SXSW Opens 10th Anniversary Event with "Go Further"
by Brian Brooks
The 10th anniversary edition of South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival will open with "Go Further," event organizers announced. The film by Ron Mann featuring notable personalities from the worlds of music and film including Woody Harrelson, singer Dave Matthews, former 10,000 Maniacs front-woman Natalie Merchant, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Keidis. The film explores the life of actor and activist Harrelson and his entourage on the open road in a hempseed-oil fueled bus for his "Simple Organic Living Tour."
The film festival, which takes place March 7-15 includes 19 world premieres and eight U.S. premieres, is part of a broader event taking place in Austin, Texas including a music festival (March 12-16) and an Interactive Festival featuring panels and speakers (March 7-11). Among other world film premieres scheduled for SXSW is Nancy Savoca's "Dirt," an emotional look at an El Salvadoran maid living in New York supporting her homesick husband and son. Gil Cates Jr. will premiere an adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" set two years in the future with "A Midsummer Night's Rave." In "Rave," a group of friends share an adventure chasing stolen drug money in fueled by a "magical Puck" and his pills.
Toronto Film Festival 2002 film "Assassination Tango" directed by Robert Duvall, will make its U.S. debut. Starring Duvall, the film is about a hit man sent to Argentina to kill a general but becomes transfixed on a seductive woman who introduces him to the sensuality of tango. "Cabin Fever" will also make its American premiere at SXSW. The film, which played in Toronto, is directed by Eli Roth and centers on six young adults who venture into the woods for a private graduation celebration, but are soon vexed by a contagious virus.
Some films in competition include Greg Pritikin's comedy/drama, "Dummy," starring Oscar hopeful Adrien Brody. Also in competition is cyber-mystery "Happy Here and Now" by Michael Almereyda, starring David Arquette and Ally Sheedy, as well as documentary "Girl Hood" by Liz Garbus.
SXSW will also feature a retrospective of highlights of the past 10 years including encore presentations of Richard Linklater's "It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books," George Huang's "Swimming with Sharks," and Aviva Kempner's "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg." Mexican director Arturo Ripstein will also host screenings of some of his favorite films and director-actor Peter Fonda and producer Frank Mazzola will present a restored version of their 1971 Western classic, "The Hired Hand." Indie film figures Bob Berney of Newmarket Films, Eamonn Bowles of Magnolia Pictures, Bingham Ray of United Artists, and Cinetic Media's John Sloss will participate in a panel discussing the biz of filmmaking.