Lena Dunham, Tom Cullen, Dree Hemingway and Julia Garner all came to Austin as relative unknowns and emerged
as sought-after talents. With
the 2013 edition of the SXSW Film Festival launching today, the
springboard is loaded. Here’s Indiewire’s picks for the 10 actors to
watch this year:
Trieste Kelly Dunn, “Loves Her Gun”
Best known for her work in the SXSW indie smash “Cold Weather,” which landed her on Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 new faces of independent list, Trieste Kelly Dunn is rumored to give an impressive lead turn in the hot-button drama “Loves Her Gun.” The topical film from Goeff Marslett (known for the animated “Mars,” which screened at SXSW in 2010, centers on a woman (Dunn) who flees New York after being attacked and finds herself in Austin where she becomes deeply embedded in Texas’ gun culture. Dunn can currently be seen as a series regular in the new Alan Ball produced series “Banshee” for Cinemax.
Kaitlyn Dever, “Short Term 12”
Actress Kaitlyn Dever has been working steadily for the bulk of her teen years appearing in everything from “Modern Family” to Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar,” but this year sees the sixteen-year-old break out in a bigger way that ever with turns in two buzzed-about indies, “The Spectacular Now” (which earned raves and won an award at Sundance) and “Short Term 12” (which makes its debut at SXSW). In “Short Term 12” she’s afforded her meatiest role yet as Jayden, a severely troubled teenager living in a group home for troubled youths, run by Brie Larson’s character Grace.
Will Brittain, “A Teacher”
“A Teacher,” Hannah Fidell’s acclaimed feature directorial debut, already made waves at Sundance earlier this year in the festival’s NEXT section, culminating in a coveted Oscilloscope Laboratories buy. Although the film’s SXSW bow won’t mark its world premiere, it will mark a homecoming of sorts for one of it’s principal players (and Austin boy) Will Brittain. In the sexy drama, Brittain stars alongside Lindsay Burdge as a teenager engaged in an affair with his teacher (Burdge). Good looking, incredibly charismatic and clearly undaunted by risky choices, Brittain should go far.
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Jake Hoffman, “Snap”
Yes, that last name is no coincidence. Jake Hoffman, who leads “Snap,” a psychological thriller making its world premiere in Austin, is the son of Dustin Hoffman. He’s been acting for most of life appearing alongside in his father in everything from “Hook” to “Rain Man,” and then stepping out on his own to play Adam Sandler’s son in “Click” and appear in TV shows like “Californication” and “Luck” (which starred…his father). The NYU Film School grad is afforded his first lead role in “Snap” and the part’s a juicy one — in it, he plays a mentally unstable dubstep savant who becomes obsessed with social worker Nikki Reed (“Twilight”) and quickly unravels to menacing proportions. He can next be seen in Martin Scorsese’s anticipated “The Wolf of Wall Street,” opposite Leonardo DiCaprio.
Francisco Barreiro, “Loves Her Gun”
Best known for delivering a standout performance in Jorge Michel Grau’s cannibal horror film “We Are What We Are” (which has since been remade in America), Mexican actor Francisco Barreriro is widely regarded as one of the brightest up and comers in Mexican cinema. He was last seen in “Penumbra” director Adrian Garcia’s Spanish language horror picture “Here Comes the Devil.” At SXSW, audiences will have a chance to see him in his first high profile English language project, “Loves Her Gun.” The topical film centers on a woman (Trieste Kelly Dunn, who also made the cut) who flees New York after being attacked and finds herself in Austin where she becomes deeply embedded in Texas’ gun culture.
Nora Tschirner, “Everyone’s Going to Die”
German TV and film star Nora Tschirner is a household name in her native country having won a Bambi award and voiced the raved haired Merida in the German dubbed version of Pixars’ Academy Award winner “Brave,” but she has yet to break into the English language market. The British indie “Everyone’s Going to Die” marks her first project that could change that tide. Making its world premiere at the festival, the film stars Tschirner as a woman stuck in a rut in a seaside town. Her luck changes when a man reenters her life with an interesting proposal.
Jane Levy, “Evil Dead”
TV star Jane Levy (ABC’s “Suburgatory”) makes the leap from the small screen to the big in the hugely anticipated opening night horror film “Evil Dead.” And if the gruesome red band trailer for the remake of Sam Raimi’s cult classic is anything to go by, Levy goes for broke in the film as a recovering heroin addict who becomes possessed by some nasty spirits after retreating to a cabin in the woods with some friends. Next up for the hopeful scream queen is “In a Dark Place,” another spooky tale. Helmed by Bharat Nalluri (“Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day”), the thriller stars Levy as an American woman who ventures to England to serve as the governess to a porcelain doll that may be haunted.
Stanley ‘Doe’ Hunt, “Licks”
California native Stanley ‘Doe’ Hunt has been acting in his mother’s theater company (Lower Bottom Playaz) since childhood and now as a young man is set to breakout at SXSW in his first film project “Licks.” First-time filmmaker Jonathan Singer-Vine told Indiewire that Hunt wowed at his audition, showcasing “raw talent,” and got the lead role in “Licks” on the spot. The film follows the story of a young man, D (Hunt), as he returns to his Oakland neighborhood after serving two years in prison for a robbery gone wrong. Tested by the bad influences around him, D is forced to decide which direction to take his life.
Ashley Bell, “The Bounceback”
Ashley Bell has already earned herself an Independent Spirit Award Nomination for her terrifying performance in “The Last Exorcism” a possessed young woman. But despite that found-footage hit and its recent sequel, she’s far from being a regular fixture on the indie circuit. That could change with her touted lead turn in the buzzed about romantic comedy “The Bounceback,” directed by fellow Spirit Award nominee Bryan Poser (“Lovers of Hate”). In it, she plays Cathy, an ex stalked by Stan (“Cloverfield” star Michael Stahl-David) after he pops up in her hometown of Austin for two weeks unexpectedly. Meanwhile, Stan’s best bud’s roommates are determined to win an air-sex competition.
PJ Boudousqué, “Coldwater”
“Bellflower” producer Vincent Grashaw makes his directorial debut with “Coldwater” and he’s rumored to have a startling new talent at its center. Before landing the lead in Grashaw’s film as a newbie at a harsh reform facility, newcomer PJ Boudousqué had lived in New Orelans and then LA, after he and his family were evacuated from their home during Hurricane Katrina. Grashaw told Indiewire “something in our gut told us this kid was special, so we literally cast him off of one audition of two scenes. An unproven, unknown, without a resume.” That could change should the film breakout in the way “Bellflower” did two years ago at Sundance.