Topic series review: ‘Catching A Killer- Episode 2: The Wind in the Willows Murder’

Catching A Killer- Episode 2:

The Wind in the Willows Murder

Adrian Greenwood

Adrian Greenwood, a famous historian and antiquarian book dealer, is found inside his home brutally stabbed over 30 times. The scene is chaotic. Police make a seemingly surprising arrest. The suspect is a man plunged into depression and financial ruin after his divorce.

One intriguing aspect is the discussion officers have prior to and post questioning suspect Michael Danaher‘s family. The choice to send female officers into the home does not go unnoticed. The care with which the accused and family are treated feels in contrast to here in the United States. 

Michael Danaher selfie

As in episode 1, the access to family members is shocking. Michael’s fourteen-year-old son Ryan is their best witness. His levelheaded account to officers blew me away. He recounts a story his father told him of a random knife attack. We watch this tape of Ryan’s second interview, juxtaposed with Michael’s interrogation. The accounts are very different. Simultaneously, the forensics team searches the scene. The most expensive item that is missing from the murder scene is the first edition of The Wind in the Willows book. 

This episode also includes hours of footage of Adrian discussing his rare finds on various television programs. It’s both fascinating and unsettling. The amount of evidence amassed will astonish you. You will shake your head at the stupidity. Catching A Killer Episode 2 is just as fascinating as Episode 1. 

You can watch Catching A Killer exclusively on TOPIC.


Episode 1: “The Search for Natalie Hemming” – Directed by Anna Hall
Episode 2: “The Wind in the Willows Murder” – Directed by Jezza Neumann
Episode 3: “Bullet Through the Window” – Directed by Erica Gornall
Episode 4: “A Knock at the Door” – Directed by Jennifer Shaw
Episode 5: “A Diary From the Grave” – Directed by Jezza Neumann & Jess Stevenson

 

About TOPIC
Topic is the criminally good streaming service from First Look Entertainment for thrillers, mysteries, dramas and documentaries from around the world, serving viewers who crave entertainment beyond the mainstream. Whether it’s a Nordic-noir crime thriller (The Killing), an Italian supernatural political drama (The Miracle), or a haunting true crime docu-series from the UK (The Missing Children), Topic expands your view of the world.Featuring North American premieres, exclusive TV series and film, and programming from more than 40 countries, Topic showcases an unparalleled collection of creators, perspectives and experiences. Complemented by our Topic Originals, we prioritize bold storytelling and champion underrepresented voices. Topic Originals and exclusives include Oscar® nominee The Letter Room (starring Oscar Isaac), Lambs of God (starring Ann Dowd), BAFTA® nominee The Virtues (starring Stephen Graham), Emmy® nominee The Accidental Wolf (starring Kelli O’Hara), Dark Woods, Gotham Award winning Philly D.A., and Soul City (directed by Coodie & Chike).Topic is available to US and Canadian audiences on topic.com, AppleTV & iOS, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android & Android TV, Samsung, Apple TV Channels, Roku Premium Channels, Bell Fibe, Amazon Prime Video Channels, Comcast and Comcast’s entertainment platforms, including Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex and XClass TV. Topic is part of First Look Entertainment which also includes Topic Studios, the award winning entertainment studio which develops, finances, and produces content for all platforms.

 

Hit British Investigative Crime Docuseries review: ‘CATCHING A KILLER Episode 1: The Search for Natalie Hemming’ exclusively on Topic now!

CATCHING A KILLER

The Search for Natalie Hemming

Mother of three Natalie Hemming goes missing. Local police take the case with swift action and an in-depth, real-time investigation into her disappearance.

Catching A Killer: The Search for Natalie Hemming will airs exclusively on Topic.


The series’ score mimics a heartbeat and enhances the menacing atmosphere. The editing is a triumph, utilizing police video, interrogation tape, and the documentary teams footage of investigators chatting with Natalie’s family and friends. Listening to Natalie’s children recall the evening she went missing will chill you to your core. Her partner of ten years, and main suspect, Paul Hemming sits in jail as the investigation moves forward.

The police give the audience a play-by-play of tactics alongside the unprecedented access to the interviews with coworkers, family, and Paul, as well as the forensics team’s meticulous evidence collection. Episode 1 has a two-hour runtime and follows the case from beginning to end. With a plethora of true-crime series to choose from, the hour-by-hour tracking of the investigation makes Catching A Killer enthralling.

You can watch Catching A Killer Season 1 streaming exclusively on Topic now.

The season finale will air Thursday, June 30th.

http://topic.com

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘Carol & Johnny’ – a dark fairy tale of love and bank robbery.

CAROL AND JOHNNY

Tribeca 2022 documentary CAROL & JOHNNY tells the wild tale of crime and devoted love. How do one seemingly mundane husband and wife become the most notorious bank robbers of the early 90s? It’s one hell of a story.

Carol Hawkins Williams and Johnny Madison Williams meticulously planned each robbery like an honest-to-goodness business deal. Johnny’s role was to go inside, and Carol was the getaway driver. After each job, the nonchalant behavior they exhibited will make you smirk. Heading to Vegas to wash the stolen bills, they fined like kings and queens and had a good time. The film uses archival footage, personal photographs, courtroom drawings, and intimate sit-down interviews with Carol and Johnny in the flesh. Twenty-seven years after their conviction, these two lovely humans still love madly in love with one another. But don’t be fooled by the charming retelling of their shenanigans. The story evolves as director Colin Barnicle spends time with the pair individually. 

The doc genuinely delves into the why. Carol and Johnny’s childhoods informed their adult lives from start to finish. It’s easy to feel connected to our protagonists, hearing the physical and emotional abuse they endured. The film explores all the complex emotions involved. The darkness and messy parts of lovers torn apart for so long are on display. Coming to terms with reality is heartbreaking for the audience to witness. The slick and deliberate storytelling makes a ceaselessly intriguing watch. Go into the film without any preconceived notions. CAROL & JOHNNY is a different approach to the true crime genre. 


DIRECTOR
Colin Barnicle
PRODUCER
Barnicle Brothers with Words and Pictures
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Colin Barnicle
EDITOR
Colin Barnicle
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Nick Barnicle, Colin Barnicle, Connor Schell, Libby Geist, Aaron Cohen
CO-PRODUCER
Cora Atkinson
SUPERVISING PRODUCER
Julie Schapiro Thorman
CAST
Johnny Madison Williams, Carol Hawkins Williams


Review: ‘THE POLICEMAN’S LINEAGE’ sends ‘Parasite’ stars deep-undercover.

THE POLICEMAN’S LINEAGE

SYNOPSIS: Parasite’s Woo-sik Choi stars as Choi Min-Jae, a rookie police officer and a man of principle, who teams up with Park Gang-Yoon, the chief of an investigation team that has an unrivaled arrest record but includes corrupt methods. Together, the two very different policemen dive deep into a massive case that shakes the police force upside down.


The Policeman’s Lineage is a straightforward cop thriller that manages to keep its head above water despite a reliance on some overused genre themes. To be fair, there have been so many variations of the undercover cop film that innovation is practically impossible.  Director Kyu-mann Lee wisely leans into two key strengths: fresh-faced lead Choi Woo-shik (flush from the success and recognition of the brilliant Parasite), and the theme of paternal mentorship that drives the film’s best moments.

Choi Woo-shik stars as Choi Min Jae, a young, 3rd generation cop with strong morals. He is shown early on to prioritize what he believes to be right above all else, which does not endear him to his fellow officers. Facing bleak career prospects, he is given the opportunity to go (you guessed it) undercover to investigate a special unit touting a top arrest record. Sounds like a great promotion, right? Well, the Internal Affairs chief planning the operation (a steely, understated Park Hee-soon) believes the unit has crossed over the line in its pursuit of justice. It isn’t hard to be suspicious of the unit’s chief, Detective Park (Cho Jin-woong.) Park drives around in a shiny Mercedes, wears designer clothes, and flashes the cash at high-stakes poker tables. Must have a great financial planner!

Choi agrees to go undercover partly out of principle, and partly in exchange for information about his deceased father, who died years ago under mysterious circumstances while working with Detective Park. Detective Park’s team is surprisingly keen to welcome Choi into the fold despite his reputation as a straight-laced, scrupulous officer.

What follows is a mash-up of Point Break meets Platoon, as Choi’s resolve wobbles under the dueling influences of his two opposing supervisors.  Will he stick to his morals and Internal Affairs, or will he grow to sympathize and understand Detective Park’s take-no-prisoners approach to justice? All 3 leads bring compelling performances to the table. Choi Woo-shik is the film’s center of gravity, and he does admirable work digesting all of the necessary plot exposition on behalf of the audience. He continues to be a talent to watch.  Cho Jin-woong has the toughest job of the 3, shouldered with making Detective Park believably warm while simultaneously steely and terrifying. He mostly manages, but countless scenes of him gifting Choi clothes or taking the rookie for a ride on his big boat make it harder to buy in when he has to switch gears over to “bad cop”. I wish there had been more scenes between Detective Park and Internal Affairs.

The film drags a bit at nearly 2 hours in length – especially in the final 20 minutes, where too many twists are introduced too late. Ultimately, The Policeman’s Lineage represents an appropriate addition to the cop thriller genre, even if it doesn’t reinvent the wheel.


The Policeman’s Lineage will be on digital, VOD and cable* June 7, 2022 from Echelon Studios.


CAST: Woo-sik Choi (Parasite), Cho Jin-woong (The Handmaiden), Park Myeong-hoon (Parasite), and Hee-soon Park (Apple TV+’s Dr. Brain)

CREDIT: The Policeman’s Lineage is directed by Kyu-mann Lee (Wide Awake), produced by Han-seung Lee (The Tower), and executed produced by Hyun-joo Jung (The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil). The production team includes production designer Chae Kyoung-sun (Squid Game), editor Nam Na-young (Squid Game) costume designer Kyeong-mi Kim (Okja), composer Young-gyu Jang (Train to Busan), and makeup artists Hyo-kyun Hwang & Tae-Yong Kwak (Parasite)


The Policeman’s Lineage will be available on:

*Cable and Digital Transactional Video On Demand including:

Comcast

Charter-Spectrum

Directv

iTunes

Cox Cable

Dish Network

Sling TV

Google Play

Verizon Fios

Fandango / VUDU

InDemand

Vubiquity

Rogers

Vimeo on Demand


 

Netflix Review: ‘OUR FATHER’ is a disturbing and infuriating true story of one fertility doctor’s mission.

Synopsis: Jacoba Ballard was an only child, conceived via donor sperm, who always dreamed of having a brother or sister. An at-home DNA test led her to the discovery of not one but seven half-siblings – a number that defied best practices in fertility medicine. As the group set out to learn more about their curious family tree, they soon discovered the sickening truth: Their parents’ fertility doctor had been inseminating his patients with his own sperm – without their knowledge or consent. As Ballard and her newfound siblings realized they’ve barely begun to untangle his dark web of deceit, their pursuit of justice lies at the heart of this profoundly unsettling story about an unimaginable breach of trust.


Real audio, sit-down interviews, and recreations tell the shocking story of one fertility doctor’s sinister plans. Dr. Donald Cline assisted innumerable women in becoming mothers. What those mothers didn’t know would change lives forever. DNA test “23 and Me” blew this story wide open.

Having worked for Dr. Cline for 13 years, Jan Shore candidly speaks about the entire process. The initial moral ambiguity in the voice of Cline’s partner, Dr. Colver, is cringeworthy as he expresses gratitude and awe for Dr. Cline’s innovative science. And yet, as a woman who recalls the monthly tears and disappointment when I couldn’t get pregnant for months on end, listening to these women retell their experiences feels visceral. The most joyous gifts come with an unimaginable caveat.

The emotional trauma in each sibling is palpable, and as the number of newly discovered individuals involved climbs, a chill reruns down your spine. Led by Jacoba Ballard, this unique group of now adults goes through every high and low imaginable. Their strength is beyond admirable. The violation doesn’t end with the initial deception. When the identified siblings push back, a barrage of madness in the form of various threats rains down upon them.

OUR FATHER gets increasingly more disturbing by the minute. The religious aspect is simultaneously eerie and infuriating. Once expanded upon, it’s almost unsurprising. We’ve seen this time and time again. We’re experiencing it as we speak nationally. When the Supreme Court leak used the phrase, “domestic supply of infants,” make no mistake, this is a larger problem than we could possibly understand. OUR FATHER brings forth a string of white men telling women they have no body autonomy, over and over. Not only Dr. Cline but the Indiana Attorney General and even the lawyer for the siblings. While this documentary seems unique, the intent behind the actions, and the far-reaching legal ramifications, could haunt this country for literal generations. Get ready to be nauseated and enraged.


Releasing Globally on Netflix on May 11, 2022


The upcoming documentary feature, OUR FATHER tells the story of one of the most shocking and horrific cases of fertility fraud, catching nationwide attention with coverage in the New York Times and The Atlantic.

Directed by: Lucie Jourdan
Produced by: Jason Blum, Lucie Jourdan, Michael Petrella and Amanda Spain
Executive Produced by: Chris McCumber, Jeremy Gold and Mary Lisio


Review: Despite fantastic performances, ‘The Ravine’ takes a turn for the worse.

presents

In THE RAVINE, when an unspeakable crime rocks a peaceful community, family and friends are left to wonder if they overlooked the murderer among them or if there might be more to the story. Inspired by true events, this haunting thriller stars Eric Dane, Teri Polo, Peter Facinelli, and Leslie Uggams.


Based on a true story, The Ravine skillfully creates a tense atmosphere. The film opens to ominous phone messages, tight-knit relationships, and one pulse-pounding vignette. It’s a familiar panic for someone who has lost a friend in the prime of their life; the unanswered phone tag, the swirl of shock, and unadulterated, unfiltered emotion. Performances are heartbreaking from the children to the adults. They are raw and riveting. All these positive aspects cannot save the film from a failed ending.

Director Keoni Waxman writes the script based on Robert and Kelly Pascuzzi‘s novel of the same name. Its structure utilizes flashbacks and present-day fallout. Through police work, past regressions, and the unexpected introduction of a gifted and religious psychic, The Ravine takes a turn in genre and never fully recovers. The script leans on religious redemption in the end, but the audience does not expect the hard right turn in the narrative. As a choice in storytelling, regardless of how close these depictions are to true events, it doesn’t match with the repetitive scenes of violence. The final 20+ minutes of the moment-by-moment explanation felt rushed and overwhelming. For a film that begins like an episode of True DetectiveThe Ravine ends in a preachy manner. It soured the entire experience. 


Cinedigm will release THE RAVINE in theaters and on Demand and Digital on May 6, 2022.


 
The film stars Eric Dane (“Euphoria”), Teri Polo (Meet the Parents), Peter Facinelli (The Vanished), Byron Mann (The Big Short), Leslie Uggams (Deadpool), and Kyle Lowder (“Days of Our Live”).

THE RAVINE was written and directed by Keoni Waxman (The Hard Way). It was co-written with Kelly Pascuzzi and Robert Pascuzzi whose book “THE RAVINE” is the basis for the film.


Topic series review: ‘DECEIT’- a story of a real-life honey trap brings the drama.

DECEIT Official Synopsis:

Five months on from the brutal murder of Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common and the Met Police are still no closer to capturing the man they’re convinced is responsible. First identified through a television appeal, the evidence is stacked against Colin Stagg. The media feed a national obsession, covering every detail of the case and demanding justice. The police are determined to catch the man who, in their eyes, is guilty before he kills again. In desperation, the relatively young detective inspector leading the case, engages the nation’s most famous criminal profiler to devise a bold undercover operation which will see an attractive, young female officer start a relationship with Colin Stagg.


As each episode begins, the filmmakers behind the miniseries DECEIT make it abundantly clear that the show involved a plethora of research. In 1992, a woman named Rachel Nickell was brutally murdered in front of her two-year-old son. Police believed they found the guilty party based on an expert forensic profiler. After bringing top undercover officer Sadie Byrne into the mix, they devise an elaborate operation to obtain a confession. 

The series’ four episodes appear to jump in time as Sadie studies Colin’s interrogation tapes. She draws him into her web first with letters, then phone calls. DECEIT’s intrigue is relentless. It’s a fresh perspective from the typical detective plotlines involving female officers. The danger feels heightened. 

Eddie Marsan plays profiler Paul Britton with an unsettling intensity. His scenes with Algar are tense. Sion Young is Colin Stagg. He is both frightening and pathetic, creating a skin-crawling effect. 

Niamh Algar is captivating as a fictionalized version of a real-life undercover officer. It’s like meta method acting, watching her prepare for a role within a role. The deeper she gets into the character of Lizzie, the further she spirals. Her anxiety and fear are palpable. It’s a hell of a performance. 

DECEIT’s lighting has a heavyhanded neo-noir effect, especially when Algar plays “Lizzie.” The editing keeps your mind sharp. The story draws you in, and the characters hold your emotional attention. I appreciated the updates on our players during the finale. Separating truth from fiction reminded me that innumerable lives were ruined. It’s a final nail in the reality coffin for the viewer. DECEIT is a unique entry amongst the true-crime fare.


The 4-part miniseries DECEIT, streaming exclusively on Topic beginning April 14.

Based on a true story, this UK crime thriller follows Lizzie James, a female detective employed to obtain evidence against Collin Stagg, the prime suspect in the brutal murder of Rachel Nickell, which occurred in broad daylight in London’s Wimbledon Common. The case went on to become one of the most infamous entrapment cases in British law enforcement history.

Directed by Niall MacCormick and starring Niamh Algar (Raised by Wolves, Topic’s The Virtues), Eddie Marsan (Deadpool 2, Ray Donovan), and Harry Treadaway (Star Trek: Picard, The Crown), DECEIT has been hailed in the UK, with The Telegraph calling it “a gripping portrait of a real-life undercover operation,” and The Evening Standard declaring that the series “stand[s] out from the usual true crime fare.”


About TOPIC
Topic is the boundary-pushing streaming service from First Look Entertainment for thrillers, mysteries, dramas and documentaries from around the world, serving viewers who crave entertainment beyond the mainstream. Whether it’s a Nordic-noir crime thriller (The Killing), an Italian supernatural political drama (The Miracle), or a haunting true crime docu-series from the UK (The Missing Children), Topic expands your view of the world.

Featuring North American premieres, exclusive TV series and film, and programming from more than 40 countries, Topic showcases an unparalleled collection of creators, perspectives and experiences. Complemented by our Topic Originals, we prioritize bold storytelling and champion underrepresented voices. Topic Originals and exclusives include Oscar® nominee The Letter Room (starring Oscar Isaac), Lambs of God (starring Ann Dowd), BAFTA® nominee The Virtues (starring Stephen Graham), Emmy® nominee The Accidental Wolf (starring Kelli O’Hara), Dark Woods, Gotham Award winning Philly D.A., and Soul City (directed by Coodie & Chike).

Topic is available to US and Canadian audiences on topic.com, AppleTV & iOS, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android & Android TV, Samsung, Apple TV Channels, Roku Premium Channels, Bell Fibe, Amazon Prime Video Channels, and Comcast (Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex and XClass TV). Topic is part of First Look Entertainment which also includes Topic Studios, the award-winning entertainment studio which develops, finances, and produces content for all platforms.


SXSW 2022 review from Unseen Films: ‘The Thief Collector’

The Thief Collector

In 1985, Willem de Kooning’s “Woman-Ochre,” one of the most valuable paintings of the 20th century, vanished into the Arizona desert after being cut from its frame at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. 32 years later, the $160 million painting was found hanging in the home of Jerry and Rita Alter in rural New Mexico. The Thief Collector takes a deep look at how, and why, this mild-mannered couple pulled off one of the greatest art heists of a generation, exploring the complicated dynamics of family, the contours of criminality, and just how far people will go to weave their own grandiose narratives.


The Thief Collector is a film that is not what you expect. The film is nominally about the theft of de Kooning’s painting Woman Ochre from the University of Arizona in 1985. The painting was cut from the frame and carried off by a couple not long after the museum opened on the day after Thanksgiving. Where it went or who took it remained a mystery for decades…until it was rediscovered in the effects of Rita and Jerry Alter.  While that is a part of the story, the film actually is a look at the Alters and their obsessions. This is not a look at the crime but at the way people feed their obsessions and how seemingly normal people almost always seem to have another side to them.

I should point out that this is not saying that the Alters were bad in that they were secretly murdering people, rather they simply had a side where they went against the fine upstanding citizens they seemed to be to the rest of the world. As a result, the film has become a more complicated and richer film than it would have been if it had just been about the crime.

I really liked this film a great deal. It’s a film that stayed with me through an evening in which I watched three other films after it. Yes, I saw another documentary and two edge-of-your-seat thrillers, but when it was all done I found I was still thinking about The Thief Collector even as the other films were fading from my mind. Hell, I wanted to know more and I reached out to the PR person to get the press notes because I knew that they would give me even more details.

You have to love any film that takes its basic premise to hook you and then drags you into another direction and makes you think about things in a new way. It had my mind going so much that I wish I could have gone back and rewatched several other SXSW films that dealt with obsessions because it put those films into a new light.

This is a neat little film and is highly recommended.


Director:

Allison Otto

Executive Producer:

Bryn Mooser, Kathryn Everett, Tony Hsieh, Andy Hsieh, Justin Lacob, John Boccardo and Derek Esplin, Shizuka Asakawa, and Kathleen L’Esperance

Producer:

Caryn Capotosto, Jill Latiano Howerton, Joshua Kunau

Screenwriter:

Mark Monroe, Nick Andert

Cinematographer:

Rod Hassler and Matt Ryan (recreations)

Editor:

Nick Andert

Music:

Daniel Wolf

Principal Cast:

Glenn Howerton, Sarah Minnich, Scott Takeda, Matt Pittenger

Additional Credits:

Co-Producers: Mary Kay Cook, Heath Cullens, Graphics: Scott Grossman


For more of Steve’s incredible coverage of SXSW22, go to Unseen Films


SXSW 2022 review: ‘THE PRANK’ has Rita Moreno and revenge.

THE PRANK

We all had that teacher in high school that we loathed, either because they were a terrible teacher or just plain evil. In The Prank, two students sick of an AP Physics teacher terrorizing the school come up with a scheme to frame her for murder. Can Ben and Tanner shift the power dynamic? More importantly, how will Mrs. Wheeler react?

Ben is your typical overachiever, while his best friend Tanner is a slacker. Funny thing, neither is what they appear to be. Tanner is a hacker genius. When the infamous teacher from our nightmares, Mrs. Wheeler, discovers someone has cheated on her Physics midterm, she threatens to fail everyone. Fed up with the power she holds, Ben and Tanner make a plan to take her down. A handful of ridiculous memes and embarrassingly fake “evidence” spirals out of control. But that’s just the beginning of The Prank.

Connor Kalopsis plays Ben with visceral anxiety in his attempt at a scholarship. His quiet confidence is a solid foil for co-star Ramona Young. I would be remiss to mention Meredith Salinger as his Mom. She’s quickwitted and down-to-earth and would have loved to see more of here. She’s a charmer.

Ramona Young as Tanner is a spitfire. With excitable energy, she bounces off of Kalopsis without ever getting campy. Their chemistry is akin to any series regulars on The Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. Kate Flannery plays the lunch lady with a sass that deserves a standing ovation. The scenes between her and Young, while short, are undeniably memorable.

Rita Moreno brings this Goosebumps-friendly film to life with her iconic character-building abilities. Her comic timing is legendary. Her presence onscreen and onstage is massive. She nails every beat of Mrs. Wheeler. Playing against Kalopsis and Young, her ability to outwit her scene partners is unmatched. Moreno captures the familiar sternness that made us shake in our boots when we were younger. Her acid-tongued delivery of screenwriters Becca Flinn-White & Zak White’s dialogue is chef’s kiss. You’ll love to hate her.

The Prank takes advantage of the classic rumor mill, updating it through social media. Without spoiling the film, the fallout that makes this film special. It was a surprising selection for SXSW22 but in a good way. The Prank is the most fun teen-centric comedy at this year’s festival. Stick around for the credits.


To Learn More About SXSW22 click here!


Review: ‘MEASURE OF REVENGE’ is a genre-bending thriller with theatrical roots.

MEASURE OF REVENGE

“Measure of Revenge” is a taut throwback revenge thriller. This film is equal parts Shakespearian tragedy, family melodrama, and neo-noir mystery. Despite being set in modern-day New York, the themes of the film root it alongside the pulpy classics of the 70s. Through this lens, the city remains dark and dangerous even in the daylight.

Melissa Leo stars as Lillian Cooper, a veteran stage actress who happens to be the mother of a rock star. When her son, Curtis (“Animal Kingdom”’s Jake Weary), and his fiancé are found dead during Lillian’s final on-stage performance, she immediately suspects foul play. Despite the death being ruled an accidental overdose, she sets off to get her own answers. This journey draws her to the mysterious Taz (Bella Thorne), who happens to conveniently be both Curtis’ ex-lover as well as his drug dealer (don’t you hate it when that happens?). Lillian also increasingly relies on ghostly apparitions of her own previous Shakespearian roles. These visions (or are they merely hallucinations?) inspire and propel her forward in her quest for clarity and vengeance.

I appreciated the way the film leaned into its theater roots without becoming too highbrow. There’s clearly a linkage between Lilian’s decisions and her performances of Hamlet and Lady Macbeth, but you also don’t leave the film feeling like you need to get a Ph.D. in Shakespeare. Leo does justice to Lillian’s trauma and sorrow, but she also imbues her with a winking charm. This film features one of the best-planned alibis I’ve seen in a thriller, and some of the methods Lillian employs for revenge were positively refreshing in today’s age of shoot-em-up thrillers. When a gun goes off in this film, it means something.

Thorne is a welcome presence as Taz, but I wish she had been a little more utilized. She has good chemistry with Leo, but so much of this film hinges on her previous relationship with Curtis. I would have loved a flashback of their interaction, even if it provided the audience with more questions than answers.

Leo and Thorne are backed by an excellent supporting cast. Weary sure looks the part of a rock star, but I couldn’t get over how obviously dubbed his singing was during musical scenes. He and Leo have a beautiful soft dynamic together. I could watch Adrian Martinez in anything, and he provides a necessary bit of levity as the body count rises. I especially appreciated the way that Michael Potts’ Detective Eaton evolved over the course of the film. His final exchange with Leo sends the film off on a high note.

Shakespeare wrote in Merchant of Venice: “Truth will come to sight; murder cannot be hid long.” A simple statement, but it has generated countless stories over the years. Maybe “Measure of Revenge” is just another one of these stories, but Shakespeare would be happy to see they gave him his share of the credit.


In Theaters, on Digital and On Demand March 18th, 2022


DIRECTED BY: Peyfa

STARRING: Melissa Leo, Bella Thorne, Jake Weary

RUN TIME: 92 minutes

RATING: NR

GENRE: Thriller


 

SXSW 2022 is coming. Here are some films to add to your watch list in this year’s hybrid festival.

It’s here and boy is it happening. This year’s hybrid edition of SXSW 2022 has it all. Here are a handful of films we’re excited about this year.


Linoleum

When a satellite falls from orbit and crashes into the home of a dysfunctional family in suburban Ohio, the father seizes the opportunity to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut by re-creating the machine as his own rocket ship. While his wife and daughter believe he is experiencing a midlife crisis, surreal events begin to unfold around him, forcing him to reconsider how interconnected their lives truly are…

We’ve been living through hell these past few years and could all use a bit of whimsy. Linoleum provides us the opportunity to reconnect with our inner child while simultaneously dissecting the family dynamics. Plus, I think a lot of people forget how incredibly talented Jim Gaffigan is as an actor. Look out for this one.


The Cellar

A woman must confront an ancient and powerful entity after her daughter mysteriously vanishes in the cellar of their new home.

Shudder has already picked this title up before its SXSW22 premiere. Becoming the best streaming platform for all things genre-related, when they see potential in a film they snap it up ASAP. An old mansion, a new family, a disappearance, The Cellar has my attention.


DIAMOND HANDS: THE LEGEND OF WALLSTREETBETS

It was the perfect storm. A global pandemic. An app aspiring to democratize trading. A group of Reddit users stuck at home with stimulus dollars to burn. And a video game company on its last legs. DIAMOND HANDS is the incredible true story of how an army of retail traders rallied around GameStop to rock our financial system. This is the legend of r/WallStreetBets.

Everyone watched in awe and confusion as GameStop stock began to skyrocket. The fallout was disastrous, but the idea that a bunch of dudes on Reddit were able to completely disrupt the market is pretty much my favorite (anti)capitalist giggle from 2020.

MSNBC Films and NBC News Studios will premiere “Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets,” on MSNBC Sunday, April 10 at 10:00 p.m. ET, following the global premiere at SXSW on March 13. “Diamond Hands” is produced by NBC News Studios and ZCDC Films. The film is set to stream later this Spring on Peacock. 


Hypochondriac

A young potter’s life devolves into chaos as he loses function of his body while being haunted by the physical manifestation of his childhood trauma.

If you’re looking for some kick-ass casting, look no further than Zach Villa in Hypochondriac. Unrecognizable from his American Horror Story seasons, Villa plays the writer-director Addison Heimann‘s words with care. The film is based on Heiman’s own experience with mental health.


The Cow

Synopsis: Upon arriving at a remote cabin in the redwoods, Kath and her boyfriend find a mysterious younger couple already there — the rental has apparently been double-booked. With nowhere else to go, they decide to share the cabin with these strangers until the next morning. When her boyfriend disappears with the young woman, Kath becomes obsessed with finding an explanation for their sudden breakup— but the truth is far stranger than she could have imagined.

If you go to IMDB the plot for the film is still under wraps, so SXSW22 fans are in for a treat. I’ve always been a Winona Ryder fan and with Stranger Things revamping her genre status, I cannot wait to see what is in store in this mysterious-sounding plot.


Mickey: The Story of a Mouse

Mickey Mouse is one of the most enduring symbols in our history. Those three simple circles take on meaning for virtually everyone on the planet. So ubiquitous in our lives that he can seem invisible, Mickey is something we all share, with unique memories and feelings. Over the course of his nearly century-long history, Mickey functions like a mirror, reflecting our personal and cultural values back at us. “Mickey: The Story of a Mouse” explores Mickey’s significance, getting to the core of what Mickey’s cultural impact says about each of us and about our world.

When I was 19 years old, I moved to California on a whim in hopes of working at Disneyland. During my amazing time performing there (those details are top secret via the stack of NDA’s you sign as a cast member), I had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting a special individual. When Walt Disney opened Disneyland he presented the world with Mickey Mouse, live and in person. I met that man backstage and had my photo taken with him. The impact Mickey Mouse has had on generations of children and adults is unfathomable. Mickey: The Story of a Mouse will undoubtedly touch a massive audience. As I share Mickey with my own small children now, I can still picture my first meeting with a character so magical I was overwhelmed with joy and excitement. He never gets old, pun most definitely intended.


The Prank

Synopsis: Ben is your typical high-school overachiever. He’s organized, careful, goal-oriented and extremely dedicated to school. His best friend, Tanner, couldn’t be more opposite. She is a lackadaisical, messy, slacker, who lives in the moment. They aren’t popular, but they don’t seem to care that much because they have each other. Ben has a stern, mean and cruel physics teacher, Mrs. Wheeler. She has been teaching at the school for decades and has a reputation for being the hardest, coldest, strictest faculty member. She fails Ben’s entire class unless a student who cheated comes forward. When no one does, Tanner and Ben hatch a plan to ruin he life and frame her for murder on social media.

Social media is such a catalyst for action, terror, and weirdness these days that anything is possible when it is involved. But, it’s this cast that caught my eye. Rita Moreno, Connor Kalopsis, Ramona Young, Keith David, Kate Flannery, and Meredith Salenger will get my butt in a seat. Also, who didn’t have a teacher in high school everyone loathed?


The Unknown Country

An unexpected invitation launches a grieving young woman on a solitary road trip through the American Midwest as she struggles to reconcile the losses of her past with the dreams of her future.

I was first introduced to Lily Gladstone in Certain Women. Her ability to captivate with but a glance is something that is rare. The Unknown Country tackles a beautiful mix of anxiety, grief, and identity, all in a unique road trip movie. It’s a film we’ll be talking about all year.


Sissy

**WORLD PREMIERE**

WRITERS/DIRECTORS: Hannah Barlow, Kane Senes
STARRING: Aisha Dee, Hannah Barlow, Emily De Margheriti, Daniel Monks, Yerin Ha, Lucy Barrett, Shaun Martindale, Amelia Lule, April Blasdall, Camille Cumpston

Synopsis: Cecilia and Emma were tween-age BFFs who were going to grow old together and never let anything come between them, until Alex arrived on the scene. Twelve years later, Cecilia is a successful social media influencer living the dream of an independent, modern millennial woman… until she runs into Emma for the first time in over a decade. Emma invites Cecilia away on her bachelorette weekend at a remote cabin in the mountains, where Alex proceeds to make Cecilia’s weekend a living hell. #triggered

Listen, girls are mean. We hold grudges and we play dirty, those are just the facts. When friendships are disrupted, those scars last a lifetime. With social media affecting the way we lead our daily lives, SISSY sounds like a perfect storm for great horror.


SOFT & QUIET

Playing out in real time, Soft and Quiet is a runaway train that follows a single afternoon in the life of a female white supremacist as she indoctrinates a group of alt-right women, and together they set out to harass two mixed-raced sisters.

Any film that has the audacity to play out in real time has my attention. I am hardwired to loathe these main characters so I am hoping that some horrible fate befalls them. The plot is socially relevant even if I wish it weren’t. I’ll be paying close attention to how writer-director Beth de Araújo brings her first feature-length film to life.


Radical Honesty

At the tail end of a great date, Jack and Rachel bond over a shared interest in deconstructing traditional relationship structures. When Jack reveals the reality of his “radical” open relationship, things take a turn for the absurd in this short film about the co-option of the language of liberation for means of manipulation and control.

At 41, I cannot imagine navigating a new relationship at this precise moment in time. I remember when Match.com first became a thing and how weird I thought it sounded. Then I recall attending four weddings in the years that followed, each couple had met through Match. RADICAL HONESTY, a 7-minute short film, tackles the complexities that Gen Z and Millenials face day-to-day. I’ll be watching with popcorn in hand knowing that it’s one hell I don’t have to keep in check these days. (*knock on wood) Check out the teaser trailer for the film’s aesthetic.

Radical Honesty Teaser from Bianca Poletti on Vimeo.


Slash/Back

Synopsis: Pangnirtung, Nunavut: A sleepy hamlet nestled in the majestic mountains of Baffin Island in the Arctic Ocean, wakes up to a typical summer day. No School, no cool boys (well… except one), and 24-hour sunlight. But for Maika and her ragtag friends, the usual summer is suddenly not in the cards when they discover an alien invasion threatening Pang. But these teenagers have been underestimated their whole lives, and using makeshift weapons and their horror movie knowledge, they show the aliens you don’t fuck with the girls from Pang.

Slash/Back is an unexpected coming-of-age film. With some Stranger Things vibes, it tackles tradition, boredom, boys, and aliens. Wait until you see this young cast kicking ass and taking names.


Pirates

New Year’s Eve 1999. Three life long friends drive through London in their tiny Peugeot 205, pumping a UK Garage set from the stereo and arguing about their Avirex jackets and Naf Naf imports. As the eighteen-year olds step into adulthood, they know their lives and friendships are on the brink of change. Determined to end the century on a bang, they drive from place to place in a desperate search for tickets for the best millennium party EVER. In their efforts to end up somewhere, they end up closer together.

I know I’m aging myself but I was 19 on New Year’s Eve 1999. I lived this chaos and hopefulness. Anything was possible during the course of one evening. I’m here for the nostalgia and some solid shenanigans.


Jethica

Hiding out in New Mexico after a freak accident, Elena runs into Jessica, an old friend from high school. When Jessica’s stalker suddenly shows up at their door, they must seek help from beyond the grave to get rid of him, for good.

Wild and collaborative filmmaker, Pete Ohs brings an exciting edge to the indie scene with Jethica. Shot during the pandemic in 2021 and edited live on Twitch, SXSW22 audiences are surely in for some unexpected twists and turns.


The Voice Actress

Kingyo, a veteran voice actress working in Tokyo, possesses a unique ability to see the soul in all things, living and inanimate. The voice acting world is changing and she must find a way to reconcile her way of living with the modern industry. As Kingyo prepares for an upcoming audition, she seeks inspiration from the world around her and from her pet goldfish, Asatte. In the face of professional and personal adversity, Kingyo looks decidedly inward for strength through empathy and kindness.

A peek inside the recording booth and inside the mind of a working voice actress. Urara Takano puts a face to the performers we don’t talk enough about. Written, directed, and edited by Anna J. Takayama, we are invited into the world of a veteran voice actress and how she copes with forces beyond her control.


For more information on this year’s SXSW Film Festival click here!

Stayed tuned for Reel News Daily coverage as well as guest posts from Steve Kopian at Unseen Films. We’re making our schedules and doing all we can to bring you everything we’ve got. Stayed tuned!


SXSW ANNOUNCES 2022 FILM FESTIVAL SLATE

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST ANNOUNCES 2022 FILM FESTIVAL SLATE

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE TO OPEN FEST
CLOSING NIGHT: ATLANTA SEASON 3 PREMIERE


South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference and Festivals (March 11-20, 2022) announced the full program for the 29th edition of the SXSW Film Festival. This year, the acclaimed program will be in-person with select films available online. SXSW draws thousands of fans, filmmakers, press, and industry leaders to immerse themselves in the smartest, most innovative and entertaining new films of the year, as well as giving access to hundreds of Conference Sessions, Music and Comedy Showcases, Creative Industry Exhibitions, Mentoring, Meetups and Special Events that define the cross-industry event. The 2022 Art Program Installations were also announced.

The 2022 Film Festival program includes 99 features including 76 World Premieres, 4 International Premieres, 4 North American Premieres, 2 U.S. Premieres, 13 Texas Premieres + 111 Short Films including 24 Music Videos, 11 Episodic Premieres, 6 Episodic Pilots, 29 XR Experience projects (formerly Virtual Cinema), and 19 Title Design Competition entries.

“The last two years have been complicated, and full of uncharted new waters for all of us. While there’s been innovation in building community in isolation and figuring out how to pivot, we’ve intensely missed being able to gather together,” said Janet Pierson, VP, Director of Film. “For our 29th edition of SXSW Film Festival, we are thrilled to share a bounty of creative work to experience together, in-person, with some virtual possibilities, as well. There are fantastic new projects to enjoy from a variety of voices, with, as always, surprising new discoveries.”

Every film will have an in-person Premiere. There will be additional in-person screenings for most films. Films that have opted-in will also have an online screening for badgeholders only, starting at 9:00am the next day with a 48 hour viewing window. Online screenings are subject to geoblocking and capacity limits at rightsholder, filmmaker or distributor discretion. While SXSW is a global event, most films will be restricted to access in the United States and their online availability may change.

Several platforms will be integrated to create the SXSW 2022 experience across web, mobile and TV. A dedicated SXSW TV app can be accessed via Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, and Android TV. This is a dynamic way to experience video content, freeing up your smartphone, tablet and computer to connect with registrants or browse the schedule. Want to watch on the go? SXSW TV is now available on iOS and Android. Live content, including Keynotes, Featured Sessions and Music Showcases, can be found in each of the 24-hour channels. Channels will be active during the SXSW 2022 event dates, March 11 – March 20, 2022.

Films in the SXSW 2022 lineup screen in the following categories: Headliners; Narrative Feature Competition presented by Panavision; Documentary Feature Competition; Narrative Spotlight; Documentary Spotlight; Visions; Midnighters; Global presented by MUBI; 24 Beats Per Second; and Festival Favorites. The Episodic program consists of Episodic Premieres and the Episodic Pilot Competition. The SXSW 2022 Shorts Film Program presented by IMDbPro will present seven competitive sections. Our XR Experience Competition, Spotlight and Special Events programming will be in-person with a selection of works in our XR Experience World in VRChat, presented by Non-Fungible Labs. All Categories with the exception of Special Events will be eligible for section-specific Audience Awards.

Feature Highlights include: Opening Night: Everything Everywhere All At Once directed by Daniels; Closing Night: Atlanta directed by Hiro Murai; Bodies, Bodies, Bodies directed by Halina Reijn; Lost City of D directed by Adam and Aaron NeeThe Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent directed by Tom Gormican; Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood directed by Richard Linklater;  Spin Me Round directed by Jeff Baena; More Than Robots directed by Gillian Jacobs; Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West, directed by Ti West, The Locust directed by Faeze Azizkhani; The Return of Tanya Tucker directed by Kathlyn Horan; Sheryl directed by Amy Scott; Descendant directed by Margaret Brown; and Fire of Love directed by Sara Dosa.

Episodic Highlights include: Brené Brown: Atlas of the Heart directed by Paul DugdaleDMZ directed by Ava DuVernay; The Last Movie Stars directed by Ethan Hawke; The Man Who Fell To Earth directed by Alex Kurtzman, Shining Girls directed by Michelle MacLaren; WeCrashed directed by John Requa and Glenn Ficcara; and Untitled Magic Johnson Documentary Series directed by Rick Famuyiwa.



The SXSW 2022 Program:

HEADLINERS
Big names, big talent: Headliners bring star power to SXSW, featuring red carpet premieres and gala film events with major and rising names in cinema.

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood
Director/Screenwriter: Richard Linklater, Producers: Richard Linklater, Tommy Pallotta, Mike Blizzard, Femke Wolting, Bruno Felix
A coming-of-age story set in the suburbs of Houston, Texas in the summer of 1969, centered around the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Cast List: Jack Black, Zachary Levi, Glen Powell, Josh Wiggins, Milo Coy, Lee Eddy, Bill Wise, Natalie L’Amoreaux, Jessica Brynn Cohen, Sam Chipman, Danielle Guilbot (World Premiere)

Atlanta
Director: Hiro Murai, Producers: Donald Glover, Stephen Glover, Hiro Murai, Stefani Robinson, Paul Simms and Dianne McGunigle
Taking place almost entirely in Europe, Season 3 of FX’s Atlanta finds Earn, Alfred ‘Paper Boi,’ Darius and Van in the midst of a successful European tour, as the group navigates their new surroundings as outsiders, and struggle to adjust to the newfound success they had aspired to. Cast List: Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, LaKeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz (World Premiere)(Closing Night)

Bodies Bodies Bodies
Director: Halina Reijn, Screenwriters: Kristen Roupenian, Sarah Delappe, Chloe Okuno, Joshua Sharp, Aaron Jackson, Producers: David Hinojosa, Ali Herting, Lara Costa-Calzado, Tatiana Bears
When a group of rich 20-somethings plan a hurricane party at a remote family mansion, a party game turns deadly in this fresh and funny look at backstabbing, fake friends, and one party gone very, very wrong. Cast List: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Pete Davidson, Rachel Sennott, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Lee Pace (World Premiere)

Everything Everywhere All At Once
Directors/Screenwriters: Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, Producers: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Mike Larocca, Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert and Jonathan Wang
Everything Everywhere All At Once is a hilarious and big-hearted sci-fi action adventure about an exhausted Chinese American woman (Michelle Yeoh) who can’t seem to finish her taxes. Cast List: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Jenny Slate, Harry Shum JR., James Hong, Jamie Lee Curits (World Premiere) (Opening Night)

The Lost City
Directors: Adam Nee, Aaron Nee, Screenwriters: Oren Uziel, Dana Fox, Adam Nee, Aaron Nee
Producers: Liza Chasin, Sandra Bullock, Seth Gordon
Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, and Daniel Radcliffe star in the action adventure comedy The Lost CityCast List: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Oscar Nuñez, Patti Harrison, Bowen Yang (World Premiere)

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Director: Tom Gormican, Screenwriters: Tom Gormican, Kevin Etten, Producers: Nicolas Cage, Mike Nilon, Kristin Burr, Kevin Turen
In this delirious action-comedy, Nicolas Cage plays…Nick Cage. Caught between a dangerous superfan (Pedro Pascal) and a CIA operative (Tiffany Haddish), Cage must reflect upon the legacy of his career to save himself and his loved ones. Cast List: Nicolas Cage, Pedro Pascal, Sharon Horgan, Ike Barinholtz, Alessandra Mastronardi, Jacob Scipio, Lily Sheen, Neil Patrick Harris, Tiffany Haddish (World Premiere)


NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION Presented by Panavision
Panavision, the global provider of optics, cameras, and end-to-end services that power the creative vision of filmmakers, is sponsoring the Narrative Feature Competition. Eight world premieres, and eight unique ways to celebrate the art of storytelling.

A Lot of Nothing
Director: Mo McRae, Screenwriters: Sarah Kelly Kaplan, Mo McRae, Producers: Mo McRae, Inny Clemons, Jason Tamasco, Zak Kristofek
An upper middle class married couple find their lives spiraling out of control when they decide to take justice into their own hands and seek retribution against their neighbor. Cast List: Y’lan Noel, Cleopatra Coleman, Shamier Anderson, Lex Scott Davis, Justin Hartley (World Premiere)

I Love My Dad
Director/Screenwriter: James Morosini, Producers: Bill Stertz, Patton Oswalt, Sean O’Grady, Dane Eckerle, Phil Keefe, Daniel Brandt, Sam Slater
A hopelessly estranged father catfishes his son in an attempt to reconnect. Inspired by a true story. Like, this literally happened to me. Cast List: Patton Oswalt, James Morosini, Claudia Sulewski, Rachel Dratch, Ricky Velez, Lil Rel Howery, Amy Landecker (World Premiere)

It Is In Us All (Ireland)
Director/Screenwriter: Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Producers: Emma Foley, Tamryn Reinecke,
A formidable man who cares for nothing, is forced to confront his self-destructive core, when a violent car crash involving a sexually charged boy who epitomises life, challenges him to face his truth. Cast List: Cosmo Jarvis, Rhys Mannion, Claes Bang, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Lalor Roddy (World Premiere)

Linoleum
Director/Screenwriter: Colin West, Producers: Chad Simpson, Dennis Masel, Chadd Harbold
When the host of a failing children’s science show tries to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut by building a rocket ship in his garage, a series of bizarre events occur that cause him to question his own reality. Cast List: Jim Gaffigan, Rhea Seehorn, Katelyn Nacon, Gabriel Rush, Amy Hargreaves, West Duchovny, Michael Ian Black, Tony Shalhoub, Elisabeth Henry, Roger Hendricks Simon (World Premiere)

Nika (Russia)
Director: Vasilisa Kuzmina, Screenwriters: Yulia Gulyan, Vasilisa Kuzmina, Producers: Yulia Gulyan, Antonina Lee
A child prodigy, the youngest Soviet poetess, and by the age of 27 a completely lost girl Nika Turbina is struggling with her past and for her future at the turn of the century. Cast List: Elizaveta Yankovskaya, Anna Mikhalkova, Ivan Fominov, Vita Korneenko (World Premiere)

Seriously Red (Australia)
Director: Gracie Otto, Screenwriter: Krew Boylan, Producers: Jessica Carrera, Sonia Borella, Timothy White, Robyn Kershaw
Find out who you are and do it on purpose. Cast List: Rose Byrne, Krew Boylan, Bobby Cannavale, Daniel Webber, Celeste Barber, Thomas Campbell (World Premiere)

Slash/Back (Canada)
Director: Nyla Innuksuk, Screenwriters: Nyla Innuksuk, Ryan Cavan, Producers: Dan Bekerman, Christopher Yurkovich, Alex Ordanis, Nyla Innuksuk, Stacey Aglok McDonald, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, Ethan Lazar
In a remote Arctic community, a group of Inuit girls fight off an alien invasion, all while trying to make it to the coolest party in town. Cast List: Tasiana Shirley, Alexis Wolfe, Chelsea Prusky, Frankie Vincent-Wolfe, Nalajoss Ellsworth (World Premiere)

Soft & Quiet
Director/Screenwriter: Beth de Araújo, Producers: Josh Peters, Saba Zerehi, Joshua Beirne-Golden, Beth de Araújo
Playing out in real time, Soft & Quiet is a runaway train that follows a single afternoon in the life of a female white supremacist as she indoctrinates a group of alt-right women, and together they set out to harass two mixed-raced Asian sisters. Cast List: Stefanie Estes, Olivia Luccardi, Eleanore Pienta, Dana Millican, Melissa Paulo, Jon Beavers, Cissy Ly (World Premiere)


DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
Eight world premieres: Eight non-fiction stories that demonstrate integrity, energy and unique voices.

Bad Axe
Director: David Siev, Producers: Jude Harris, Katarina Vasquez, David Siev
A real-time portrait of 2020 unfolds as an Asian-American family in Trump’s rural America fights to keep their restaurant and American dream alive in the face of a pandemic, Neo-Nazis, and generational scars from the Cambodian Killing Fields. (World Premiere)

Clean (Australia)
Director: Lachlan McLeod, Producers: David Elliot-Jones, Charlotte Wheaton
A fly-on-the-wall insight into the world of trauma cleaning through the journey of larger-than-life business owner Sandra Pankhurst and the workers at Melbourne’s Specialised Trauma Cleaning Services. (World Premiere)

It’s Quieter in the Twilight
Director: Billy Miossi, Producers: Alissa Shapiro, Matt Reynolds
In an unremarkable office space, a select group of aging engineers find themselves at the leading edge of discovery. Fighting outdated technology and time, Voyager’s flight-team pursues humankind’s greatest exploration. (World Premiere)

Mama Bears
Director: Daresha Kyi, Producers: Laura Tatham, Daresha Kyi
Mama Bears is an intimate exploration of two “mama bears”—conservative, Christian mothers who have become fierce advocates for LGBTQ+ people—and a young lesbian whose struggle for self-acceptance exemplifies why the mama bears are so important. (World Premiere)

Master of Light
Director: Rosa Ruth Boesten, Producers: Roger Ross Williams, Anousha Nzume, Ilja Roomans
George Anthony Morton, a classical painter who spent ten years in federal prison travels to his hometown to paint his family members. Going back forces George to face his past in his quest to rewrite the script of his life. (World Premiere)

Spaz
Director/Producer: Scott Leberecht
Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams is a pioneer in computer animation. His digital dinosaurs of Jurassic Park transformed Hollywood in 1993, but an appetite for anarchy and reckless disregard for authority may have cost him the recognition he deserved. (World Premiere)

The Pez Outlaw
Directors/Producers: Amy Bandlien Storkel, Bryan Storkel
Steve Glew spent the 1990s smuggling rare pez dispensers into the USA from Eastern Europe, making millions of dollars. It was all magical until his arch-nemesis, The Pezident decided to destroy him. (World Premiere)

The Thief Collector
Director: Allison Otto, Screenwriter: Mark Monroe, Producers: Caryn Capotosto, Jill Latiano Howerton, Joshua Kunau
It was one of the most audacious and puzzling crimes of a generation. The Thief Collector unravels the mystery of the infamous 1985 heist of Willem de Kooning’s seminal painting, “Woman-Ochre.” (World Premiere)


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

Lover, Beloved
Director: Michael Tully, Screenwriter: Suzanne Vega, Producers: Alan Berg, Rachael Trigg
Lover, Beloved is a film adaptation of the one woman show by Suzanne Vega. Music by Duncan Sheik.
Featuring the life and work of LGBTQ Southern author Carson McCullers. Cast List: Suzanne Vega (World Premiere)

Me Little Me
Director/Screenwriter: Elizabeth Ayiku, Producers: Elizabeth Ayiku, Niki J. Crawford
Slice of life film about Mya, an ambitious young woman who learns the hard way that life doesn’t pause when one decides it’s time to heal; and it will take everything she has to save her job, relationships, and most importantly herself. Cast List: A’Keyah Dasia Williams, Shamar Philippe, Tamir Elbassir, Niki J. Crawford, Frania Dueñas, Mariel Flores, Kristian Flores, Clark Moore, Sardia Robinson (World Premiere)

Millie Lies Low (New Zealand)
Director: Michelle Savill, Screenwriters: Michelle Savill, Eli Kent, Producers: Desray Armstrong, Angela Littlejohn
When a broke and anxiety-ridden architecture grad misses her flight to New York for a prestigious internship, she decides to fake having made it to New York, while lying low in her hometown, scrounging for another ticket. Cast List: Ana Scotney, Rachel House, Sam Cotton, Jillian Nguyen, Chris Alosio (North American Premiere)

Pirates (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Reggie Yates, Producers: Kate Norrish, Polly Leys
Pirates is an exuberant comedy about three friends driving from North to South London on New Year’s Eve 1999 in search of tickets to the hottest party in town, set to a soundtrack of the biggest UK Garage hits of the 90s. Cast List: Elliot Edusah, Jordan Peters, Reda Elazouar, Kassius Nelson, Youssef Kerkour, Rebekkah Murrell, Shiloh Coke, Tosin Cole, Aaron Shosanya (International Premiere)

Pretty Problems
Director: Kestrin Pantera, Screenwriters: Michael Tennant, Britt Rentschler, Charlotte Ubben, Producers: Katya Alexander, Britt Rentschler, Charlotte Ubben, Michael Tennant
A comedy that follows a flailing couple on a getaway trip with affluent strangers: down the rabbit hole, and into the most unhinged weekend of their lives. Smash a glass, take the ride. Cast List: Britt Rentschler, Michael Tennant, JJ Nolan, Graham Outerbridge, Charlotte Ubben, Alex Klein, Clayton Froning, Katrina Hughes, Vanessa Chester, Amy Maghera (World Premiere)

Spin Me Round (Italy, U.S.)
Director: Jeff Baena, Screenwriters: Jeff Baena, Alison Brie, Producers: Mel Eslyn, Jeff Baena, Alison Brie, Dylan Sellers, Chris Parker
When the manager of an Italian restaurant chain wins the opportunity to attend the franchise’s educational immersion program in Italy, what she thought would be a romantic getaway devolves into chaos and catastrophe. Cast List: Alison Brie, Alessandro Nivola, Aubrey Plaza, Molly Shannon, Zach Woods, Ayden Mayeri, Ben Sinclair, Tim Heidecker, Debby Ryan, Fred Armisen (World Premiere)

Stay The Night (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Renuka Jeyapalan, Producers: Brian Robertson, Glenn Cockburn
A failed work opportunity prompts chronically single Grace to pursue a one night stand with a stranger. Turns out he’s an on-the-outs professional athlete in town with a problem of his own. Maybe they can help each other. Cast List: Andrea Bang, Joe Scarpellino, Humberly González, Ray Ablack (World Premiere)

The Cow
Director: Eli Horowitz, Screenwriters: Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby, Producers: Raphael Margules, JD Lifshitz, Shaun Sanghani, Russ Posternak
When her boyfriend runs off with a younger woman, Kath (Winona Ryder) attempts to move on with her life — but she begins to suspect his disappearance is not what it seems. Cast List: Winona Ryder, Dermot Mulroney, John Gallagher Jr, Owen Teague, Brianne Tju (World Premiere)

The Prank
Director: Maureen Bharoocha, Screenwriters: Becca Flinn-White, Zak White, Producer: Steven J. Wolfe
Ben, and his slacker friend, Tanner play a prank on their high school physics professor when she fails them on a test. They teach the imperious, demanding instructor a lesson by falsely accusing her of the murder of a missing student on social media. Cast List: Connor Kalopsis, Ramona Young, Rita Moreno, Keith David, Kate Flannery, Meredith Salenger, Johnathan Kimmel, Nathan Janak, Betsy Sodaro, Romel De Silva (World Premiere)

To Leslie
Director: Michael Morris, Screenwriters: Ryan Binaco, Producers: Claude Dal Farra, Brian Keady, Kelsey Law, Ceci Cleary, Philip Waley, Jason Shuman, Eduardo Cisneros
A West Texas single mother wins the lottery and drinks it away just as fast, leaving behind a world of heartbreak. Years later, with her charm running out and nowhere to go, she returns home to confront her past, her choices, and her future. Cast List: Andrea Riseborough, Allison Janney, Marc Maron, Andre Royo, Owen Teague, Stephen Root, James Landry Hebert, Matt Lauria, Catfish Jean (World Premiere)


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

Crows are White
Director: Ahsen Nadeem, Screenwriters: Ahsen Nadeem, Matt H. Mayes, Producers: Riel Roch-Decter, Sebastian Pardo, Ahsen Nadeem, Ben Renzon, Ryan Ahrens, Jill Ahrens
After decades of living a secret life, a filmmaker travels to a strict Japanese monastery in search of guidance but the only monk who will help him prefers ice cream and heavy metal over meditation. Crows are White is an exploration of truth through faith and love, from the top of a mountain to the bottom of a sundae. (World Premiere)

Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets
Directors: Drea Cooper, Zackary Canepari, Producers: Gary Kout, Myles Estey, Drea Cooper, Zackary Canepari, Molly O’Brien
When the smart money was betting GameStop would go under, an army of irreverent traders tried to take Wall Street down instead. Diamond Hands is their story. This is the legend of the subreddit, r/WallStreetBets. (World Premiere)

Facing Nolan
Director: Bradley Jackson, Producer: Russell Wayne Groves
In the world of Major League Baseball no one has created a mythology like Nolan Ryan. Told from the point of view of the hitters who faced him and the teammates who revered him, Facing Nolan is the definitive documentary of a Texas legend. (World Premiere)

Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down
Directors: Julie Cohen, Betsy West, Producers: Lisa Erspamer, Sam Jinishian
A gunman ended her skyrocketing political career, but didn’t stop Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. With total access to her rehab, work fighting gun violence, and marriage to Sen. Mark Kelly, the film brings us inside Gabby’s extraordinary journey back. (World Premiere)

Kids In The Hall: Comedy Punks (Canada)
Director: Reginald Harkema, Producers: Nick McKinney, Kim Creelman
Through never before-seen archive material, interviews with celebrities, industry insiders, rabid fans and the Kids In The Hall themselves – this documentary tells the wild story of this cult-famous comedy troupe from the 1980s to the present day. (World Premiere)

Mickey: The Story of a Mouse
Director: Jeff Malmberg, Producers: Morgan Neville, Meghan Walsh, Chris Shellen
Mickey Mouse is one of the most enduring symbols in our history. This film explores Mickey’s significance, getting to the core of what Mickey’s cultural impact says about each of us and about our world. (World Premiere)

More Than Robots
Director: Gillian Jacobs, Producers: Jason Sterman, David Gelb, Brian McGinn
Four teams of teenagers from around the world prepare for the 2020 First Robotics Competition, but in a year like no other, the kids learn that there is more to the competition than just robots. (World Premiere)

Nothing Lasts Forever
Director: Jason Kohn, Producers: Amanda Branson Gill, Jared Goldman
When filmmaker Jason Kohn infiltrates the secretive diamond industry, he uncovers a massive criminal conspiracy that threatens not only the value of every diamond ever mined but also the universal symbol of love – the engagement ring. (North American Premiere)

Shouting Down Midnight
Director: Gretchen Stoeltje, Producers: Kristi Frazier, Katy Drake Better
Both cautionary tale and rallying cry, Shouting Down Midnight recounts how the Wendy Davis filibuster of 2013 galvanized a new generation of activists and reveals what is at stake for us all in the struggle for reproductive freedom. (World Premiere)

Skate Dreams
Director: Jessica Edwards, Producers: Erin Owens, Jessica Edwards
Skate Dreams, the first feature documentary about the rise of women’s skateboarding, profiles a group of women whose pursuit of self-expression, equality, and freedom have created an international movement of independence and empowerment. Featuring Kouv ‘Tin’ Chansangva, Nicole Hause, Mimi Knoop, Nora Vasconcellos (World Premiere)

Split At The Root
Director: Linda Goldstein Knowlton, Producers: Maria Grasso, Linda Goldstein Knowlton, Miranda Bailey
When a Guatemalan mother seeking asylum was separated from her kids under Zero Tolerance Policy, a group of women sprang into action. Our film focuses on immigrant mothers navigating US bureaucracy and the volunteer group reuniting separated families. (World Premiere)

Still Working 9 to 5
Directors/Producers: Camille Hardman, Gary Lane
Still Working 9 to 5 explores why workplace inequality is no laughing matter in the 40 years since the seminal comedy, 9 to 5 was released in 1980 starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dabney Coleman and Dolly Parton. (World Premiere)

Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off
Director/Producer: Sam Jones
An intimate, revealing and visceral deep dive into the life of skateboarder Tony Hawk. (World Premiere)

Under the Influence
Director: Casey Neistat, Producers: Christine Vachon, Casey Neistat, Mason Plotts, Screenwriter: Mark Monroe
The rise and fall of the biggest YouTuber in the world whose feel-good videos masked the dark and reckless new ethos of online celebrity culture. (World Premiere)

We Are Not Ghouls
Director: Chris James Thompson, Producers: Jessica Farrell, Jack Turner, Andrew Swant
US Air Force JAG Attorney Yvonne Bradley was assigned to defend a man held at Guantanamo Bay. Believing Guantanamo held ‘the worst of the worst’, her world was turned upside down once she arrived in Cuba and began to untangle an unimaginable case. (World Premiere)

We Feed People
Director: Ron Howard, Producers: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, Meredith Kaulfers, Walt Matteson
We Feed People spotlights renowned chef José Andrés and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen’s evolution over a 10 year period. (World Premiere)

What We Leave Behind
Director: Iliana Sosa, Producers: Emma D. Miller, Iliana Sosa, Isidore Bethel (co-producer)
After a lifetime of bus rides to the US to visit his children, Julián quietly starts building a house in rural Mexico. In filming his work, his granddaughter crafts a gentle love letter to farmworkers, mutual caregivers, and transnational families. (World Premiere)

A Woman on the Outside
Directors: Lisa Riordan Seville, Zara Katz, Producers: Kiara C. Jones, Zara Katz, Lisa Riordan Seville
Kristal is a young, ambitious Philadelphian driven to keep families connected to their incarcerated loved ones. But when her father and brother return from prison, she confronts the ultimate question: can she reunite her own family? (World Premiere)

Your Friend, Memphis
Director: David Zucker, Producers: Luke Terrell, Benjamin Edelman
Memphis DiAngelis, a young man with cerebral palsy, is caught between the world’s expectations and his own ambitions. His story is an odyssey of dogged determination: a search for work, love, and freedom – no matter what. (World Premiere)


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

Bitch Ass
Director: Bill Posley, Screenwriters/Producers: Bill Posley, Jonathan Colomb
In 1999 a gang initiation goes wrong when recruits break into the deadly game house of cinema’s first Black masked serial killer. Think Don’t Breathe meets Squid Games, but… black. Cast List: Tony Todd, Sheaun McKinney, Tunde Laleye, Me’Lisa Sellers, Teon Kelly (World Premiere)

Deadstream
Directors/Screenwriters: Vanessa Winter, Joseph Winter, Producers: Vanessa Winter, Joseph Winter, Jared Cook, Melanie Stone
When a washed up internet personality attempts to win back his followers by live streaming a haunted house, he accidentally pisses off a vengeful spirit and his big comeback event becomes a fight for his life (and social relevance). Cast List: Joseph Winter, Melanie Stone (World Premiere)

Hypochondriac
Director/Screenwriter: Addison Heimann, Producers: Bay Dariz, John Humber
A young potter’s life devolves into chaos as he loses function of his body while being haunted by the physical manifestation of his childhood trauma. Cast List: Zach Villa, Devon Graye, Madeline Zima, Yumarie Morales, Marlene Forte, Chris Doubek, Paget Brewster, Adam Busch, Michael Cassidy, Peter Mensah, Debra Wilson (World Premiere)

No Looking Back (Russia)
Director/Screenwriter: Kirill Sokolov, Producers: Artem Vasilyev, Igor Mishin
Family dysfunction reaches boiling point as three generations of warring women face-off. Cast List: Victoria Korotkova, Anna Mikhalkova, Sofia Krugova (North American Premiere)

Sissy (Australia)
Director/Screenwriter: Hannah Barlow, Kane Senes, Producers: Lisa Shaunessy, John De Margheriti, Jason Taylor, Bec Janek
Invited away on a bachelorette weekend, Sissy is stuck in a remote cabin with her high school bully…and a taste for revenge. #triggered Cast List: Aisha Dee, Hannah Barlow, Emily De Margheriti, Daniel Monks, Yerin Ha, Lucy Barrett, Shaun Martindale, Amelia Lule, April Blasdall, Camille Cumpston (World Premiere)

The Cellar (Belgium, Ireland)
Director/Screenwriter: Brendan Muldowney, Producers: Conor Barry, Richard Bolger, Benoît Roland, Keira Woods’ daughter mysteriously vanishes in the cellar of their new house. She soon discovers there is an ancient and powerful entity controlling their home that she will have to face or risk losing her family’s souls forever. Cast List: Elisha Cuthbert, Eoin Macken, Abby Fitz, Dylan Fitzmaurice-Brady (World Premiere)

Watcher (United Arab Emirates, U.S.)
Director: Chloe Okuno, Screenwriters: Zachary Ford, Chloe Okuno, Producers: Mason Novick, John Finemore, Aaron Kaplan, Sean Perrone, Roy Lee, Steven Schneider, Derek Dauchy
A Young woman moves into a new apartment and is tormented by the feeling that she is being watched. Cast List: Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman, Burn Gorman (Texas Premiere)

X
Director/Screenwriter: Ti West, Producers: Jacob Jaffke, Kevin Turen, Harrison Kreiss, Ti West
In 1979, a group of young filmmakers set out to make an adult film in rural Texas, but when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, the cast find themselves fighting for their lives. Cast List: Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Martin Henderson, Brittany Snow, Owen Campbell, Stephen Ure, Scott Mescudi (World Premiere)


 

VISIONS
Visions filmmakers are audacious, risk-taking artists in the new cinema landscape who defy traditional categorization in documentary and narrative filmmaking.

A Vanishing Fog (Colombia, Czech Republic, Norway)
Director//Screenwriter/Producer: Augusto Sandino
In the middle of the staggering and endangered Paramo of Sumapaz; F, a solitary explorer and guardian of the mountains, condemned by his fate, strives to protect the mystical and fragile ecosystem he inhabits, while caring for his ailing father. Cast List: Sebastian Pii, Mario de Jesús Viana, Christian Ballesteros (International Premiere)

Chee$e (Trinidad and Tobago, U.S.)
Director/Screenwriter: Damian Marcano, Producer: Alexa Marcano
A young man comes up with a plan after news that he’s gotten a girl pregnant. Cast List: Akil Gerard Williams, Lou Lyons, Ayanna Cezanne, Yidah Leonard, Binta Ford, Julio Prince, Trevison Pantin, Kevin Ash, Omar Jarra, Damian Marcano (World Premiere)

Jethica
Director/Producer: Pete Ohs, Screenwriters: Ashley Denise Robinson, Callie Hernandez, Andy Faulkner, Will Madden, Pete Ohs
When Jessica’s stalker surprises her in New Mexico, she must seek help from beyond the grave to get rid of him for good. Cast List: Callie Hernandez, Will Madden, Ashley Denise Robinson, Andy Faulkner (World Premiere)

Self-Portrait (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Joële Walinga
A portrait of humanity as captured by its surveillance cameras. (World Premiere)

Sell/Buy/Date
Director: Sarah Jones, Screenwriters: Sarah Jones, David Goldblum, Producers: Sarah Jones, David Goldblum, Julie Parker Benello
Sell/Buy/Date is a heartfelt, witty doc/narrative hybrid following Tony-winning performer/comedian Sarah Jones and her multicultural characters on a journey exploring her personal relationship to the sex industry through a social justice lens. (World Premiere)

Shadow (Australia)
Director: Bruce Gladwin, Screenwriters: Michael Chan, Mark Deans, Bruce Gladwin, Simon Laherty, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price, Sonia Teuben, Producers: Alice Fleming, Meret Hassenen
A group of activists hold a public meeting, desperate to save the world. As the meeting unravels, they discover the greatest threat to their future is already in the room. Cast List: Mark Deans, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price, Simon Laherty, Belinda McClory, Breanna Deleo (World Premiere)

The Blind Man Who Did Not Want To See Titanic (Finland)
Director/Screenwriter: Teemu Nikki, Producers: Jani Pösö, Teemu Nikki
An intense movie, shot from a blind man’s perspective. An atypical action/thriller film about a man who has to go through hell to reach his loved one. Cast List: Petri Poikolainen, Marjaana Maijala, Samuli Jaskio, Rami Rusinen, Hannamaija Nikander, Matti Onnismaa (North American Premiere)

The Unknown Country
Director/Screenwriter: Morrisa Maltz, Producers: Laura Heberton, Lainey Bearkiller Shangreaux, Katherine Harper, Vanara Taing, Tommy Heitkamp
An unexpected invitation launches a grieving young woman on a solitary road trip through the American Midwest as she struggles to reconcile the losses of her past with the dreams of her future. Cast List: Lily Gladstone, Raymond Lee, Richard Ray Whitman, Lainey Bearkiller Shangreaux, Devin Shangreaux, Jasmine “Jazzy” Bearkiller Shangreaux, Pam Richter, Dale Leander Toller, Florence R. Perrin, Teresa Boyd (World Premiere)


 

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

Anonymous Club (Australia)
Director/Screenwriter: Danny Cohen, Producers: Philippa Campey, Samantha Dinning
The antithesis of a rock biography, Anonymous Club paints a raw and intimate picture of enigmatic singer-songwriter, Courtney Barnett -an anti-influencer who is a powerful voice for our times, a recluse acclaimed by audiences the world over. (International Premiere)

Cesária Évora (Cabo, Verde, Portugal)
Director/Screenwriter: Ana Sofia Fonseca, Producers: Ana Sofia Fonseca, Irina Calado
World renowned performer Cesária Évora’s voice took her from poverty to stardom. With previously unseen footage and insights into the singer’s life, the film follows her struggles and success. (World Premiere)

Cypher
Director/Screenwriter: Chris Moukarbel, Producers: John Hodges, Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, Chris Moukarbel, Tierra Whack, Anthony Seyler, Sanjay Sharma, Roya Rastegar
A psychological thriller about and starring the artist Tierra Whack that delves into fame and the conspiracy theories surrounding the music industry. The film takes the form of a music documentary. Cast List: Tierra Whack, Johnny Medina, Kenete Simms, Jamila Curry, Camille Fleming, Natalia Leigh Brown, Bionca Bradley, Chris Anthony, Nyla Naveah, Vanja Asher (World Premiere)

DIO Dreamers Never Die
Directors: Don Argott, Demian Fenton, Producers: Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce
The definitive career spanning documentary on heavy metal legend, Ronnie James Dio. (World Premiere)

Getting It Back: The Story Of Cymande (United Kingdom)
Director: Tim Mackenzie-Smith, Producers: Tim Mackenzie-Smith, Matt Wyllie
They are the unsung heroes whose message of peace, love and funk sailed beyond Britain’s shores and helped shape music for five decades. Long after they stopped playing, the music played on, so they returned to play some more. (World Premiere)

I Get Knocked Down (United Kingdom)
Directors: Sophie Robinson, Dunstan Bruce, Screenwriter: Dunstan Bruce, Producer: Sophie Robinson
The story of Chumbawamba’s ex-front man Dunstan Bruce. A burnt-out, middle-aged, ex pop star in search of his long lost anarchist mojo. (International Premiere)

In the Court of the Crimson King (United Kingdom)
Director: Toby Amies, Producers: Toby Amies, Nicholas Jones
What began as a traditional documentary about the legendary band King Crimson as it turned 50, mutated into an exploration of time, death, family, and the transcendent power of music to change lives; but with jokes. (World Premiere)

Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story
Directors: Frank Marshall, Ryan Suffern, Producers: Frank Marshall, Sean Stuart, Ryan Suffern
This soulful and heartfelt celebration of 50 years of the funky and fabulous New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival invites you to bliss out on New Orleans’ unique culture, featuring Jimmy Buffett, Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, Earth, Wind & Fire, and many others. (World Premiere)

Look At Me!
Director: Sabaah Folayan, Producer: Darcy McKinnon, Chloe Campion
Look At Me! explores how Jahseh Onfroy tapped raw talent, a gift for connecting with disaffected youth, and a mastery of social media to fashion himself into SoundCloud rapper XXXTentacion – one of the most streamed artists on the planet. (World Premiere)

Omoiyari: A Song Film by Kishi Bashi
Directors: Kaoru Ishibashi, Justin Taylor Smith, Producer: JJ Gerber
Violinist and songwriter Kishi Bashi travels on a musical journey to understand WWII era Japanese Incarceration, assimilation, and what it means to be a minority in America today. (World Premiere)

Really Good Rejects
Director: Alice Gu, Producers: Alice Gu, Jose Nuñez, Robert Fyvolent, David Dinerstein
The muted tones of rubber bridge guitars have delighted listeners the world over- from Wilco to Taylor Swift’s Folklore. Modern-day luthier Reuben Cox demystifies his process of creating some of rock’s most sought-after guitars. (World Premiere)

Santos–Skin to Skin
Director: Kathryn Golden, Producers: Ashley James, Kathryn Golden
A film portrait of community activist and seven-time Grammy nominee John Santos, a “keeper of the Afro-Caribbean flame.” Rich in musical performances, Santos links the rhythms of his ancestors to contemporary struggles of identity and social justice. (World Premiere)

Sheryl
Director: Amy Scott, Producers: Van Toffler, Scooter Weintraub, Brian Morrow, Jonathan Lynch
An intimate story of song and sacrifice—musically gifted superstar Sheryl Crow navigates an iconic yet arduous musical career battling sexism, ageism, depression, cancer, and the price of fame, before harnessing the power of her gift. (World Premiere)

The Mojo Manifesto: The Life and Times of Mojo Nixon
Director: Matt Eskey, Producers: Sal Owen, Eva Radke
On a bicycle trip across the country, a young Neill Kirby McMillan Jr. experiences The Mojo Revelation. After teaming up with the enigmatic Skid Roper, he unexpectedly finds mainstream success but faces a decision that could jeopardize his career. (World Premiere)

The Return of Tanya Tucker
Director: Kathlyn Horan, Producers: Kathlyn Horan, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn
The story of trailblazing country music legend Tanya Tucker’s return to the spotlight after nearly 20 years. Rising star Brandi Carlile writes an album for her hero based on Tanya’s life, spurring the greatest comeback in country music history. (World Premiere)

This Much I Know To Be True (United Kingdom)
Director: Andrew Dominik, Producers: Amy James, Isaac Hoff
Shot over five days at Battersea Arts Centre and on location in London and Brighton, This Much I Know To Be True captures Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ exceptional creative relationship as they bring to life songs from albums Ghosteen and Carnage. (US Premiere)

GLOBAL Presented by MUBI
Also new for this year, MUBI — the curated streaming platform that presents a new hand-picked film every day — is sponsoring the Global section. A diverse selection of international filmmaking talent, featuring innovative narratives, artful documentaries, premieres, festival favorites and more.

Amansa Tiafi (Public Toilet Africa) (Ghana)
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Kofi Ofosu-Yeboah
When an African girl gifted to a white art-collector as a child shows up in town, her quest to settle an old debt quickly goes on a tailspin. Cast List: Brigitte Appiah, David Klu, Ricky Kofi Adelayitar, Brimah Watara, Paa George (U.S. Premiere)

The Locust (Iran, Germany)
Director/Screenwriter: Faeze Azizkhani, Producers: Manijeh Hekmat, Mahshid Ahangarani Farahani, Every woman needs a room of her own… A young woman would be thrown out of her room. In reality and dreams, she must justify herself when confronting the director, the cast, the crew, her mother, her brothers, the ghost of her father and a rooster! Cast List: Hanieh Tavassoli, Pegah Ahangarani Farahani, Pedram Sharifi, Ramin Sedighi, Ali Mosaffa, Amaneh Agharezakashi (World Premiere)

Raquel 1:1 (Brazil)
Director/Screenwriter: Mariana Bastos, Producers: Fernando Sapelli, Morena Koti, Igor Bonatto
During her first days in a small town, Raquel, a religious teenager, has a mysterious experience that leads her to take on a challenging and controversial mission related to the Bible. Cast List: Valentina Herszage, Emilio de Mello, Priscila Bittencourt, Eduarda Samara, Ravel Andrade (World Premiere)

Without Prescription (Puerto Rico)
Director: Juliana Maite, Screenwriter: Marietere Vélez, Producer: Vilma Liella
During Christmas Eve festivities in Puerto Rico, Olivia searches for her OCD pills without a prescription. She finds herself trapped inside a dealer’s apartment due to a rainstorm, forcing two strangers to start developing an unexpected connection. Cast List: Marietere Vélez, Gabriel Leyva, Carola García, Junior Álvarez, Mariana Monclova, Yussef Soto (World Premiere)

Women Do Cry (Bulgaria, France)
Directors/Screenwriters: Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova, Producers: Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova, Christophe Bruncher
After Cat in the Wall (Locarno 2019 Competition, SXSW 2020) the activist duo Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova (nicknamed the ‘demonic duo’) expose with Borat 2 breakthrough star Maria Bakalova the absurd yet sadly realistic contradictions in Bulgaria. Cast List: Maria Bakalova, Ralitsa Stoyanova, Katia Kazakova, Bilyana Kazakova, Iossif Surchadjiev, Rositca Gevrenova, Diana Spasova, Dobriela Popova, Yavor Kostov, Jerome Godfrey (Texas Premiere)


 

FESTIVAL FAVORITES
Acclaimed standouts from festivals around the world.

2nd Chance
Director/Screenwriter: Ramin Bahrani, Producers: Daniel Turcan, Johnny Galvin, Charles Dorfman, Ramin Bahrani, Jacob Grodnick
An exploration of the rise and fall of Richard Davis, the charming and brash inventor of the modern-day bulletproof vest who shot himself 192 times to prove his product worked. (Texas Premiere)

32 Sounds
Director: Sam Green, Producer: Josh Penn, ArKtype/Thomas O. Kriegsmann
An immersive documentary and profound sensory experience from filmmaker Sam Green featuring music by JD Samson. The film is a meditation on the power of sound to bend time, cross borders, and profoundly shape our perception of the world around us. (Texas Premiere)

Aftershock
Directors/Producers: Paula Eiselt, Tonya Lewis Lee
Following the preventable deaths of their partners due to childbirth complications, two bereaved fathers galvanize activists, birth-workers and physicians to reckon with one of the most pressing crises of our time – the US maternal health crisis. (Texas Premiere)

Boycott
Director: Julia Bacha, Producers: Suhad Babaa, Daniel J. Chalfen, Julia Bacha
When a news publisher in Arkansas, an attorney in Arizona and a speech therapist in Texas are told to choose between their jobs and their political beliefs, they launch legal battles that expose an attack on freedom of speech in 33 states in America. (Texas Premiere)

Descendant
Director: Margaret Brown, Producers: Kyle Martin, Essie Chambers, Margaret Brown
Descendant follows the search for and discovery of The Clotilda, the last known ship to illegally carry enslaved Africans in the United States. Guided by the voices of their ancestors, descendants of The Clotilda’s survivors reclaim their past and examine what justice looks like today. (Texas Premiere)

Emergency
Director: Carey Williams, Screenwriter: KD Davila, Producers: Issac Klausner, John Fischer, Marty Bowen
Ready for a night of partying, a group of college students must weigh the pros and cons of calling the police when faced with an unusual emergency. Cast List: Rj Cyler, Donald Elise Watkins, Sebastian Chacon, Sabrina Carpenter, Maddie Nichols, Madison Thompson, Diego Abraham (Texas Premiere)

Fire of Love
Director/Screenwriter: Sara Dosa, Producers: Ina Fichman, Shane Boris, Sara Dosa
Intrepid scientists and lovers Katia and Maurice Krafft died in a volcanic explosion doing the very thing that brought them together: unraveling the mysteries of volcanoes by capturing the most explosive imagery ever recorded. A doomed love triangle between Katia, Maurice and volcanoes, told through their archival footage. (Texas Premiere)

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On
Director: Dean Fleischer-Camp, Screenwriters: Dean Fleischer-Camp, Jenny Slate, Nick Paley,
Producers: Elisabeth Holm, Andrew Goldman, Caroline Kaplan, Paul Mezey
Marcel, a one-inch-tall shell, lives a miniature life with his grandma Connie and their pet lint, Alan. When the trio goes viral, they get millions of fans and new hope for finding their long-lost family, in this big-hearted big-screen adventure. Cast List: Jenny Slate, Isabella Rossellini, Dean Fleischer-Camp (Texas Premiere)

Master
Director/Screenwriter: Mariama Diallo, Producers: Joshua Astrachan, Brad Becker-Parton, Andrea Roa
Three women strive to find their place at an elite New England university. As the insidious specter of racism haunts the campus in increasingly supernatural fashion, each fights for survival in this space of privilege. Cast List: Regina Hall, Zoe Renee, Talia Ryder, Talia Balsam, Amber Gray (Texas Premiere)

The Art of Making It
Director: Kelcey Edwards, Producer: Debi Wisch
The film follows a diverse group of young artists on the brink of unimaginable success or failure as they challenge systems, break barriers and risk it all with the goal of making it in an industry where all the rules are currently being rewritten. (Texas Premiere)

TikTok, Boom.
Director: Shalini Kantayya, Producers: Ross M. Dinerstein, Danni Mynard, Shalini Kantayya
With TikTok now crowned the world’s most downloaded app, these are the personal stories of a cultural phenomenon, told through an ensemble cast of Gen-Z natives, journalists and experts alike. (Texas Premiere)


EPISODIC PROGRAM

EPISODIC PREMIERES
Presenting world premieres of prestige serials slated for release.

61st Street
Showrunners: Peter Moffat, J. David Shanks, Director: Marta Cunningham, Screenwriter: Peter Moffat, Producers: Annie Rhodes, Frank Baldwin, Allison Davis
61st Street is a propulsive thriller coursing through the dark heart of the infamous Chicago criminal justice system as police and prosecutors investigate a deadly drug bust that threatens to unravel the police department’s code of silence. Cast List: Courtney B. Vance, Aunjanue Ellis, Mark O’Brien, Holt McCallany, Tosin Cole, Andrene Ward-Hammond, Bentley Green (World Premiere)

Brené Brown: Atlas of the Heart
Showrunner: Meaghan Rady, Director: Paul Dugdale, Producer: Alex Hiegel
Researcher and #1 New York Times bestselling author Dr. Brené Brown takes us on an interactive journey through the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human and provides a new framework for cultivating meaningful connection. (World Premiere)

DMZ
Showrunner: Roberto Patino, Director/Producer: Ava DuVernay
Set in the midst of a new American Civil War, DMZ leaps off the pages of the acclaimed graphic novel into the visual landscape of a war-torn Manhattan as one woman navigates a dangerous and distorted demilitarized zone in a harrowing quest to find her lost son. Cast List: Rosario Dawson, Benjamin Bratt, Hoon Lee, Freddy Miyares and Mamie Gummer (World Premiere)

Halo
Showrunner: Steven Kane, Director: Otto Bathurst, Producers: Steven Spielberg, Steven Kane, Kiki Wolfkill, Frank O’Connor, Bonnie Ross, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Otto Bathurst, Toby Leslie, Kyle Killen, Scott Pennington
Dramatizing an epic 26th-century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant, Halo the series will weave deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future. Cast List: Pablo Schreiber, Natascha McElhone, Jen Taylor, Bokeem Woodbine, Shabana Azmi, Natasha Culzac, Olive Gray, Yerin Ha, Bentley Kalu, Kate Kennedy (World Premiere)

Shining Girls
Showrunner/Screenwriter: Silka Luisa, Director: Michelle MacLaren, Producers: Kirsa Rein, Joshua Levey
Years after a brutal attack left her in a constantly shifting reality, Kirby Mazrachi learns that a recent murder is linked to her assault. She teams with veteran reporter Dan Velazquez to understand her ever-changing present and confront her past. Cast list: Elisabeth Moss, Wagner Moura, Jamie Bell, Phillipa Soo, Amy Brenneman (World Premiere)

Swimming with Sharks
Showrunners: Kathleen Robertson, Liz Destro, Director: Tucker Gates, Screenwriter: Kathleen Robertson
Serialized drama chronicling the rise of a young female assistant who is at the center of a movie studio filled with manipulators, schemers and intrigue. Little do they know she is poised to outwit them all. Cast List: Kiernan Shipka, Diane Kruger, Donald Sutherland, Thomas Dekker, Finn Jones, Erica Alexander, Ross Butler, Gerardo Celasco (World Premiere)

The Girl From Plainville
Showrunners/Screenwriters: Liz Hannah, Patrick Macmanus, Director: Lisa Cholodenko, Producers: Liz Hannah, Patrick Macmanus, Elle Fanning, Brittany Kahan Ward
Hulu’s limited series The Girl From Plainville is inspired by the true story of Michelle Carter’s unprecedented “texting-suicide” case. Cast List: Elle Fanning, Chloë Sevigny, Colton Ryan, Cara Buono, Kai Lennox and Norbert Leo Butz (World Premiere)

The Last Movie Stars
Director: Ethan Hawke, Producers: Emily Wachtel, Lisa Long Adler, Adam Gibbs, Ryan Hawke
The Last Movie Stars: this epic 6-chapter film chronicles Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s iconic careers and decades-long partnership. Director Ethan Hawke brings life and color to this definitive history of their love, lives, and philanthropy. Cast List: Laura Linney, Melanie Griffith, Sam Rockwell, Billy Crudup, Sally Field, Zoe Kazan, Karen Allen, Steve Zahn, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Oscar Isaac (World Premiere)

The Man Who Fell To Earth
Showrunners: Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet, John Hlavin, Director: Alex Kurtzman, Screenwriters: Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet, Producers: Alex Kurtzman, Jenny Lumet, John Hlavin, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly, Heather Kadin, Aaron Baiers, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rola Bauer and Françoise Guyonnet.
Based on the Walter Tevis novel and the iconic 1976 film starring David Bowie, The Man Who Fell to Earth follows a new alien character who arrives on Earth at a turning point in human evolution and must confront his own past to determine our future. Cast List: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Naomie Harris, Jimmi Simpson, Rob Delaney, Sonya Cassidy, Joana Ribeiro, Annelle Olaleye, Kate Mulgrew and Clarke Peters. (World Premiere)

Untitled Magic Johnson Documentary Series
Director: Rick Famuyiwa, Producers: Jeremy Allen, Jordan Fudge, Bryn Mooser, John Terzian, Christina Arquette, Christina Francis, Rafael Marmor, Brian Toll
An illuminating, never-before-seen look into the life of Earvin “Magic” Johnson, one of the world’s most iconic sports figures, that paints a holistic portrait of the man who left his mark on history and continues to impact our culture today. (World Premiere)

WeCrashed
Showrunners/Screenwriters: Drew Crevello, Lee Eisenberg, Directors: John Requa, Glenn Ficcara
The series is inspired by actual events — and the love story at the center of it all. WeWork grew from a single coworking space into a global brand worth $47 billion in under a decade. Then, in less than a year, its value plummeted. What happened? Cast List: Jared Leto, Anne Hathaway, Kyle Marvin, America Ferrera, O-T Fagbenle (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.

Awayy
Directors/Screenwriters: Aqsa Altaf, John X. Carey, Producers: Amina Nada, Aqsa Altaf and John X. Carey
On the eve of a small-town waitress moving to New York City, a solar flare disrupts her plans. Cast List: Denny Love, Annelise Cepero (World Premiere)

Brownsville Bred
Showrunner/Director/Screenwriter: Elaine Del Valle, Producers: Adrienne Lovette, Elaine Del Valle, Leslie Cohen, Debbie Esko-Gold, Eddie Frente
Set in 1980’s Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY–A spunky Latina must find her own path as she comes of age to face the grim realities of the musician father she once idolized and the deteriorating neighborhood she calls home. Cast List: Summer Rose Castillo, Javier Muñoz, Karina Ortiz, Suzanna Guzman, Kevin Chacon, Neo Vela, Kimora Cuadrado, Gabriela Amerth, Jon Freda, Byron Clohessy (World Premiere)

Hidden Kingdom
Directors: Sunny Lee, Jacqueline Davis, Producer: Emily Backerman
An unconventional and intimate documentary web series that explores the lives of five different New York dancers. Cast List: Karon White AKA Robin, Kouadio Davis, Régine Bellinger, Smarlin Fabian, Yamini Kalluri (Texas Premiere)

My Year of Dicks
Showrunner: Pamela Ribon, Directors: Sara Gunnarsdóttir, Pamela Ribon, Screenwriter: Pamela Ribon, Producer: Jeanette Jeanenne
Hilarious and genre-mashing, a retro-romantic, animated comedy about one girl’s determination to lose her virginity despite the pathetic pickings in the outskirts of Houston. Created by Pamela Ribon from her critically-acclaimed memoir for FX’s CakeCast List: Brie Tilton, Jackson Kelly, Sterling Howard, Klarissa Hernandez, Dylan Darwish, D Ribon Upton, Chris Kelman, Pamela Ribon, Laura House, Mical Trejo (World Premiere)

Something Undone (Canada)
Director: Nicole Dorsey, Screenwriters: Michael Musi, Madison Walsh, Producers: Max Topplin, Jordan Hayes
When a foley artist goes home to settle her late mother’s estate, she discovers a dark family secret and becomes obsessed with finding the truth. Cast List: Madison Walsh, Michael Musi, Kyra Harper, Bryn McAuley, Maria Vacratsis, Astrid Van Wieren, Shaun Majumder (U.S. Premiere)

We’re Doing Good
Showrunner/Director/Screenwriter: Elvira Ibragimova, Producers: Lana Link, Rob Pfaltzgraff
When a couple decides to be better people, they spend a day driving around LA looking for a nonexistent compost bin while their frozen food scraps melt in the backseat. Web series stars Emily Pendergast (Veep) and Jonathan Braylock (Astronomy Club). Cast List: Emily Pendergast, Jonathan Braylock, Michael Ruesga, Olivia Choate, Tim de la Motte (World Premiere)


SHORTS PROGRAM Presented by IMDbPro
New this year, IMDbPro is sponsoring the lineup of short films across seven competitive sections. The SXSW 2022 Shorts Film Program presented by IMDbPro will include a selection of original, well-crafted films that take advantage of the short form and exemplify distinctive and genuine storytelling. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, IMDbPro is the essential resource for entertainment industry professionals.

NARRATIVE SHORTS COMPETITION
A selection of original, well-crafted films that take advantage of the short form and exemplify distinctive and genuine storytelling.

All the Crows in the World (Hong Kong)
Director/Screenwriter: Tang Yi, Producer: Haozheng Li
18-year-old Shengnan enters a night of adventures in the adults’ world. (North American Premiere)

Aspirational Slut
Director/Screenwriter: Caroline Lindy, Producers: Kate Hamilton, Ellyn Jameson, Maddy Nimoy, Emily Wolfe
A newly heartbroken woman, on the advice of a pizza guy, learns to separate love from sex. And over a series of wild random hookups, she learns to put them back together. (World Premiere)

Brutalia, days of labour (Belgium, Greece)
Director/Screenwriter: Manolis Mavris, Producers: Annabelle Aronis, George Tsokopoulos, Mando Stathi, Myrto Stathi, Valérie Bournonville, Joseph Rouschop, Katerina Helioti
A matriarchal family. An oligarchic society…what would happen if we replace bees with humans? (North American Premiere)

Censor of Dreams (France)
Directors/Screenwriters: Leo Berne, Raphael Rodriguez, Producer: Mourad Belkeddar
Night after night The Censor and his team mould Yoko’s memories into fantastical dreams. Tonight nothing happens as planned. (US Premiere)

Clare
Director/Screenwriter: Lauren Minnerath, Producer: Carlos Valdivia, Julia Kennelly, Karine Benzaria
At a high school talent show, 17-year-old Clare tries to confront her teacher over a private matter, leading to unexpected consequences. (World Premiere)

Daddy’s Girl
Director/Screenwriter: Lena Hudson, Producers: Clea DeCrane, Thomas Matthews, Lena Hudson
A young woman’s charming but overbearing father helps her move out of her wealthy, older boyfriend’s apartment. (Texas Premiere)

Datsun (New Zealand)
Director: Mark Albiston, Screenwriters: Mark Albiston, J.Patrick McElroy, Producers: Sharlene George, Andy Mauger
A fourteen-year-old boy, whose Mum plans on selling his deceased Dad’s Datsun, decides to take his best friend and little brother on one last joyride. (North American Premiere)

Dear Mama…
Director: Winter Dunn, Screenwriter: Charmaine Cleveland, Producer: Nicole Mairose Dizon, Xin Li
The death of Tupac draws different reactions from a father and his young daughter, forcing them to confront the emotional aftermath of their own tragedy. (World Premiere)

El Carrito
Director/Screenwriter: Zahida Pirani, Producers: Zahida Pirani, Mauricio Piratova, Ran Yan
After a harrowing event, an untrusting street vendor discovers the embrace of community. (Texas Premiere)

Everything Will Be All Right (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Farhad Pakdel
Amidst the outbreak of the pandemic in Montreal, a young drama teacher who has been keeping a secret from her family finds herself in a predicament after her father falls ill of COVID-19 and she is called back home to the Middle East. (World Premiere)

For Love (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, Producer: Emily Morgan
Illegal immigrant, Nkechi, lives happily in the shadows with her partner Martha, but when immigration turns up unexpectedly, they have to make difficult decisions about their future together. (North American Premiere)

Glitter Ain’t Gold
Director/Screenwriter: Christian Nolan Jones, Producers: Maia Miller, T. Popps, O. Valerie Nicolas
A sixth grader takes a trip with his best friend to a local flea market to buy his first fake chain in order to impress his crush. (World Premiere)

Homesick
Director/Screenwriter: Will Seefried, Producer: Hannes Otto
An unhappy man attends a retreat offering adults a second chance at a happy childhood. (World Premiere)

If I Go Will They Miss Me
Director/Screenwriter: Walter Thompson-Hernández, Producer: Stuart McIntyre
IIGWTMM explores the relationship between a boy’s imagination and the realities that affect his community. (Texas Premiere)

Monsieur Le Butch
Director/Screenwriter: Jude Dry, Producers: Jude Dry, Jacob Blumberg
Jude wants top surgery, Mom wants an “old lady pass” on the whole pronouns thing. As the two butt heads about gender, language, and body image at Monsieur le Butch’s al fresco salon, they both must navigate the hairiness of being seen. (World Premiere)

Radical Honesty
Director: Bianca Poletti, Screenwriter: Allison Goldfarb, Producer: Shayna Gianelli
A good date quickly goes south as two young people’s attempts to construct a new definition of relationships takes a turn for the absurd. (World Premiere)

Roommates
Director: Ashley Eakin, Screenwriter: Ashley Eakin, Kelsey Johnson, Producer: Jesy Odio
When two disabled college students get placed together as dorm roommates, they embark on a quest to experience a hangover. (Texas Premiere)

The Voice Actress (Japan, U.S.)
Director/Screenwriter: Anna J. Takayama, Producer: Joe Skinner
Kingyo, a veteran voice actress working in Tokyo, possesses a unique ability to see the soul in all things, living and inanimate. The voice acting world is changing and she must find a way to reconcile her way of living with the modern industry. (World Premiere)

Too Rough (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Sean Lionadh, Producers: Alfredo Covelli, Ross McKenzie
After a night of intoxication in Glasgow, a hungover and hysterical Nick wakes up next to his boyfriend Charlie and must conceal him from his own homophobic and dysfunctional family. (North American Premiere)

Warsha (Lebanon)
Director/Screenwriter: Dania Bdeir, Producers: Coralie Dias, Pierre Sarraf
A Syrian migrant working as a crane operator in Beirut volunteers to cover a shift on one of the most dangerous cranes, where he is able to find his freedom. (Texas Premiere)

We Should Get Dinner!
Directors: Eliza Jiménez Cossio, Lexi Tannenholtz, Screenwriters: Written by Eliza Jiménez Cossio, Story by Lexi Tannenholtz and Eliza Jiménez Cossio, Producers: Lexi Tannenholtz
After their parents divorce, ex-step-siblings Abby and Sean are forced to confront if they were ever really family. (World Premiere)

West by God
Director: Scott Lazer, Screenwriter: Juli Blachowiak, Producers): Jefferis Gray, Talia Cohen
A West Virginia teenager goes on a first date with a local drug dealer. (North American Premiere)


DOCUMENTARY SHORTS COMPETITION
Slices of life from across the documentary spectrum.

Backstage (Poland)
Director/Screenwriter: Ada Smyk, Producers: Jerzy Kapuściński, Ewa Jastrzębska
Backstage workers of the National Opera in Warsaw create costumes and theatrical scenery for the upcoming premiere of the most important show of the season. (International Premiere)

Belle River (Canada, U.S.)
Directors/Screenwriters: Guillaume Fournier, Samuel Matteau, Yannick Nolin, Producer: Jean-Pierre Vézina
Belle River is a film about Louisiana and its peaceful inhabitants, both threatened with extinction by the emergence of the climate crisis. (US Premiere)

Big Water Summer: A Creation Story
Director: Sophie Harris, Producers: Sophie Harris, Marlo Lopez
Cherilyn has returned to her grandparents’ farm on the Navajo Nation to grow produce for the community. Big Water Summer follows her as she navigates a changing climate and devastating family loss during a summer where nothing goes as planned. (World Premiere)

Coming Home
Directors: Naim Naif, Margot Bowman, Producers: Meghan Doherty, Naim Naif, Margot Bowman
A collective of Palestinian-American dancers living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn connect to their community and homeland through Dabka. (World Premiere)

Dress A Cow
Director: Dawn Luebbe, Screenwriters: Dawn Luebbe, Margaret Miller, Producer: Natalie Metzger
A meditation on cows…in costumes. (World Premiere)

Long Line of Ladies
Directors: Rayka Zehtabchi, Shaandiin Tome, Producers: Garrett Schiff, Pimm Tripp-Allen, Rayka Zehtabchi, Sam Davis, Dana Kurth
A girl and her community prepare for her Ihuk, the once-dormant coming of age ceremony of the Karuk tribe of Northern California. (Texas Premiere)

My Duduś
Director: Tom Krawczyk, Producer: Nick J. Santore
My Duduś follows a Polish mother with empty nest syndrome as she raises a baby squirrel. (Texas Premiere)

Nalujuk Night (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Jennie Williams, Producers: Latonia Hartery, Kat Baulu, Rohan Fernando
Run as fast as you can, the Nalujuit are here! Filmmaker Jennie Williams brings us the story of an exhilarating and sometimes terrifying Nunatsiavut tradition in Nalujuk Night. (Texas Premiere)

not even for a moment do things stand still
Director: Jamie Meltzer, Producers: Annie Marr, Jamie Meltzer, Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg
Visitors from across the nation gather at a sea of white flags to honor loved ones lost to COVID-19. As they mourn en masse, we witness their many expressions of loss and humanity. (World Premiere)

Nuisance Bear (Canada, U.S.)
Directors: Jack Weisman, Gabriela Osio Vanden, Producer: Jack Weisman
Churchill, Manitoba is famous as an international destination for photographing polar bears. We’ve seen the majestic images and the classic wildlife TV programs – but what does the bear see of us? (Texas Premiere)

Stranger Than Rotterdam with Sara Driver
Directors: Lewie Kloster, Noah Kloster, Screenwriter: Sara Driver
In 1982, the completion of Jim Jarmusch’s sophomore film, Stranger Than Paradise, hinged on producer Sara Driver’s willingness to smuggle one of the world’s rarest and most controversial films across the Atlantic Ocean. (Texas Premiere)

The Sentence of Michael Thompson
Directors: Kyle Thrash, Haley Elizabeth Anderson, Producers: W. Ian Ross, Kyle Thrash
Michael Thompson is the longest serving non-violent offender in the history of Michigan and he is finally up for clemency. After 25 years, 3 appeals, and 2 denied applications for clemency it seems like Michael may finally have a chance at freedom. (World Premiere)

The Trails Before Us
Director: Fritz Bitsoie, Producer: Emma Hsu Jackson
Through revitalizing old sheep and livestock trails on his grandparents’ land, 17-yr-old Nigel James and his friends prepare to host the first Enduro bike race in the Navajo Nation. (Texas Premiere)

Video Visit
Director/Producer: Malika Zouhali-Worrall
Each week, scores of people visit the Brooklyn Public Library to see their incarcerated loved ones via a free video call. Video Visit tells the story of two mothers and their sons, and the librarians who negotiate daily to keep the families connected


ANIMATED SHORTS COMPETITION
An assortment of stories told using traditional animation, computer-generated effects, stop-motion, and everything in between.

Angakuksajaujuq – The Shaman’s Apprentice (Canada)
Director: Zacharias Kunuk, Screenwriters: Zacharias Kunuk, Jonathan Frantz, Producers: Nadia Mike, Neil Christopher, Zacharias Kunuk, Jonathan Frantz
A young shaman must face her first test—a trip underground to visit Kannaaluk, The One Below, who holds the answers to why a community member has become ill. (U.S. Premiere)

Anxious Body (France, Japan)
Director: Yoriko Mizushiri, Screenwriters: Yoriko Mizushiri, Producers: Emmanuel-Alain Raynal, Pierre Baussaron, Nobuaki Doi
Living things, artificial things, geometry shapes, and lines. When these different things encounter, a new direction is born. (Texas Premiere)

Bestia (Chile)
Director: Hugo Covarrubias, Screenwriters: Martín Erazo, Hugo Covarrubias, Producers: Tevo Díaz, Hugo Covarrubias
Based on true events, Bestia explores the life of a secret police agent during the military dictatorship in Chile. Her relationship with her dog, her body, her fears and frustrations reveals a grim fracture of her mind and of the country. (Texas Premiere)

Five Cents
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Aaron Hughes
A consumer finds himself in over his head after a string of purchases gets out of control. (World Premiere)

Les larmes de la Seine (France)
Directors/Screenwriters: Yanis Belaid, Eliott Benard, Producer: Carlos De Carvalho
17 October 1961, “Algerian workers” get down in the streets to manifest against the mandatory curfew imposed by the Police prefecture. (US Premiere)

Life Is A Particle Time Is A Wave
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Daniel Zvereff
A widowed watchmaker spends his remaining days in solitude distracting himself with chores and pastimes. Like a prisoner, alone in his cell, he looks for meaning in the memories of his past life, but the clock is ticking, and his life nears its end. (World Premiere)

Local Middle Schooler
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Sanjna Bharadwaj
A girl with magic eyelashes is exploited for them by her school, her community, and eventually the government. She battles the weight of the world with the weight of being a middle schooler. (Texas Premiere)

Soft Animals (United Kingdom)
Director: Renee Zhan, Producer: Jesse Romain
Two ex-lovers cross paths at a train station. (Texas Premiere)

Something in the Garden (Chile)
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Marcos Sánchez
An unexpected Journey into the depths of the neighbor’s backyard. (US Premiere)

Steakhouse (France, Germany, Slovenia)
Director: Špela Čadež, Screenwriter: Gregor Zorc, Producers: Tina Smrekar, Špela Čadež, Fabian Driehorst, Emmanuel-Alain Raynal, Pierre Baussaron
The steak has been marinating for a few days now. The pan is heated. Franc’s stomach is rumbling. But Liza’s co-workers surprise her with a birthday party. Will she be home on time? (Texas Premiere)

Tennis Ball on His Day Off
Director: Julian Glander, Producer: Cody Dematteis
A tennis ball reflects on aging, self-improvement, hustle culture, and his own impending mortality. But in a cute way!

Wet (France)
Directors: Marianne Bergeonneau, Lauriane Montpert, Mélina Mandon, Cloé Peyrebrune, Elvira Taussac, Screenwriter: Marianne Bergeonneau, Producer: Julien Deparis
A lady’s vaporous dream in a land of soft and peachy flesh where her affection for her masseur transpires. (Texas Premiere)


MIDNIGHT SHORTS
Bite-sized bits for all of your sex, gore, and hilarity cravings.

Blink
Director: Spenser Cohen, Screenwriter: Spenser Cohen, Anna Halberg, Producers: Scott Glassgold, Anna Halberg
A young woman awakes in a hospital to discover her injuries are the least of her concerns. (World Premiere)

Don’t Go Where I Can’t Find You (Ireland)
Director/Screenwriter): Rioghnach Ni Ghrioghair, Producer: Claire McCabe
A haunted composer uses music to connect with the ghost of her dead lover but her mind starts to spiral into chaos. (North American Premiere)

Horse Brothers (Canada)
Directors/Screenwriters/Producers Milos Mitrovic, Fabian Velasco
Two paranoid brothers are consumed with murderous fantasies after a horse convinces them that they are each others’ enemies. Starring Guy Maddin (My Winnipeg, Forbidden Room) and Milos Mitrovic (Tapeworm, Stump the Guesser). (World Premiere)

Moshari (Bangladesh)
Director/Screenwriter: Nuhash Humayun, Producers: Bushra Afreen, Nuhash Humayun
The end of the world forces two sisters together, inside a mosquito net, just to live on—but first they must survive each other. (World Premiere)

Night Breakers (Spain)
Directors/Screenwriters: Gabriel Campoy, Guillem Lafoz, Producers: Joan Coca, Valentina Attalla, Gabriel Campoy, Guillem Lafoz, Tito Coca
On the hard journey to the illuminated city, a group of migrants make their way in their light suits. On their journey they will have to face the dangers that lurk in the dark and what’s worse: themselves. (International Premiere)

OMI
Director(: Kelly Fyffe-Marshall, Screenwriters: Tamar Bird, Kelly Fyffe-Marshall, Producers: Tamar Bird
A father-son fishing trip is unexpectedly flipped. (World Premiere)

Tank Fairy (Taiwan, U.S.)
Director/Screenwriter: Erich Rettstadt, Producers: Anita Tung, C.K. Hugo Chung
Once upon a time, the magical Tank Fairy delivered tanks of gas (with plenty of sass) to the home of young Jojo, a lonely dreamer in need of a glittery godmother… (Texas Premiere)

White Devil
Directors/Screenwriters: Mariama Diallo, Benjamin Dickinson, Producers: Brad Becker-Parton, Andrea Roa, Matthew Cherchio
A horror satire set during the summer of 2020 in New York City during quarantine and the protests, White Devil tells the tale of a black woman held captive with whiteness as it mutates into monstrosity. (Texas Premiere)

Wild Bitch
Directors/Screenwriters: Kate Nash, Rebekka Johnson, Producer: Lauren Bancroft
When a local reporter interviews a mousy housewife about her life-changing encounter with a coyote, their eerie trek in the woods leaves them forever bonded with each other… and the beast. (World Premiere)


TEXAS SHORTS
An offshoot of our regular shorts program, composed of work shot in, about, or somehow relating to the Lone Star state.

Act of God
Directors/Screenwriters: Spencer Cook, Parker Smith, Producer: Matthew Harrington
A disabled man’s commute is interrupted by a $100 bill lying on the sidewalk, just out of reach. It flutters away as soon as he moves towards it, leading him on a chase that forces him to reconsider his toxic ideal of self-sufficiency. (World Premiere)

Birds
Director/Screenwriter: Katherine Propper, Producer: Sophia Loffreda
Moments in the lives of Austin teenagers during the heat of Texas summer. (Texas Premiere)

Far West
Directors: Grace Potter, Emily Potter, Screenwriters: Grace Potter, C. Bailey Werner, Producers: C. Bailey Werner, Grace Potter, Emily Potter
Two friends get stuck in the desert after finding a mysterious briefcase that they hope will change their lives. (World Premiere)

Folk Frontera
Directors: Alejandra Vasquez, Sam Osborn
Folk Frontera is a magical-realist portrait of life in the borderlands. The film follows two fronteriza women as they struggle to find their place in the vast Chihuahuan Desert which is bisected by the U.S.-Mexico border.

Gay Haircut
Director: Jude Harris, Screenwriter: Krista Fatka, Producers: Krista Fatka, Jude Harris
A bisexual stand up comic must decide between the dick jokes of her past or committing to the bit and going full-queer. (World Premiere)

How We Found Our Sound
Director: Alan Berg, Producer: Scott Hamilton
An experimental documentary featuring found footage and Ray Benson describing the origins of Asleep at the Wheel and the band’s intersection with the beginnings of Austin’s Cosmic Cowboy scene in the early 1970s. (World Premiere)

Memory Builds The Monument
Director: Isaac Yowman, Producers: Miriam Heads, Greg Carter
Memory Builds the Monument uncovers the music, social challenges, and community of Houston’s historic 5th Ward as told first hand by aging community members who were there to experience one of the South’s most important music venues – Club Matinee. (Austin Premiere)

More Than I Remember
Director: Amy Bench, Producers: Amy Bench, Carolyn Merriman
One night at her home in southeastern Congo, 14-year-old Mugeni awakes to the sounds of bombs. As her family scatters to the surrounding forests to save themselves, Mugeni finds herself completely alone. (World Premiere)


TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHORTS
A preview of the next filmmaking generation, as Texas High Schoolers present shorts of five minutes or less.

Before
Director/Screenwriter: Felicity Anderson
After beginning to experience moments of time travel, a high school student attempts to understand what’s happening to him and gain control of his traveling. (World Premiere)

Football.
Director: William Herff, Screenwriters/Producers: William Herff, Nicholas Campos, Peyton Randolph
Aspiring drama student William Herff attempts to learn the inner secrets of football by following around the team in an attempt to make a hype reel. Through interviews and impromptu interactions, William uncovers the mysteries of the sport. Sort of. (World Premiere)

Freedom
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Jeremiah Sudarmanto
Four students from Texas offer their own perspective on what Freedom means to them, how it relates to their struggles, interests, and identity.

Gone
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Kyle Ward
As development encroaches on a farming community, they struggle with the loss of their heritage and land. (World Premiere)

Good Night
Director/Screenwriter: Adam Van Wagoner, Producers: Lusinda Garcia, Joseph Ho-Shing
Sara, through childhood and adulthood, comes to face the uncertainties that plague her life. She ultimately finds that she must rely on the things that are certain in order to persevere and accept the unknown.

Home
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Sarah DeWitt
A Japanese immigrant finds her home in the U.S. (World Premiere)

Honeybee
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Emilio Vazquez Reyes
An undocumented immigrant receives a heartwarming yet heartbreaking phone call from his daughter across the border. (World Premiere)

I’m Here
Director/Screenwriter: Grace Eitrheim
A ghost tries to be noticed by a person who is still grieving them. (World Premiere)

In Person Learning
Director/Screenwriter: Makayla Esparza
Emmis was a middle school girl who’s first year of high school is taken away from her because of COVID. This year she arrives at school in-person, worried and unsure if she’s ready to return.

It’s Getting Bad Again
Director/Screenwriter: Sarah Reyes, Producers: Sarah Reyes, Kenneth Rogers
An unnamed young woman comically navigates her declining mental health in the wake of an oncoming depressive episode. (Austin Premiere)

Little Big Shot
Director: Henry Segal
A profile of five-year-old table tennis prodigy, Allen Mao, with expert commentary.

Moonlight Exigent
DirectorsScreenwriters/Producers: Risa Darlington-Horta, Eli Dawkins
By the shadow, Witches stir (U.S. Premiere)

Out of the Blue
Director: August Jaeggli
A walk through the woods ends in a story told by a tree. (World Premiere)

Peanut
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Mayra Estrada
A man, exhausted by his normal routine, encounters an unusual distraction in the form of an atypical creature. (International Premiere)

Rock Rockman’s Redemption
Directors/Screenwriters: Uday Narayanan, Jeb Brown
Rock Rockman, aspiring rockstar, hacks into a rhythm game and uploads his consciousness, hoping to break the world record and become a legend.

SB8
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Grace McGrath
A teenage girl unexpectedly gets pregnant after the passing of the SB8 legislature in Texas.

Soles
Director/Screenwriter: William Herff, Producers: William Herff, Sofia Mauri
An elderly businessman encounters an uninvited houseguest intent on claiming their ultimate prize. (World Premiere)

Spud
Directors/Screenwriters/Producers: Will McDonald, Gavin Bell
A film about potatoes

Story Time
Director/Screenwriter: Stanley Turner, Producers: Stanley Turner, CJ Camot
TV personality Walt Trebek hosts his famous children’s special, Story Time, reading the classic fairy tales we all know so well. But little does Walt know, great dangers lurk within the pages of the storybook and even behind the camera. (Austin Premiere)

The Face Off
Director/Screenwriter: Jose Martinez-McIntosh
Cletus Abernathy, a profiteering, washed-up, sheriff must call upon his past training as a deputy in order to face a man named Crenshaw later in the morning. (World Premiere)

Vegetable
Director/Screenwriter: Angel Ruiz
Vegetable is an experimental animated short that visualizes the psychological effects of medication relapse. (World Premiere)

Waiting for Divine Intervention
Director: Bella Muñoz, Screenwriters: Bella Muñoz, William Herff, Emi Kosterlitzky, Producers: Annie Schroeder, Sofia Mauri
A struggling professional in New York meets an interesting new friend (from Hell) that changes her life forever. (World Premiere)


MUSIC VIDEO COMPETITION 
A range of classic, innovative, and stylish work showcasing the scope of music video culture.

Baby Tate – ‘Pedi’ / Director/Screenwriter: Norton

Boys Noize & Kelsey Lu – ‘Ride Or Die feat. Chilly Gonzales’ / Directors: Art Camp, Danae Gosset, Danica Tan

Conditioner – ‘Terms of Surrender’ / Directors/Screenwriters: Cady Buche, Travis Barron

Dave East, Jay Electronica, Tavis Eaton – ‘No Hoodie’ / Directors: Sean Wehrli, Mayukh Goswami

David Lindmer feat. Johanson – ‘Omen’ (United Kingdom) / Director/Screenwriter: DRUST

Delta Spirit – ‘What’s Done Is Done’ / Director/Screenwriter: Michael Parks Randa

Desirée Dawson – ‘Meet You At The Light’ (Canada) / Director/Screenwriter: Alexander Farah

Dumbfoundead – ‘Secret Menu’ / Director: Sean Wang

Hana Vu – ‘Keeper’ / Director: Maegan Houang

Hrishikesh Hirway – ‘Between There and Here (feat. Yo-Yo Ma)’ / Directors: Hrishikesh Hirway, Prashanti Aswani, Screenwriters: Hrishikesh Hirway, Jonny Son

Julia Stone – ‘Dance’ (Australia) / Director/Screenwriter: Jessie Hill

Kiko – ‘Ka Puta’ (New Zealand) / Directors/Screenwriters: Francis Baker, Rewi McLay

Lil Nas X – ‘Montero’ / Director: Tanu Muino

MYD – ‘Let you Speak’ (France) / Director/Screenwriter: Dan Carr

Number One Popstar – ‘I Hate Running’ / Director/Screenwriter: Kate Jean Hollowell

Peaches – ‘Pussy Mask’ (Germany, U.S.) / Director: Leah Shore

Peter $un – ‘Work’ / Director: Chris Scholar, Bevin Brown, Screenwrite: Bevin Brown, Chris Scholar

Pop Smoke ft Dua Lipa – ‘Demeanor’ / Director: Nabil

Run The Jewels ft. 2 Chainz – ‘Out of Sight’ (United Kingdom) / Directors: Ninian Doff, Colin Read (2nd Unit)

SCH ft. Freeze Corleone – ‘Mannschaft’ (France) / Director: Greg Ohrel

Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen – ‘Like I Used To’ / Director: Kimberly Stuckwisch, Screenwriters: Kimberly Stuckwisch, Sharon Van Etten

The Burning Young – ‘Quiet Nights’ / Director: Paola Ossa

Tyler, The Creator – ‘Corso’ / Director: Wolf Haley

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – ‘That Life’ / Directors: Lydia Fine, Tony Blahd


EXCELLENCE IN TITLE DESIGN
Inspired by an essential part of the theatrical experience, these are works of art in their own right. The 19 sequences selected represent the very best and most original selections.

ADM #Unseen Title Sequence (Singapore) / Company: Semicolon / Title Designer: Daniel Lee, Jonathan Law

Black Widow Title Sequence / Company: Perception / Creative Director: John LePore

‘Blade Runner: Black Lotus’ Title Sequence / Company: CO3/Method Made / Creative Director: John Likens

Cowboy Bebop Title Sequence / Company: Imaginary Forces / Title Designer: Karin Fong

Daughter from Another Mother Title Sequence (Mexico) / Company: Diecinueve36 / Creative Director: Maribel  Martínez

Don’t Breathe 2 Title Sequence / Company: Filmograph / Title Designer: Aaron Becker

Foundation Title Sequence / Company: Imaginary Forces / Title Designer: Ronnie Koff

Hawkeye Title Sequence (Episode 1) / Company: Perception / Creative Director: John LePore

I Expect You To Die 2 Title Sequence / Company: Schell Games / Title Designer: Jeff Hoffman

Pervasive Title Sequence / Company: Ringling College of Art and Design / Title Designer: Jordan McBarnett

Power Book IV: Force Title Sequence / Company: Shine / Creative Director: Michael Riley

Queens of Mystery 2 Title Sequence (United Kingdom) / Company: Sly Fox Productions / Title Designer: Ian Emes

‘See’ Season 2 Title Sequence / Company: CO3/Method Made / Creative Director: John Likens

TEDx REAL Title Sequence (Australia) / Company: Substance / Creative Director: Scott Geersen

The Harder They Fall Title Sequence / Company: Shine / Creative Director: Michael Riley

The Haunting of Bly Manor Title Sequence / Company: Filmograph / Title Designer: Aaron Becker

The Retro Squad Title Sequence (United Kingdom) / Company: Bottletop / Title Designer: Mark Pyper

The White Lotus Title Sequence / Company: Plains of Yonder / Title Designers: Katrina Crawford, Mark Bashore

WandaVision Main On End Title Sequence / Company: Perception / Creative Director: John LePore


XR EXPERIENCE
The immersive arts are redefining how we experience the world around us. The 29 projects presented in our XR Experience Competition, XR Experience Spotlight and XR Experience Special Event sections emphasize storytelling, ingenuity and also showcase how artists of all types are embracing this new medium.

XR Experience Competition
World Premieres of exciting immersive work.

Black Ice VR
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Arif Khan
In the cyberpunk future, a young woman visits a memory editor in an effort to suppress a dark memory of a murder she committed. However, the more she alters the memory, the more she finds herself wanting to kill again. (World Premiere)

Choctaw Code Talkers 1918
Directors/Screenwriters/Producers: Catherine Eng, Kilma Lattin
While many have heard of the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II, far less known is the story of the original Code Talkers– the 19 Choctaw soldiers who served in World War I France. Developed as a geolocated XR360º™ experience for the Our Worlds app. (World Premiere)

Gumball Dreams
Director: Deirdre V. Lyons, Screenwriters: Deirdre V. Lyons, Christopher Lane Davis, Producers Ferryman Collective
On a foreign planet, you have been sent on a mission to help an alien creature transition. Falling through memories, Onyx reveals the music of the spheres and the nature of existence, as you fly through worlds both inner and outer. Greetings, traveler. (World Premiere)

(Hi)story of a Painting: The Light in the Shadow (United Kingdom)
Directors: Quentin Darras, Gaëlle Mourre, Screenwriter: Gaëlle Mourre, Producers: Charlotte Mikkelborg, Gaëlle Mourre
Journey into Artemisia Gentileschi’s chiaroscuro world and discover how this self-portrait shines a light on her life as a survivor, an internationally celebrated artist and a woman in 17th Century Italy. (World Premiere)

Ihyangjeong: Carving with Memories (Republic of Korea)
Director/Screenwriter: Sunghwan Lee, Producers: Rene Hyewon Lee, Mina Hyeon
The purpose of this project is to ask tired modern people what a house is through the main character’s memory of a traditional Korean House called Ihyangjeong which is located in Yangdong village, Korea. (World Premiere)

Komez Alef O (Germany)
Director: Ioulia Isserlis, Screenwriters: Ioulia Isserlis and Victor Isserlis, Producers: Ioulia Isserlis, Max Sacker
Komez Alef O is a deeply personal VR journey into the memories of a Holocaust survivor. It is a story of despair and hope during the most terrifying time in modern history, told in his own voice and visually reimagined by his daughter. (World Premiere)

Lustration VR – Series 1 (Australia, U.S.)
Director: Ryan Griffen, Screenwriters: Ryan Griffen, Nayuka Gorrie. Producers: Carolina Sorensen, Taryne Laffar
Life is Hard. Life after death is harder. (World Premiere)

On the Morning You Wake (To the End of the World) (France, United Kingdom, U.S.)
Directors: Dr. Jamaica Heolomeleikalani Osorio, Mike Brett, Steve Jamison, Pierre Zandrowicz, Arnaud Colinart, Screenwriters: Mike Brett, Steve Jamison, Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, Producers: Arnaud Colinart, Mike Brett, Steve Jamison, Jo-Jo Ellison, Kurban Kassam
On the morning of January 13th 2018, as people in Hawai’i went about their daily routines, they received an SMS from the Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency: “Ballistic Missile Threat Inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” (World Premiere)

Paradise (United Kingdom, U.S.)
Directors: Gabo Arora, David Rosenberg, Glen Neath, Screenwriter: Glen Neath, Producers: Victoria Eyton, Barry Pousman, Rachael Turner
An AI powered immersive audio experience designed for couples, exploring why we stay together or fall apart. (World Premiere)

Red Antz VR
Director: Peter Nichols, Producer: Lawra Suits-Clark
An interactive music video, with the experimental punk band Palberta. Put the ants on your body. No one hears the song the same way. (World Premiere)

Weird Times
Directors: Ryan Hartsell, Ruby Wang, Screenwriters: Rachel Hastings (“#HappyFAIL”), Rick Cisario (“BrainFAIL”), Producers: Jen Cadic, Julia Gibson
Through an appropriately surreal animated lens, Weird Times is an honest and irreverent VR series that takes you into the mind and perspective of modern teenagers growing up in a beautiful and brutal world that’s unlike anything experienced before. (World Premiere)


XR Experience Spotlight
Shining a spotlight on acclaimed immersive projects.

Beatday – The Beginning – Mini VR Concert (Taiwan)
Directors: Cheng Chih-Jen, Liu Szu-Ming, Producers: Gunter Lee, Ruby Liu, Nina Weng
Beatday: The Beginning – Mini VR Concert is the first VR experience of the Beatday franchise. It is a LBE multi-player experience that allows audiences to participate in the concert from VR devices. (World Premiere)

Breonna’s Garden
Director: Lady PheØnix, Producers: Lady PheØnix, Alison Lucker
Breonna’s Garden honors the life and memory of Breonna Taylor while cultivating a safe healing space for anyone to plant a message of hope for Breonna’s family or a personal message in remembrance of someone they miss. (World Premiere)

Composition (Canada)
Director: Vincent Morisset, Producer: AATOAA
By manipulating cubes on the table, Composition becomes at the same time a world, a sculpture, an instrument, and a multi-handed dance. (U.S. Premiere)

Genesis (Germany)
Director/Screenwriter: Joerg Courtial, Producer: Maria Courtial
Genesis embarks on an emotionally intense virtual reality journey to experience the dramatic milestones in the evolution of earth and mankind. (North American Premiere)

Goliath: Playing with Reality (France)
Directors: Barry Gene Murphy, May Abdalla, Screenwriter: Barry Gene Murphy, Producer: Anetta Jones
Goliath: Playing with Reality is a 25 minute animated VR experience about schizophrenia, gaming and connection. (Texas Premiere)

Gondwana (Australia)
Director: Ben Joseph Andrews, Producer: Emma Roberts
A durational VR experience that unfurls over 24 hours, Gondwana is a constantly-evolving virtual ecosystem chronicling the possible futures of the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, the Daintree. (Texas Premiere)

Liminal Lands (Denmark, France, U.S.)
Director: Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Producers: Erratic Animist, Liz Kircher
Part fiction and part documentation, Liminal Lands is a journey from the sea to the soil, a trip through wetlands at the edges of the Mediterranean. Up to four people morph into elemental energies, journeying through the Camargue nature reserve. (North American Premiere)

LIPs (Taiwan)
Director/Screenwriter: Peiying Lin, Producer: C.K. Hugo Chung
A woman has two pairs of lips: her mouth, and her vulva. LIPs is an interactive virtual reality experience inviting the audience to enter a female body to awaken her desire, resulting in an immersive journey of eroticism. (International Premiere)

Madame Pirate: Becoming a Legend (Taiwan)
Directors/Screenwriters: Morgan Ommer, Dan-Chi Huang, Producers: Estela Valdivieso Chen, Adam Cullen Young, Lin Jin-Yao
The untold story of Madame Ching, the greatest pirate of all time. (International Premiere)

Minimum Mass (New Zealand)
Directors/Screenwriters: Raqi Syed, Areito Echevarria, Producers: Raqi Syed, Katayoun Dibamehr, Avi Amar
A couple experience a series of miscarriages and come to believe their children are being born in another dimension. (Texas Premiere)

Paper Birds Part II (Argentina)
Directors: German Heller, Federico Carlini, Screenwriter: Germán Heller, Producers: Federico Carlini, Germán Heller, Averie Timm
Paper Birds is a 30 minute interactive story about a young musician in search of true inspiration. Starring Ed Norton, Joss Stone and Archie Yates, this VR film offers a unique way of interactivity with hand tracking as it has never seen before.

Persuasion Machines
Directors: Karim Amer, Guvenc Ozel, Screenwriters: Karim Amer, Daniel Claridge, Bits Sola, Producers: Ricky Berrin, Elizabeth Woodward, Jess Engel, Danielle Oexmann
Enter a smart living room that asks the question: are we in control of our devices or are they in control of us? Using mixed reality, Persuasion Machines makes visible the invisible process of personal data collection and targeted marketing (Texas Premiere)

Surviving 9/11 – 27 hours under the rubble (France)
Directors: Chloé Rochereuil, Victor Agulhon, Producer: Victor Agulhon
Discover the extraordinary story of Genelle Guzman-McMillan, the last survivor rescued from the rubble at Ground Zero. Featuring never-seen-before 360° images of the World Trade Center, this experience is a unique virtual reality dive into her story.

The Choice (Canada, Poland)
Director: Joanne Popinska, Producers: Joanne Popinska, Tom C. Hall
Behind every decision is a human story. (North American Premiere)

The Green Planet AR Experience (United Kingdom)
Director: Jamie Davies, Screenwriters: Jamie Davies, Martin Williams, Producers: Sucharita Ghosh Stephenson, Lou Garrod
Join David Attenborough, through the magic of augmented reality, on an immersive journey into the secret kingdom of plants. Inspired by the new BBC series, explore our green planet as you never have before in this ground-breaking experience. (North American Premiere)

The Sick Rose (Taiwan)
Directors/Screenwriters: Tang, Zhi-Zhong, Huang, Yun-Hsien, Producers: Liu Szu-Ming, Jack Huang, Rose had a quarrel with her mother. Despite being ill, Rose still wants to apologize to her mother. However, the pandemic has made the way to the hospital difficult. Sick and lost, how can Rose find her mother who works in the hospital? (U.S. Premiere)


XR Experience Special Events

SXSW NFT Gallery
Blending the IRL and digital, marcel.art XR showcase explores the future of creative content. Across eight exhibitions with rotating showtimes, sixty four emerging artists of multiple disciplines connect with eight creative curators. (International Premiere)


2022 ART PROGRAM INSTALLATIONS

The SXSW Art Program showcases experiential and conceptual visual artworks that apply emerging technologies and immersive environments to spark discovery, inspiration, and connection. Incorporated into the broader ecosystem of creativity and innovation at SXSW, the SXSW Art Program serves as a launching point for collaborations and discussions around the role of visual and digital media arts in culture, technology, and the public realm.

Offer Them Comfort. Offer Them Rest by Desiree Vaniecia 
This title derives from a poem written by author Nayyirah Waheed regarding fear. In this exhibition, Desiree is documenting her fears of motherhood and coming to terms with situations she has no control over. Desiree Vanieciais a contemporary painter who lives and works in Dallas, Texas. Raised in a matriarchal home, her work pays homage to her family and their legacy. Her distinctive personal style challenges a stereotype of Black women constructed by the media. Her portraits evoke both vulnerability and strength though posture, physical interaction, or compositional format. Gestures and poses are presented as powerful, whether through sexuality or assurance, while facial expressions and anatomical detail are left reduced and neutral within the empty or vague settings.

ORDER OF MAGNITUDE by Ben Grosser
Called “freakish” by Boing Boing, “literal art” by Fast Company, and “a hilarious satire on 24/7 overlords” by The Guardian, ORDER OF MAGNITUDE is an epic Mark Zuckerberg supercut that chronicles Silicon Valley’s 21st century obsession with growth.
Ben Grosser creates interactive experiences, machines, and systems that examine the cultural, social, and political effects of software. Recent exhibition venues include the Barbican Centre in London, Museum Kesselhaus in Berlin, Rijksmuseum Twenthe in the Netherlands, and Centre Pompidou in Paris. His works have been featured in The New YorkerWiredThe AtlanticThe Washington PostEl PaísLibération, and Der Spiegel. Grosser is an associate professor in the School of Art + Design, and co-founder of the Critical Technology Studies Lab at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, both at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Server: Checks on The Block by Ciara Elle Bryant
Server: Checks on the Block, takes a deep dive look at where Nike Air Force 1’s exist in present day culture. The replica wall of all white boxes and piles of used, worn, dirty, and fresh pairs of Forces provide a space for a celebration of culture to happen. Server: Checks on the Block, takes up space and is a visual bibliography of the impact of Blackness in the world of art and streetwear.Ciara Elle Bryant is a interdisciplinary creative working and residing in Dallas, TX. Bryant holds a Masters of Fine Art from Southern Methodist University. Through photography, video, mixed media, and installations,Bryant discusses blackness by focusing on how identity and culture exist in the new millennium. Bryant also teaches and facilitates artist workshops for youth and adults while working as a practicing artist. Bryant’s approach to research and curatorial practice has been integral to her process of furthering conversations surrounding black culture in art as well as historical studies.


COMPETITION AWARDS 
The Narrative Feature Competition, the Documentary Feature Competition, Design Awards, and Special Awards will be announced on Tuesday, March 15 along with all the Short Film Program winners, which are eligible for Jury Awards within their respective screening categories. All film categories, except Special Events, will be eligible for category-specific Audience Awards, which will be certified by the accounting firm of Maxwell Locke & Ritter and announced via sxsw.com the following week.

SXSW is proud to be an official qualifying festival for the Academy Awards® Short Film competition. Winners of our Best Animated, Best Narrative and Best Documentary Short Film categories become eligible for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards (Oscars). Any British Short Film or British Short Animation that screens at SXSW is eligible for BAFTA nomination. Films are also eligible for the Independent Spirit Awards, more information on eligibility here.

Covid -19 Guidelines for SXSW

In addition to film festival screenings, passholders also have access to the full range of content available during SXSW including Conference Keynotes, Featured Speakers, Mentor Sessions, Networking Meet Ups, Music Showcases, Comedy Festival Showcases, Exhibitions and Professional Development. For more information on everything SXSW Online has to offer, please visit sxsw.com.

About SXSW Film Festival
Now in its 29th year, SXSW Film Festival brings together creatives of all stripes over nine days to experience a diverse lineup and access to the SXSW Music and Comedy Festivals plus SXSW Conference sessions with visionaries from all corners of the entertainment, media, and technology industries.

About SXSW
SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of tech, film, music, education, and culture. An essential destination for global professionals, the annual March event features sessions, music and comedy showcases, film screenings, exhibitions, professional development and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. SXSW 2022 will take place March 11 – 20, 2022. For more information, please visit sxsw.com. To register for the event, please visit sxsw.com/attend.
SXSW 2022 is sponsored by White Claw, Blockchain Creative Labs, Porsche and The Austin Chronicle.


 

Sundance 2022: Some of what we’ll be watching at this year’s festival, and it’s a lot.

Having switched from in-person to completely virtual, audiences of Sundance 2022 will have the opportunity to see a plethora of entertainment that will terrify, tantalize, and remind you of why we love storytelling so much. From horror to drama, television series to shorts, documentaries to VR experiences, we’ll be watching as much as our eyes can consume from January 20-30th. Things are finding distribution left and right, with is always great news. That means even if you miss something during the festival, it will most likely be coming to a theater or streaming platform very soon.

There is something for everyone. Genre favorite filmmakers, writers, actors, and wearers of all the hats,  Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, are bringing their latest film Something In The Dirt. Cooper Raif‘s newest Cha Cha Real Smooth is one we’re stoked for. His debut feature Shithouse was one of the most accurate films about college life I’ve ever seen. The shorts lineup this year is bound to blow you away. Do not overlook them, I beg you. There are feature documentaries on Kanye West and Princess Diana, the rise of TikTok, and Slave to Sirens (the first and only all-woman thrash metal band in the Middle East).

Without further ado, here is a list of some of the amazing content we’re excited about this year.


 U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION

Cha Cha Real Smooth / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Cooper Raiff, Producers: Dakota Johnson, Ro Donnelly, Erik Feig, Jessica Switch, Cooper Raiff) — A directionless college graduate embarks on a relationship with a young mom and her teenage daughter while learning the boundaries of his new bar mitzvah party-starting gig. Cast: Dakota Johnson, Cooper Raiff, Vanessa Burghardt, Evan Assante, Brad Garrett, Leslie Mann. World Premiere.

Besides Raiff being an obvious phenom, I suspect this one will hit harder for those with children on the spectrum. I’m particularly excited for Vanessa Burghardt’s performance, as she is on the spectrum herself. Representation matters, across the board.

Dual / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Riley Stearns, Producers: Nate Bolotin, Aram Tertzakian, Lee Kim, Riley Stearns, Nick Spicer, Maxime Cottray) — After receiving a terminal diagnosis, Sarah commissions a clone of herself to ease the loss for her friends and family. When she makes a miraculous recovery, her attempt to have her clone decommissioned fails, and leads to a court-mandated duel to the death. Cast: Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul, Beulah Koale. World Premiere.

This plot sounds like something out of West World and Doctor Who. Did I just mention those because of Paul and Gillan? Happy coincidence.


U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

I Didn’t See You There / U.S.A. (Director: Reid Davenport, Producer: Keith Wilson) — Spurred by the spectacle of a circus tent that goes up outside his Oakland apartment, a disabled filmmaker launches into an unflinching meditation on freakdom, (in)visibility, and the pursuit of individual agency. World Premiere.

I fell into advocacy for those with disabilities when my son was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. I have a feeling that this film will give me a deeper understanding of not only my son’s perspective on society but the ever-present need for awareness and empathy.


WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION

Brian And CharlesU.K. (Director: Jim Archer, Screenwriters: David Earl, Chris Hayward, Producer: Rupert Majendie)  — A story of friendship, love, and letting go. And a 7ft tall robot that eats cabbages. A comedy shot in documentary format. Cast: David Earl, Chris Hayward, Louise Brealey, Jamie Michie, Lowri Izzard, Mari Izzard. World Premiere.

Prediction: Brian And Charles will be one of the most endearing films of the entire festival. This unlikely buddy comedy is sure to capture everyone’s heart.

 

Leonor Will Never DiePhilippines (Director and Screenwriter: Martika Ramirez Escobar, Producers: Monster Jimenez, Mario Cornejo)  — Fiction and reality blur when Leonor, a retired filmmaker, falls into a coma after a television lands on her head, compelling her to become the action hero of her unfinished screenplay. Cast: Sheila Francisco, Bong Cabrera, Rocky Salumbides, Anthony Falcon. World Premiere.

As a writer, I’m selfishly looking forward to this. There’s always a bit of myself in my fiction, and who wouldn’t want to become an action hero?


WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

Calendar GirlsSweden (Directors, Screenwriters, and Producers: Maria Loohufvud, Love Martinsen) — A coming-of-golden-age look at Florida’s most dedicated dance team for women over 60, shaking up the outdated image of “the little old lady,” and calling for everyone to dance their hearts out, while they still can. World Premiere.

Dancing since the age of three, this 41-year-old is looking for a few new role models.

 

Nothing Compares / Ireland, U.K. (Director: Kathryn Ferguson, Producers: Eleanor Emptage, Michael Mallie) — The story of Sinéad O’Connor’s phenomenal rise to worldwide fame and subsequent exile from the pop mainstream. Focusing on Sinéad’s prophetic words and deeds from 1987 to 1993, the film reflects on the legacy of this fearless trailblazer through a contemporary feminist lens. World Premiere.


NEXT

Something In The Dirt / U.S.A. (Directors: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead, Screenwriter: Justin Benson, Producers: David Lawson, Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson)  — When neighbors John and Levi witness supernatural events in their Los Angeles apartment building, they realize documenting the paranormal could inject some fame and fortune into their wasted lives. An ever-deeper, darker rabbit hole, their friendship frays as they uncover the dangers of the phenomena, the city, and each other. Cast: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead. World Premiere. Fiction.

Genre fans will recognize these household names for their spellbinding skills. I’ve yet to watch away from their films without chills or an audible “WTF.”

The Cathedral / Italy, U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Ricky D’Ambrose, Producer: Graham Swon) — An only child’s account of an American family’s rise and fall over two decades. Cast: Brian d’Arcy James, Monica Barbaro, Mark Zeisler, Geraldine Singer, William Bednar-Carter. North American Premiere. Fiction.


MIDNIGHT

Hatching / Finland (Director: Hanna Bergholm, Screenwriter: Ilja Rautsi, Producers: Mika Ritalahti, Nico Ritalahtit) — While desperately trying to please her demanding mother, a young gymnast discovers a strange egg. She tucks it away and keeps it warm, but when it hatches, what emerges shocks everyone. Cast: Jani Volanen, Siiri Solalinna, Sophia Heikkilä, Saija Lentonen, Reino Nordin, Oiva Ollila. World Premiere. Fiction.

 

PIGGY / Spain (Director and Screenwriter: Carlota Pereda, Producers: Merry Colomer, David Atlan-Jackson) — Sara deals with constant teasing from girls in her small town. But it comes to an end when a stranger kidnaps her tormentors. Sara knows more than she’s saying and must decide between speaking up and saving the girls or saying nothing to protect the strange man who spared her. Cast: Laura Galán. World Premiere. Fiction.

Speak No Evil / Denmark (Director and Screenwriter: Christian Tafdrup, Screenwriter: Mads Tafdrup, Producer: Jacob Jarek) — A Danish family visits a Dutch family they met on a holiday. What was supposed to be an idyllic weekend slowly starts unraveling as the Danes try to stay polite in the face of unpleasantness. Cast: Morten Burian, Sidsel Siem Koch, Fedja van Huêt, Karina Smulders, Liva Forsberg, Marius Damslev. World Premiere. Fiction.


KIDS

Maika / Vietnam (Director and Screenwriter: Ham Tran, Producers: Jenni Trang Le, Duy Ho, Anderson Le, Bao Nguyen) — After a meteor falls to earth, 8-year-old Hung meets an alien girl from the planet Maika, searching for her lost friend. As Hung helps her otherworldly friend search, the alien inadvertently helps Hung make new friends and heal a broken heart. But danger lurks everywhere… Cast: Phu Truong, Diep Anh Tru, Tin Tin, Ngoc Tuong, Kim Nha. World Premiere. Fiction.


INDIE EPISODIC PROGRAM

The Dark Heart / Sweden (Director: Gustav Möller, Screenwriter: Oskar Söderlund, Producers: Anna Carlsten, Caroline Landerberg) — Sweden: in a mythological landscape, search parties roam through forests of spruce, secret conversations are whispered in open fields, and verbal duels fought on narrow country roads. A story of family feuds, inheritances, and forbidden love. Cast: Aliette Opheim, Clara Christiansson Drake, Gustav Lindh, Peter Andersson. World Premiere. Fiction. 

Sweden’s true crime game is above and beyond. The US had already remade series like The Killing and The Bridge. Sundance 2022 audiences can dive headfirst into The Dark Heart. The series is a five-part psychological drama-thriller about how an old family feud clashes with a young, forbidden love story, leading to a tragedy with a deadly outcome, ultimately solved by a private investigator who gets obsessed with the case. The story is based on journalist Joakim Palmkvist’s book “The Dark Heart: A True Story of Greed, Murder, and an Unlikely Investigator”, which delves into the story about how a mysterious missing person’s case is investigated and solved by a local Missing People-volunteer involved in the searches.


INTERNATIONAL LIVE ACTION SHORT FILMS

Warsha / France/Lebanon (Director and Screenwriter: Dania Bdeir, Producer: Coralie Dias) — A Syrian migrant working as a crane operator in Beirut volunteers to cover a shift on one of the most dangerous cranes, where he is able to find his freedom. Cast: Khansa. World Premiere.

Once in a blue moon, a short film takes your breath away and Warsha might be that film in 2022.


U.S LIVE ACTION SHORT FILMS

Huella / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Gabriela Ortega, Producers: Helena Sardinha, Rafael Thomaseto) — When the death of her grandmother unleashes a generational curse, a disenchanted flamenco dancer resigned to a desk job is forced to experience the five stages of grief through a visit from her female ancestors. Cast: Shakira Barrera, Denise Blasor, Carla Valentine. 


U.S. NONFICTION SHORT FILMS

Long Line of Ladies / United States (Directors: Rayka Zehtabchi, Shaandiin Tome, Producers: Garrett Schiff, Pimm Tripp-Allen, Rayka Zehtabchi, Sam Davis, Dana Kurth) — A girl and her community prepare for her Ihuk, the once-dormant coming of age ceremony of the Karuk and Yurok tribes of Northern California. World Premiere. DAY ONE


For Sundance 2022 full line-up, tickets, and more click here!


 

Review: ‘SHATTERED’ mixes ‘Fatal Attraction’ and ‘Misery’ into a thriller for the tech era.

SHATTERED

In the tradition of Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct comes this dazzling action-thriller starring Academy Award® nominee John Malkovich (RED) and Frank Grillo (Avengers: Endgame). After lonely tech millionaire Chris (Cameron Monaghan, “Shameless”) encounters charming, sexy Sky (Lilly Krug), passion grows between them – and when he’s injured, she quickly steps in as his nurse. But Sky’s odd behavior makes Chris suspect that she has more sinister intentions, especially when Sky’s roommate is found dead from mysterious causes.


Tale as old as time: Boy is lonely, boy meets girl, girl is bad for him. At first, that’s hot. Later, it’s not. Michael Douglass and Glenn Close taught us these dance moves in 1987’s Fatal Attraction. Prieto’s Shattered takes this formula, adds a helping of 1990’s Misery (James Cann plays an injured writer, and Kathy Bates is the nurse who happens to be an obsessed fan. Great movie – don’t watch if you’re squeamish about ankle torture) and gives it all a glossy high-tech setting.

Chris Decker (Shameless’ Cameron Monaghan) is our lonely boy this time around. Chris created and sold a high-tech security app while he was at MIT. Now’s he’s flush with cash, but he’s also peaked too early. That’s how he finds himself divorced, bored, and lonely in his massive Montana home. His only solace seems to be an impressive wine collection. During a late-night bottle run, he meets the mysterious and sexy Sky (Lilly Krug). She looks like trouble, but she needs a ride home, and she likes his taste in wine. What’s a guy to do?

Things get hot and heavy fast and then go wrong even faster. As in, deliriously bonkers fast. This movie is not interested in slow-burning anything – it turns the gas all the way up. Sky, of course, is not who she claims to be, and Chris finds himself in grave danger. Some films would tease this uncertainty out over many scenes, but Shattered stamps down on the gas pedal. This film burns through the plot faster than it can produce it. There’s probably another version of this film where Chris uses his own security app to slowly turn the tables on Sky – a nuanced vision of cat and mouse for the App generation. I would have also loved exploring more of the film’s snowy Montana setting.

But that film probably would have been a whole lot less visceral fun! Lilly Krug struggles a bit with the good-girl half of the film, but gamely brings Sky’s more psychopathic tendencies to life. Decker is dealt a tough hand here, his character reserved and introverted when he’s not being actively tortured. There are hints of past trauma and obsessive paranoia that I wish the film had spent more time drawing out. John Malkovich, playing a greedy landlord dressed exclusively in pastel ski jackets, chews scenery like he just finished a hunger strike.

Coming in at a tight 92 minutes, the pacing and pleasures of Shattered are more than enough to make up for any glitches in its application. You’ll double-check your password security after watching this one.


CHECK OUT THE RED BAND TRAILER: 

Lionsgate will release the thriller film SHATTERED in Select Theaters and On Demand on January 14th! Available on Blu-ray and DVD on February 22nd!

SHATTERED stars an ensemble cast of Academy Award® nominee John Malkovich (RED), Cameron Monaghan (Shameless), Frank Grillo (Avengers: Endgame)Sasha Luss (Anna), and Lilly Krug (Every Breath You Take). The film is directed by Luis Prieto (Kidnap) and was written by David Loughery (Fatale).


 

Review: ‘IDA RED’ – a family crime drama where performances rule all.

Crime boss Ida “Red” Walker (Oscar® winner Melissa Leo*) turns to her son, Wyatt (Josh Hartnett), to pull off one last heist to get out of prison. But with the FBI closing in, Wyatt must choose between family and freedom in this high-octane thriller.


IDA RED opens up with honest to goodness tense action. Come to find out, half of it is a whole lot of bait and switch. The script has plenty of surprising revelations. It is undeniably engaging, from the shocking violence to the keen character building.

Frank Grillo, as Dallas Walker, is as epic and as he is evil, with an IDGAF aura. It’s one hell of a performance. Melissa Leo is Ida. Her uncanny ability to own the screen with nothing but a look gets me every time. This crime family matriarch rules from prison with an iron fist and favoritism. And, damnit, the fact that it’s a woman makes my heart skip a beat. More of this, please.

Sofia Hublitz, who is fantastic on Ozark, plays Darla Walker. She’s the youngest troublemaker of this family unit. Hublitz walks the perfect line between innocence and passionate anger. Josh Hartnett, as Wyatt Walker, is the unwaveringly loyal son. Hartnett’s multiple-year hiatus from the big screen was noticed, especially by those of us who grew up alongside him in movies like The Faculty, Pearl Harbor, and Sin City. Whenever I do see him nowadays, I am reminded immediately of his immense talent. He’s got a coolness to him that you can’t teach. As Wyatt, his familial devotion is palpable, to a fault. IDA RED allows him to play the full spectrum of emotions. 

The soundtrack boasts some of the coolest (and strangest) choices. I was obsessed. IDA RED could have been a limited series. As it stands, it’s a solidly done family crime drama, possessing fully fleshed-out, massively flawed characters with incredible actors breathing life into them. I recommend a watch.


Watch the trailer:

Saban Films will release the action/crime/thriller IDA RED in Theaters, On Digital, and On Demand on November 5, 2021.


IDA RED is written and directed by John Swab (Body Brokers, Let Me Make You a Martyr) and stars Josh Hartnett (Wrath of Man, “Penny Dreadful”), Sofia Hublitz (“Ozark”), William Forsythe (The Devil’s Rejects, Raising Arizona), Deborah Ann Woll (“True Blood”), Frank Grillo (Boss Level, The Purge franchise), and Academy Award winning actress Melissa Leo (The Fighter, Prisoners, Frozen River).


 

Review: ‘Alice is Still Dead’ Grapples with the Limits of Justice

In an intimate and unflinching account dealing with grief, ‘Alice is Still Dead’ tells the story of a murdered loved one from the victim’s family perspective. From the detective’s notification to her family to facing the killer in court, we see the pain, anger, and heartbreak a family must endure while the nightmare is investigated.


In most true crime stories, the mystery of “what really happened” carries the narrative. Viewers are invited to reconstruct timelines and decipher motives, then try and solve the crime simultaneously with the professional investigators. Alice is Still Dead turns that formula on its head. For instance, what if there is a brutal murder, but the facts– while devastating– are relatively straightforward? What if the central protagonist is tragically incidental to the killer’s motive? What if the police and justice system function exactly as society intends them to do? This film illustrates that even without the standard narrative hooks of true crime, a shocking senseless death is still a story. There is still a family that must find a way to carry on despite their grief and try to find contentment with the limits of justice.  

 This documentary is a fascinating portrait of a family grappling with the shock and aftermath of the death of Alice Stevens, a young woman murdered in Thunderbolt, Georgia, in 2013. Through touching interviews with those that knew Alice best, Director Edwin P. Stevens (Alice’s older brother) tells the story of a murder from the perspective of the victim’s family. In this tribute, the filmmaker ultimately asks how and if it’s possible to move forward after such a traumatic event.

 Important viewing for true crime fans, this film explores angles that many projects in the genre leave unaddressed.


Alice is Still Dead will be available on Digital and VOD globally beginning November 5 from Global Digital Releasing.


Written by Meredith Mantik, Joe Raffa, and Edwin P. Stevens. Produced by Cory Pyke, Joe Raffa, and Edwin P. Stevens. Executive Produced by Edwin and Cecilia Stevens.


 

Blood In The Snow Film Festival (2021) capsule review: ‘Don’t Say Its Name’- Females leads, folklore, and fear. Oh, My!

DON’T SAY ITS NAME

The quiet of a snowy Indigenous community is upended by the arrival of the mining company WEC who have signed an agreement to drill the land. But before drilling starts, WEC employees begin to turn up dead, attacked by a mysterious force. As a local peace officer and a park ranger investigate, they come face to face with the vengeful spirits that have haunted the land for generations.


BITS 2021 audiences got an eyeful this weekend with indigenous tradition and terror. This complex story of activism and horror hits on more levels than you expect. Don’t Say Its Name utilizes local talent to cement its authenticity. Violet spirits collide with capitalism on a reservation attempting to maintain its soul. A mining company is corrupting the land. Both nature and the community will not have it. 

Two kickass female leads in one film? Thank you. The cast generally consists of more women, and I am not complaining. It’s inspiring to watch these actresses communicate with each other. Leads, Sera-Lys McArthur and Madison Walsh will make you stand up and yell, “F@ck Yeah!” Of course, we cannot forget the horror element that provides genuine jump scares and grounded storytelling. For gore fans, there is plenty of blood from the very beginning. The practical FX are classic. The terror factor alongside cultural erasure makes Don’t Say Its Name a fascinating watch. Add it to the growing list of great Canadian horror. 

Don’t Say Its Name is opening on VOD/Digital on November 16

Blood in the Snow Film Festival 2021 is taking place on Super Channel Oct 29 to 31st and at the Royal Cinema Nov 18 to 23rd, 2021


Review: ‘South of Heaven’ showcases Jason Sudeikis in a new way.

SOUTH OF HEAVEN

SYNOPSIS: After serving twelve years for armed robbery, Jimmy gets an early parole. Upon his release from prison he vows to give Annie, his childhood love, now dying from cancer, the best year of her life. The best last year of her life. If only life were that simple.


South Of Heaven is a film that takes many unexpected turns from drama to crime thriller. Newly released from prison, Jimmy makes good on a promise to long time girlfriend, Annie. He wants to marry her before she passes from cancer, live a clean life, and then figure it out from there. Obstacles get in his way at every turn. South Of Heaven proves the old saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Frankly, that’s only half of it.

Mike Colter, known to me as the glorious Luke Cage, is as commanding as ever. He plays Whit Price with an even amount of villain and softness. Evangeline Lilly plays Annie with a grace and ease that is beautiful to watch. She’s got a sass that slowly reveals itself. She’s truly wonderful. The chemistry between Lilly and Sudeikis is overflowing with genuine adoration.

Jason Sudeikis‘s work in Tumbledown led me to realize the extent of his talent. I’d been so used to seeing him make me laugh on SNL that I never expected for him to make me cry in such a drastically different role. As Jimmy Ray, his earnest and quiet charm reel you in and make you feel incredibly comfortable. What we learn along the way is what a badass he is. Not in a showy, John Wick kind of way, but as a man desperate to keep a lifelong, and literal, blood oath to Annie. It’s a surprising performance.

The film, as a whole, is uneven. Part of me believes this would fair far better in series form. The beginning is a slow-burn relationship story. The upside of that is our genuine investment in the love between Jimmy and Annie. When the crime element appears, you think you know where this is going. Suddenly, we are thrown an extreme curveball halfway through. The final 30 minutes is another entirely new act. It’s a darkness I did not see coming. If you can get comfortable being uncomfortable, South Of Heaven will be right up your alley.


RLJE Films will release SOUTH OF HEAVEN in theaters and on VOD and Digital on Oct. 8, 2021.


Directed by Aharon Keshales (Big Bad Wolves), he co-wrote the film with Kai Mark and Navot Papushado (Gunpowder Milkshake). The film stars Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso,” Colossal”), Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man, Avengers: Endgame), Mike Colter (Extinction, Girls Trip), and Shea Whigham (Joker, F9).