The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival has revealed the films that will make up this year’s anticipated Midnighters section, as well as the complete short film lineup.
Feauturing four world premieres and three U.S. ones, the nine Midnighters selections include Rob Zombie’s “The Lords of Salem,” the hyped sequel to last year’s “V/H/S,” Calvin Lee Reeder’s follow-up to “The Oregonian,” “The Rambler,” and Adam Wingard’s Toronto favorite “You’re Next.”
“We work year-round searching for films that will wow our audiences at Midnight. This year we scoured the globe and brought back a batch that we knew would truly satisfy the gore hounds of SXSW,” said SXSW Senior Programmer & Operations Manager Jarod Neece in a statement. “Full of scares, sex, madness, laughs, chills and major mind f*cks, we hope there’s a little something for everyone.”
Below are the films playing in the Midnighters section and the full slate of shorts playing at the festival. Synopses provided by SXSW. The festival runs March 8-16 in Austin, Texas.
Scary, funny, sexy, controversial – provocative after-dark features for night owls and the terminally curious.
Big Ass Spider!
Director: Mike Mendez, Screenwriter: Gregory Gieras
When a giant alien spider escapes from a military lab and rampages across the city of Los Angeles, it is up to one clever exterminator and his security guard sidekick to kill the creature before the city is destroyed. Cast: Greg Grunberg, Lombardo Boyar, Clare Kramer, Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Patrick Bauchau (World Premiere)
Director: E.L. Katz, Screenwriters: Trent Haaga, David Chirchirillo
Recently fired and facing eviction, the married father of a newborn has his life turned upside down when he meets a wealthy couple who offer a path to financial security…but at a price.
Cast: Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, Sara Paxton, David Koechner, Amanda Fuller (World Premiere)
Director: Vincenzo Natali, Screenwriter: Brian King
Lisa Johnson is one day shy of her 16th birthday and will be forever. She and her family are doomed to repeat the fateful day before they were all killed in 1985. Cast: Abigail Breslin, Stephen McHattie, Peter Outerbridge, Michelle Nolden, David Hewlett (World Premiere)
Kiss of the Damned
Director/Screenwriter: Xan Cassavetes
Beautiful vampire Djuna tries to resist the advances of human screenwriter Paolo, but eventually gives in to their passion. When her sister Mimi comes to visit, Djuna’s love story is threatened, and the whole vampire community becomes endangered…
Cast: Joséphine de la Baume, Milo Ventimiglia, Roxane Mesquida, Anna Mouglalis, Michael Rapaport, Riley Keough, Ching Valdes-Aran (U.S. Premiere)
The Lords of Salem
Director/Screenwriter: Rob Zombie
From the singular mind of horror maestro Rob Zombie comes a chilling plunge into a nightmare world where evil runs in the blood. Cast: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Ken Foree, Patricia Quinn (U.S. Premiere)
Director: Dennis Iliadis, Screenwriter: Bill Gullo
When the party of the decade is disrupted by a supernatural phenomenon, the night soon descends in to chaos. Cast: Rhys Wakefield, Logan Miller, Ashley Hinshaw, Natalie Hall (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Calvin Lee Reeder
After being released from prison, a man known as The Rambler stumbles upon a strange mystery as he attempts a dangerous journey through treacherous back roads and small towns en route to reconnecting with his long lost brother.
Cast: Dermot Mulroney, Lindsay Pulsipher, Natasha Lyonne, James Cady, Scott Sharot
Directors: Adam Wingard, Gareth Evans, Screenwriters: Simon Barrett, Timo Tjahjanto, Gareth Evans, Jamie Nash, Jason Eisener, John Davies
Searching for a missing student, two private investigators break into his abandoned house and find another collection of mysterious VHS tapes. In viewing the horrific contents of each cassette, they realize there may be terrifying motives behind the student’s disappearance.
Cast: Adam Wingard, Lawrence Levine, L. C. Holt, Kelsy Abbott, Hannah Hughes
Director: Adam Wingard, Screenwriter: Simon Barrett
A fresh twist on home-invasion horror. A gang of masked murderers descend upon a family reunion, and the victims seem trapped…until an unlikely guest proves to be the most talented killer of all.
Cast: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg
A selection of original, well-crafted films that take advantage of the short form and exemplify distinctive and genuine storytelling. The winner of our Grand Jury Award in this category is eligible for a 2014 Academy Award nomination for Best Narrative Short.
Director: Celia Rowlson-Hall
A young woman auditions for the role of “Clipboard Woman”
Director: Kat Candler
After a career spent mining his music from the shadows, the actions of one fan creates a chain reaction for the lead singer of a black metal band.
Director: Frances Bodomo
An African family, lost in America, travels to a Louisiana church to find a cure for its problem child.
Director: Steven Schardt
An alcoholic father, recently served restrictive custody papers, kidnaps his son to go on a road trip.
Director: Santiago Gil
Around an isolated lake, the experience of a tragedy travels like a wave through space and time, from person to person, from memory to imagination.
Dotty (New Zealand)
Directors: Mick Andrews, Brett O’Gorman
A stubborn old lady struggles to send a text message to her daughter.
Ellen Is Leaving (New Zealand)
Director: Michelle Savill
On the eve of departing overseas, Ellen makes the fateful decision to gift her boyfriend a new girlfriend.
Directors: Simon Atkinson, Adam Townley
An eleven year old boy, unable to fly his kite alone, befriends a peculiar girl who can not leave her caravan.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
Director: Matt Spicer
A young woman’s relationship takes a dark turn when every sound her boyfriend makes starts to annoy her.
Directors: Nathan Honnold, Alex Zhuravlov
Kelly, a female entrepreneur, gives personal advice and insight into business and beauty. She finds inspiration in her personal experiences and in her role model Mary Kay.
Directors: Nathan Honnold, Alex Zhuravlov
An elderly couple finds excitement in breaking and entering.
MOBILE HOMES (USA/France)
Director: Vladimir de Fontenay
MOBILE HOMES tells the story of a young woman, trapped in sex trafficking, and her son who explores an unlikely way out.
Director: John Hellberg
What could be easier than robbing a small bookie place on the outskirts of town?
Director: Jeremy Hersh
Rachel, a young Manhattanite, is so in love with her girlfriend’s Native American roots that she begin to lose sight of their relationship.
Directors: Kyle Bogart, Cliff Bogart
A friendship is tested as two Black Metal bandmates lose hope that they will ever achieve their ultimate goal: To be the most evil band in the world.
Directors: Jillian Mayer, Lucas Leyva
#PostModem is a comedic satirical sci-fi pop-musical based on the theories of Ray Kurzweil and other futurists. It’s the story of two Miami girls and how they deal with the technological singularity, told in a series of cinematic tweets.
Director: Sarah Gertrude Shapiro
Behind the scenes of a hit reality TV show, a jaded producer and a spurned beauty queen face off in mental mortal combat. One driven by cash rewards and ambition, the other clinging to her last shred of dignity. Only one can leave victorious.
Director: Jed Cowley
John, a stubborn shale pit owner, and his once dutiful wife, Sheila, have a grave confrontation after months of separation.
Si Nos Dejan
Director: Celia Rowlson-Hall
If they let us, we will love each other all our lives.
Director: Jordana Spiro
A child taxidermist, an outsider in his small town, is entranced by a girl who finds his work beautiful. But just as their relationship begins to progress, he does something that drastically changes everything.
Director: Jason B. Kohl
A pig farmer tests his unemployed son’s resolve to join the family business.
Social Butterfly (France/USA)
Director: Lauren Wolkstein
A 30-year-old American woman enters a teenage party in the South of France. Some of the guests wonder who she is and what she is doing there.
Director: Aaron David DeFazio
When Ron, a high powered hedge fund manager, finds out that his biggest investor may be pulling out of the fund, his world begins to collapse on him, as he juggles fatherhood, his ex-wife, and one very big secret.
Directors: Dustin Bowser, Brie Larson
A relationship ends.
When We Lived in Miami
Director: Amy Seimetz
Filmed in Miami during Hurricane Isaac, ‘It’ll Build in the Gulf’ is a hypnotic short about the lengths one woman will go to keep her family from falling apart.
Unfiltered slices of life, from across the documentary spectrum.
Director: Lukasz Konopa
‘After’ is a film about contemporary life in Auschwitz. In an observation from dusk till dawn, it portrays the theatre of everyday life around the grim confines and captures the energies and activities of a world fascinated by this former concentration camp.
Contents of C______’s Box, in no particular order
Director: Ian Berry
An exploration of a failed relationship through a box of mementos.
Endless Day (Germany)
Director: Anna Frances Ewert
This film is about an insomniac’s inner journey through a sleepless night.
Director: Dara Bratt
“Flutter” is a short observational documentary about an ordinary man obsessed with the extraordinary.
Directors: David White, Paul Wedel
The kindest slaughter: a short documentary about one man’s bloody job.
Director: Roger Hayn
A character portrait of a debt-ridden man with a violent past in pursuit of a fresh start.
The Knife Maker
Director: Keith “keef” Ehrlich
Writer turned knife maker Joel Bukiewicz discusses the human element of craft–the potential for a skill to mature into an art. In sharing his story, he alights on the real meaning of handmade—a movement whose riches are measured in people, not cash.
KRS ONE: Brooklyn to the Bronx
Directors: Brimstone, Joshua Moise
Hip Hop pioneer, KRS-One, takes us through his years as a homeless teenager in New York City. Traveling from Brooklyn to the Bronx, he begins to visualize his steps to becoming an MC.
Magnetic Reconnection (Canada)
Director: Kyle Armstrong
A short documentary film contrasting the Northern Lights with the harsh landscapes and decaying manmade debris littered throughout the northern Canadian town of Churchill, Manitoba.
The Other Dave
Director: Pasquale Greco
Life changes people; especially when it involves 1 billion volts of electricity. “Super Dave” Manning, was on his way to a pro golf career when lightning struck and permanently changed his perception of reality.
Director: Nathanael Carton
A community of tsunami survivors hold onto their existence through pictures recovered from the debris.
Directors: Ewan McNicol, Anna Sandilands
A black man with hip-hop and zydeco roots hard-grafts through the local, all-white rodeo circuits in the Deep South as he dreams of competing in the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
Director: Josh Izenberg
Depressed and frustrated with his life, Dr. John Kitchin abandons his career as a neurologist and undergoes a radical transformation into SLOMO, trading his lab coat for a pair of rollerblades and his IRA for a taste of divinity.
The Village (Brazil)
Director: Liliana Sulzbach
The daily life of the dwellers of a microtown in the the south of Brazil which is about to vanish.
Vladimir Putin In Deep Concentration
Directors: Dana O’Keefe, Sasha Kliment
Vladimir Putin is the most powerful man in the world
An assortment of stories told using a mix of traditional animation, computer-generated effects, stop-motion, and everything in-between. The winner of our Grand Jury Award in this category is eligible for a 2014 Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short.
The Blue Umbrella
Director: Saschka Unseld
It is just another evening commute until the rain starts to fall, and the city comes alive to the sound of dripping rain pipes, whistling awnings and gurgling gutters. And in the midst, two umbrellas—one blue, one not—fall eternally in love.
Director: Mauricio Baiocchi
Cicadas spend a long time planning…
The Event (USA/UK)
Director: Julia Pott
Love and a severed foot, at the end of the world.
The Gold Sparrow
Director: Daniel Stessen
In a black and white world artists must defend their color.
Director: Chris Mars
In Hanford is artist Chris Mars’s fantastic exploration of real incidents in Hanford, Washington, where the local environment was poisoned as a result of cold war era nuclear arms manufacture.
Kishi Bashi – ”I Am The Antichrist To You”
Director: Kishi Bashi
A surreal stop motion collaboration between avante-pop/violinist Kishi Bashi and acclaimed animator Anthony Scott (Coraline, Paranorman). An abandoned puppy awakes in a post-apocalyptic world with vivid memories of his love and all that he lost.
Marcel, King of Tervuren
Director: Tom Schroeder
Greek tragedy enacted by Belgian roosters.
Oh Willy… (Belgium/France/ Netherlands/Luxembourg)
Directors: Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels
Forced to return to his naturist roots, Willy bungles his way into noble savagery.
Director: Leah Shore
For more than 20 years Charles Manson has refused to communicate directly with the outside world. Until Now.
The Places Where We Lived
Director: Bernardo Britto
A man wakes up with a weird feeling. His parents are selling his childhood home.
Shelved (New Zealand)
Director: James Cunningham
Two loser robots discover they are being replaced… by humans
Bite-sized bits for all of your sex, genre, and hilarity needs.
Director: Andrew Zuchero
Four uninspired friends try to come up with a terrific idea of how to spend their Saturday afternoon. The Apocalypse.
Director: Hugo Vargas-Zesati
A man disturbed by a dream awakens to realize his unconscious has called his self-awareness into question. When confronting himself, misfortune brings the temporal world into perspective.
Director: Michael Reich
A master groomer explains the sensual methods of dog grooming to his young and beautiful apprentice. Her mind begins to wander into a profane dream that melds the grossness of dog bathing with voyeuristic and domineering sexuality.
Child Eater (USA/Iceland)
Director: Erlingur Thoroddsen
A simple night of babysitting takes a horrifying turn when Helen realizes the boogeyman really is in little Lucas’ closet.
Dance Till You Drop
Directors: Eric M. Levy, Juan Cardarelli
She thought the house was safe, but under the right circumstances, anything can be dangerous. Even a dance montage.
Director: Owen Egerton
Follow is a dark thriller centered on a young couple’s dangerous bedroom games.
Director: Joe Nicolosi
Hell No is a new type of terror, a reality-based horror film that pits real smart people in terrifying horror situations…
Director: Brandon LaGanke
Harold’s crumbling family is bound only by his unconditional love for them.
Director: Caleb Johnson
A young woman has an affair that leaves a hideous mark. Her attempts to remove it only make it worse.
Two Fingers – ‘Vengeance Rhythm’ (UK)
Director: Chris Ullens
This is the story of a very angry teddy bear.
Under the Lion Crotch (Hong Kong)
Director: Wong Ping
Daily life living in Hong Kong.
A range of classic, innovative, and stylish work showcasing the scope of music video culture.
∆ (Alt-J) – ”Breezeblocks”
Director: Ellis Bahl
CHRISTEENE – “Big Shot”
Director: PJ Raval
Daniel Bedingfield – ”Secret Fear”
Director: Daniel Bedingfield
Flying Lotus – ”Until The Quiet Comes”
Director: Kahlil Joseph
Foster The People – ”Houdini”
HEALTH – ”Tears”
Directors: David Altobelli, Jeff Desom
Keaton Henson – ”Small Hands”
Director: Joseph Mann
Killer Mike – ”Reagan”
Directors: Daniel Garcia, Harry Teitelman
Lushlife – “Magnolia”
Directors: Jesse Lamar High, Nik Harper
Mikhael Paskalev – ”I Spy”
Director: André Chocron
Modeselektor – “Evil Twin”
Moones – ”Better Energy”
Director: Peter Sluszka
Righchus – ”Stroker’s Row”
Director: Taylor Engel
Rudimental – ”Feel The Love”
Director: Bob Harlow
Slugabed – ”Sex”
Director: Chris Ullens
Sóley – “Bad Dream”
Directors: Ellen Ragnarsdóttir, Raam Reddy
Starcadian – ”HE^RT”
Directors: Rob O’Neill, Starcadian
The Shoes – ”Time To Dance”
Director: Daniel Wolfe
Wax Tailor Feat Aloe Blacc – “Time To Go”
Directors: Darcy Prendergast, Seamus Spilsbury
Vitalic – ”Stamina”
Director: Saman Keshavarz
Wild Belle – ”Keep You”
Director: Melina Matsoukas
Willow – ”Sweater”
Director: Filip Sterckx
TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHORTS
Texas High School students offer a glimpse of a bright future for Texas filmmaking.
Adam Mosley – Who I Am
Director: Jake Wangner
Adam Mosley is an amateur Fort Worth skateboarder. He spends his days rolling across the pavement learning new tricks. Take a quick look into his daily life.
Director: Jade Basinski, Pearl Basinski
A sweet lullaby.
Director: Alina Vega
Everything’s coming apart at the seams.
Directors: Sophia Haid, Ivan Kumamoto
The can man can.
Directors: Kyle Matthew, Hirsh Elhence
What did you do to mom?
The Cigarette Burns Slowly
Director: Connor Clift
Two individuals who work the night shift together decide to take a cigarette break. Chemistry unfolds.
Don’t Be Afraid Ashley
Director: Makena Buchanan
Don’t be afraid Ashley, It’s just a dark empty theater, there’s no one here but your friends.
Director: Zenzele Ojore
“Drop” is an experimental narrative that tells the story of a young drowning victim, her journey through the “in-between” and the many memories of her past to reach her alternate peace.
Director: Conner Miller
A man on the run–but from what?
Director: Louis J. Zylka
One night, a robbery took place at a museum and someone got murdered. It’s up to Detective Bones to solve this crime.
Director: Andrew Haworth
Gas Giant is a stop motion animated short about a man who wakes up on his lawn and realizes he’s 50 feet tall.
Director: Atheena Frizzell
More than anything else in the world, Reese wants a gay best friend. She sets out to get one but her plan goes terribly awry.
The Magic Lasso
Director: Amy Harvie
The Magic Lasso is a thriller about a young girl who wakes up from a coma in a post-apocalyptic hospital and the abandoned characters she discovers there.
Director: Stephen Mendoza
Obsession is a thriller about a disturbed young woman who finally has the evening she has been dreaming of with the object of her affection.
Director: Maddison Lopez
What would the average high school student do to survive a zombie apocalpyse?
Directors: James Bradford, Max Montoya
Girl, you’ll be a woman soon.
Robert Cossman, Deceased
Director: Alexander Marking
The story around a mysterious briefcase
Sir Gawain & the Green Knight
Directors: Callan Harrison, Aidan Anders
Sir Gawain & the Green Knight is a hand cut paper animation chronicling the adventures of Sir Gawain and his attempts to uphold the code of chivalry.
Skin To Bone
Directors: Taha Dawoodbhoy, Brandon Torio
Skin To Bone is a fan made music video to the song “Skin To Bone” by Linkin Park. The video delves into the dark meeting behind the song.
TRAPPED (A Slenderman Short Film)
Directors: Jonathan Munoz, Kyle Curtis
An adaptation to the Slenderman urban legend. Inspired by the hit PC game SLENDER
Director: Miles Andres
Based on a true story.
Director: Rachel Davis
A girl find a body and a zipper catches her attention….