South by Southwest (SXSW) is just one of many film festivals, we here at Sound On Sight cover yearly. The fest, which takes place every spring in Austin, Texas, began in 1987, and has continued to grow in size every year. The fest announced the first wave of films back in early January, and the lineup included some highly anticipated films such as The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Evil Dead, Downloaded and Spring Breakers. Now the full lineup has been announced, and it just might be one of the best lineups the festival has ever programmed.
SXSW takes place March 8-16 in Austin Texas. Here are just some of the films we are excited about.
Narrative Feature Competition – This year’s 8 films were selected from 1,191 submissions. Each film is a World Premiere.
Director/Screenwriter: Todd Sklar, Screenwriter: Alex Rennie
Estranged brothers Jim and Dave must travel to Branson together when their father dies and leaves them the lake home. A series of hilarious mishaps and costly misadventures follow as they attempt to restore the house and rebuild their relationship.
Cast : Alex Rennie, James Pumphrey, Christopher Meloni, Brett Gelman, Keeley Hazell
Director/Screenwriter: Carlos Puga
On the eve of an annual sibling reunion, a troubled young writer is sent reeling with the arrival of an unexpected guest.
Cast : Christopher Abbott, Gaby Hoffmann, Chris McCann, Dan Bittner, Emily Fleischer
Director/Screenwriter: Dayna Hanson
When their big gig falls through, a ragtag, avant-garde performance group with a political message struggles to find their audience—and the motivating force behind their work.
Cast : Magge Brown, Dave Proscia, Wade Madsen, Jessie Smith, Pol Rosenthal
Director/Screenwriter: Jonathan Singer-Vine, Screenwriter: Justin “Hongry” Robinson
The story of a young man, D, as he returns to his Oakland neighborhood after two years served in prison for a robbery gone wrong…
Cast : Stanley “Doe” Hunt, Koran Jenkins, Tatiana Monet, Devon Libran, Les “DJ Upgrade” Aderibigbe
Director/Screenwriter: Chris Eska
On the outskirts of the Civil War, a boy is sent north by a bounty hunter gang to retrieve a wanted man.
Cast : Ashton Sanders, Tishuan Scott, Keston John, Bill Oberst, Jr., Christine Horn, Alfonso Freeman
Short Term 12
Director/Screenwriter: Destin Daniel Cretton
The film follows Grace, a young supervisor at a foster-care facility, as she looks after the teens in her charge and reckons with her own troubled past. An unsparingly authentic film, full of both heart and surprising humor.
Cast : Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, Keith Stanfield
Swim Little Fish Swim (USA, France)
Director/Screenwriter: Ruben Amar, Lola Bessis
Between surrealism, unusual characters, art and magic tricks, Swim Little Fish Swim is a dreamlike journey from childhood to adulthood.
Cast : Dustin Guy Defa, Anne Consigny, Brooke Bloom, Lola Bessis, Olivia Durling Costello
This Is Where We Live
Directors: Josh Barrett, Marc Menchaca, Screenwriter: Marc Menchaca
A struggling family’s dynamics are challenged and a unique friendship is born when a small-town Texas handyman becomes caregiver to their son with cerebral palsy.
Cast : Ron Hayden, CK McFarland, Marc Menchaca, Tobias Segal, Frankie Shaw
Documentary Feature Competition – This year’s 8 films were selected from 905 submissions. Each film is a World Premiere.
12 O’Clock Boys
Director: Lotfy Nathan
Pug, a young boy growing up on a combative West Baltimore block, finds solace in a gang of illegal dirt bike riders known as The 12 O’Clock Boys.
Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton
Directors: Stephen Silha, Eric Slade
A documentary about embracing your passions and becoming the person of your dreams, disguised as an inspiring biopic about pioneering filmmaker and poet James Broughton (1913-1999).
Director: Douglas Tirola
The story of the bartender in the era of the craft cocktail.
Los Wild Ones
Director: Elise Salomon
Wild Records is an indie label reminiscent of the early days of Sun Records. The label is based in LA and run by Reb Kennedy aka Mr. Wild Records and is comprised of young Latin musicians who write and perform 50s Rock n Roll.
The Short Game
Director: Josh Greenbaum
Each year, the world’s best 7-year-old golfers descend on Pinehurst, North Carolina to determine the next “world champion” and who might become golf’s next phenom. The Short Game follows 9 young golfers on their quest for greatness.
Director: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
With unprecedented access and dynamic 16mm cinematography, Touba reveals a different face of Islam by chronicling Sufi Muslims’ annual pilgrimage to the city of Touba.
We Always Lie To Strangers
Directors: AJ Schnack, David Wilson
A story of family, community, music and tradition set against the backdrop of Branson, Missouri, the remote Ozark Mountain town that is one of the biggest tourist destinations in America.
WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL
Director: Ben Nabors
William Kamkwamba builds a windmill from scrap to rescue his family from famine, transforming his life and launching him onto the world stage. His success leads to new opportunities and complex choices, distancing him from the life he once knew.
Headliners – Big names, big talent: Headliners bring star power to SXSW, featuring red carpet premieres and gala film events with some major and rising names in cinema.
Director/Screenwriter: Fede Alvarez, Screenwriter: Rodo Sayagues
Five friends, holed up in a remote cabin, discover a Book of the Dead that unwittingly summons up dormant demons which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left to fight for survival.
Cast : Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore
Director: Stephen Finnigan
A brief history of mine: a look at the life of Stephen Hawking
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Director: Don Scardino, Story by Chad Kultgen & Tyler Mitchell and Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley. Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley
As superstar Vegas magicians and former best friends Burt and Anton grow to secretly loathe each other, their long-time act implodes, allowing an ambitious rival street performer the big break he’s been waiting for.
Cast : Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, with Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini and Jim Carrey
Director/Screenwriter: Harmony Korine
Four college girls who land in jail after robbing a restaurant in order to fund their spring break vacation find themselves bailed out by a drug and arms dealer who wants them to do some dirty work.
Cast : James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, Gucci Mane
When Angels Sing
Director: Tim Mccanlies, Screenwriter: Lou Berney
Michael despises Christmas. Now Christmas is getting even.
Cast : Harry Connick Jr., Connie Britton, Chandler Canterbury, Fionnula Flanagan, Lyle Lovett, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Eloise DeJoria, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson
Narrative Spotlight – High profile narrative features receiving their World, North American or U.S. Premieres at SXSW.
Director: Bryan Poyser, Screenwriters: David Degrow Shotwell, Steven Walters, Bryan Poyser
An outrageous comedy about love and revenge in Austin, Texas.
Cast : Marshall Allman, Ashley Bell, Zach Cregger, Sara Paxton, Michael Stahl-David
Director/Screenwriter: Vincent Grashaw, Screenwriter: Mark Penney
A teenage boy is sent to a juvenile reform facility in the wilderness. As we learn about the tragic events that sent him there, his struggle becomes one for survival with the inmates, the counselors, and with the retired war colonel in charge.
Cast : PJ Boudousqué, James C. Burns, Chris Petrovski, Octavius J. Johnson, Nicholas Bateman
Director/Screenwriter: Joe Swanberg
Weekend trips, office parties, late night conversations, drinking on the job, marriage pressure, biological clocks, holding eye contact a second too long… you know what makes the line between “friends” and “more than friends” really blurry? Beer.
Cast : Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston
Go For Sisters
Director/Screenwriter: John Sayles
Bernice and Fontayne grew up so tight they could ‘go for sisters’. After twenty years apart, they are reunited when Bernice is assigned to be Fontayne’s parole officer- just when she needs help on the wrong side of the law.
Cast : Edward James Olmos, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Yolonda Ross
(North American Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Sean H. A. Gallagher
Leigh’s 29th birthday party takes a sudden turn when she announces that the evening maybe the last time her friends see her alive. A night of questions, coping and debauchery immediately follow.
Cast : Adriene Mishler, Jonny Mars, Alex Karpovsky, Chris Doubek, Todd Berger
Grow Up, Tony Phillips
Director/Screenwriter: Emily Hagins
A comedy about a Halloween-obsessed high school senior who doesn’t think childhood passions should have an expiration date.
Cast : Tony Vespe, AJ Bowen, Devin Bonnée, Katie Folger, Byron Brown
Director/Screenwriter: Jessie Mccormack
Lizzie, married and longing for a child, can’t conceive. Her best friend, Andie, single and adrift, gets pregnant from a one-night stand and offers to have the baby for Lizzie, sparking a journey full of funny and painful obstacles for all involved.
Cast : Michelle Monaghan, Radha Mitchell, Jon Dore, Michael Weston, Mimi Kennedy
Holy Ghost People
Director: Mitchell Altieri, Screenwriters: Kevin Artigue & Joe Egender, Mitchell Altieri & Phil Flores
On the trail of her missing sister, Charlotte enlists the help of Wayne, an ex-Marine and alcoholic, to infiltrate the Church of One Accord – a community of snake-handlers who risk their lives seeking salvation in the Holy Ghost.
Cast : Emma Greenwell, Brendan McCarthy, Joe Egender, Cameron Richardson, Roger Aaron Brown
Director/Screenwriter: Eric Heisserer
Set mostly in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Hours is the story of a man who battles looters, the elements and exhaustion for two days in a hospital while his newborn daughter clings to life inside a ventilator powered only by a manual crank.
Cast : Paul Walker, Genesis Rodriguez
I Give It A Year (UK)
Director/Screenwriter: Dan Mazer
A brand new comedy from the writer of Borat and Bruno that lifts the veil on the realities of the first year of marriage.
Cast : Rose Byrne, Anna Faris, Rafe Spall, Simon Baker, Minnie Driver, Jason Flemyng, Stephen Merchant
(North American Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Walter Strafford
Sick of his routine life, Doug sets out to climb Kilimanjaro.
Cast : Brian Geraghty, Alexia Rasmussen, Abigail Spencer, Chris Marquette, Bruce Altman
Loves Her Gun
Director/Screenwriter: Geoff Marslett, Screenwriter: Lauren Modery
This romantic tragedy follows a young woman’s transition from flight to fight after she is the victim of street violence, but will the weapons that make her feel safe again create problems worse than the ones she is escaping?
Cast : Trieste Kelly Dunn, Francisco Barreiro, Ashley Rae Spillers, Melissa Hideko Bisagni, John Merriman
Director/Screenwriter: Jacob Vaughan, Screenwriter: Benjamin Hayes
A man discovers that his chronic stomach problems are due to the fact that he has a demon baby living in his colon.
Cast : Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Peter Stormare, Stephen Root, Mary Kay Place
Much Ado About Nothing
Director: Joss Whedon
Shakespeare’s classic comedy is given a contemporary spin in Joss Whedon’s film, Much Ado About Nothing.
Cast : Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese
Director/Screenwriter: Adam Rifkin
A darkly comedic satire that follows TV producer Mickey Wagner and his amoral attempt to re-invent the reality genre. Mickey’s big idea is to pick a family and put them under all encompassing surveillance…without their knowledge.
Cast : Adam Rifkin, Scott Anderson, Kelly Menighan Hensley, Monika Tilling, Valerie Breiman
Directors: Kevin Goetz, Michael Goetz, Screenwriter: Kyle Killen
Stranded on an isolated desert road, two life-long friends fight for survival as their already strained relationship spirals into knife-wielding madness.
Cast : Josh Duhamel, Dan Fogler
Director: Daisy Von Scherler Mayer, Screenwriter: Neil LaBute
On the eve of his wedding, a successful writer travels around the country to meet up with ex-lovers in an attempt to make amends for his wrongdoings.
Cast : Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Zoe Kazan, Mía Maestro, Jennifer Morrison, Emily Watson
Directors: Katie Graham, Andrew Matthews, Screenwriter: Andrew Matthews
An obsessive fantasy nerd gradually becomes unhinged when a charismatic hipster joins his D&D game.
Cast : Sam Eidson, Garrett Graham, Brock England, Anne Gee Byrd, Cyndi Williams, Brian Losoya, Vincent Prendergast, Katie Folger, John Gholson, Dakin Matthews
Documentary Spotlight – Shining a light on new documentary features receiving their World, North American or U.S. Premieres at SXSW.
An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story
Director: Al Reinert
Michael Morton’s wife Christine was brutally murdered in front of their only child, and he was convicted of the crime. Twenty-five years later, he tells the story of his journey from despair to exoneration.
Before You Know It
Director: PJ Raval
Three gay seniors navigate the adventures, challenges and surprises of life and love in their golden years.
Continental (USA, Canada)
Director: Malcolm Ingram
A stylish and thoughtful examination of the infamous Continental Baths NYC circa 1968-1976. Told by the people who were there.
Director: Alex Winter
A documentary that explores the rise and fall of Napster and the birth of the digital revolution. It’s about the teens that helped start this revolution, and the artists and industries who continue to be impacted by it.
Getting Back to Abnormal
Director: Louis Alvarez, Andrew Kolker, Peter Odabashian, Paul Stekler
A polarizing white politician becomes a lightning rod for racial strife in New Orleans.
Good Ol’ Freda
Director: Ryan White
The story of Freda Kelly, a shy Liverpudlian teenager asked to work for a young local band hoping to make it big: The Beatles. Their loyal secretary from beginning to end, Freda tells her tales for the first time in 50 years.
I Am Divine
Director: Jeffrey Schwarz
The story of Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, and how he became John Waters’ cinematic muse and an international drag icon.
Directors: Andrew Cohn, Davy Rothbart
In America’s basketball heartland, four resilient boys from rural Medora, Indiana fight to end their high school team’s three-year losing streak, as their dwindling town faces the threat of extinction.
Directors: Zak Knutson, Joey Figueroa
The life story of ‘Zen Anarchist’ filmmaker John Milius, one of the most influential storytellers of his generation.
Director: Dan Hunt
Chronicles the extraordinary life of trans male porn pioneer and educator, Buck Angel. It’s a moving & provocative story of a man’s search for acceptance from his family and the world. An inspirational tale of an unlikely hero.
The Network (Australia, UK)
Director: Eva Orner
Set behind the scenes at the largest television network in one of the most dangerous places on earth. Afghanistan.
The Other Shore
Director: Timothy Wheeler
The film tracks legendary swimmer Diana Nyad’s lifetime vision and four harrowing attempts to swim non-stop from Cuba to Florida. An abusive past collides with an obsessive present over a dangerous 60-hour feat never before accomplished.
Director: Josh Johnson
Home video changed the world. The impact of the VHS tape was enormous. Rewind This! aims to trace the ripples of that impact.
Spark: A Burning Man Story
Directors: Steve Brown, Jessie Deeter
What happens when you allow yourself to act on your dreams? Spark takes us behind the curtain with organizers and participants of Burning Man, revealing a year of unprecedented challenges and growth.
TINY: A Story About Living Small
Directors: Christopher Smith, Merete Mueller
One couple’s attempt to build a “tiny house” smaller than the average parking space with no construction experience raises questions about sustainability and good design, the nature of home, and the changing American Dream.
Unhung Hero (Germany)
Director: Brian Spitz
After a failed marriage proposal because of his inadequate size, a young man adventures the world in search of answers so he will never come up short again.
We Cause Scenes
Director: Matt Adams
The extraordinary story of a group of twenty-somethings who seized the streets of New York, transforming the meaning of comedy, performance and art through forming “Improv Everywhere,” a prank collective ten years in the making.