Gods, best friends and struggling comedians lead the TV line-up at this year’s SXSW film festival, with six new series set to compete as Episodic selections.
This represents the fourth year that SXSW has recognized television, and in 2017 the Episodic category has increased from five to six picks: Besides the previously announced “American Gods,” adapted by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green from Neil Gaiman’s book, SXSW will screen Justin Simien’s “Dear White People,” the Netflix series based on Simien’s 2014 feature film. Showtime’s “I’m Dying Up Here” (executive produced by Jim Carrey), TV Land’s “Nobodies” (executive produced by Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone) and AMC’s “The Son” (starring Pierce Brosnan) will also make their premieres in Austin.
Also set to be screened at this year’s event: Rachael Holder’s “I Love Bekka & Lucy.” At past SXSW fests, the Episodic category has only selected shows from established networks. But “Bekka & Lucy” comes from outside the system, thanks to “You’re Next” producer Kim Sherman, who is now head of production for scripted series at a new venture called Stage 13.
“She has great taste with low budget projects,” SXSW’s Janet Pierson told IndieWire’s Eric Kohn. “She’s working on an initiative called Stage 13 that was designed to develop talent. [‘Bekka & Lucy’] came from that initiative. The people are completely unknown to us, aside from the producers. It’s a fresh new voice.”
SXSW’s Episodic lineup has an impressive track record when it comes to picking breakout series — HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” Lifetime’s “UnREAL,” USA’s “Mr. Robot,” TBS’s “Search Party,” and AMC’s “Preacher” all made their premieres there. The SXSW Film Festival begins March 10 in Austin, Texas. Full details on the Episodic entries are below:
Director: David Slade, Screenwriters: Bryan Fuller, Michael Green
Adapted from Neil Gaiman’s award-winning novel, “American Gods” follows Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) and Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) in a hidden world where a battle is brewing between Old Gods and New. Cast: Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, Pablo Schreiber, Bruce Langley, Yetide Badaki, Jonathan Tucker, Mousa Kraish, Betty Gilpin, Gillian Anderson (World Premiere)
“Dear White People”
Director/Screenwriter: Justin Simien
Based on the critically-acclaimed 2014 film by the same name, “Dear White People” is a send-up of the now post “post-racial” America that weaves together a universal story of finding one’s own identity, as told from a biting millennial point of view. Cast: Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, Antoinette Robertson, DeRon Horton, John Patrick Amedori (U.S. Premiere)
“I Love Bekka & Lucy”
Director/Screenwriter: Rachael Holder
Two inseparable and idiosyncratic best friends face the evolution of their friendship when one of them gets engaged. Cast: Jessica Parker Kennedy, Tanisha Long, Alexis Denisof, Christopher Nicholas Smith (World Premiere)
“I’m Dying Up Here”
Director: Jonathan Levine, Screenwriter: Dave Flebotte
Set in L.A.’s celebrated, infamous stand-up comedy scene of the 1970s, this new series delves into the inspired and damaged psyches that inhabit the hilarious, but complex business of making an audience laugh. Executive produced by Jim Carrey. Cast: Melissa Leo, Ari Graynor, Clark Duke, Michael Angarano, Andrew Santino, Stephen Guarino, Erik Griffin, RJ Cyler, Al Madrigal, Dylan Baker (World Premiere)
Showrunner, Director: Michael McDonald, Pilot Director: Ben Falcone, Screenwriters: Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf, Rachel Ramras
The series is inspired by the real lives of Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf and Rachel Ramras, who watched as their friends from The Groundlings went on to star in blockbuster comedies and win Oscars, while they were waiting for their one big break. Cast: Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf, Rachel Ramras (World Premiere)
Director: Tom Harper
Based on the New York Times best-selling and Pulitzer Prize finalist novel, “The Son” is a sweeping family saga that spans 150 years and three generations of the McCullough family. Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Jacob Lofland, Henry Garrett, Paola Nunez, Carlos Bardem, Zahn McClarnon, Jess Weixler, David Wilson Barnes, Sydney Lucas (World Premiere)