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by Brian Brooks
January 13, 2011 7:59 AM
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"The Beaver" & "O'Brien" Among World Premieres Slated for SXSW Fest

A scene from Rodman Flender's "Conan O'Brien Can't Stop." Image courtesy of SXSW.

Five world premieres including Jodie Foster's "The Beaver," "Rodman Flender's "Conan O'Brien Can't Stop" and Ti West's "The Innkeepers" are among the group of titles joining the SXSW Film Conference and Festival's lineup this March, the festival revealed today. "Beaver" is slated for the fest's Centerpiece slot on March 16th. As previously announced, the world premiere of director Duncan Jones' "Source Code," starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga will open the event March 11th.

"As we continue to solidify the lineup for 2011, it's truly exciting to be able to announce this little taste of the program," commented film conference and festival producer Janet Pierson in a statement. "Each of these films really showcases an artist stretching their wings in some way, whether it be a late-night talk show host taking his act on the road, an actress/filmmaker carefully and beautifully tackling a heartbreaking subject in her finest work yet, or a successful photographer trying out a new medium in a new landscape."

The complete festival lineup will be announced in early February. The South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival takes place March 11 - 19, 2011 in Austin, Texas.

Announced films with descriptions and information provided by the festival:

"The Beaver" (World Premiere)
Director: Jodie Foster, Writer: Kyle Killen
Summit Entertainment and Participant Media Present in Association with Imagenation Abu Dhabi and Anonymous Content - Two-time Academy Award(R) winner Jodie Foster directs and co-stars with two-time Academy Award(R) 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

A scene from Jodie Foster's "The Beaver." Image courtesy of SXSW.

"Conan O'Brien Can't Stop" (World Premiere)
Director: Rodman Flender
After a much-publicized separation with his former employers, did Conan O'Brien hit the road on a 32-City tour to connect with his fans or fill a void within himself? Filmmaker Rodman Flender followed O'Brien on his "Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour" and returned with an intimate portrait of an artist trained in improvisation, captured at the most improvisational time of his career.

"The Innkeepers" (World Premiere)
Director and 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

"It's About You" (World Premiere)
Directors: Kurt & Ian Markus
First-time filmmakers, photographer Kurt Markus and his son, Ian, document John Mellencamp's summer 2009 tour across America, and the recording of his new album, No Better Than This. This is a raw and personal film, celebrating the visual beauty and power of Super8 film and the human voice.

"Paul" (North American Premiere)
Director: Greg Mottola, Writers: Simon Pegg & Nick Frost
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) reunite for Universal Pictures' comedy-adventure Paul as two sci-fi geeks whose pilgrimage takes them to America's UFO heartland. While there, they accidentally meet an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) who brings them on an insane road trip that alters their 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.

"Square Grouper" (World Premiere)
Director: Billy Corben
A colorful portrait of Miami's pot smuggling scene of the 1970s, populated with redneck pirates, a ganja-smoking church, and the longest serving marijuana prisoner in American history.

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