This year, SXSW's film portion runs March 12-20, and features movies from a host of categories, including headliners, spotlight premieres, films from the Lone Star state, the controversial midnighters (which tend to feature adult-themed topics) and a range of shorts, from live-action to animation. While there are dozens of films making their public debuts at SXSW, here's 12 of our favorites to keep an eye on. Friday, hordes will descend upon Austin, Texas, for the city's annual SXSW (South by Southwest) interactive conference and cultural festival. And while music has long been the big attraction, the event has also become a magnet for myriad movie premieres and screenings, for films large and small.
This year, SXSW's film portion runs March 12-20, and features movies from a host of categories, including headliners, spotlight premieres, films from the Lone Star state, the controversial midnighters (which tend to feature adult-themed topics) and a range of shorts, from live-action to animation. While there are dozens of films making their public debuts at SXSW, here's 12 of our favorites to keep an eye on.
Patrick Wilson plays Barry Munday, an average guy with an above-average interest in scoring with the ladies. His hobby is going pretty well, until the day when he loses his testicles. Just as he thinks he'll never find happiness again, a woman he can't remember sleeping with slaps him with a paternity suit. Instead of dismissing her shocking claim, he embraces his surprise chance at fatherhood, with hilarious and touching results.
Director and Screenwriter: Chris D'Arienzo
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Judy Greer, Chloë Sevigny, Jean Smart, Malcolm McDowell, Cybill Shepherd, Billy Dee Williams
World Premiere: Sat., March 13, 1:30PM at The Paramount
Kevin Smith co-produced this new documentary, which explores the meaning of community and acceptance through the experiences of gay men who identify as bears. For the unfamiliar, bears are gay males on the heftier side, often sporting beards or facial hair and embracing masculine aesthetics. 'Bear Nation' looks at how the emergence of this sub-culture has ruffled feathers within the gay community, as well as how it has created new avenues for identity and perspective.
Screenwriter: Malcolm Ingram
Producers: Kevin Smith & Nhaelan McMillan
World Premiere: Sun., March 14, 9:30PM at G-Tech
Why are DJs keeping Bossa Nova on heavy rotation, 50 years after its creation? What draws modern music artists to the Tropicalia movement, no matter how divergent their own music may be from the Brazilian sound? 'Beyond Ipanema' explores the roots of Brazil's beats and looks at how it's become intertwined with modern culture, from the work of world-famous musicians like David Byrne and M.I.A. to a public school in Harlem. With vibrant concert clips and an exciting soundtrack, the documentary brings a little taste of Brazil to American audiences.
Screenwriters and Producers: Guto Barra & Beco Dranoff
Cast: David Byrne, Caetano Veloso, Os Mutantes, Gilberto Gil, Devendra Banhart, MIA, Tom Z, Seu Jorge, Bebel Gilberto
Screening: Thu., March 18, 9:30PM at Alamo Ritz 1
'Dirty Pictures' offers a glimpse at Dr. Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin, a chemist known as "The Godfather of Psychedelics" for his discovery of the effects of MDMA (Ecstasy), as well as more than 200 other drugs that affect the mind. Shulgin did most of his research at a home lab where he and his wife Ann served as test subjects, co-writing books that have been part of the foundation of neurological research. The documentary takes viewers inside their world, examining their quest to learn about the human mind, and the controversy surrounding their work.
Director and Producer: Etienne Sauret
Cast: Dr. Alexander "Sasha" Shulgin, Ann Shulgin, Dr. William Fantegrossi, Dr. Roland Griffiths, Dr. David Nichols
World Premiere: Sat., March 13, 9:30PM at G-Tech
In this sequel to his recent film 'Women in Trouble,' writer and director Sebastian Gutierrez brings us a follow-up to his Almodovar-esque portrait of women in chaos. In 'Elektra Luxx,' the eponymous ex-porn superstar is pregnant and retired, as she tries to segue to the straight life teaching sex classes for housewives. But when a woman from her past appears with a big favor in mind, everything unravels as romantic partners, a private investigator and the Virgin Mary all conspire to make Elektra confront herself and her decisions in surprising ways. Starring a handful of beautiful ladies from film and TV, 'Elektra Luxx' promises both amusement and healthy aesthetics.
Director and Screenwriter: Sebastian Gutierrez
Cast: Carla Gugino, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Timothy Olyphant, Malin Akerman, Adrianne Palicki
World Premiere: Sun., March 14, 9:30PM at The Paramount
In the small port town of Chittagong, Bangladesh, more than 20,000 people risk their lives daily to dismantle old ships for about two dollars a day. An average of 20 people die there each year thanks to a dangerous industrial environment. 'Iron Crows' explores their lives, revealing why workers would flock to Chittagong, and what keeps them there.
Director: Bong-Nam Park
Cast: Belal, Rufik, Ekramul
North American Premiere: Mon., March 14, 4PM at the Hideout
Funny, offbeat and unabashed, 'Kick-Ass' is the story of comic-book fanboy Dave Lizewski, who decides to transform himself into a superhero. Donning a cape and adopting a hero's sense of justice, Dave's humdrum teenage life quickly changes as his capers begin to catch media attention -- and inspire a handful of copy-cat heroes who follow his lead.
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Screenwriters: Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn
Cast: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Chloë Grace Moretz, Nicolas Cage.
World Premiere: Fri., March 12, 7PM at The Paramount
'Leaves of Grass'
Hollywood stars collide in this alternately sweet and raucous tale of two brothers with very different life paths. 'Leaves of Grass' is the story of Ivy League classics professor Bill Kincaid (Edward Norton), who leaves his Northeastern ivory tower for his home state of Oklahoma after news that his estranged identical twin, Brady (Edward Norton), has been reported murdered in a pot deal. But when Bill learns that Brady's death was exaggerated, he gets caught up in his brother's world of drug deals and low-grade, Southern thugs -- including a local drug lord (Richard Dreyfuss) who has a long-running beef with Brady.
Director and Screenwriter: Tim Blake Nelson
Cast: Edward Norton, Keri Russell, Tim Blake Nelson, Melanie Lynskey, Richard Dreyfuss, Susan Sarandon
North American Premiere: Fri., March 12, 9:30PM at Alamo Lamar 1
'Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee'
Things can't get much worse for Le Donk. A former rock-band roadie and failed musician, he's also newly single now that his girlfriend has left him. Just when he seems to have hit rock bottom, he decides to turn up-and-coming rapper Scor-zay-zee into a star, and turn his own life around in the process. As the duo sets out on their riotous mission, their hip-hopumentary features comedy and bravery on a raucous ride peppered with rhymes from the U.K.
Director and Screenwriter: Shane Meadows
Cast: Paddy Considine, Dean Palinczuk, Livia Colman
North American Premiere: Tues, March 16, 4:45PM at Alamo Lamar 3
The character born from a 'Saturday Night Live' sketch makes his big-screen debut. Will Forte stars as the mullet-sporting, everyman-action hero, putting a high-octane, hapless spin on TV's 1980s hero MacGyver, who fought bad guys with nothing but a little ingenuity and a few household tools.
Director: Jorma Taccone
Screenwriters: Jorma Taccone, Will Forte, John Solomon
Cast: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Powers Boothe, Maya Rudolph and Val Kilmer
World Premiere: Mon., March 15, 9:30PM at The Paramount
'Red, White and Blue'
Director Simon Rumley's latest film is the dark tale of three young adults in Austin whose lives become tragically intertwined. While Rumley's 'The Living and the Dead' (2006) dealt with similar themes of mental isolation and violence, 'Red White and Blue' has a more rock 'n' roll vibe that reflects its setting, with an edgy look that captures urban desperation.
Director and Screenwriter: Simon Rumley
Cast: Noah Taylor, Amanda Fuller, Marc Senter, Lauren Scheider, Jon Michael Davis, Sally Jackson, Nick Ashy Holden, Patrick Crovo, Eryn Brooke, Kevin LaVoie
North American Premiere: Sun., March 14, 9:30PM at Alamo Lamar 1
James Franco may be known for his pretty-boy looks and recent spate of film roles, but in 'Saturday Night,' he steps behind he camera to observe the making of 'Saturday Night Live.' In this documentary, Franco gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of an episode, hosted by John Malkovich.
Director: James Franco
Cast: John Malkovich, James Franco, Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikus, Lorne Michaels, Will Forte, Bobby Moynihan, Steve Higgins, Andy Samberg, Kristen Wiig
World Premiere: Sun., March 14, 7:00PM at Alamo Lamar 1
Is there life after college? In 'Tiny Furniture,' director and writer Lena Dunham presents a tragic and funny take on what happens when young adults move home with fresh diplomas and no career prospects in sight. Starring Dunham and her real family, the film follows the misadventures of 22-year-old Aura when she moves to her mother's loft with a film theory degree, a YouTube page, a broken heart and a whole lot of free time.
Director and Screenwriter: Lena Dunham
Cast: Lena Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham, David Call, Alex Karpovsky
World Premiere: Mon., March 15, 2:15PM at Alamo Ritz 1