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SXSW 2021 Announces Full Feature Film Lineup, All Available for Online Viewing

A year after the annual film gathering was cancelled due to the pandemic, SXSW has shifted to make its selections available to wider audiences.

Atmosphere:Downtown Austin Texas shuts down on what was supposed to be the final weekend of the cancelled annual SXSW festival to slow transmission of the COVID 19 virus on 03/21/2020. The Paramount and State theaters were supposed to be major venues during the festival. | usage worldwide Photo by: Newman, Jeff/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

The Paramount and State theaters in Austin, Texas

Newman, Jeff/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

The SXSW Film Festival has today announced its full 2021 feature film lineup, in addition to a variety of episodic offerings and special events. The program will be available entirely online to passholders, along with the other components of the festival. As previously announced, the festival will open with “Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil,” director Michael D. Ratner’s multi-part YouTube Originals look at the singer’s efforts to rebuild her life after a 2018 drug overdose. Its closing night selection is “Alone Together,” Bradley Pell and Pablo Jones-Soler’s look at pop star Charli XCX, who produced an album in quarantine. Seventy-five feature films were selected for the festival from a three-week submission period last October, including 57 world premieres.

The festival finds SXSW returning to the festival circuit one year after the gathering was canceled by Austin mayor as the coronavirus pandemic spread throughout the United States. SXSW film head Janet Pierson noted that the program includes many projects made over the past year that reflect the dramatic impact of the pandemic on daily life. “We certainly saw some pandemic films that didn’t work and worried they’d all be that way,” she said. “But we loved the ones that did something new.”

This includes several dramatic features from first-time filmmakers. With “I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking),” newcomers Kelley Kali and Angelique Molina’s offer a story of a widowed mother forced to live on the streets while keeping her eight-year-old in the dark about their situation. (The movie was produced in part with a stimulus check.) Henry Loevner’s “The End of Us” revolves around an ex-couple forced to live together after California issues its first stay-at-home order. “Language Lessons,” a pandemic-set drama from actress-turned-director Natalie Morales, stars Mark Duplass as a grieving man who forges an unexpected friendship with his Spanish teacher online. And with “Disintegration Loops,” director David Wexler looks at avant-garde composer William Basinski’s seminal reaction to 9/11 from a contemporary perspective in quarantine as the 20th anniversary of that tragedy approaches.

At the same time, many SXSW titles steer clear of the subject altogether in favor of other timely issues. Just a few months after premiering her true-crime documentary “Enemies of the State” at TIFF last fall, director Sonia Kennebeck is back with “The United States vs. Reality Winner,” which looks at the conditions surrounding the arrest of the former intelligence specialist-turned-whistleblower, who remains imprisoned for leaking National Security Administration documents to The Intercept. “It’s extremely upsetting and important,” Pierson said. “Hopefully, it makes an impact.”

Other topical documentaries include “Kid Candidate,” about a Texas musician who runs for office, and “Not Going Quietly” (which was originally set to premiere at last year’s canceled Tribeca Film Festival), which follows activist Ady Barkan as his national profile rises amid his struggles with ALS.

Among the narrative features at the festival, Pierson said, “There’s definitely an emphasis on scrappiness and inventiveness this year.” She singled out several films in the Visions section, including “Swan Song,” where German thespian legend Udo Kier plays an aging hairdresser who flees his nursing home. “It’s about an old queen who gets his groove back,” Pierson said. “It’s super heartfelt.” She also noted “Delia Derbyshire – the Myths and the Legendary Tapes,” a narrative-documentary hybrid that explores the legacy of the election sound musician who wrote the theme for “Doctor Who,” and “Through the Plexi-Glass: The Last Days of San Jose,” a look back at Austin’s gentrification.

Demi LovatoDemi Lovato in concert at the American Airlines Arena, Miami, USA - 30 Mar 2018

Demi Lovato

Larry Marano/REX/Shutterstock

The festival will launch seven films at a time in two-hour increments from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. CT, with most of the films launching during the first three days of the event (Tuesday through Thursday), starting with the films with global access and no audience capacity limits. Once a film is available, it remains available on-demand until it hits its audience capacity or the event ends. At minimum, films have a capacity limit of 2,000 views, but many films do not have a capacity limit and will be available for the duration of the event. While SXSW is a global event, certain films will be restricted to access in the United States due to rights and/or filmmaker or distributor discretion.

Despite some of the Texas themes across the festival, Austin’s downtown area will not welcome the crowds that typically gather for screenings, conversations, and concerts that define the event. Instead, the festival is offering a single badge that covers online access to all sections of the festival. Registrants can flip between individual channels to experience the event. Musical performances will only be accessible during live performances, while the conference channels will offer livestreams that will be available on demand after they are completed.

Film events, including some Q&As, will be streamed daily at 3 p.m. Several platforms are integrated to create the SXSW Online experience across web, mobile, and premium viewing from your TV. A dedicated Connected TV app using Brightcove can be accessed via Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Android TV, and Samsung TV.

In recent years, the festival has become a platform for major studio releases, from “Baby Driver” to “Ready Player One.” While those sort of higher-profile titles will not come to SXSW this year, it will include early looks at several new television shows, including the new season of “The Girlfriend Experience,” which IndieWire named the best directed TV drama of all time.

Also on the the TV slate for world premieres is “Sasquatch,” a murder mystery from Duplass Bros. Productions that will add some cryptozoology to the festival offerings, and Little Marvin and Lena Waithe’s highly anticipated them “Them,” from Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Productions.

This year’s SXSW Film Festival runs March 16 – 20. Check out the fest’s lineup below, with all synopses provided by the festival. An additional XR lineup, which will include virtual reality film projects, will be announced in the first week fo March.

HEADLINERS

This year’s Headliners: Opening and Closing Night Films and a Centerpiece Film with associated Special Events on our Live Channel.

Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil
Director: Michael D. Ratner, Producer: Marc Ambrose
Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil is a powerful YouTube Originals documentary event, exploring every aspect that led to Lovato’s nearly fatal overdose in 2018, and her awakenings in the aftermath. (World Premiere) (Opening Night Film)

Alone Together
Directors: Bradley Bell, Pablo Jones-Soler, Producers: Ross Levine, Emmie Lichtenberg, Brian Ferenchik
Charli XCX, a popstar in quarantine, embarks on a whirlwind creative and romantic journey while making an album in 40 days that unites a community around the world. (World Premiere) (Closing Night Film)

Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free
Director: Mary Wharton, Producer: Peter Afterman
Drawn from a newly discovered archive of 16mm film showing Tom Petty at work on his 1994 record Wildflowers, considered by many including Rolling Stone to be his greatest album ever, Somewhere You Feel Free is an intimate view of a musical icon. (World Premiere) (Centerpiece Film)

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

Eight world premieres, eight unique ways to celebrate the art of storytelling.

Here Before (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Stacey Gregg, Producer: Sophie Vickers
After new neighbours move in next door, a bereaved mother begins to question her reality in this unsettling psychological thriller. Cast List: Andrea Riseborough, Martin McCann, Jonjo O’Neill, Eileen O’Higgins (World Premiere)

I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking)
Directors: Kelley Kali, Angelique Molina, Screenwriters: Kelley Kali, Angelique Molina, Roma Kong, Producers: Roma Kong, Angelique Molina, Kelley Kali, Capella Fahoome
When a recently widowed mother becomes houseless, she convinces her 8-year-old daughter that they are only camping for fun while working to get them off the streets. Cast List: Kelley Kali, Wesley Moss, Deon Cole, Brooklynn Marie, Steven Ira Scipio, Andrew Galvan, Lamar Usher, Brian Brooks II, Jacolyn Holmes, Xing-Mai Deng (World Premiere)

Islands (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Martin Edralin, Producer: Martin Edralin, Priscilla Galvez
Joshua, a shy Filipino immigrant on the cusp of 50, has lived in the comfort of his parents’ home his entire life. With his parents now in old age, he pleads with God for a companion, terrified of being alone after they pass. Cast List: Rogelio Balagtas, Sheila Lotuaco, Esteban Comilang, Vangie Alcasid, Pablo Quiogue, Isys Szuky, Maximus Szuky (World Premiere)

Our Father
Director/Screenwriter: Bradley Grant Smith, Producers: Alex Thompson, Ian Keiser, Steven Callas
In a last ditch attempt to foster a meaningful bond, estranged sisters Beta and Zelda go in search of their mysterious Uncle Jerry. Cast List: Baize Buzan, Allison Torem, Austin Pendleton, Corey Hendrix, Tim Hopper, Ann Whitney, Keith Kupferer, Guy Massey, Lance Baker, D’Wayne Taylor (World Premiere)

“How It Ends”

Potato Dreams of America
Director/Screenwriter: Wes Hurley, Producers: Mischa Jakupcak, Wes Hurley
A true story about a gay boy growing up in the collapsing USSR, his courageous mail-order bride mother, and their adventurous escape to Seattle in the 90s. Cast List: Marya Sea Kaminski, Dan Lauria, Tyler Bocock, Lea DeLaria, Sera Barbieri, Hersh Powers, Jonathan Bennett, Sophia Mitri Schloss, Cynthia Lauren Tewes, James Grixoni (World Premiere)

The End Of Us
Directors/Screenwriters: Henry Loevner, Steven Kanter, Producers: Claudia Restrepo, Henry Loevner, Steven Kanter, Lovell Holder
After a savage breakup, two exes must continue living together when California issues its stay-at-home order for COVID-19. Now they’ll try to move on without moving out. Cast List: Ben Coleman, Ali Vingiano, Derrick DeBlasis, Gadiel Del Orbe, Kate Peterman, Colin Weatherby, Caroline Kwan, Will Neff, Jesse Benjamin, Claudia Restrepo (World Premiere)

The Fallout
Director/Screenwriter: Megan Park, Producers: David Brown, Rebecca Miller, Cara Shine, Joannie Burstein, Shaun Sanghani
High schooler Vada navigates the emotional fallout she experiences in the wake of a school tragedy. Relationships with her family, friends and view of the world are forever altered. Cast List: Jenna Ortega, Maddie Ziegler, Niles Fitch, Will Ropp, Lumi Pollack, John Ortiz, Julie Bowen, Shailene Woodley (World Premiere)

Women is Losers
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Lissette Feliciano
In 1960s San Francisco, a once-promising Catholic school girl, Celina Guerrera (Lorenza Izzo), sets out to rise above the oppression of poverty and invest in a future for herself that sets new precedents for the time. Cast List: Lorenza Izzo, Bryan Craig, Chrissie Fit, Simu Liu, Steven Bauer, Liza Weil, Cranston Johnson, Alejandra Miranda, Shalim Ortiz, Lincoln Bonilla (World Premiere)

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION

Eight world premieres: Eight real world stories that demonstrate innovation, energy and bold voices.

Introducing, Selma Blair
Director: Rachel Fleit, Producers: Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon, Troy Nankin
In a quest to take control of her personal health, actor Selma Blair adapts to new ways of living while pursuing a risky medical procedure, after revealing her diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in 2018. (World Premiere)

Kid Candidate
Director: Jasmine Stodel, Producers: Jasmine Stodel, Chevis LaBelle, William Dorrien-Smith
Kid Candidate tells the story of Hayden Pedigo, an 24-year old experimental musician and his unlikely run for Amarillo city council after his Harmony Korine inspired spoof campaign video went viral. (World Premiere)

Lily Topples The World
Director: Jeremy Workman, Producers: Jeremy Workman, Robert J. Lyons
Lily Topples The World follows 20-year-old Lily Hevesh — the world’s most acclaimed domino toppler and the only woman in her field — in a coming-of-age story of artistry, passion, and unlikely triumph. Executive produced by Kelly Marie Tran. (World Premiere)

Not Going Quietly
Director: Nicholas Bruckman, Screenwriters: Nicholas Bruckman, Amanda Roddy, Producer:  Amanda Roddy
When a young father chances to meet a powerful senator on an airplane, their exchange goes viral, sparking one of the most unlikely political movements in a generation. (World Premiere)

The Oxy Kingpins
Director: Brendan FitzGerald, Producers: Drea Bernardi, Brendan FitzGerald, Nick August-Perna
The Oxy Kingpins covers the untold story of how a network of pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, and retailers worked together to orchestrate and perpetuate the opioid crisis that has killed over half a million people in America. (World Premiere)

The Return: Life After ISIS (Spain, United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Alba Sotorra Clua, Producers: Alba Sotorra Clua, Vesna Cudic
Shamima Begum (UK) and Hoda Muthana (US) made it into worldwide headlines when they left their countries as teenagers to join ISIS. Now they want to return but their countries don’t want them back. (World Premiere)

Subjects of Desire (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Jennifer Holness, Producers: Jennifer Holness, Sudz Sutherland
Subjects of Desire is a thought provoking film that examines the cultural shift in beauty standards towards embracing (or appropriating) Black aesthetics and features, deconstructing what we understand about race and the power behind beauty. (World Premiere)

United States vs. Reality Winner
Director: Sonia Kennebeck, Producer: Ines Hofmann Kanna
A state of secrets and a ruthless hunt for whistleblowers – this is the story of 25-year-old Reality Winner who disclosed a document about Russian election interference to the media and became the number one leak target of the Trump administration. (World Premiere)

NARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT

High profile narrative features receiving their World, International, North American, U.S. or Texas premieres at SXSW.

The Drover’s Wife: the Legend of Molly Johnson (Australia)
Director/Screenwriter: Leah Purcell, Producers: Bain Stewart, David Jowsey, Angela Littlejohn, Greer Simpkin, Leah Purcell
The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson is a reimagining of Leah Purcell’s acclaimed play and Henry Lawson’s classic short story. A searing Australian western thriller asking the question: how far do you go to protect your loved ones? Cast List: Leah Purcell, Rob Collins, Sam Reid, Jessica De Gouw, Malachi Dower-Roberts (World Premiere)

A still from In The Same Breath by Nanfu Wang, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Yang Ke.All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

“In the Same Breath”

The Fabulous Filipino Brothers (Philippines, United States)
Director: Dante Basco, Screenwriters: Dante Basco, Darion Basco, Dionysio Basco, Arianna Basco, Producers: Joan Banaga, Rawn Erickson II, Dante Basco, Rome Reyes, Sienna Olazo, Belay A Santillan, Guido Zaballero
From Northern California to The Philippines, four brothers confront their issues with love, family, and culture, surrounding a highly controversial Filipino wedding. Told in four vignettes with cockfights, adultery, romance, food, and family. Cast List: Dante Basco, Derek Basco, Dionysio Basco, Darion Basco, Solenn Heussaff, Liza Lapira, Tirso Cruz III, Cheryl Tsai, Arriana Basco, Joe Jitsukawa (World Premiere)

Language Lessons
Director: Natalie Morales, Screenwriters: Mark Duplass, Natalie Morales, Producer: Mel Eslyn
A Spanish teacher and her student develop an unexpected friendship. Cast List: Natalie Morales, Mark Duplass, Desean Terry, Christine Quesada (North American)

Ludi
Director: Edson Jean, Screenwriters: Edson Jean, Joshua Jean-Baptiste, Producers: Fabiola Rodriguez, Mark Pulaski
Ludi, a hardworking and exhausted nurse, battles coworkers, clients and one impatient bus driver to learn her self worth as she chases the American Dream in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood. Cast List: Shein Mompremier, Alan Myles Heyman, Madelin Marchant, Success St. Fleur Jr., Kerline Alce, Plus Pierre, Patrice DeGraff Arenas, Farah Larrieux (Texas Premiere)

Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break (United Kingdom)
Director: Nick Gillespie, Screenwriters: Brook Driver, Matt White, Nick Gillespie, Producer: Finn Bruce
When Paul’s chances of winning a national talent contest are ruined and his dreams of fame are slashed, he plans a deathly revenge rampage!! 1 lunch break, 5 spectacular murders! Each wrongdoer dispatched in a fitting manner by the sparkly suited Paul! Cast List: Tom Meeten, Katherine Parkinson, Kris Marshall, Alice Lowe, Mandeep Dhillon, Johnny Vegas, Steve Oram, Craig Parkinson, Kevin Bishop, Pippa Haywood (World Premiere)

Recovery
Directors: Mallory Everton, Stephen Meek, Screenwriters: Whitney Call, Mallory Everton, Producers: Scott Christopherson, Stephen Meek, Abi Nielson Hunsaker
Two directionless sisters brave a cross-country road trip to rescue their grandmother from a COVID outbreak at her nursing home. Cast List: Whitney Call, Mallory Everton, Anne Sward Hansen, Julia Jolley, Baylee Thornock, Jessica Drolet, Stephen Meek, Tyler Andrew Jones, Noah Kershisnik, Justin Call (World Premiere)

“Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break”

See You Then
Director: Mari Walker, Screenwriters: Kristen Uno, Mari Walker, Producers: Mia Schulman, Kristen Uno, Mari Walker
A decade after abruptly breaking up with Naomi, Kris invites her to dinner to catch-up on their complicated lives, relationships, and Kris’ transition. Cast List: Pooya Mohseni, Lynn Chen, Nican Robinson, Danny Jacobs, Nikohl Boosheri (U.S. Premiere)

Swan Song
Director/Screenwriter: Todd Stephens, Producers: Todd Stephens, Eric Eisenbrey, Tim Kaltenecker, Stephen Israel
An aging hairdresser (Udo Kier) escapes his nursing home and embarks on an odyssey across his small town to style a dead woman’s hair for her funeral, rediscovering his sparkle along the way. Cast List: Udo Kier, Jennifer Coolidge, Linda Evans, Michael Urie, Ira Hawkins, Stephanie McVay (World Premiere)

DOCUMENTARY SPOTLIGHT

Shining a light on new documentary features receiving their World, International, North American or U.S. premieres at SXSW.

Alien On Stage (United Kingdom)
Directors/Producers: Danielle Kummer, Lucy Harvey
British Bus driver’s amateur stage show of Ridley Scott’s Alien, accidentally makes it to a famous London theatre! With awkward acting and special effects requiring more luck than judgement, will their homemade homage be alright on the night? (International Premiere)

Fruits of Labor
Director: Emily Cohen Ibañez, Screenwriters: Ashley Solis Pavon, Emily Cohen Ibañez Producer: Emily Cohen Ibañez
A Mexican-American teenage farmworker dreams of graduating high school, when ICE raids in her community threaten to separate her family and force her to become her family’s breadwinner. (World Premiere)

The Hunt for Planet B
Director: Nathaniel Kahn, Producers: Bonnie Hlinomaz, Nathaniel Kahn
Taking us behind the scenes with NASA’s high-stakes James Webb Space Telescope, The Hunt for Planet B follows a pioneering group of scientists—many of them women—on their quest to find another Earth among the stars. (World Premiere)

Hysterical
Director: Andrea Nevins, Producers: Ross Dinerstein, Rebecca Evans, Carolina Groppa
Hysterical is an honest and hilarious backstage pass into the lives of some of stand-up comedy’s most boundary-breaking women, exploring the hard-fought journey to become the voices of their generation and their gender. Featuring Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster, Rachel Feinstein, Marina Franklin, Nikki Glaser, Judy Gold, Kathy Griffin, Jessica Kirson, Sherri Shepherd, Iliza Shlesinger and more. Available on FX in 2021. (World Premiere)

The Lost Sons
Director: Ursula Macfarlane, Producer: Gagan Rehill
1960s Chicago, a baby is kidnapped from a hospital. Fifteen months later, a toddler is abandoned. Could he be the same baby? In a tale of breathtaking twists and turns, two mysteries begin to unravel and dark family secrets are revealed. (World Premiere)

Mau (Austria, United States)
Directors: Benji Bergmann, Jono Bergmann, Producer: Karol Martesko-Fenster
Mau follows the unlikely story of design visionary Bruce Mau and his ever-optimistic push for massive change. (World Premiere)

Spring Valley
Director: Garrett Zevgetis, Producers: Chico Colvard, Jeff Consiglio, Ariana Garfinkel
An explosive viral video shows a white policeman throwing a Black teenager from her school desk. One woman uproots her life to help the girl, face the officer, and dismantle the system behind the “Assault at Spring Valley.” (World Premiere)

WeWork: or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn
Director: Jed Rothstein, Producer: Ross Dinerstein
WeWork: or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn explores the rise and fall of one of the biggest corporate flameouts and venture capitalist bubbles in recent years – the story of WeWork, and its hippie-messianic leader Adam Neumann. (World Premiere)

When Claude Got Shot
Director: Brad Lichtenstein, Producer: Steven Cantor, Brad Lichtenstein, Jamie Schutz, Santana Wilson (co-producer)
Three strangers’ lives become inextricably entwined by a weekend of gun violence. (World Premiere)

Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
Directors: Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler, Screenwriter: Jeffery Robinson, Producers: Jeffery Robinson, Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler
ACLU lawyer Jeffery Robinson’s shattering talk on the history of U.S. anti-Black racism is interwoven with archival footage, interviews and Robinson’s story, exploring the legacy of white supremacy and our collective responsibility to overcome it. (World Premiere)

MIDNIGHTERS

Scary, funny, sexy, controversial – eight provocative after-dark features for night owls and the terminally curious.

Broadcast Signal Intrusion
Director: Jacob Gentry, Screenwriters: Phil Drinkwater, Tim Woodall, Producers: Greg Newman, Brett Hays, Giles Edwards, Nicola Goelzhaeuser
In the late 90s, a video archivist unearths a series of sinister pirate broadcasts and becomes obsessed with uncovering the dark conspiracy behind them. Cast List: Harry Shum Jr., Kelley Mack, Chris Sullivan, Jennifer Jelsema, Arif Yampolsky, Justin Welborn, Michael B. Woods, Steve Pringle (World Premiere)

“Broadcast Signal Intrusion”

The Feast (United Kingdom)
Director: Lee-Haven Jones, Screenwriter/Producer: Roger Williams
Over an evening a wealthy family gathers for a sumptuous dinner with guests in their ostentatious house in the Welsh mountains. Served by a mysteriously disturbing young woman, the assembled party do not realise they are about to eat their last supper. Cast List: Anne Elwy, Nia Roberts, Julian Lewis Jones, Steffan Cennydd, Sion Alun Davies, Lisa Palfrey, Rhodri Meilir (World Premiere)

Gaia (South Africa)
Director: Jaco Bouwer, Screenwriter: Tertius Kapp, Producer: Tertius Kapp, Jorrie van der Walt, Jaco Bouwer
In the depths of an ancient forest, something has been growing. Something older than humanity itself, and perhaps greater too. When a park ranger discovers a man and his son living wild, she stumbles onto a secret that is about to change the world. Cast List: Monique Rockman, Carel Nel, Alex van Dyk, Anthony Oseyemi (World Premiere)

Jakob’s Wife
Director: Travis Stevens, Screenwriters: Travis Stevens, Kathy Charles, Mark Steensland, Producers: Barbara Crampton, Bob Portal, Travis Stevens, Inderpal Singh
The disappearance of a young woman threatens to change the beige and banal lives of Anne Fedder (Barbara Crampton) and her pastor husband Jakob Fedder (Larry Fessenden) forever. Cast List: Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Bonnie Aarons, Mark Kelly, Sarah Lind, Robert Rusler, Nyisha Bell, Phil Brooks (World Premiere)

Offseason
Director/Screenwriter: Mickey Keating, Producer: Eric B. Fleischman, Maurice Fadida
After receiving a mysterious letter, a woman travels to a desolate island town and soon becomes trapped in a nightmare. Cast List: Joe Swanberg, Jocelin Donahue, Melora Walters, Richard Brake, Jeremy Gardner (World Premiere)

Sound Of Violence (Finland, United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Alex Noyer, Producer: Hannu Aukia, Alex Noyer
A young girl recovers her hearing and gains synesthetic abilities during the brutal murder of her family. Finding solace in the sounds of bodily harm, as an adult, she pursues a career in music composing her masterpiece through gruesome murders. Cast List: Jasmin Savoy Brown, Lili Simmons, James Jagger, Tessa Munro (World Premiere)

The Spine of Night
Directors/Screenwriters: Philip Gelatt, Morgan Galen King, Producers: Will Battersby, Philip Gelatt, Jean Rattle
In this ultra-violent, fantasy epic, ancient dark magic falls into sinister hands and unleashes ages of suffering onto mankind. A group of heroes from different eras and cultures must band together in order to defeat it at all costs. Cast List: Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, Betty Gabriel, Joe Manganiello, Larry Fessenden, Nina Lisandrello, Abby Savage, Tom Lipinski, Patrick Breen (World Premiere)

Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Director/Screenwriter: Kier-La Janisse, Producers: Kier-La Janisse, David Gregory, Winnie Cheung
Woodlands Dark Days and Days Bewitched is the first feature-length documentary on the history of folk horror, from the 1960s to today. (World Premiere)

FESTIVAL FAVORITES

Acclaimed standouts and selected premieres from festivals around the world.

Dear Mr. Brody
Director: Keith Maitland, Producers: Melissa Robyn Glassman, Megan Gilbride, Keith Maitland, Sarah Wilson
A psychedelic journey into the heart (and bank account) of Michael Brody, Jr, the hippie-millionaire who offered the world peace for the price of a postage stamp. (Texas Premiere)

How It Ends
Directors/Screenwriters/Producers: Daryl Wein, Zoe Lister-Jones
On the last day on Earth, one woman goes on a journey through LA to make it to her last party before the world ends, running into an eclectic cast of characters along the way. Cast List: Zoe Lister-Jones, Cailee Spaeny, Nick Kroll, Olivia Wilde, Helen Hunt, Lamorne Morris, Fred Armisen, Bradley Whitford, Charlie Day, Whitney Cummings

In the Same Breath
Director: Nanfu Wang, Producers: Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn
Nanfu Wang’s deeply personal In The Same Breath recounts the origin and spread of the novel coronavirus from the earliest days of the outbreak in Wuhan to its rampage across the United States. (Texas Premiere)

Ma Belle, My Beauty
Director/Screenwriter: Marion Hill, Producers: Ben Matheny, Kelsey Scult, Marion Hill
A surprise reunion in southern France reignites passions and jealousies between two women who were formerly polyamorous lovers. Cast List: Idella Johnson, Hannah Pepper, Lucien Guignard, Sivan Noam Shimon (Texas Premiere)

"Ma Belle, My Beauty"

“Ma Belle, My Beauty”

Sundance

R#J
Director: Carey Williams, Screenwriters: Carey Williams, Rickie Castaneda, Producers: Timur Bekmambetov, Igor Tsay
A re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet, featuring a diverse cast in the classic Shakespearean roles. This modern day take is told on mobile and is a mashup of Shakespearean dialogue with current social media communication. Cast List: Camaron Engels, Francesca Noel, RJ Cyler, Diego Tinoco, Russell Hornsby, Siddiq Saunderson (Texas Premiere)

Violation (Canada)
Directors/Screenwriters/Producers: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli
A troubled woman on the edge of divorce returns home to her younger sister after years apart. But when her sister and brother-in-law betray her trust, she embarks on a vicious crusade of revenge. Cast List: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Anna Maguire, Jesse LaVercombe, Obi Abili, Jasmin Geljo, Cynthia Ashperger (Texas Premiere)

VISIONS

Visions filmmakers are audacious, risk-taking artists in the new cinema landscape who demonstrate raw innovation and creativity in documentary and narrative filmmaking.

Ayar
Director: Floyd Russ, Screenwriters: Ariana Ron Pedrique, Floyd Russ, Vilma Vega, Producers: Kara Durrett, Floyd Russ, Corey Waters, Andy Coverdale
Ayar, a first-generation American Latina, returns home to reunite with her daughter. But when her mother, Renata, refuses to let her see her due to Covid, Ayar is confronted by the many roles she’s been forced to play, including the role in this film. Cast List: Ariana Ron Pedrique, Vilma Vega, Henry Foster Brown, Simon Haycock, Calliah Sophie Estrada, Pete Pano, Briza Covarrubias, Ceasar Hartman, Jay Lawrence Kiman, Frances Fuches (World Premiere)

Delia Derbyshire – the Myths and the Legendary Tapes (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Caroline Catz, Producer: Andy Starke
A portrait of the character and legacy of electronic sound pioneer Delia Derbyshire, who realised the Dr Who Theme tune in 1963 and explores the idea that this extraordinary composer lived outside of time and space as other people experience it. Featuring Caroline Catz, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Julian Rhind-tutt, Tom Meeten, Richard Glover, Saskia Reeves, and Michael Higgs. (International Premiere)

Inbetween Girl
Director/Screenwriter: Mei Makino, Producers: Matt Stryker, Connor Pickens, Emily Gollahon, Kate Gollahon, Udoy Rahim
Teen artist Angie Chen turns to secret hookups with the heartthrob of her private school after her parents’ sudden divorce. Cast List: Emma Galbraith, William Magnuson, Emily Garrett, Lizabeth Waters, KaiChow Lau, Thanh Phuong Bui, Shanshan Jin, Kelsey Buckley (World Premiere)

Through the Plexi-Glass: The Last Days of the San Jose
Director: Liz Lambert, Producers: Liz Lambert, Tina Gazzerro Clapp, Ariel Quintans
The documentary tells the story of a real estate deal’s unexpected detour — one that sparked the gentrification of Austin’s hippest neighborhood — and reveals layers of knotty, unanswerable questions, all more relevant than ever today. (World Premiere)

Twyla Moves
Director: Steven Cantor, Producers: Steven Cantor, Jamie Schutz
Interwoven with her storied career and prolific works, Twyla Moves sees legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp navigate her latest creative challenge: making a dance for a world plagued by the Covid-19 pandemic. (World Premiere)

24 BEATS PER SECOND

Showcasing the sounds, culture and influence of music and musicians, with an emphasis on documentary.

Disintegration Loops
Director/Screenwriter: David Wexler, Producers: David Wexler, Bradford Coleman
As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 looms near, William Basinski contemplates the enduring legacy of The Disintegration Loops (his elegy to the 2001 Attacks), while quarantined in the midst of COVID-19. (World Premiere)

I Went To The Dance/J’ai Été Au Bal
Directors: Les Blank, Chris Strachwitz, Producer: Chris Strachwitz
Beautiful 5K restoration of the celebrated film on the history of Cajun and Creole/Zydeco music of SW Louisiana. Exhilarating performances by Clifton Chenier, Marc and Ann Savoy, BeauSoleil, and more. By Les Blank, Chris Strachwitz and Maureen Gosling (World Premiere)

“R#J”

Sundance

Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché (United Kingdom)
Directors: Paul Sng, Celeste Bell, Screenwriters: Celeste Bell, Zoë Howe, Producers: Rebecca Mark-Lawson, Matthew Silverman, Daria Nitsche
The death of punk icon and X-Ray Spex frontwoman Poly Styrene sends her daughter on a journey across the world and through her mother’s archives to reconcile their fraught relationship. (North American Premiere)

Soy Cubana
Directors: Jeremy Ungar, Ivaylo Getov, Screenwriters: Agustín Rexach Martín, Ivaylo Getov, Jeremy Ungar, Producer: Robin Miller Ungar
When the Vocal Vidas, an all-female Cuban quartet, are invited to play their first show in the US, a simple concert becomes a journey across physical and ideological borders – affirming the connective power of music, even in the most uncertain times. (World Premiere)

Under the Volcano (Australia)
Director: Gracie Otto, Screenwriters: Cody Greenwood, Gracie Otto, Ian Shadwell, Producers: Cody Greenwood, Richard Harris
The story of George Martin’s AIR Studios Montserrat and the island that changed music forever. Featuring interviews with Sting, Mark Knopfler, Nick Rhodes, Jimmy Buffett, Verdine White, Tony Lommi, Stewart Copeland, Guy Fletcher, Midge Ure, Roger Glover. (World Premiere)

GLOBAL

A diverse selection of international filmmaking talent, featuring innovative narratives, artful documentaries, premieres, festival favorites and more.

Bantú Mama (Dominican Republic)
Director: Ivan Herrera, Screenwriters: Clarisse Albrecht, Ivan Herrera, Producers: Ivan Herrera, Nicolas LaMadrid, Franmiris Lombert
An Afropean woman escapes after being arrested in the Dominican Republic. She is sheltered by a group of minors, in a dangerous district of Santo Domingo. By becoming their protégée and maternal figure, she will see her destiny change inexorably. Cast List: Clarisse Albrecht, Scarlett Reyes, Arturo Perez, Euris Javiel, Donis Taveras, Jarold Santos (World Premiere)

Fucking with Nobody (Finland)
Director: Hannaleena Hauru, Screenwriters: Hannaleena Hauru, Lasse Poser, Producers:  Emilia Haukka, Jussi Rantamäki
Hanna is a film director. She loses her dream job to her rival Kristian who is much more popular, and not single. Thus, she decides to create a parody romance on Instagram to question the image one offers to society. This fake romance will have unexpected effects. Cast List: Hannaleena Hauru, Samuel Kujala, Lasse Poser (North American Premiere)

Luchadoras (Germany)
Directors: Paola Calvo, Patrick Jasim, Screenwriters: Patrick Jasim, Paola Calvo, Phillip Kaminiak, Producer: Phillip Kaminiak
Luchadoras portrays the courageous female wrestlers of Ciudad Juárez, a city known for its high murder rate against women – who in the ring and in their daily lives fight to redefine the image of what it means to be a woman in Mexico. (World Premiere)

Ninjababy (Norway)
Director: Yngvild Sve Flikke, Screenwriter: Johan Fasting, Producer: Yngve Sæther
When Rakel (23), way too late, finds out she’s six months pregnant after a not-so-romantic one-night stand, her world changes. Cast List: Kristine Thorp, Arthur Berning, Nader Khademi, Tora Christine Dietrichson (International Premiere)

“Violation”

TIFF

Trapped (Egypt)
Director: Manal Khaled, Screenwriters: Manal Khaled, Rasha Azab, Producer: Manal Khaled
Trapped revolves around a number of women from different walks of life whose destinies are tied together; being all under one siege. As the events unfold, their own personal stories reflect on a far bigger siege that depicts the shackles imposed by a patriarchal society. Cast List: Coroline Khalil, Reem Hegab, Osama Abo El Ata, Ne’ma Mohsen, Mona Mokhtar, Sara’a Jebel (World Premiere)

2020 SPOTLIGHT

Exciting Narrative, Documentary and Episodic projects from across our sections from the 2020 edition of the SXSW Film Festival.

Best Summer Ever
Directors: Michael Parks Randa, Lauren Smitelli, Screenwriters: Michael Parks Randa, Will Halby, Terra Mackintosh, Andrew Pilkington, Lauren Smitelli, Producers: Andrew Pilkington, Katie White, Terra Mackintosh, Leah Romond, Jake Sharpless
A fresh and exhilarating take on the beloved teen musical genre featuring eight original songs and a fully integrated cast and crew of people with and without disabilities. Cast List: Shannon DeVido, Rickey Wilson Jr., MuMu, Jacob Waltuck, Emily Kranking, Eileen Grubba, Holly Palmer, Ajani “AJ” Murray, Lawerence Carter-Long, Bradford Hayes (Texas Premiere)

Chad
Showrunner/Screenwriter: Nasim Pedrad, Director: Rhys Thomas, Producer: David Cress
An awkward 14-year-old Persian-American boy navigates his first year of high school on a mission to become popular. Cast List: Nasim Pedrad, Jake Ryan, Ella Mika, Saba Homayoon, Paul Chahidi, Alexa Loo, Thomas Barbusca (World Premiere) (Episodic)

Clerk (Canada, U.S.A.)
Director: Malcolm Ingram, Producers: Malcolm Ingram, Craig Fleming
A documentary on the life and career of Kevin Smith (World Premiere)

Executive Order (Brazil)
Director: Lázaro Ramos, Screenwriters: Lusa Silvestre, Lázaro Ramos, Aldri Anunciação, Elísio Lopes Jr, Producers: Daniel Filho, Tania Rocha
In a dystopian near future in Brazil, an authoritarian government orders all citizens of African descent to move to Africa – creating chaos, protests, and an underground resistance movement that inspires the nation. Cast List: Alfred Enoch, Taís Araújo, Seu Jorge, Adriana Esteves, Renata Sorrah, Mariana Xavier, Pablo Sanábio (Texas Premiere)

Violet
Director/Screenwriter: Justine Bateman, Producers: Justine Bateman, Michael D. Jones, Larry Hummel, Matt Paul
A film development executive realizes that “guiding voice” inside her head has been lying to her about everything. Cast List: Olivia Munn, Luke Bracey, Justin Theroux (World Premiere)

Olivia Munn in Justine Bateman's directorial feature film debut, "Violet."

Olivia Munn in Justine Bateman’s directorial feature film debut, “Violet”

Mark Williams

We Are As Gods
Directors/Screenwriters: Jason Sussberg, David Alvarado, Producers: Kate McLean, Jamie Meltzer, David Alvarado, Jason Sussberg
“We are as gods and might as well get good at it,” Stewart Brand wrote in ‘68. The legendary pioneer of LSD, cyberspace, futurism, and modern environmentalism now urges people to use our god-like powers to fight extinction by reviving lost species. (World Premiere)

We Are The Thousand (Italy)
Director/Screenwriter: Anita Rivaroli, Producer: Simone Catania
Learn the story behind the viral video and what came after! We Are The Thousand takes you backstage with the Rockin’1000. A thousand musicians gathered together with one mission–to get the Foo Fighters to perform in their small town. (North American Premiere)

Witch Hunt
Director/Screenwriter: Elle Callahan, Producers: Eric B. Fleischman, Maurice Fadida
In a modern America where witches are real and witchcraft is illegal, a sheltered teenager must face her own demons and prejudices as she helps two young witches avoid law enforcement and cross the southern border to asylum in Mexico. Cast List: Gideon Adlon, Elizabeth Mitchell, Abigail Cowen, Nicholas and Cameron Crovetti, Christian Camargo (World Premiere)

Without Getting Killed or Caught
Directors: Tamara Saviano, Paul Whitfield, Screenwriters: Tamara Saviano, Bart Knaggs, Producers: Tamara Saviano, Paul Whitfield
Without Getting Killed or Caught is the true story of Guy Clark, the dean of Texas songwriters, who struggles to write poetic, yet indelible songs while balancing a complicated marriage with wife Susanna, and a deep friendship with Townes Van Zandt. (World Premiere)

EPISODIC PROGRAM

EPISODIC PREMIERES

Presenting world premieres of prestige serials slated for release.

Confronting A Serial Killer
Showrunner: Po Kutchins, Director: Joe Berlinger, Producers: Eve Rodrick, Eleanor Yu, Cassandra Corbett, Janine Nask, Julia Pontecorvo, Lesley Grossman, Emma McNamara, Ariel Kay
Confronting a Serial Killer tells the story of the unprecedented relationship between author Jillian Lauren and serial killer Sam Little while investigating the devastating impact of bias against marginalized women in the criminal justice system. (World Premiere)

Cruel Summer
Showrunner: Tia Napolitano, Director: Max WinklerFrom Exec Producer Jessica Biel, Freeform’s Cruel Summer is a psychological thriller taking place over three summers when a popular girl goes missing and an awkward outlier transforms to queen bee and eventually, the most despised person in America. Cast List: Olivia Holt, Chiara Aurelia, Michael Landes, Froy Gutierrez, Harley Quinn Smith, Allius Barnes, Blake Lee, Brooklyn Sudano (World Premiere)

The Girlfriend Experience
Showrunner/Director/Screenwriter: Anja Marquardt, Producer: Chris Thompson
The third installment of The Girlfriend Experience is set in the London tech scene, Iris, a neuroscience major, begins to explore the transactional world of The Girlfriend Experience and quickly learns that client sessions provide her with a compelling edge in the tech world. Cast List: Julia Goldani Telles, Oliver Masucci, Frank Dillane, Daniel Betts, Armin Karima, Tobi Bamtefa, Jemima Rooper (World Premiere)

Made for Love
Showrunner: Christina Lee, Director: Stephanie Laing, Screenwriters: Written for Television by Alissa Nutting & Dean Bakopoulos and Patrick Somerville and Christina Lee
Based on Alissa Nutting’s tragicomic novel, Made for Love is a dark, absurd, and cynically poignant story of divorce and revenge following Hazel Green (Cristin Milioti), a thirty-something woman on the run after 10 years in a suffocating marriage. Cast List: Cristin Milioti, Billy Magnussen, Dan Bakkedahl, Noma Dumezweni, Augusto Aguilera, Caleb Foote and Ray Romano. Executive producers: Christina Lee, Alissa Nutting, Patrick Somerville, Dean Bakopoulos, Liza Chasin, SJ Clarkson. (World Premiere)

Sasquatch
Showrunner/Director: Joshua Rofé, Producers: Duplass Brothers Productions, Number 19
Sasquatch is a true crime doc series following investigative journalist David Holthouse as he attempts to solve a bizarre twenty-five year old triple homicide that was said to be the work of a mythical creature. (World Premiere)

Them
Creator: Little Marvin
Executive Producers: Little Marvin, Lena Waithe
Set in 1953, Them, a co-production from Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television, centers on a Black family who move from North Carolina to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood. The family’s idyllic home becomes ground zero where malevolent forces, next door and otherworldly, threaten to taunt, ravage & destroy them. Cast List: Deborah Ayorinde, Ashley Thomas, Alison Pill, Melody Hurd, Shahadi Wright Joseph (World Premiere)

EPISODIC PILOT COMPETITION

A pilot showcase introducing fresh work from bright new talent, many with an eye towards finding production, completion funds, or a release platform.

4 Feet High (Argentina, France)
Directors: Maria Belen Poncio, Rosario Perazolo Masjoan, Screenwriters: Greta Molas, Javier Correa Caceres, Elisa Gagliano, Rosario Perazolo Masjoan, Maria Belen Poncio, Delphine Agut, Ivana Galdeano, Gabriela Vidal
Imagine your last year of High School in a wheelchair. Cast List: Marisol Agostina Irigoyen, Florencia Licera, Marcio Ramses, Natalia Di Cienzo, Francisca Spinotti (Texas Premiere)

4 Feet High Sundance 2021

Marisol Agostina Irigoyen in “4 Feet High”

Natalia Roca / Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Dale’s House
Showrunner: Julie Lake, Director: Kat Whalen, Screenwriters: Matt Kirsch, Julie Lake, Producers: Matt Kirsch, Julie Lake, Dana Fares
Dale’s House is a horror comedy about two estranged best friends, both at rock bottom in their careers and personal lives, who end up house sitting together in a demonic house that grants them all the success they desire, in exchange for their souls. Cast List: Julie Lake, Matt Kirsch, Sandy McCree, Jeff Cahn (World Premiere)

For the Record (Canada)
Showrunner: Julian De Zotti, Directors: Lisa Baylin, Julian De Zotti, Screenwriter: Julian De Zotti, Producer: Lisa Baylin
Ray and Angela just broke up. What if music had the power to bring them back together? Follow the iconic songs that make up the unforgettable soundtrack for a uniquely interconnected cast of characters. Cast List: Anna Hopkins, Julian De Zotti, Lyriq Bent, Alexandra Beaton, Karen LeBlanc, Maurice Dean Wint, Kyra Clavell, Moni Ogunsuyi, Alannah Ong, Johnny Orlando (International Premiere)

Parked in America
Showrunner/Screenwriter: Kayla Yumi Lewis, Director: Luke Salin, Producers: Cole Bannick, Jori Johnson, Alexandro Pacheco, Ann Swenson
Parked in America is a half-hour dramedy following Jamie Park, a Korean teenager, who moves in with her relatives in Illinois after a family tragedy strikes back at home in Seoul. Cast List: Judy Song, Jeff Lawless, Solomon Abell, Ella Baker-Smith, Judy Han, Jim Cairl, Lexi Perkel, MeeWha Alana Lee (World Premiere)

The Position
Director/Screenwriter: Matthew Lessner, Producers: Breeda Wool, Michael Kaleda, Matthew Lessner
The Position is a metaphysical comedy about two modern women’s unlikely partnership and subsequent misadventures in pursuit of a portal to the multiverse. Cast List: Breeda Wool, Remi Nicole (World Premiere)

Pretend Partners
Showrunners/Screenwriters/Producers: Kristin Erickson, Ron Najor, Director: Ron Najor
Two (not so good) friends realize they are better together than alone. Cast List: Kristin Erickson, Ron Najor, Kandis Fay, Dan J. Johnson (World Premiere)

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