Some 113 feature films are set to screen at the 15th South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference & Festival in Austin, TX. Running, March 7 - 15, 2008, the event's showcases are the documentary and narrative feature competitions (see complete lists below). Also on tap are high-profile, anticipated films in the Spotlight Premieres section, including Nanette Burstein's "American Teen," Jay & Mark Duplass' "Baghead," Aaron Rose & Joshua Leonard's "Beautiful Losers," Clark Gregg's "Choke," Nicholas Stoller's "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," Michael Almereyda's "New Orleans Mon Amour," Joe Swanberg & Greta Gerwig's "Nights and Weekends," Martin Scorsese's "Shine A Light," Kimberly Peirce's "Stop-Loss," Liz Mermin's "Shot In Bombay," and Morgan Spurlock's "Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?". The event, while will open Robert Luketic's "21," will close with Stephen Walker's "Young@Heart."
This year's SXSW lineup has been culled from 3,140 total feature and short film submissions, according to festival producer Matt Dentler, with the approximately 100 short film selections for the 2008 festival set to be announced next week. In addition to the two main competition sections, and the Spotlight Premieres, festival sections also include Emerging Visions, 24 Beats Per Second, Lone Star States, 'Round Midnight, and Special Screenings.
"What struck me most was how so many of the narrative features depict very regional American stories," noted Denter, in comments to indieWIRE on Monday night about the festival's narrative feature selections. "Even the East Coast or West Coast stories, are very specific to a neighborhood or subculture. I think this is a result of more filmmakers writing what they know."
Meanwhile, commenting on the documentary competition, Matt Dentler told indieWIRE tonight, "There is a global awareness to the films that is remarkable. They aren't just stories about war and politics, they're very personal sagas with very real people center stage." Continuing, he added, "It didn't matter if a documentary examined something in Brazil or the Middle East or Middle America, there was a universal quality to the characters that I think will transcend any language barriers." And concluding, he added, "Even the two competition docs directly connected to Iraq, are not 'Iraq war docs'."
SXSW 2008 Competition Lineups
(information provided by the festival)
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
"Bulletproof Salesman," director by Michael Tucker & Petra Epperlein
Fidelis Cloer is a self-confessed war profiteer who found The Perfect War when the US invaded Iraq. It wasn't about selling a dozen cars, or even a hundred, it was a thousand-car war where security would become the ultimate product. (World Premiere)
"FrontRunners," director by Caroline Suh
The campaign for student body president at Stuyvesant, perhaps the most prestigious public high school in the country, is almost as sophisticated as any presidential election. But unlike presidential candidates, they also have to do their homework, take their SATs and write their college applications. (World Premiere)
"Full Battle Rattle," directed by Jesse Moss & Tony Gerber
A feature documentary about life inside the US Army's Iraq Simulation in California's Mojave Desert. The film follows one Army Battalion's efforts to pacify the town of Medina Wasl, one of thirteen villages in the simulation, as it tips precariously on the brink of civil war. (North American Premiere)
"The Matador," directed by Stephen Higgins & Nina Gilden Seavey
The epic tale of David Fandila's quest to become the world's top-ranked bullfighter. Heart-wrenching setbacks and thrilling successes dramatize his three-year journey across Spain and Latin America and into the pages of bullfighting history. (World Premiere)
"Sex Positive," directed by Daryl Wein
A look at the life of Richard Berkowitz, a revolutionary gay S&M hustler turned AIDS activist in the 1980s, whose incomparable contribution to the invention of safe sex has long since been forgotten. (World Premiere)
"Some Assembly Required," directed by Dori Berinstein
Over 2000 kids. 400 teams nationwide. Eight months of brainstorming, designing and building. One goal: to create the next great toy. (World Premiere)
"They Killed Sister Dorothy," directed by Daniel Junge
On February 12th, 2005, a 73 year-old Catholic nun from Ohio, was shot six times at point blank range and left to die on a muddy Amazon road. Who was this woman, and why was she killed? What will become of her murderers, and who else was involved? What are the implications of her murder and these trials on the future? (World Premiere)
"We Are Wizards," directed by Josh Koury
An entertaining and comprehensive portrait of the passionate culture of Harry Potter fans. (World Premiere)
NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
"Explicit Ills," directed and written by Mark Webber
Starring: Lou Taylor Pucci, Frankie Shaw, Tariq Trotter, Rosario Dawson, Noamie Harris, Paul Dano. Young love, drugs and poverty collide in the city of Philadelphia creating a beautiful tale of hope and the power of coming together. (World Premiere)
"The Lost Coast," director and written by Gabriel Fleming
Starring: Ian Scott McGregor, Lucas Alifano, Lindsay Benner, Chris Yule. As a group of old high school friends wander through San Francisco on Halloween night, two of them are forced to confront their unspoken sexual history. (World Premiere)
"My Effortless Brilliance," directed by Lynn Shelton. Written by Lynn Shelton, Sean Nelson, Basil Harris.
Starring: Sean Nelson, Basil Harris, Calvin Reeder, Jeanette Maus. Successful and self-involved novelist Eric Lambert Jones has been unceremoniously dumped by his life long buddy, Dylan. In an attempt to piece together the fractured friendship, Eric takes a side trip from his latest book tour to drop in on Dylan, newly settled in the picturesque backwoods of Washington state. (World Premiere)
"Older Than America," directed by Georgina Lightning. Written by Georgina Lightning, Christine Kunewa.
Starring: Adam Beach, Tantoo Cardinal, Bradley Cooper, Georgina Lightning, Wes Studi. A woman's haunting visions reveal a Catholic priest's sinister plot to silence her mother from speaking the truth about atrocities that occurred at a Native Indian boarding school. (World Premiere)
"Paper Covers Rock," directed and written by Joe Maggio
Starring: Jeannine Kaspar, Sayra Player, Clint Jordan, Tom Brangle. The story of Sam, a troubled young woman who loses custody of her six year-old daughter in the wake of an unsuccessful suicide attempt. (World Premiere)
"Up With Me," directed by Greg Takoudes. Written by Maeve McQuillan, Greg Takoudes
Starring: Francisco Vicioso, Erika Rivera, Brandon Thorpe, Justin Coltrain. When Francisco, a teenager from Harlem, is admitted to an upstate boarding school on scholarship, he is torn between his life at home (his loyal girlfriend and his jealous best friend) and the new environment. (World Premiere)
"Wellness," director and written by Jake Mahaffy
Starring: Jeff Clark, Paul Mahaffy. The chaotic journey of one man trying to succeed in a business that doesn't exist. (North American Premiere)
"Yeast," directed and writted by Mary Bronstein
Starring: Mary Bronstein, Amy Judd, Greta Gerwig, Sean Williams. A maddeningly oblivious, tyrannical and emotionally stunted young woman tries her best to negotiate two toxic friendships. (World Premiere)
The entire SXSW feature film lineup is available via indieWIRE Insider.
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