“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” starring Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi, will kick off the 20th annual SXSW Film Conference and Festival, which runs March 8-16 in Austin, Texas, as the event’s opening-night film. Local hero Joe Swanberg will return to the festival with his new comedy “Drinking Buddies,” and director Fede Alvarez will debut his remake of “Evil Dead” -- both are world premieres.
Among the 150 workshops and panels taking place during the conference that runs concurrent with the festival screenings are “A Conversation with Matthew McConaughey,” “Humanizing Heroes: Storytelling Beyond Sports” and “‘Bates Motel’: Story to Screen” with Carlton Cuse.
“Everyone knows that we like to have a good time at SXSW, and our 20th year is already well on track with smart, stylish and highly entertaining work,” said SXSW Film Conference and Festival producer Janet Pierson. “Though this is just a taste of what SXSW 2013 will have to offer, what better way to get the party started than with ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,’ which had us laughing our heads off, despite an 8 am Monday viewing.”
Directed by Don Scardino and written by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley, “Wonderstone” stars Carell and Buscemi as a headlining Las Vegas magician duo fighting both each other and the growing popularity of a rival magician played by Jim Carrey. Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin and James Gandolfini co-star. Warner Bros. and New Line will release the film March 15.
In recent years, “Kick-Ass,” “Source Code” and “I Love You, Man” have opened the high-energy Texas fest, so the comedic, mid-budget “Wonderstone” fits with the festival’s approach of launching with a studio film while staying true to its fun, up-by-the-bootstraps eclecticism.
Most of the rest of the festival lineup will be announced Jan. 31, with Midnighter titles and the Shorts lineup to be unveiled Feb. 6.
Below are the films thus far announced for the 2013 SXSW film fest:
Downloaded (World Premiere)
Director: Alex Winter
Downloaded is a documentary that explores the rise and fall of Napster and the birth of the digital revolution. It's about the teens that helped start this revolution, and the artists and industries who continue to be impacted by it.
Drinking Buddies (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Joe Swanberg
Weekend trips, office parties, late night conversations, drinking on the job, marriage pressure, biological clocks, holding eye contact a second too long… you know what makes the line between "friends" and "more than friends" really blurry? Beer.
Cast: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston
Everyone's Going to Die (World Premiere)
A modern British story about coming home, getting by and the redemptive power of feeling you're not alone. A story where porn hotlines rub shoulders with sexy beavers on rollerskates; where the past is laid to rest, two lives are changed and nobody, finally, is going to die.
Cast: Nora Tschirner, Rob Knighton, Kellie Shirley, Madeline Duggan (United Kingdom)
Evil Dead (World Premiere)
Director: Fede Alvarez, Screenwriter: Fede Alvarez & Rodo Sayagues
Five friends, holed up in a remote cabin, discover a Book of the Dead that unwittingly summons up dormant demons, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left to fight for survival.
Cast: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore
Good Ol' Freda (World Premiere)
Director: Ryan White
Good Ol’ Fredatells the story of Freda Kelly, a shy Liverpudlian teenager asked to work for a young local band hoping to make it big: The Beatles. Their loyal secretary from beginning to end, Freda tells her tales for the first time in 50 years.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (World Premiere)
Director: Don Scardino, Story by Chad Kultgen & Tyler Mitchell and Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley. Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley
When superstar Vegas magicians Burt and Anton let their act grow as stale as their friendship, an ambitious rival with a cutting-edge delivery swoops in for the kill.
Cast: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, with Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini and Jim Carrey
Spring Breakers (U.S. Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Harmony Korine
Four college girls who land in jail after robbing a restaurant in order to fund their spring break vacation find themselves bailed out by a drug and arms dealer who wants them to do some dirty work.
Cast: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine