Once summertime comes, the SXSW cycle often consists of tracking the future of films from the previous festival. In other words, we like to kick-off our promotion for the 2006 festival with news about what happened to the films from the 2005 festival. And, while there are plenty of SXSW 2005 films that have either just come to theaters (Unleashed, Palindromes, Enron, Kung Fu Hustle, etc.), will be arriving in theaters soon (Murderball, The Aristocrats, Rock School, etc.), or have distribution deals pending (those titles are confidential, for now), there’s something unique happening this year.
This summer, some of the past SXSW films making a splash with distribution, are titles from SXSW 2004. There were plenty that came out last year from the 2004 festival. These included: Bush’s Brain, Brother to Brother, Super Size Me, Before Sunset, Coffee & Cigarettes, and more. But, for many reasons, a good number of them are just now making their way to screens nationwide.
Currently in theaters, battling it out for the sports documentary crowd are Up For Grabs and A League of Ordinary Gentlemen. Both premiered at SXSW in 2004, the former a controversial baseball saga and the latter, an audience-award winning glimpse at professional bowling. Meanwhile, Lions Gate is prepping their long-awaited release of the blood-thirsty horror film, High Tension (which they picked up at Toronto 2003, going on to play Sundance and SXSW in 2004). The film finally opens (very) wide on June 10. Plus, Lions Gate’s Australian zombie film, Undead, will finally open nationwide on July 1. The film also found a rabid following during SXSW 2004.
On the smaller side of things, SXSW 2004 narrative feature Mail Order Bride received some nice reviews and a solid opening two months ago by First Independent Pictures under the new title, Mail Order Wife. Plus, the documentary which won our “Lone Star States” audience award during its world premiere at SXSW 2004, Tommy Davis’ Mojados, is enjoying a sturdy run right now, in New York, following some great praise from NYC publications. This follows the DIY distribution of 2004 fest fave, Double Dare, which is wrapping up a successful grassroots theatrical run around the U.S.
And news comes this week that another SXSW 2004 world premiere, Screen Door Jesus, just landed a theatrical deal with Indican Pictures. So, while many SXSW 2005 titles will begin making their way into theaters… the 2004 films are still plugging along, a year and more since the festival concluded. What’s the whole point of this long and rambling list of titles? The point is that it’s evident filmmakers should never say never about their theatrical possibilities. While the deal and the dates may not come immediately following a festival premiere… that doesn’t mean they won’t come eventually.