Under Sky
Director: Anlo Sepulveda, Writers: Anlo Sepulveda, Anis Mojgani, Roberta Colindrez
Otis is a socially inept web artist who struggles to connect with people. He falls into unrequited love with Ursula, and his world is turned upside down. Cast: Anis Mojgani, Roberta Colindrez, Tony Jackson, Jacqueline Leal, Ruth Sepulveda (World Premiere)
Director & Writer: Clay Liford
A high school teacher is severely beaten by his own students. Too embarrassed to inform the authorities, he plots his own revenge. Cast: Nate Rubin, Alicia Anthony, Alex Karpovsky, Jonny Mars, Tony Hale (World Premiere)
24 BEATS PER SECOND
Showcasing the sounds, culture and influence of music and musicians, with an emphasis on documentary.
Films screening in 24 Beats Per Second are:
Benda Bilili! (France)
Directors: Renaud Barret & Florent de La Tullaye
Ricky dreams of making Staff Benda Bilili the best band in Congo Kinshasa. Roger wants to join these stars of the ghetto. Together, they must avoid the pitfalls of the street and believe in music. (U.S. Premiere)
Director: James Moll
The definitive documentary of the last great American rock n’ roll band: chronicling Foo Fighters’ 16 year history from their first club gigs to the recording of their new album in Dave Grohl’s garage.
Le Tigre: On Tour
Director: Kerthy Fix
A concert film that follows a feminist electronic band across 4 continents and 10 countries and provides an unusual peek behind the curtain of the contemporary pop machine. (World Premiere)
Live at Preservation Hall: Louisiana Fairytale
Director: Danny Clinch
The film documents the collaboration between New Orleans’s legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band and American rock band My Morning Jacket, demonstrating the power of Preservation Hall to inspire a whole new generation of musicians. (World Premiere)
Love Shines (Canada)
Director: Douglas Arrowsmith
Love Shines follows Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith as he makes his latest studio album with legendary producer Bob Rock. (U.S. Premiere)
NYMAN IN PROGRESS (Germany/England)
Director: Silvia Beck
A documentary about composer and artist Michael Nyman, who at 65, surprises the world with a new insight into his creativity. (U.S. Premiere)
Outside Industry: The Story of SXSW
Director: Alan Berg
Four guys living on next to nothing created a music event in the hopes of giving bands a way of connecting with music insiders. The result was the biggest music industry event in the world.
Sound It Out (England)
Director: Jeanie Finlay
A documentary portrait of the very last record shop in Teesside. A distinctive, funny and intimate film about men, the North of England and the irreplaceable role of music in our lives. (World Premiere)
Taken By Storm: The Art of Storm Thorgerson and Hipgnosis
Director: Roddy Bogawa
Real? Surreal? Iconic? Impossible? The album art of Storm Thorgerson is so far deeply embedded into our psyche, it’s hard to believe it all came from one mind. (World Premiere)
UPSIDE DOWN: THE CREATION RECORDS STORY (England)
Director: Danny O’Connor
The definitive and fully authorized documentary of the highs and lows of the UK’s most inspired and dissolute independent record label – Creation Records. (North American Premiere)
A diverse panorama of international non-fiction filmmaking talent, including premieres, interactive documentaries and shorts.
Films screening in SX Global are:
Director & Writer: Assaf Tager
In a post-industrial world people are no longer able to dream. Sarah, the single surviving dreamer, sets out to the only place that can provide answers to her strange night visions: the dream factory.
Cast: Sarah Adler, David Fire, Liron Levo, Nicole Veronica (North American Premiere)
Director: Janus Metz
Following a group of Danish solders on a 2009 tour of Afghanistan, Janus Metz’s acclaimed documentary is a gripping, visually stunning probe into the psychology of young men in the midst of a senseless war.
Beats of Freedom (Poland)
Directors: Leszek Gnoinski & Wojciech Slota
A captivating film about the birth of rock music in Poland.
El Ambulante (Argentina)
Directors & Writers: Eduardo de la Serna, Lucas Marcheggiano and Adriana Yurcovich
A traveler arrives at a village and proposes to make a feature film – but only the villagers will act in the film.
El Bulli – Cooking in Progress (Germany)
Director: Gereon Wetzel
The starred chef Ferran Adrià is known as the best, most innovative and craziest cook in the world. Every year, the restaurant closes for six months and Adrià and his creative team retire to their cooking laboratory in Barcelona, to create a new menu for the following season. Everything is allowed – except copying themselves.
Heaven Hell (Czech Republic)
Director: David Calek
A documentary film dealing with human diversity that doesn’t necessarily lead to hell even though it might seem like that from the outsider’s point of view. (U.S. Premiere)
IDFA DocLab presents: New Documentary Narratives
For the third year in a row, SXSW has invited IDFA DocLab (www.idfa.nl/doclab) to organize a panel and a special live cinema screening. IDFA DocLab is the new media program of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Since 2008, IDFA DocLab showcases the many new and unexpected forms of documentary storytelling made possible by digital technology. In Europe, the program has become a platform for transmedia and multiplatform projects, ranging from interactive webdocs to documentary media art.
My Life With Carlos (Chile/Germany/Spain)
Director: German Berger-Hertz
The film chronicles the journey of a son (director German Berger-Hertz) trying to learn the truth about his father, who was killed in 1973 in Pinochet’s Chile.
Reindeer Spotting (Finland)
Director: Joonas Neuvonen
Without moralizing the film shows the real life of a group of friends in the Arctic Circle, dabbling in petty crime and hard drugs. Disturbing, brutal and beautifully honest. Trainspotting in Santa Land.
(North American Premiere)
Self Made (England)
Director: Gillian Wearing
A diverse group of British people respond to an ad from artist Gillian Wearing. Taking part in an experiment with Method acting, they find themselves for the first time confronting their innermost personal truths.
Viva Riva! (Democratic Republic of Congo)
Director & Writer: Djo Tunda Wa Munga
The first major film out of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the story follows fast-living hustler Riva. While being pursued by Kinshasa’s dangerous underworld, Riva finds himself inextricably drawn to a gangster’s seductive, kept woman. Cast: Patsha Bay, Manie Malone, Hoji Fortuna, Marlene Longage, Diplome Amekindra, Alex Herabo (U.S. Premiere)
WAY OF THE MORRIS (England)
Directors: Tim Plester & Rob Curry
Filmmaker Tim Plester journeys from the English village green to the killing fields of The Somme, in search of a connection with the much-maligned native dance traditions that run deep in his blood. (World Premiere)
Acclaimed standouts and selected previous premieres from festivals around the world.
Films screening in Festival Favorites are:
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey
Director: Constance A. Marks
The Muppet Elmo is one of the most beloved characters among children across the globe. Meet the unlikely man behind the puppet – the heart and soul of Elmo – Kevin Clash. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, this documentary includes rare archival footage and offers a behind-the-scenes look at Sesame Street and the Jim Henson Workshop.
CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS (France)
Director: Werner Herzog
Filming in 3D, Herzog captures the wonder and beauty of one of the most awe-inspiring sites on earth.
Director & Writer: Max Winkler
Sam Davis convinces his former best friend to spend a weekend with him to rekindle their friendship at an elegant beachside estate but he is forced to realize how complicated love and friendship can be. Cast: Michael Angarano, Uma Thurman, Reece Thompson, Lee Pace, Jake Johnson
The First Movie (Canada/England)
Director: Mark Cousins
What’s it like to be a child in war – not when the conflict is raging, but when the war tide is out, as it were, when kids are telling stories or playing games?
Director: Spencer Susser, Writers: Spencer Susser & David Michôd
Loud music. Pornography. Burning shit down – just a few of Hesher’s favorite things. And it’s just this kind of anarchy that’s needed to shake the burdens of sorrow from a boy and his father.
Cast: Natalie Portman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rainn Wilson, Devin Brochu, Piper Laurie
How to Die in Oregon
Director: Peter D. Richardson
The film tells the complex stories of terminally ill Oregonians, their families, doctors and friends, as they decide whether to end their life by lethal overdose under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.
In a Better World (Denmark)
Director: Susanne Bier, Writer: Anders Thomas Jensen, based on a story by Susanne Bier and Anders Thomas Jensen
Golden Globe® Award winner and Academy Award® nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, and told from the two very different worlds of an idyllic Danish town and an African refugee camp, a doctor and his family are faced with conflicts that force them to make difficult choices between revenge and forgiveness. Cast: Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm, Ulrich Thomsen, Markus Rygaard, William Jøhnk Nielsen
Director & Writer: Denis Villenueve
Academy Award® nominee for Best Foreign Language Film and adaptation of Wajdi Mouawad’s acclaimed play, Incendies tells the story of two siblings who set out to the Middle East to understand the life of their deceased enigmatic mother, who has left them with a mystery only they can piece together. Cast: Lubna Azabal, Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette, Rémy Girard
Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times
Director: Andrew Rossi
Unprecedented access to the New York Times newsroom yields a complex view of a media landscape fraught with both peril and opportunity.
POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
Director: Morgan Spurlock
Morgan Spurlock (Oscar nominee, Super Size Me) explores the world of product placement, marketing and advertising in POM Wonderful Presents: THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD, a film fully financed through product placement.
ROAD TO NOWHERE
Director: Monte Hellman, Writer: Steven Gaydos
Illusion is the First of all Pleasures. Cast: Shannyn Sossamon, Tygh Runyan, Dominique Swain, Cliff De Young, Waylon Payne
Sound of My Voice
Director: Zal Batmanglij, Writers: Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling
A young couple infiltrate a cult that meets in the San Fernando Valley. Cast: Brit Marling, Christopher Denham, Nicole Vicius
Director: Errol Morris
Errol Morris further redefines and pushes the boundaries of documentary film with the tale of Joyce McKinney and the infamous “Case of the Manacled Mormon.”
Director: Azazel Jacobs, Writer: Patrick deWitt
A moving and often funny film about a big kid in a small town that doesn’t seem to have room for anyone who is different. Cast: Jacob Wysocki, John C. Reilly, Creed Bratton, Olivia Crocicchia, Bridger Zadina
Wasted on the Young (Australia)
Director & Writer: Ben C. Lucas
An incident at a high school party sets off a dramatic chain of events and two brothers must place their lives at the mercy of popular opinion. Cast: Oliver Ackland, Adelaide Clemens, Alex Russell
Live Soundtracks, cult re-issues and much more. Our Special Events section offers unusual, unexpected and unique film event one-offs.
Films screening in Special Events are:
Directors: Edward Sedgwick & Buster Keaton, Writer: Clyde Bruckman
Buster Keaton plays a bumbling street photographer who tries his hand as a newsreel cameraman to impress a girl. Austin jazz/rock band Bee vs. Moth plays their original score live. Presented in partnership with the Alamo Drafthouse. Cast: Buster Keaton, Marceline Day, Harold Goodwin, Sidney Bracey, Harry Gribbon
Director: Michael Dowse, Writers: Dave Lawrence, Paul J. Spence, Michael Dowse
SXSW presents the cult classic Fubar to celebrate the screening of SXSW 2011 Official Selection, Fubar: Balls to the Wall. Cast: Dave Lawrence, Paul J. Spence, Gordon Skilling, Andrew Sparacino, Tracy Lawrence
The National Parks Project (Canada)
A stunning collection of short films that represents the breadth of Canada’s artistic talent and diversity of the country’s landscape, as it’s never been seen before. Cast: Sarah Harmer, Cadence Weapon, Bry Webb, Melissa Auf der Maur, Sam Roberts (U.S. Premiere)
Red Riding Hood – Special Screening
Director: Catherine Hardwicke, Writer: David Leslie Johnson
Catherine Hardwicke will be present for Q&A following this special screening of her latest film, on Thursday, March 10 at midnight. In the film, a werewolf terrorizes a small village, especially when the people discover that, by day, the beast could be anyone. And one young woman discovers that she has a unique connection to the wolf that makes her both suspect…and bait.
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons
The Rime of the Modern Mariner (England)
Director & Writer: Mark Donne
A documentary set to a spellbinding live musical score – which examines the nature of relationship between a nation state and the seas in a globalized world. Cast: Mark Donne, Carl Barat (The Libertines), Anthony Rossomando (The Klaxons) (U.S. Premiere)