BUFF23 review: ‘MISTER ORGAN’ is a terrifying and infuriating story of a con man.

MISTER ORGAN

Journalist David Farrier takes audiences on a baffling five-year story that began as a car park scam that swiftly became the investigation into the chase of a professional con man. Michael Organ is a master manipulator, a gaslighter, a world twister, and a terrifying person. He can spot a victim in an instant. He is an evil parasite.

Farrier is fearless. He faces the monster head-on by inviting Michael to participate in the investigation under the guise of a documentary. Feigning dumb, Farrier allows Organ to blow smoke, knowing full well that every word is a lie. Weaving in interviews with a barrage of former roommates and targets in between, most of whom are terrified to show their faces in fear of retaliation. We see a picture of a devious man doing as he pleases to intimidate everyone.

Organ’s favorite thing is to hear the sound of his voice. He is a sociopath. He reminds me of Trump. Farrier’s ability to sit in on the long conversations astounds me. We feel his palpable exhaustion, confusion, and frustration. Digging into Organ’s family, Farrier hits a wall. No one wants to talk. Will this con artist ever see real consequences? David Farrier sums the experience up for the audience. “Michael Organ is a black hole, and I’ve fallen in.” BUFF23 audiences are not ready for the madness.


BOSTON UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL 2023

BUFF 2023 review: ‘THE UNHEARD’ takes sensory overload to the extreme.

THE UNHEARD

Jeffrey A Brown  (The Beach House) brings B7FF 2023 audiences THE UNHEARD. The film follows Chloe, a young deaf woman who undergoes an experimental treatment to restore her hearing. While recuperating at her family’s beach house, auditory hallucinations and family secrets haunt her. Writers Michael and Shawn Rasmussen explore the impact of sound in everyday life through a series of heartache and small-town mystery.

Disability recognition and accessibility weren’t something I gave too much energy to until my son was diagnosed with ASD. I’ve found myself an advocate these past seven years, bringing attention to neurodiversity and education. THE UNHEARD gives audiences a taste of living with a disability in a straightforward and equally creative way. The Rasmussens understood the assignment and heightened the issue with a supernatural thriller.

Brendan Meyer (The Friendship Game) plays Joshua with a gentle approach. He deserves more screen time. Lachlan Watson (Only The Good Survive) is sensational. They handle the physical and emotional weight like a pro, weaving in and out of pain, fear, and curiosity at any moment.

The Unheard has meticulous sound editing. The silence places us into the mindset of Chloe. It is jarring at first but draws your attention to everything minute detail. You find yourself more cognisant of every noise. THE UNHEARD boasts clever cinematography, subconsciously building a claustrophobic environment with tight shots and the alarmingly quiet Cape Cod off-season location. It’s a slow-burn mystery that puts you through the wringer. BUFF 2023 audiences got an all-sensory experience, and Shudder subscribers are in for something unnerving.

THE UNHEARD streams on SHUDDER on March 31st.


BOSTON UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL 2023

SXSW 2023 short film reviews: ‘ENDLESS SEA’ & ‘FUNNY FACE’ are two stories of humanity and compassion.

ENDLESS SEA




 Follows Carol, an elderly woman on Medicare in New York City, as she struggles through the US healthcare system, a reality faced by millions of Americans who find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place.


Carol navigates the healthcare system after finding that her heart medication has quadrupled in price. Doing all she can to pay for her pills, she hustles through Valentine’s Day, calling in favors, delivering flowers for tips, and waiting on hold with Medicare customer service. ENDLESS SEA culminates in a choice between life and death. Brenda Cullerton plays Carol brilliantly. She breaks your heart with unfiltered vulnerability and desperation.

Did you know we are the only country that advertises drugs? Profit over people, I guess. I lived in India in 2008 and had a health scare. I walked into a top hospital, saw the head of the ER, a specialist, got a biopsy, a mammogram, and results on a scanned card and printed in a folder I got to take from appointment to appointment, all for $73. The American healthcare system is broken. ENDLESS SEA illustrates the chaos of remaining healthy or merely staying alive in this country. In a short amount of time, this film packs a punch. It’s a must-see.


Film Screenings

 
Mar 15, 2023
6:30pm8:12pm
 

Credits

Director:

Sam Shainberg

Executive Producer:

Henry S., Alex O Eaton, Sam Shainberg, Catherine Shainberg

Producer:

Rachel Walden

Screenwriter:

Sam Shainberg

Cinematographer:

J. Daniel Zuniga

Editor:

Luca Balser

Production Designer:

Charlie Robinson

Sound Designer:

Eric Brown

Principal Cast:

Brenda Cullerton, Jacque Sebag , Iskandar Dridi, Johnny Zito, Vilma Ortiz Donovann, Nora Delighter, Alexandra Templar , Basil Constable, Anne Zuk , Muhammad Gueye

Additional Credits:

Casting Director: Eleonore Hendricks, 1st AC: Carlos Amador Wong, Gaffers: Adam Kim, Vuk Lungulovk, Wardrobe: Emily Costantino, Sound Mixer: Boris Krichevsky, Art Directors: Holly Mcclintock, Key Grips: Jordan Tetewsy, Eli Freireich


Live-action FUNNY FACE




An autobiographical dramedy that retells Harris’ experience directly following her facial feminization surgery with the support of her brother and girlfriend, played by their real-life counterparts.


From the filmmakers of GAY HAIRCUT, SXSW 2023 short film FUNNY FACE brings audiences a conversation starter. The plot revolves around the hours following Sophie’s ten-hour face feminization surgery. It’s a family affair with her girlfriend and her brother from out of town, who are also meeting for the first time. Both take on the in-home care nurse who’s too wrapped up in her drama to do her job or be a human being. Funny Face is about respect and sacrifice, identity and love. The script is grounded in emotional honesty. It allows space for discussion while remaining lighthearted. Writer-director Jude Hope Harris retells her very personal story with her real-life family in the starring roles. Amusing, thought-provoking, and brave. FUNNY FACE is one to see.


Film Screenings

Credits

Director:

Jude Hope Harris

Producer:

Genevieve Jones, Nick Vitale

Screenwriter:

Krista Fatka, Jude Hope Harris

Cinematographer:

Ingrid Sanchez

Editor:

Aviva Siegel

Music:

Charlie Harrison

Principal Cast:

Charlie Harrison, Krista Fatka, Sharon Zhang, Marieve Herington, Jude Hope Harris

Additional Credits:

Special Effects Makeup Artist: Kyrsta Morehouse

SXSW 2023 documentary review: ‘ANOTHER BODY’ is a new nightmare for women everywhere.

ANOTHER BODY

*This review also appears on AWFJ.org

Women have always felt unsafe. It is ingrained in our nature to fear, to look over our shoulders, and to carry our keys between our fingers late at night. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, enter the newest AI nightmare into the conversation. Anyone can go online and copy and paste your photo to create a duplicate or entirely new profile on social media. As if things weren’t bad enough, catfishing gets a superpower with the introduction of deep faking. SXSW 2023 documentary ANOTHER BODY from directors Sophie Compton and Reuben Hamlyn follows the story of a young woman named whose life is upended by one spiteful person with an agenda.

Meet Taylor, an engineering grad student living her quiet life attending classes and living a quiet goal-oriented life with her boyfriend. After receiving what she thought to be spam messages from her classmates, Taylor finds her image stolen, her name tarnished, and harassed by strange men who now know where she goes to school and where she lives. She discovers her face has on someone else’s body in videos on an adult website. Her image and name have an entire account, and new videos keep appearing. ANOTHER BODY is a film about consent on numerous levels and the battle against gender-based violence.

The film mixes sit-down interviews with Taylor, cell phone footage from her investigative journey, and animated recreations of her emotional processing. That is not the most impressive visual aspect of the film. “Taylor” is not what she appears to be. Let me explain this statement. The face projected to the audience is an actress whose face has been deepfaked onto our storyteller. The reveal comes as a complete surprise but perfectly encapsulates the danger of this technology. You will find yourself overanalyzing her movements on screen and realizing how vulnerable our identities are. It is nothing short of fascinating work.

When Taylor reaches out to the police, it is clear that they are out of their element. There are no clear laws about a technology that is rapidly changing. Then the inevitable victim-blaming begins both from law enforcement and friends and family. Taylor takes it upon herself to discover the identity of the culprit. Becoming a DIY detective, she narrows it down to three likely suspects. The mystery deepens as her online sleuthing and fight for justice play out in real time. Taylor finds that other women in her circle are also victims. As they compare notes, one name stands out from the rest. It is undeniably compelling to witness her take action. ANOTHER BODY is an infuriating and invigorating watch. It will resonate with true crime audiences and victims of gender-based violence. When body autonomy becomes threatened, you must become your own warrior.


SCREENINGS:
 
Mar 11, 2023
12:15pm1:35pm
 
Mar 14, 2023
5:00pm6:20pm
 
Mar 16, 2023
9:15pm10:35pm
Directors:

Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn

Executive Producer:

Jenny Raskin, Lauren Haber, Geralyn Dreyfous, Maiken Baird, Gloria Zhu & Stanley Tang – Bearcat Content, Ruth Ann & Bill Harnisch – The Harnisch Foundation, Inmaat Productions, Mason Orfalea & The Natalie Orfalea Foundation, Ann Lewnes, Meadow Fund, Lisa & Matthew Sonsini, Chris & Heidi Stolte

Producer:

Elizabeth Woodward, Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn

Screenwriter:

Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn, Isabel Freeman

Cinematographer:

Nausheen Dadabhoy

Editor:

Isabel Freeman, Rabab Haj Yahya

Sound Designer:

Gisela Fullà-Silvestre

Music:

Holland Andrews

Additional Credits:

Co-Executive Producers: Nina & David Fialkow, Meryl Metni – Ubiquitous EG, Kelsey Koenig, Co-Producer: Avery McCann, Post Production Supervisor & Associate Editor: Claudia Tanney, Animation Studio: Cream Projects, Motion Graphics: Spencer Haley, Studio Macuna, Deepfake Artist: Fernando Sánchez Liste, Consulting Producer: Scott Macauley, Consulting Editor: Karen K.H. Sim

SXSW 2023 review: ‘ONLY THE GOOD SURVIVE’ is a witty, dizzying delight.

ONLY THE GOOD SURVIVE

Dutch Southern gives SXSW 2023 audiences wacky whodunit in ONLY THE GOOD SURVIVE. Hauled into the local sheriff’s office, Brea finds herself at the center of wacky murder and mayhem. Can she talk her way out of the trouble she has placed herself in, all for the sake of love?

Lachlan Watson, who I loved in Sabrina, has a small but integral small part in the film and sings on the soundtrack. Watson silently enchants the audience with a glowing aura. It was a lovely surprise. Darius Fraser is Dev. He brings a genuine beatnik Elvis vibe to his performance. It is unforgettable. Will Ropp plays Erve with big ideas and a scheming slant to his physicality. There is no denying his likeness to Dave Franco, and audiences will not complain about his quirky charm. D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai is Ry. He has this dumb jock and lovable quality about him. He is a solid foil for his heist counterparts. Sidney Flanigan plays Brea. She is an unexpected heroine for many reasons. Flanigan hits every note with precision, and Southern’s script allows her to explore a variety of highs and lows.

Swirling theories from Cole Mack‘s Sheriff create alternative storylines, each with slight visual differences. Dax Norman‘s animation, a cross between a comic book and diary entries, is delicious eye candy. Dutch Southern forces the audience to sit up straight and pay attention every minute of the 93-minute run. The script is so twisty, amusing, and downright dizzying. It is like watching a real-life cartoon heist. In the same right, it is a challenge to discuss the film without spoiling the fun. ONLY THE GOOD SURVIVE is a film that should not work at all and yet works perfectly. It deserves a second, third, and fourth watch to catch the clues and minute changes along the way. It is the perfect match for SXSW audiences.


Mar 10, 2023
6:00pm7:32pm
 
Mar 10, 2023
6:30pm8:02pm
 
Mar 12, 2023
9:15pm10:47pm
 
Mar 14, 2023
12:30pm2:02pm
 

Director:

Dutch Southern

Executive Producer:

Maureen Taylor, Renn Vara, Brian Udovich

Producer:

Thomas Mahoney, Justin X Duprie

Screenwriter:

Dutch Southern

Cinematographer:

Lucia Zavarcikova

Editor:

Alexandrea Hank, Mengyao Mia Zhang

Sound Designer:

Kevin Senzaki

Music:

Russ Howard III

Principal Cast:

Sidney Flanigan, Frederick Weller, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Will Ropp, Darius Fraser, Lachlan Watson, Jon Gries

Additional Credits:

Songs by: Petite League, Costume Designer: Michelle Lynette Bush, Animation by: Dax Norman, Cool Graphix by: Gimetzco, Co-Executive Producer: Sam Vara, Co-Producer: Alex Vara, Co-Producer: Glenn Abbott

SXSW 2023: Horror and Sci-fi and Docs, Oh My! A curtain raiser for the masses.

SWSX 2023 has something for everyone, from franchise horror expansion to the hotly anticipated premiere of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. But we’re here to share some of the films on our radar this year.

 

Click here for tickets and all things SXSW 2023


Pure O
Director/Screenwriter: Dillon Tucker, Producers: Ricky Fosheim, Dillon Tucker, Ray Lee
A young screenwriter/musician grapples with Pure O, a lesser-known form of OCD while juggling his recent engagement and his day job at a high-end Malibu drug rehab. Inspired by the filmmaker’s own personal true story.

Cast List: Daniel Dorr, Hope Lauren, Landry Bender, Jeff Baker, Candice Renee, Breon Gorman, Tim Landfield, Isaac Nippert, Devon Martinez, Clint James (World Premiere)

Speaking as someone existing in a neurodivergent family unit, this one will hit hard for anyone battling invisible disabilities.


Raging Grace (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Paris Zarcilla, Producer: Chi Thai
A bold coming-of-rage story where Joy, a Filipino immigrant, and her daughter Grace encounter a darkness that threatens all they have worked for.

Cast List: Maxine Eigenman, Leanne Best, David Hayman (World Premiere)

Femme-centric horror from Paris Zarcilla explores assimilation, trauma, and horror.


Another Body
Directors: Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn, Producers: Elizabeth Woodward, Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn, Screenwriters: Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn, Isabel Freeman
Another Body follows a college student after she discovers deepfakes of herself circulating online. (World Premiere)

As if women didn’t have enough to fear, AI porn enters the arena. This mind-bending and infuriating doc shocks over and over.


Geoff McFetridge: Drawing a Life – 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

Geoff McFetridge: Drawing a Life
Director/Producer: Dan Covert, Screenwriters: Erik Auli, Dan Covert, Amy Dempsey, Tara Rose Stromberg
What defines a life? The iconic work of artist Geoff McFetridge is everywhere. But this film is more than a primer on his career—it’s about the choices we confront in trying to lead meaningful lives, and how we use our most precious resource: time. (World Premiere)

Hold on, I know that art! This charming and insightful doc will introduce you to Geoff McFetridge, an artist we all know, but don’t know we know. Ya know?


Deadland – 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

Deadland
Director: Lance Larson, Producers: Elizabeth Avellan, Bob Bastarache, Jas Shelton, Lance Larson, Tara Pirnia, Chris Wilks, Screenwriters: Lance Larson, Jas Shelton
A U.S. Border Patrol Agent tries to apprehend the ghost of his father, a grave decision that will haunt him forever.

Cast List: Roberto Urbina, McCaul Lombardi, Julieth Restrepo, Kendal Rae, Luis Chavez, Julio Cesar Cedillo, Manuel Uriza, Chris Mulkey (World Premiere)

Get ready for chills and politics to collide. You’re not ready.


Hail Mary - 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

Hail Mary
Director: Rosemary Rodriguez, Producer: Karina Miller, Screenwriter: Knate Lee
A young Belizean girl, Maria, finds herself mysteriously pregnant and trying to cross the US/MEX border while outrunning a deadly virus, the Cartels, Border Patrol, and the right-hand man of the Devil. This genre-bending retelling of the Mary and Joseph story begs the question – who are the real monsters? Cast: Natalia del Riego, Benny Emmanuel, and Jack Huston with Angela Sarafyan (World Premiere)

As a former Catholic school kid and a lover of genre-defying fare, Hail Mary is 100% on my list. The meer idea that this will work brings my eyeballs to the screen.


Only The Good Survive - 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

Only The Good Survive
Director/Screenwriter: Dutch Southern, Producers: Thomas Mahoney, Justin X Duprie
While unwittingly doing crimes in Texas, Brea Dunlee stumbles upon a QAnon-like cabal that preys on the poor and the powerless. Through a series of interrogations led by a gaslighting sheriff named Cole Mack, we discover not everything is as it seems.

Cast: Sidney Flanigan, Frederick Weller, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Will Ropp, Darius Fraser, Lachlan Watson, Jon Gries, Patrick Grover (World Premiere)

Quirky, colorful, and confusing, this ping-pong, time-hopping delight is pure delightful mayhem.


Peak Season - 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

Peak Season
Directors: Henry Loevner, Steven Kanter, Producers: Lovell Holder, Patrick Ward, Henry Loevner, Steven Kanter, Screenwriter: Henry Loevner
An emotionally adrift young woman forges an unexpected friendship with a wilderness guide when she and her fiancé take a summer trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Cast: Claudia Restrepo, Derrick DeBlasis, Ben Coleman, Fred Melamed, Stephanie Courtney, Will Neff, Caroline Kwan, Ron Hanks, Gadiel Del Orbe, Natasha Dewhurst (World Premiere)

Look out for this authentic, easy breezy dramedy that is like an emotional warm hug.


Art For Everybody - 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

Art for Everybody
Director: Miranda Yousef, Producers: Morgan Neville, Tim Rummel
Thomas Kinkade’s pastoral landscapes made him the most collected and despised painter of all time. After his shocking death, his family discovers a vault of unseen paintings that reveal a complex artist whose life and work embody our divided America. (World Premiere)

You could not escape his art in the late 90s. His “lit from the inside” painting of countryside cottages and mass marketable art held America captive. I almost bought one in a mall gallery at 20 years old. They were that enchanting. 


Satan Wants You - 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

Satan Wants You
Directors/Screenwriters: Sean Horlor, Steve J. Adams, Producers: Michael Grand, Melissa James
The shocking story of how a young woman and her psychiatrist ignited the global Satanic Panic with their bestselling memoir Michelle Remembers. (World Premiere)

One book twisted the narrative of a nation. It would start an avalanche of conspiracy theories that continues to run rampant in crazy circles today.


Who I Am Not – 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

Who I Am Not (Romania, Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Tünde Skovrán, Producers: Andrei Zinca
There is male, there is female, and then there is i. Born male and female within one single body, a beauty queen and a male-presenting activist break the intersex taboo through a personal and intimate exploration of truth, faith, and belonging. (North American Premiere)

Timely and important. That’s all you need to know.


Brooklyn 45 – 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

Brooklyn 45
Director/Screenwriter: Ted Geoghegan, Producers: Seth Caplan, Michael Paszt, Pasha Patriki, Sarah Sharp
In the months following World War II, five old military friends are talked into an impromptu séance, which brings to troubling light each of their haunted pasts.

Cast List: Anne Ramsay, Ron E. Rains, Jeremy Holm, Larry Fessenden, Ezra Buzzington, Kristina Klebe (World Premiere)

Just because I know Ted Geoghegan to be one of the kindest and coolest gents in the biz doesn’t mean I have to mention his newest and perhaps most personal project yet. His work and the company he keeps (he is also producing Molli and Max screening at the fest this year), speak for themselves. I mean, how cool does this still look?! Shudder was smart enough to snap this up ages ago. 


Monolith – 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

Monolith (Australia)
Director: Matt Vesely, Producer: Bettina Hamilton, Screenwriter: Lucy Campbell
All you have to do is listen. A disgraced journalist turns to podcasting to try and rebuild her career – but her rush to generate headlines soon uncovers a strange artifact, an alien conspiracy, and the lies at the heart of her own story.

Cast List: Lily Sullivan (International Premiere)

The history of deceptive podcasting has changed the lives of suspects and the far right in recent years. This one deserves your full attention.


Talk To Me – 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

Talk To Me (Australia)
Directors: Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou, Producers: Samantha Jennings, Kristina Ceyton, Screenwriters: Danny Philippou, Bill Hinzman
Lonely teenager Mia gets hooked on the thrills of conjuring spirits through a ceramic hand, but when she is confronted by a soul claiming to be her dead mother, she unleashes a plague of supernatural forces.

Cast List: Sophie Wilde, Miranda Otto, Alexandra Jensen, Joe Bird, Otis Dhanji, Zoe Terakes, Chris Alosio (Texas Premiere)

We caught this one at Sundance and can report that it is franchise worthy. Do not miss it. Talk To Me


The Wrath of Becky – 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

The Wrath of Becky
Directors/Screenwriters: Matt Angel, Suzanne Coote, Producers: Raphael Margules, JD Lifshitz, Tracy Rosenblum, Russell Posternak, Chadd Harbold
After living off the grid for two years, Becky finds herself going toe to toe against Darryl, the leader of a fascist organization, on the eve of an organized attack.

Cast List: Lulu Wilson, Seann William Scott, Matt Angel, Courtney Gains, Aaron Dalla Villa, Michael Sirow, Denise Burse, Jill Larson, Kate Siegel (World Premiere)

Firstly, Lulu Wilson is a phenom in my book. A follow-up to the 2020 film BECKY, I cannot wait to see this girl kick ass and not give a shit about names. 


The Artifice Girl – 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official SelectionThe Artifice Girl – 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

The Artifice Girl
Director/Screenwriter: Franklin Ritch, Producers: Aaron B. Koontz, Ashleigh Snead
Three special agents develop a bold new computer program to catch online predators, but its rapid advancement poses unexpected challenges.

Cast: Tatum Matthews, Sinda Nichols, David Girard, Franklin Ritch, Lance Henriksen (U.S. Premiere)

We could not escape the buzz that this film has been generating on the festival scene. It’s about time we join the crowd.


Molli And Max In The Future - 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

Molli And Max In The Future
Director/Screenwriter: Michael Lukk Litwak, Producers: Candice Kuwahara, Ben J. Murphy, Mallory Schwartz, Kate Geller, Michael Lukk Litwak
Molli and Max In The Future is a Sci-Fi Romantic Comedy about a man and woman whose orbits repeatedly collide over the course of 12 years, 4 planets, 3 dimensions, and one space-cult.

Cast: Zosia Mamet, Aristotle Athari, Danny Burstein, Arturo Castro, Okieriete Onaodowan, Erin Darke, Grace Kuhlenschmidt, Michael Chernus, Aparna Nancherla, Matteo Lane (World Premiere)

After following the cast and crew of this film along the way, Molli and Max feels like a festival darling from the start.


With Love and a Major Organ – 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

With Love and a Major Organ
Director: Kim Albright, Producer: Madeleine Davis, Screenwriter: Julia Lederer
In an alternate world where hearts are made of objects and suppressing emotions is self-care, a lonely woman rips out her own heart for the man she loves, only to discover that he has run away with it.

Cast: Anna Maguire, Hamza Haq, Veena Sood, Donna Benedicto, Lynda Boyd, Arghavan Jenati, Enid-Raye Adams, Ryan Beil, Laara Sadiq (World Premiere)

The concept alone makes me want to run to the theater. 


My Drywall Cocoon – 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

My Drywall Cocoon
Director/Screenwriter: Caroline Fioratti, Producers: Rui Pires, André Montenegro
Virginia’s death during her 17th birthday shakes up a luxurious building complex. For most residents, it’s a passing tragedy. For her mother and her friends, it is the beginning of a transformation: the crack in their drywall cocoon.

Cast: Maria Luisa Mendonça, Bella Piero, Michel Joelsas, Mari Oliveira, Daniel Botelho, Caco Ciocler (World Premiere)

The only Brazillian film in the fest this year, this intricately written film will surprise again and again.


Is There Anybody Out There? (United Kingdom) – 2023 SXSW Film & TV

Is There Anybody Out There?
Director: Ella Glendining, Producer: Janine Marmot
Inhabiting a bizarrely unusual body (the body I love), and navigating daily discrimination, I search the world for another like me. Is there anybody out there? (Texas Premiere)

Check out our previous coverage of Ella Glendining’s unfiltered look at self-acceptance and judgment. It will live in my family’s heart forever.


The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster - 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

The Angry Black Girl and Her Monster
Director/Screenwriter: Bomani J. Story, Producers: Jack Davis, Darren Brandl, Bomani J. Story
Death is ever present in Vicaria’s world – violence, police brutality, substance abuse – and after watching her mother and brother succumb, she’s had enough. Vicaria is going to put an end to all this death… by bringing the dead back to life.

Cast: Laya DeLeon Hayes, Denzel Whitaker, Chad Coleman, Reilly Brooke Stith, Keith Sean Holliday, Amani Summer Boyles, Edem Atsu-Swanzy (World Premiere)

Writer-director Bomani J. Story takes on the complexities of survival and oppression with a femme-centric modern take on Frankenstein. Yes, please, and thank you.


SHORT FILMS

Fuck Me, Richard – 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

Fuck Me, Richard (Australia, U.S.)
Directors: Lucy McKendrick, Charlie Polinger, Screenwriter: Lucy McKendrick, Producers: Jenna Grossano, Lucy McKendrick, Charlie Polinger
Recovering from a broken leg, a romance-obsessed loner finds herself swept up in a passionate long-distance love affair. Richard is perfect in every way, except that he may be a scammer. (World Premiere)

As someone who “survived” a 5+ year long distance relationship, this one is a yes.


Dead Enders – 2023 SXSW Film & TV Festival Official Selection

Dead Enders
Directors: Fidel Ruiz-Healy, Tyler Walker, Screenwriters: Fidel Ruiz-Healy, Tyler Walker, Jordan Michael Blake, Conor Murphy, Producers: Raven Jensen, Amanda Crown, Gregory Barnes, Conor Murphy, Nico Alvo, Jordan Michael Blake, Eduardo Ruiz-Healy
A disaffected gas station clerk finds out why they call it the “graveyard shift” after oil drillers set loose an ancient race of mind-controlling parasites. (World Premiere)

Horror shorts for the win, ladies, and germs. Give me a new badass final girl every day of the week.


To find out more about SXSW 2023’s full lineup click here!

Review: ‘Swallowed’ is any LGBTQ person’s nightmare… and then some.

SWALLOWED

Cooper Koch and Jose Colon play best friends, Benjamin and Dom. In order to send Benjamin off to L.A. with some extra cash, Dom coordinates a drug mule operation that complicates everything. When the packages turn out to be something far more sinister, things get much darker than anyone imagined.

Swallowed is a genre-obliterating film with fantastic performances. Jena Malone adds gritty believability. To no one’s surprise, she manages to bring charm and intensity. Koch and Colon have spectacular chemistry, and you 100 percent buy their relationship. Koch possesses an accessible vulnerability. Colon’s honesty feels grounded. Bravo for their openness to go full frontal nude. We all know how rare that is, and it makes complete sense given the plot. The film also features a solid villainous turn from Mark Patton, a genre legend from A Nightmare on Elm Street 2. One line, in particular, is slyly redemptive given his status in the horror canon.

The camera work has visceral intimacy. Writer-director Carter Smith (The Ruins) gives audiences a unique genre entry, with the leads being LGBTQ male characters in scenarios we usually see female characters tackle. Swallowed is part crime thriller, part coming-of-age, and body horror. This film is an LGBTQ scenario of nightmares. Get ready to squirm.

 
The horror / thriller / LGTBQIA+ film, SWALLLOWED, will be released on digital and on demand February 14, 2023.

It stars Jena Malone (The Hunger Games Film Series, Cold Mountain, Stepmom), Mark Patton (A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddys Revenge, Freddy vs. Jason), Cooper Koch  (Fracture) and Jose Colon (Feature Acting Debut)
 
It was written and directed by Carter Smith (The Ruins).


Review: Drugs and double-crossing déjà vu ‘THE LAST DEAL’ slides by with solid performances.

THE LAST DEAL

A blackmarket cannabis dealer gets squeezed out of the business when marijuana becomes legal, and is forced to make one last deal with the people he should trust the least.


A strong fast-paced opening turns into a predictable script of double-crosses and drug debts. The score and transitional fade-outs feel generic and dated. Although, the handheld camerawork is a bright spot. I’ll give the script credit where credit is due, with one surprisingly violent scene halfway through.

An hour in, we briefly meet a round of new characters. One, in particular, provides a cringeworthy moment that is a complete waste of time. On the other hand, actress April Lang provides a tangible grounding for Vince as a character, but the glaring lack of a thick Boston accent matching her son made me roll my eyes. That’s not on Lang. Her performance is the most natural in the film, and I wanted to see her storyline more than anyone. Kenny Johnson also impressed me as Vince’s pilot Carter. That’s another story I’d like to explore.

Sala Baker plays The Boss with badass energy. He steals every second of attention when he appears onscreen. Mister Fitzgerald is Bobby. His confident demeanor makes him likable immediately. More of him everywhere. Anthony Molinari is strong enough as Vince to carry the film. His voiceover work sets a Narcos-level tone at the beginning and end of the film. Unfortunately, the script doesn’t keep up with his potential.


IN THEATERS NATIONWIDE FEB 3

ON DEMAND FEB 7

Directed by Jonathan Salemi, and also starring Anthony Molinari (Tenet), Mister Fitzgerald (“F.B.I.”), Jeffri Lauren (Inside & Out), Mike Ferguson (Ebola Rex), Conner Floyd (“The Young & The Restless”), and Gigi Gustin (The Retaliators), THE LAST DEAL is a Scatena & Rosner Films release.


DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: HONOR AMONG THIEVES TO OPEN SXSW 2023!

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST ANNOUNCES OPENING NIGHT FILM, COMPETITIONS, AND SELECT FILM & TV PROGRAM TITLESDUNGEONS & DRAGONS: HONOR AMONG THIEVES TO OPEN FEST



Austin, Texas, – South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference and Festivals (March 10-19, 2023) announced the Opening Night film, Feature and Short Competitions, Midnighters, select titles from other categories, and XR Experience for the 30th edition of the SXSW Film & TV Festival. The rest of the lineup will be announced in early February. SXSW Film & TV will open with Paramount Pictures and eOne’s Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, directed and co-written by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley. In the film a charming thief and a band of unlikely adventurers embark on an epic quest to retrieve a lost relic, but things go dangerously awry when they run afoul of the wrong people. The movie brings the rich world and playful spirit of the legendary roleplaying game to the big screen in a hilarious and action-packed adventure starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Chloe Coleman, Daisy Head, and Hugh Grant.

“We are thrilled to announce the first wave of our incredible lineup for SXSW 2023,” said Claudette Godfrey, VP Film & TV. “It’s an amazing collection of films, TV series and XR experiences that promise to inspire, entertain and challenge our audiences. We’re also proud to open with Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, a raucous and engaging fantasy adventure, and look forward to welcoming everyone to Austin in March for what promises to be an unforgettable event.”

SXSW draws thousands of fans, film and television creators, press, and industry leaders to immerse themselves in the smartest, most innovative and entertaining new films, TV and XR projects 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 2023 Film & TV Festival will be in-person only.

Feature films in the SXSW 2023 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; Festival Favorites, and Special Screenings. The TV program consists of TV Premieres, TV Spotlight, and the Independent TV Pilot Competition. The SXSW 2023 Shorts Film Program presented by IMDbPro will present seven competitive sections. XR Experience Competition, XR Spotlight and XR Special Events programming round out the Film & TV Festival program. All Categories with the exception of Special Screenings and TV Spotlight will be eligible for section-specific Audience Awards.

Global, Visions, 24 Beats, Festival Favorites and additional titles across all other sections will be announced in early February.


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.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Directors: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Producers: Jeremy Latcham, Brian Goldner, Nick Meyer, Screenwriters: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Michael Gilio
A charming thief and a band of unlikely adventurers undertake an epic heist to retrieve a lost relic, but things go dangerously awry when they run afoul of the wrong people. Cast List: Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, Chloe Coleman, Daisy Head and Hugh Grant (Opening Night World Premiere)

Evil Dead Rise
Director/Screenwriter: Lee Cronin, Producer: Rob Tapert
Evil Dead Rise tells a twisted tale of two estranged sisters, played by Sutherland and Sullivan, whose reunion is cut short by the rise of flesh-possessing demons, thrusting them into a primal battle for survival as they face the most nightmarish version of family imaginable. Executive Producers include Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. Cast List: Lily Sullivan, Alyssa Sutherland, Morgan Davies, Gabrielle Echols, Nell Fisher

Problemista
Director/Screenwriter: Julio Torres, Producers: Emma Stone, Dave McCary, Ali Herting
Alejandro (Torres) is an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador, struggling to bring his unusual ideas to life in New York City. As time on his work visa runs out, a job assisting an erratic art-world outcast (Swinton) becomes his only hope to stay in the country and realize his dream. From writer/director Julio Torres comes a surreal adventure through the equally treacherous worlds of New York City and the U.S. Immigration system. Cast List: Julio Torres, Tilda Swinton, RZA (World Premiere)

Flamin’ Hot
Director: Eva Longoria, Producer: DeVon Franklin, Screenwriters: Linda Yvette Chávez, Lewis Colick
Flamin’ Hot is the story of Richard Montañez, the Frito Lay janitor who channeled his Mexican American heritage and upbringing to turn Flamin’ Hot Cheetos into a snack that disrupted the food industry and became a global phenomenon. Cast List: Jesse Garcia, Annie Gonzalez, Dennis Haysbert, Emilio Rivera, Tony Shalhoub, Matt Walsh, Pepe Serna, Bobby Soto, Jimmy Gonzales, Brice Gonzalez (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.

I Used To Be Funny (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Ally Pankiw, Producers: James Weyman, Jason Aita, Breann Smordin
Sam, a stand-up comedian struggling with PTSD, weighs whether or not to join the search for Brooke, a missing teenage girl she used to nanny. Cast List: Rachel Sennott, Olga Petsa, Jason Jones, Sabrina Jalees, Caleb Hearon, Ennis Esmer, Dani Kind (World Premiere)

Late Bloomers
Director: Lisa Steen, Producers: Alexandra Barreto, Taylor Feltner, Sam Bisbee, Screenwriter: Anna Greenfield
An aimless 28-year-old Brooklynite lands in the hospital after drunkenly breaking her hip being stupid. An encounter with a cranky elderly Polish woman who speaks no English leads to a job caring for her. Neither likes it, but it’s time to grow up. Cast List: Karen Gillan, Margaret Sophie Stein, Jermaine Fowler, Kevin Nealon, Talia Balsam (World Premiere)

Mustache
Director/Screenwriter: Imran J. Khan, Producers: Christina Won, Jessica Sittig, Christopher Storer, Tyson Bidner
It’s the mid-90s and 13-year-old Pakistani-American Ilyas is forced out of his cushy Islamic private school and thrown into public school with non-Muslim kids, all while suffering daily through life with his inescapable pre-pubescent Mustache. Cast List: Atharva Verma, Rizwan Manji, Alicia Silverstone, Hasan Minhaj, Meesha Shafi, Ayana Manji (World Premiere)

Parachute
Director: Brittany Snow, Producers: Jordan Yale Levine, Jordan Beckerman, Brittany Snow, Lizzie Shapiro, Screenwriters: Brittany Snow, Becca Gleason
Riley is determined to recover from her addictions to food and body image when she soon falls for another addiction, Ethan. Cast List: Courtney Eaton, Thomas Mann, Francesca Reale, Gina Rodriguez, Joel McHale, Scott Mescudi, Dave Bautista, Jennifer Westfeldt, Kathryn Gallagher, Chrissie Fit, Kelley Jakle (World Premiere)

Pure O
Director/Screenwriter: Dillon Tucker, Producers: Ricky Fosheim, Dillon Tucker, Ray Lee
A young screenwriter/musician grapples with Pure O, a lesser-known form of OCD, while juggling his recent engagement and his day job at a high end Malibu drug rehab. Inspired by the filmmaker’s own personal true story. Cast List: Daniel Dorr, Hope Lauren, Landry Bender, Jeff Baker, Candice Renee, Breon Gorman, Tim Landfield, Isaac Nippert, Devon Martinez, Clint James (World Premiere)

Raging Grace (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Paris Zarcilla, Producer: Chi Thai
A bold coming-of-rage story where Joy, a Filipino immigrant, and her daughter Grace encounter a darkness that threatens all they have worked for. Cast List: Maxine Eigenman, Leanne Best, David Hayman (World Premiere)

Scrambled
Director/Screenwriter: Leah McKendrick, Producers: Gillian Bohrer, Jonathan Levine, Brett Haley, Amanda Mortimer
A broke, single millennial unleashes an existential shitstorm when she freezes her eggs. Cast List: Leah McKendrick, Ego Nwodim, Andrew Santino, Clancy Brown, Laura Ceron, Yvonne Strahovski, June Diane Raphael, Adam Rodriguez, Brett Dier, Sterling Sulieman (World Premiere)

Story Ave
Director: Aristotle Torres, Producers: Lizzie Shapiro, Datari Turner, Jamie Foxx, Aristotle Torres, Screenwriters: Bonsu Thompson, Aristotle Torres
After running away from home, a teenage graffiti artist holds up an unsuspecting MTA worker in a robbery gone right that changes their lives forever. Cast List: Asante Blackk, Luis Guzmán, Alex Hibbert, Melvin Gregg, Coral Peña, Cassandra Freeman, Hassan Johnson (World Premiere)




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

Angel Applicant
Director/Screenwriter: Ken August Meyer, Producers: Ken A. Meyer, Jason Roark
A sick man discovers empathetic wisdom on how to cope with his deadly autoimmune disease within the colorful expressive works of the late Swiss-German modern artist, Paul Klee. (World Premiere)

Another Body (United Kingdom, U.S.)
Directors: Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn, Producers: Elizabeth Woodward, Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn, Screenwriters: Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn, Isabel Freeman
Another Body follows a college student after she discovers deepfakes of herself circulating online. (World Premiere)

Geoff McFetridge: Drawing a Life
Director/Producer: Dan Covert, Screenwriters: Erik Auli, Dan Covert, Amy Dempsey, Tara Rose Stromberg
What defines a life? The iconic work of artist Geoff McFetridge is everywhere. But this film is more than a primer on his career—it’s about the choices we confront in trying to lead meaningful lives, and how we use our most precious resource: time. (World Premiere)

Join or Die
Directors/Producers/Screenwriters: Rebecca Davis, Pete Davis
A film about why you should join a club—and why the fate of America may depend on it. Follow the story of America’s civic unraveling through the work of Robert Putnam, whose legendary Bowling Alone findings light a path out of our democracy’s crisis. (World Premiere)

Pay Or Die
Directors: Rachael Dyer, Scott Ruderman, Producers: Rachael Dyer, Scott Ruderman, Yael Melamede
3 American families are on the receiving end of a ransom note. Their journeys reflect how lives are being threatened and taken by the soaring price of insulin, and reveal the harrowing reality of life with illness in the richest country in the world. (World Premiere)

Queendom (France, U.S.)
Director: Agniia Galdanova, Producers: Igor Myakotin, Agniia Galdanova
Gena, a queer artist from a small town in Russia, dresses in otherworldly costumes and protests the government on the streets of Moscow. She stages radical performances in public, which becomes a new form of art and activism – and puts her life in danger. (World Premiere)

Riders on the Storm (Austria)
Directors/Producers: Jason Motlagh, Mark Oltmanns
A young horseman battling to make his name and keep a family tradition alive in the ancient sport of buzkashi learns that fame is a gift and a curse as the Taliban take control of Afghanistan and threaten his life. (World Premiere)

You Were My First Boyfriend
Directors: Cecilia Aldarondo, Sarah Enid Hagey, Producer: Ines Hofmann Kanna
In this high school reunion movie turned inside out, filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo relives her tortured adolescence, wondering if she remembered it all wrong. (World Premiere)



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

Bloody Hell (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Molly McGlynn, Producers: Jennifer Weiss, Liane Cunje
A teenage girl gets diagnosed with a reproductive condition that upends her plans to have sex and propels her into exploring unusual methods to have a sex life, challenging her relationships with everyone in her life, but most importantly, herself. Cast List: Maddie Ziegler, Emily Hampshire, Djouliet Amara, Ki Griffin, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai (World Premiere)

Deadland
Director: Lance Larson, Producers: Elizabeth Avellan, Bob Bastarache, Jas Shelton, Lance Larson, Tara Pirnia, Chris Wilks, Screenwriters: Lance Larson, Jas Shelton
A U.S. Border Patrol Agent tries to apprehend the ghost of his father, a grave decision that will haunt him forever. Cast List: Roberto Urbina, McCaul Lombardi, Julieth Restrepo, Kendall Rae, Luis Chavez, Julio Cesar Cedillo, Manuel Uriza, Chris Mulkey (World Premiere)

Down Low
Director: Rightor Doyle, Producers: Ashley Fox, Lucas Wiesendanger, Ross Katz, Screenwriters: Phoebe Fisher, Lukas Gage
Down Low is an outrageous comedy about one wild night, a deeply repressed man, the twink who gives him a happy ending, and all the lives they ruin along the way. Cast List: Zachary Quinto, Lukas Gage, Simon Rex, Sebastian Arroyo, Christopher Reed Brown, Audra McDonald, Judith Light (World Premiere)

Frybread Face and Me
Director/Screenwriter: Billy Luther, Producer: Chad Burris
An 11-year-old city boy is sent to his grandmother’s ranch on the Navajo reservation against his will. He is introduced to a new way of life, and an unexpected guest teaches him the importance of family, tradition, and what it means to be a man. Cast List: Kier Tallman, Charly Hogan, Martin Seinsmeir, Kahara Hodges, Ryan Begay, Sarah Natani (World Premiere)

If You Were the Last
Director: Kristian Mercado, Producers: Andrew Miano, Dan Balgoyen, Britta Rowings, Dennis Masel, Gabrielle Nadig, Jessamine Burgum, Kara Durrett, Jon Levin, Sean Woods, Screenwriter: Angela Bourassa
Adrift in their broken-down space shuttle with little hope of rescue, a male and female astronaut argue over whether they’re better off spending their remaining days as friends or something more. Cast List: Anthony Mackie, Zoë Chao, Natalie Morales, Geoff Stults (World Premiere)

Self Reliance
Director/Screenwriter: Jake Johnson, Producers: Jake Johnson, Ali Bell, Joe Hardesty
Given the opportunity to participate in a life or death reality game show, one man discovers there’s a lot to live for. Cast List: Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Andy Samberg, Natalie Morales, Christopher Lloyd, Wayne Brady, GaTa, Emily Hampshire, Mary Holland, Boban Marjanović (World Premiere)

Upon Entry (Spain)
Directors/Screenwriters: Alejandro Rojas, Juan Sebastián Vásquez, Producers: Carles Torras, Carlos Juárez, Xosé Zapata, Sergio Adrià, Alba Sotorra
Upon their arrival at Newark’s airport with their approved residence visas, Diego and Elena are unexpectedly held and subjected to an interrogation by border agents who attempt to discover whether the couple may have something to hide. Cast List: Alberto Ammann, Bruna Cusí, Ben Temple, Laura Gómez (North American Premiere)



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

A Disturbance in the Force
Directors: Jeremy Coon, Steve Kozak, Producers: Jeremy Coon, Steve Kozak, Kyle Newman
Travel back to a galaxy far, far away—the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special. Dive into the mystery of how it happened and why 45 years later it has become, much to the chagrin of George Lucas, the ultimate cult classic among Star Wars fans. (World Premiere)

The Arc of Oblivion
Director: Ian Cheney, Producers: Meredith Desalazar, Manette Pottle, Rebecca Taylor
The Arc of Oblivion illuminates the strange world of archives, record-keeping, and memory through a filmmaker’s quixotic quest to build an ark in Maine. (World Premiere)

Being Mary Tyler Moore
Director: James Adolphus, Producers: Lena Waithe, Debra Martin Chase, Ben Selkow, Rishi Rajani, Andrew C. Coles, Laura Gardner
Being Mary Tyler Moore explores Mary’s vanguard career, who, as an actor, performer, and advocate, revolutionized the portrayal of women in media, redefined their roles in show business, and inspired generations to dream big and make it on their own. (World Premiere)

Confessions of a Good Samaritan
Director: Penny Lane, Producer: Gabriel Sedgwick
Director Penny Lane’s decision to become a “Good Samaritan” by giving one of her kidneys to a stranger turns into a funny and moving personal quest to understand the nature of altruism. (World Premiere)

Great Photo, Lovely Life
Directors: Amanda Mustard, Rachel Beth Anderson, Producers: Amanda Mustard, Rachel Beth Anderson, Luke Malone, Screenwriters: Amanda Mustard, Rachel Beth Anderson, Tyler H. Walk, Josef Beeby
A photojournalist turns her lens on the decades of sexual abuse her family and community experienced at the hands of her grandfather in this unflinching portrait of intergenerational trauma, family secrets, and redemption. (World Premiere)

The Herricanes
Director: Olivia Kuan, Producers: James Lee Hernandez, Brian Lazarte, Lisa France, James Short, Olivia Kuan, Justin Baldoni, Andrew Calof
The Houston Herricanes were a women’s full-tackle football team from the 1970’s whose fight to play the game continues to resonate with female athletes today. (World Premiere)

The Lady Bird Diaries
Director: Dawn Porter, Producers: Kim Reynolds, Dawn Porter
From award-winning filmmaker Dawn Porter comes The Lady Bird Diaries, a groundbreaking documentary film that uses Lady Bird’s audio diaries to tell the story of one of the most influential and least understood First Ladies in history. (World Premiere)

Last Stop Larrimah
Director: Thomas Tancred, Producers: Sean Bradley, Rebecca Saunders
Nestled deep in the Australian Outback is the town of Larrimah and its 11 eccentric residents. When one of them mysteriously disappears into thin air, the remaining residents become suspects and a long history of infighting is unveiled. (World Premiere)

The New Americans: Gaming a Revolution
Director/Screenwriter: Ondi Timoner, Producers: Ondi Timoner, David Turner
The New Americans is a visceral, meme-driven journey at the intersection of finance, media, and extremism, which uncovers the connection between the Gamestop squeeze and the Jan 6th Insurrection and reveals explosive possibilities of our digital future. (World Premiere)

Periodical
Director: Lina Lyte Plioplyte, Producer: Pegah Farrahmand
Periodical is an eye-opening documentary that examines science, politics, and mystery of the menstrual cycle, through the experiences of doctors, athletes, movie stars, journalists, activists, and everyday people. (World Premiere)

Who I Am Not (Romania)
Director/Screenwriter: Tünde Skovrán, Producers: Andrei Zinca
There is male, there is female, and then there is I. Born male and female within one single body, a beauty queen and a male-presenting activist break the intersex taboo through a personal and intimate exploration of truth, faith, and belonging. (North American Premiere)



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

Aberrance (Mongolia)
Director: Baatar Batsukh, Producers: Trevor Doye, Alexa Khan, Angarag Meguun, Screenwriters: Baatar Batsukh, Byambasuren Ganbat
An estranged couple takes a retreat in the woods. Foreboding neighbors, frivolous friends, and dark unseen forces lead to a shocking conclusion. Cast List: Erkhembayar Ganbat, Selenge Chadraabal, Yalalt Namsrai, Oyundary Jamsranjav, Sukhee Ariunbyamba, Bayarsanaa Batchuluun, Badamtsetseg Batmunkh (North American Premiere)

Brooklyn 45
Director/Screenwriter: Ted Geoghegan, Producers: Seth Caplan, Michael Paszt, Pasha Patriki, Sarah Sharp
In the months following World War II, five old military friends are talked into an impromptu séance, which brings to troubling light each of their haunted pasts. Cast List: Anne Ramsay, Ron E. Rains, Jeremy Holm, Larry Fessenden, Ezra Buzzington, Kristina Klebe (World Premiere)

It Lives Inside
Director: Bishal Dutta, Producers: Raymond Mansfield, Sean McKittrick, Screenwriters: Bishal Dutta, Ashish Mehta
An Indian-American teenager struggling with her cultural identity has a falling out with her former best friend and, in the process, unwittingly releases a demonic entity that grows stronger by feeding on her loneliness. Cast List: Megan Suri, Neeru Bajwa, Mohana Krishnan, Betty Gabriel, Vik Sahay (World Premiere)

Late Night With the Devil (Australia, United Arab Emirates)
Directors/Screenwriters: Colin Cairnes, Cameron Cairnes, Producers: Derek Dauchy, Steven Schneider, Roy Lee, Adam White, Mat Govoni
A live television broadcast of a popular late night talk show in 1977 goes horribly wrong during a demonstration of demonic possession, unleashing evil into the nation’s living rooms. Cast List: David Dastmalchian (World Premiere)

Monolith (Australia)
Director: Matt Vesely, Producer: Bettina Hamilton, Screenwriter: Lucy Campbell
All you have to do is listen. A disgraced journalist turns to podcasting to try and rebuild her career – but her rush to generate headlines soon uncovers a strange artifact, an alien conspiracy, and the lies at the heart of her own story. Cast List: Lily Sullivan (International Premiere)

Talk To Me (Australia)
Directors: Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou, Producers: Samantha Jennings, Kristina Ceyton, Screenwriters: Danny Philippou, Bill Hinzman
Lonely teenager Mia gets hooked on the thrills of conjuring spirits through a ceramic hand, but when she is confronted by a soul claiming to be her dead mother, she unleashes a plague of supernatural forces. Cast List: Sophie Wilde, Miranda Otto, Alexandra Jensen, Joe Bird, Otis Dhanji, Zoe Terakes, Chris Alosio (Texas Premiere)

The Wrath of Becky
Directors/Screenwriters: Matthew Angel, Suzanne Coote, Producers: Raphael Margules, JD Lifshitz, Tracy Rosenblum, Russell Posternak, Chadd Harbold
After living off the grid for two years, Becky finds herself going toe to toe against Darryl, the leader of a fascist organization, on the eve of an organized attack. Cast List: Lulu Wilson, Seann William Scott, Matt Angel, Courtney Gains, Aaron Della Villa, Michael Sirow, Denise Burse-Fernandez, Jill Larson, Kate Siegel (World Premiere)




TV PROGRAM

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

I’m A Virgo
Showrunner/Director/Screenwriter: Boots Riley, Producers: Boots Riley, Michael Ellenberg, Lindsey Springer, Tze Chun, Jharrel Jerome
This is a fantastical coming-of-age joyride about a 13ft-tall young Black man who lives in Oakland, CA. It’s called I’m A Virgo. The series stars Jharrel Jerome, Brett Gray, Kara Young, Allius Barnes, Olivia Washington, Walton Goggins, Mike Epps, and Carmen Ejogo.
(World Premiere)

Mrs. Davis
Showrunner: Tara Hernandez, Directors: Owen Harris, Alethea Jones, Screenwriters/Producers: Tara Hernandez, Damon Lindelof
Mrs. Davis is the world’s most powerful Artificial Intelligence. Simone is the nun devoted to destroying Her. Who ya got? Cast List: Betty Gilpin, Jake McDorman, Andy McQueen (World Premiere)

Slip
Showrunner/Director/Screenwriter: Zoe Lister-Jones, Producers: Zoe Lister-Jones, Ro Donnelly, Dakota Johnson, Katie O’Connell-Marsh, David Fortier, Ivan Schneeberg
Restless inside a marriage that totally works, Slip follows Mae through a fantastical journey of parallel universes as she enters new relationships, trying to find her way back to her partner, and ultimately, herself. Cast List: Zoe Lister-Jones, Tymika Tafari, Whitmer Thomas, Amar Chadha-Patel, Emily Hampshire (World Premiere)



TV SPOTLIGHT
Presenting world premieres of new seasons of prestige series.

Blindspotting Season 2 Premiere
Showrunner/Director: Rafael Casal, Producers: Rafael Casal, Daveed Diggs, Jess Wu Calder, Keith Calder, Emily Gerson Saines, Ken Lee, Tim Palen
Ashley was nipping at the heels of a middle-class life in Oakland until Miles, her partner and father of their son, was suddenly incarcerated, forcing her to move in with his mother and sister as she attempts to navigate the chaos of her life while trying to be a fun mom for her son…with mixed results. Cast List: Jasmine Cephas Jones, Helen Hunt, Benjamin Earl Turner, Atticus Woodward, Jaylen Barron, Candace Nicholas-Lippman, Rafael Casal, Margo Hall, April Absynth, Lance Holloway (World Premiere)



INDEPENDENT TV 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.

A Guide To Not Dying Completely Alone
Showrunner/Screenwriter: Kevin Yee, Director: Yen Tan, Producer: Bekah Sturm
After a near death experience, a queer Asian writer decides to change his life for the better and chronicles his journey in a book. Cast List: Kevin Yee, Brittani Nichols, Alex MacNicoll, Betsy Struxness, Paul Wong (World Premiere)

Chuchi & Adaliz
Showrunner: Ashley Soto Paniagua, Directors: Dani Adaliz, Lance Cameron Holloway, Screenwriters: Ashley Soto Paniagua, Dani Adaliz, Jocelli Paniagua, Producers: Jocelli Paniagua, Heidi Williamson
After losing her job for insider trading, Adaliz moves in with her childhood bestie Chuchi who teaches her how to be poor. Cast List: Ashley Soto Paniagua, Dani Adaliz, Andrea Bashe, Kathryn Peters, Jocelli Paniagua, Selorm Kploanyi, Dariany Santana, Jeremy Habig, Jullian Farris (World Premiere)

Grown
Showrunner/Director/Screenwriter: Jocko Sims, Producers: Jocko Sims, Christophers Santiago, Chaz Hazlitt, Andrew Zolot
After sneaking into a strip club, 14 year old Rogelio, learns a few hard lessons about being man — all thanks to the aid of his older sister Chelly. Cast List: Josiah Gabriel, Giovanni Cristoff, Tristan-Lee Edwards, Angela Mejia-Loggia, Eliza Ramos, Kevin Rodriguez, Nixon Cesar (World Premiere)

Harbor Island
Showrunner/Director/Screenwriter: Calvin Lee Reeder, Producers: Carlos A.F. Lopez, Megan Leonard
A dad joke comic wanders the industrial zone at night. Cast List: Josh Fadem, Sidney Jayne Hunt, Matt Olsen (World Premiere)

Marvin? (Netherlands)
Showrunners/Screenwriters: Anton van der Linden, George Gottl, Director: Anton van der Linden, Producers: Anton van der Linden, Daan Geuke
Two young friends struggling to get ahead in life stumble onto a magical fridge that literally makes their dreams come true and soon learn that their shiny materialistic world is not what they expected. Cast List: Cameron Tharma, Sarah Rose, Sven Ironside, Jay Reaper, Cendy Barlag (World Premiere)

Metal Man
Showrunner: Tomas Pais, Directors: Laurel Parmet, Tomas Pais, Screenwriters: John Patton Ford, Tomas Pais, Laurel Parmet, Producer: Kaelan Housewright
A heavy metal handyman gets called to fix a tub but gets pulled into the drama/life of his customer and must handle more than he signed up for. Cast List: Tomas Pais, Lily Du, Andrew Walke, Da’Vone McDonald, David Massil (World Premiere)

Notarize Me
Director: Erika Rankin, Screenwriters/Producers: Erika Rankin, Brigitte Valdez
BFFs and mobile notary publics, Jackie and Louise, find themselves in intimate situations with wacky strangers as important legal documents get signed. Cast List: Brigitte Valdez, Erika Rankin, Sarah Cornell, Harley Tarlitz (Texas Premiere)



SHORTS PROGRAM Presented by IMDbPro

IMDbPro, the essential resource for entertainment industry professionals, is sponsoring the lineup of short films across six competitive sections. The SXSW 2023 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. The membership-based IMDbPro service empowers entertainment professionals with information and tools designed to help them achieve success throughout their career and is a service of IMDb, the world’s most popular and authoritative source for information on movies, TV shows and celebrities.


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

Breaking Fast with a Coca Cola
Director/Screenwriter: Amy Omar, Producers: Karine Benzaria, Jordan Hart, Amy Omar
After growing up in the secular households of their Turkish immigrant parents in the Midwest, Özlem and Ada are desperate to celebrate a tradition of their own. For the first time, they embark on a day of fasting and a night of feasting for Ramadan. (World Premiere)

The Breakthrough
Director/Screenwriter: Daniel Sinclair, Producers: Kate Chamuris, Valerie Steinberg
Jane and Teddy are on the brink of divorce – but when their marital problems come to a sticking point, they have an unexpected breakthrough. (World Premiere)

Closing Dynasty
Director/Screenwriter: Lloyd Lee Choi, Producers: Jon Hsu, Lloyd Lee Choi
On a school day, a 7 year-old hustles strangers for money on the streets of New York City. (North American Premiere)

Deliver Me
Director/Screenwriter: Joecar Hanna-Zhang, Producers: Noam Argov, Jorge Sistos, Joecar Hanna-Zhang
A billionaire’s long-awaited delivery threatens to upend his already tense relationship with his identical husband, who is having an identity crisis of his own. (World Premiere)

Endless Sea
Director/Screenwriter: Sam Shainberg, Producer: Rachel Walden
Carol begins a normal day only to find out that her heart medication has doubled in price. Afraid, but not without hope, she sets out to find a solution, but her journey doesn’t lead to salvation, only a desperate act of revolution. (Texas Premiere)

The Family Circus
Director/Screenwriter: Andrew Fitzgerald, Producer: Josh Cohen
A Vietnamese-American family’s plan to cover up a drunk driving accident begins to unravel as their emotional baggage spills out in front of the police. (Texas Premiere)

Flores del Otro Patio (Colombia, Switzerland)
Director: Jorge Cadena, Screenwriters: Jorge Cadena, Li Aparicio Candama, Producers: Yan Decoppet, Gabriela Bussmann
In north Colombia, a group of queer activists use extravagant performative actions to denounce the disastrous exploitation by the country’s largest coal mine. (International Premiere)

Fuck Me, Richard (Australia, U.S.)
Directors: Lucy McKendrick, Charles Polinger, Screenwriter: Lucy McKendrick, Producers: Jenna Grossano, Lucy McKendrick, Charlie Polinger
Recovering from a broken leg, a romance-obsessed loner finds herself swept up in a passionate long-distance love affair. Richard is perfect in every way, except that he may be a scammer. (World Premiere)

Graveyard of Horses (China)
Director/Screenwriter: Xiaoxuan Jiang, Producer: Zhulin Mo
A frigid winter on the Mongolian steppe, an untimely snowstorm led a pregnant herder and her 8-year-old daughter to places they’ve never been. (North American Premiere)

I Probably Shouldn’t Be Telling You This
Director/Screenwriter: Emma Weinswig, Producers: Emma Weinswig, Will Noyce
When an oversharing, compulsive-lying e-girl is caught in the web of her own lies on her (secretly) favorite podcast, she must finally get off her bullshit. (World Premiere)

It Turns Blue (Iran)
Director/Screenwriter: Shadi Karamroudi, Producers: Shadi Karamroudi, Mehran Noori, Mina Dreki, Theodora Valentis
Pari covers up domestic violence when her brother beats up his 3-year-old daughter. (World Premiere)

The Key (Belgium, France, Palestine, State of)
Director/Screenwriter: Rakan Mayasi, Producers: Frank Barat, Rakan Mayasi, François de Villers, Laura Jumel, Nadine Naous, Patrizia Roletti
An Israeli family’s equilibrium gradually disintegrates as a mysterious sound is heard every evening at the door of their apartment. (North American Premiere)

Leonetty
Director/Screenwriter: Logan Jackson, Producer: Dante Sims
No longer able to live with his mother, young Leonetty is sent to live with his aging grandmother. (World Premiere)

Les Battues (The Fading) (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Rafaël Beauchamp, Producer: Léonie Hurtubise
In a small Quebec village, three hunters take possession of the tragedy of a young mother to put their own verdict on it. (World Premiere)

Never Fuggedaboutit
Director/Screenwriter: Dustin Waldman, Producers: Dustin Waldman, Nicholas Nazmi, Sariel Hana Friedman
Amid the high anxiety of post-9/11 NYC, a struggling post-production house is hired to remove a shot of the Twin Towers from the intro to a hit TV show. (World Premiere)

Rest Stop
Director/Screenwriter: Crystal Kayiza, Producers: Jalena Keane-Lee, Brit Fryer
On a bus ride from New York to Oklahoma, Meyi, a young Ugandan-American girl, realizes her place in the world through her mother’s ambitious effort to reunite their family. (Texas Premiere)

Scotty’s Vag
Director/Screenwriter: Chaconne Martin-Berkowicz, Producers: Cailin Lobb-Rabe, Chaconne Martin-Berkowicz, Gia Rigoli, Vero Kompalic
The night of a sorority hazing event, a college freshman learns just how far she’s willing to go to impress an older girl. (World Premiere)

Sisters of the Rotation (Lebanon)
Directors: Michel Zarazir, Gaby Zarazir, Screenwriters: The Zarazir Brothers, Producer: Madame Le Tapis
At the Sisters of the Rotation’s convent, the Earth doesn’t spin by itself. (North American Premiere)

Slick Talk
Directors: Courtney Loo, David Karp, Screenwriter: Courtney Loo, Producer: Katie Mykrantz
Feeling the pressure of an important meeting with a potential music manager, Kiki struggles with her identity as an outsider in the Chinese-American community, a culture vulture in the hip-hop world, and a potential sellout for mainstream success. (World Premiere)

Take Me Home
Director/Screenwriter: Liz Sargent, Producer: Minos Papas
After their mother’s death, an intellectually disabled woman and her estranged sister must learn to communicate in order to move forward. (Texas Premiere)



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

Ball People
Director: Scott Lazer, Producer: Tripp Kramer, Talia Cohen
Behind the scenes of the US Open Ball Crew tryouts. (World Premiere)

Birdsong (United Kingdom)
Directors: Omi Zola Gupta, Sparsh Ahuja, Producers: Sparsh Ahuja, Omi Zola Gupta, Dorn Bouttasing
Birdsong is an intimate portrait of the dying whistled language of the Hmong people in northern Laos. (International Premiere)

The Bus (Spain)
Director: Sandra Reina, Screenwriters: Sandra Reina, Fran Menchón, Producer: Valérie Delpierre
This is a round-trip bus ride, which takes passengers on Friday mornings towards the weekend, and picks them up on Sunday afternoons to take them back to the place where they came from. (World Premiere)

The Dads
Director/Screenwriter: Luchina Fisher, Producers: Shan Shan Tam, Luchina Fisher
When five fathers of trans kids join Dennis Shepard, the father of slain gay college student Matthew Shepard, for a weekend fishing trip in rural Oklahoma, they find common purpose across races, generations, and experiences. (World Premiere)

El Bastón (Colombia, U.S.)
Director: Nemo Allen, Producers: Nemo Allen, Aditi Natasha Kini, Hanna Wallis, Juan Blanco García
Two filmmakers, one mother and one son, find answers and strength as they document the struggles of Colombia’s Indigenous Nasa, decades apart. (Texas Premiere)

Margie Soudek’s Salt and Pepper Shakers
Director: Meredith Moore, Producer: Jonna McKone
An artist and VFX instructor connects with her aging grandmother, Margie, in a documentary short on collecting, artmaking, and obsessiveness as a way to enhance our realities. (Texas Premiere)

Mother of the Dawn
Director: Janell Shirtcliff, Screenwriters: Angie Simms, Tommy Savas, Producer: Tommy Savas
In the early 1950s in a remote corner of Brazil, a female truck driver named Tia Neiva started having visions of extraterrestrial spirits; shortly after, she began to gain a following called Vale do Amanhecer (Valley of the Dawn). (World Premiere)

Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó (Grandma & Grandma)
Director: Sean Wang, Producers: Sean Wang, Sam Davis
Nǎi Nai (奶奶) is my grandma. Wài Pó (外婆) is also my grandma. Together, they are my grandmas. Meet my grandmas. (World Premiere)

Puffling (United Kingdom)
Director: Jessica Bishopp, Producers: Alice Hughes, Gannesh Rajah, Ada Benjamínsdóttir
On a remote Icelandic island, teenagers Birta and Selma take it upon themselves to counteract society’s harmful impact on nature, exchanging night-time parties for nocturnal puffin rescues in a coming-of-age story for young adults and puffins alike. (World Premiere)

Roger J. Carter: Rebel Revolutionary
Director: Justin Fairweather, Producers: Zachary Kingham-Seagle, Johnny Starke
Roger J. Carter: Rebel Revolutionary follows the Chicago portrait artist as he creates staggering images of black revolutionaries using hundreds of toy soldiers, representing the wars the marginalized face as they dismantle an established system. (World Premiere)

Suddenly TV (Qatar)
Director/Producer: Roopa Gogineni
A group of young Sudanese create an imaginary television station at a besieged sit-in. Interviewing protestors from around the country, they confront the violence of the regime and conjure a new Sudan. (North American Premiere)

Where the Sun Always Shines (United Kingdom)
Director: Rosie Baldwin, Producer: Lucy Draper
The residents of a quintessential but neglected British seaside town grapple with research suggesting that their home could disappear within their lifetimes due to the climate crisis. (World Premiere)



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

A Tiny Man (France)
Directors: Aude David, Mikaël Gaudin, Screenwriters: Mikaël Gaudin, Aude David, Producer: Jérôme Blesson
With a delicately penciled animation style, A Tiny Man tells a moral tale of nefarious schemes gone awry. As a husband faces the consequences of his actions, he perhaps begins to realize that maybe size does in fact matter. (Texas Premiere)

Ashkasha (Argentina, Spain)
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Lara Maltz
Ashkasha is a living being guided by curiosity. This causes her to lose her head and get trapped in the depths, where she is submerged on a discovery journey. (US Premiere)

Beyond The Fringe (Spain)
Directors: Han Tang, Costanza Baj, Screenwriter/Producer: Han Tang
A story about a little paper figure’s journey of finding the strength to leave its home, the notebook where it was born, to explore the great world beyond. (World Premiere)

Christopher at Sea (France, United Kingdom, U.S.)
Director: Tom CJ Brown, Screenwriters: Tom CJ Brown, Laure Desmazières, Producers: Emmanuel-Alain Raynal, Pierre Baussaron, Amanda Miller, Hanna Stolarski, Nick Read, Emily-Jane Brown
Christopher goes to sea. (Texas Premiere)

The Debutante (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Elizabeth Hobbs, Producer: Abigail Addison
A spirited young woman persuades a hyena from London Zoo to take her place at a dinner dance being held in her honour. (Texas Premiere)

Ice Merchants (Portugal)
Director/Screenwriter: João Gonzalez, Producers: Bruno Caetano, Michaël Proença
Every day, a father and his son jump with a parachute from their vertiginous cold house, attached to a cliff, to go to the village on the ground far away where they sell the ice they produce daily. (Texas Premiere)

Remove Hind Legs Before Consumption (Switzerland)
Directors: Lukas Wind, Finn Meisner, Leslie Herzig, Producer: Gerd Gockell
In an insect food farm, one lucky cricket survives its certain death. (International Premiere)

Sandwich Cat (Spain)
Director/Screenwriter: David Fidalgo, Producers: Daniel Rodriguez, Laura Doval
David lives alone with his kitty, Sandwich Cat. It seemed like an ordinary day, but an unexpected visit will lead him to a crucial reflection to humanity. (International Premiere)

Spring Roll Dream (United Kingdom)
Director: Mai Vu, Screenwriter: Chloe White, Producer: Thijme Grol
Linh is a Vietnamese single mother who’s successfully forged a life for herself and her son in America. But she is confronted with the past and culture she left behind and the question of where it belongs in her family’s new life. (Texas Premiere)

Sprout
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Zora Kovac
After an agoraphobic scientist accidentally creates a baby-like plant creature, their connection threatens to upend his reclusive way of life. (World Premiere)



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

Dead Enders
Directors: Fidel Ruiz-Healy, Tyler Walker, Screenwriters: Fidel Ruiz-Healy, Tyler Walker, Jordan Michael Blake, Conor Murphy, Producers: Raven Jenson, Amanda Crown, Gregory Barnes, Conor Murphy, Nico Alvo, Jordan Michael Blake, Eduardo Ruiz-Healy
A disaffected gas station clerk finds out why they call it the “graveyard shift” after oil drillers set loose an ancient race of mind-controlling parasites.(World Premiere)

Every House is Haunted
Director/Screenwriter: Bryce McGuire, Producer: Isaiah Smallman
A struggling couple moves into a haunted house… on purpose. (World Premiere)

The Flute (Ireland, U.S.)
Director: Nick Roney, Screenwriters: Nick Roney, Ed Leer, Producers: Brendan Garrett, Ryland Burns
Fleeing a long-term relationship, a young man seeks refuge with his best friends. After discovering their strange instruments, he’ll learn the bachelor lifestyle is not as sweet as it sounds. (World Premiere)

Kodama
Director/Screenwriter: Brian M Tang, Producers: Penny Lin, Brendan Bennett, Norrie Palmer, Brian M Tang
Arthur, a member of an elite SWAT Samurai team, embarks on a rescue mission into the spirit world in order to recover his father from vengeful Japanese Yokai spirits. (World Premiere)

The Mundanes
Directors/Screenwriters: Nicole Daddona, Adam Wilder, Producers: Eric Hendricks, Nicole Daddona, Adam Wilder
Get to know the Mundanes, a faceless suburban family with an unusual appetite. (World Premiere)

Pennies from Heaven
Director: Sandy Honig, Screenwriters: Sandy Honig, Annabel Meschke, Sabina Meschke, Producer: Jake Honig
Pennies from Heaven is a short comedy about two eccentric twin sisters who stumble upon a pickup truck full of pennies and follow the adventure wherever it takes them. (World Premiere)

Pussy Love (Germany)
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Linda Krauss
Hey Puss! Still playing hard to get? Let me be your pussycat. (World Premiere)

Run
Director/Screenwriter: Alex Prager, Producers: Vincent Landay, Alex Prager, Lisa Lou Ziven
Run celebrates the absurdity of being alive today.

Vibrator Girl
Director: Kara Strait, Screenwriters: Morgane Ciot, Zoe Mintz, Producers: Morgane Ciot, Zoe Mintz
A young woman suffers the eerie consequences of her compulsive vibrator use. (World Premiere)

We Forgot About The Zombies
Director/Screenwriter: Chris McInroy, Producers: Kris Phipps, Jarrod Yerkes, Stacey Bell
Two dudes think they found the cure for zombie bites. (Texas Premiere)

You’re Not Home (Ireland)
Director/Screenwriter: Derek Ugochukwu, Producer: Gregory Burrowes
When an ominous mould appears in their room, two African brothers seeking asylum are faced with a dark entity lurking within their direct provision centre. (Texas Premiere)



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

Breaking Silence
Directors: Amy Bench, Annie Silverstein, Producers: Monique Walton, Amy Bench
A portrait of a Deaf activist and his formerly incarcerated daughter who build new bonds through their experiences in the criminal justice system. (Texas Premiere)

Call Me Mommy
Directors: Haley Alea Erickson, Taylor Washington, Screenwriter: Haley Alea Erickson, Producers: Brittany Reeber, David Tenczar
A pedantic mother-to-be hires a stranger to role-play as her unborn daughter. (World Premiere)

Dressed
Director/Screenwriter: Bethiael Alemayoh, Producer: Noam Argov
A former bride-to-be attempts to sell her wedding dress. (World Premiere)

Exit 238
Director/Producer: Henry Davis
In the fall in Austin, TX, the extraordinary roosting display of the Purple Martin attracts people of many walks of life to the Capital Plaza shopping center. (Texas Premiere)

Eyestring (Argentina, U.S.)
Director: Javier Devitt, Screenwriters: Javier Devitt, Alena Chinault, Producer: Alena Chinault
With a mysterious string growing from her eye and questionable advice from a hotline service, Veronica is led on a strange quest for answers. (World Premiere)

Funny Face
Director: Jude Hope Harris, Screenwriters: Krista Fatka, Jude Hope Harris, Producers: Genevieve Jones, Nick Vitale
When country singer Randy travels to take care of his sister Sophie as she recovers from facial feminization surgery, he meets her girlfriend, Morgan, for the first time. The three bond over family history, love, and an extremely chaotic home nurse. (World Premiere)

La Cosecha
Director: Samuel Díaz Fernández, Screenwriters: Ái Vuong, Samuel Díaz Fernández, Producer: Ái Vuong
As one of many residents who lack access to fresh food in Austin, Nolvia Castillo takes the driver’s seat and distributes vegetables to her neighbors. When filmmaker Ai Vuong rides along, they speak the language of immigrants: memories of food. (World Premiere)

When You Left Me On That Boulevard
Director/Screenwriter: Kayla Abuda Galang, Producers: Alifya Ali, Kayla Abuda Galang, David Oconer, Udoy Rahim, Samantha Skinner
Teenager Ly and her cousins get high before a boisterous family Thanksgiving at their auntie’s house in southeast San Diego in 2006. (Texas Premiere)

Wüm
Director/Screenwriter: Anna Margaret Hollyman, Producers: David Hartstein, Seana Flanagan, Shelby Hadden
Bennett, a nonbinary new parent, joins a Mommy Group called Wüm. What is supposed to be a supportive space turns into a Hipster-Stepford-Wife nightmare with Bennett being smothered in the middle of white lady “wokeness.” (World Premiere)



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

alt-J – ‘The Actor’ (United Kingdom) / Director: Saskia Dixie

Amanda Sum – ‘Different Than Before’ (Canada) / Director/Screenwriter: Mayumi Yoshida

Arlo McKinley – ‘Stealing Dark from the Night Sky’ / Director: Matt Reynolds

Ben Abraham – ‘If I Didn’t Love You’ / Director: Jillian Bell

Diplo feat Miguel – ‘Don’t Forget My Love’ / Director: Kinopravda, Screenwriters: Viktor Horvath, Zoltan Aprily

Doechii – ‘Crazy’ / Director: C Prinz

Drew Ashby – ‘Her’ / Directors: Chris Scholar, Bevin Brown

Kuba Kawalec – ‘I Died’ (Poland) / Director/Screenwriter: Zuzanna Plisz

Little Simz – ‘Point and Kill’ (United Kingdom) / Director: Ebeneza Blanche

Mac Miller – ‘Colors and Shapes’ / Director: Sam Mason

Michael Kiwanuka – ‘ Beautiful Life’ / Director: Phillip Youmans

Mick Jenkins – ‘Truffles ‘ (United Kingdom, U.S.) / Director: Andre Muir

Mothermary – ‘Coming for You Remix’ / Directors/Screenwriters: Larena Danielle Winn, Elyse Winn

Number One Popstar – ‘Dance Away the Pain’ / Director/Screenwriter: Kate Hollowell

Pearl Derringer – ‘Little Baby (feat. Margo Price)’ / Director: Kimberly Stuckwisch, Screenwriters: Pearl Derringer, Kimberly Stuckwisch

Pranav Bhasin, Rohini Maiti – ‘Screaming on the Fly’ (India) / Director/Screenwriter: Pranav Bhasin

Residente – ‘This is Not America ft. Ibeyi’ / Director: Gregory Ohrel

S+C+A+R+R – ‘Never Give Up’ (France) / Director: Jack Antoine Charlot

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Wolf’ / Director: Allie Avital

Zolita – ‘Somebody I F*cked Once’ / Director/Screenwriter: Zolita



XR EXPERIENCE

The immersive arts are redefining how we experience the world around us. The 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.

Aespa VR Concert at Kwangya (Republic of Korea, U.S.)
Director: Soo-man Lee, Producer: Junyoung Park
“Aespa’s first concert at Kwangya, the artists’ virtual existence coexisting with the future.” – SM Culture Universe. (World Premiere)

Body of Mine VR
Director/Producer/Screenwriter: Cameron Kostopoulos
Experience gender dysphoria and trans identity with Body of Mine VR, an intimate experience that takes you inside the body of another gender. (World Premiere)

Consensus Gentium (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Karen Palmer, Producers: Tom Millen, Thalia Mavros, Jackson Lapsley Scott, Tuyet Huynh
Consensus Gentium is an emotionally responsive film app designed to be experienced on a mobile phone. Set in a near future of surveillance and bias AI that watches you back. (World Premiere)

The District VR (Germany)
Directors: Dennis Lisk, Ioulia Isserlis, Max Sacker, Producers: Dennis Lisk, Fabian Vogelsteller, Ioulia Isserlis
Welcome to The District VR, a music-driven 3D world full of vibrant games and virtual live entertainment. Put on a VR headset and dive into a virtual twin of Berlin. Be the DJ, use provided equipment, and mix music live in front of a virtual crowd. (World Premiere)

El Beat (Colombia)
Directors: Irene Lema, Sergio Bromberg, Producers: Rafael Ospino, Irene Lema, Screenwriter: Irene Lema
El Beat is a cross-platform experience (interactive film and VR), telling the story of Benkos Biohó, enslaved African and founder of the first free town in the Americas. It is a tribute to the African diaspora and the Black Power of Latin America. (World Premiere)

Find WiiLii – Ep.1 The Gate-Crasher (Republic of Korea)
Directors: Mina Hyeon, Sooyoung Choe, Producer: Sohee Kim, Screenwriters: Sooyoung Choe, Mina Hyeon
On the first day as a newcomer at the Teleportation Service Company IIOIIG, the ordinary mission flows unexpectedly, meeting a stranger. (World Premiere)

Forager: Immersive Multi-sensory Experience (Canada, U.S.)
Directors: Winslow Porter, Elie Zananiri, Producers: Winslow Porter, Casta Zhu, Screenwriters: Winslow Porter, Elie Zananiri, Adam Lerman, Daniel Perlin
In this immersive, multi-sensory experience guests will experience the complete life-cycle of mushrooms. Starting as a spore floating to the forest floor, you become an integral part of this essential, live-giving process. (World Premiere)

Fresh Memories: The Look (Czechia, Ukraine)
Directors/Screenwriters: Ondřej Moravec, Volodymyr Kolbasa, Producers: Ondřej Moravec, Robin Pultera
Look into the eyes of Ukrainian people whose home has been taken away by war. (World Premiere)

The Invited (United Kingdom)
Directors: Davy McGuire, Kristin McGuire, Producers: Davy McGuire, Nesta Nelson, Dan Tucker, Screenwriters: Ben Steiger-Levine, Richard Hurford
The Invited reimagines the gothic story of Dracula in a solitary séance in which a handcrafted fine art pop-up book comes to life with vivid augmented reality animations to serve as a conduit for Dracula’s curse to re-enter the modern world. (World Premiere)

Jailbirds- The Eye of the Artist (Belgium, France)
Director/Screenwriter: Thomas Villepoux, Producers: Griselda Gonzalez Gentile, Francois Klein
Jailbirds takes place in a modern hell prison ruled by a vicious Chief Warden. But in this living nightmare, one guy, Felix, is always happy. It enrages the Chief Warden who will do everything he can to discover Felix’s secret. (World Premiere)

JFK Memento (France, U.S.)
Director: Chloé Rochereuil, Producer: Victor Agulhon
JFK Memento is a VR documentary chronicling JFK’s assassination. Narrated by the last living witnesses of the events, it explores the defining moments of the investigation as archive photos and films remastered in 3D come to life in the historic sites. (World Premiere)

Once a Glacier
Director/Screenwriter: Jiabao Li
Once a Glacier is a VR film about a girl and her relationship with a glacier. As the girl grows older, the piece of ice is threatened. The viewer is taken on a journey through her seemingly futile efforts to protect what was once an entire glacier. (World Premiere)

Rockets, by Pillow (Brazil)
Director/Producer/Screenwriter: Lucas Rizzotto
The world’s first VR narrative designed for lying down in bed. Control a brave little rocket named Crimson through a number of mind-bending puzzles as you attempt to save the Universe from a terrible evil you set free. (World Premiere)

Stay Alive, My Son (Chapters 1 & 2) (Greece, U.S.)
Director/Producer/Screenwriter: Victoria Bousis
Stay Alive, My Son takes players on a fantastical, interactive, and powerful journey through the mind and heart of Pin Yathay as he relives a tragic past and loss of his son during the Cambodian genocide, but eventually finds his salvation and heals. (World Premiere)

Whipped Cream “The Dark” (Canada)
Directors: Caroline Cecil (aka Whipped Cream), Will Selviz, Producer: Brenda Medina Carmona, Screenwriter: Caroline Cecil
The Dark, featuring Monstercat artists Whipped Cream, Jasiah, and Crimson Child, presents a VR experience that blends EDM and opera music with photorealistic holographic performances in an emotion-oriented story about a toxic relationship. (World Premiere)



XR Experience Spotlight
Shining a spotlight on acclaimed immersive projects.

Behind The Dish (France, U.S.)
Director: Chloé Rochereuil, Producers: Victor Agulhon, Jonathan Gleit
Behind the Dish is a virtual reality docu-series that dives into the world of gastronomy. Through three 10-minute episodes in 360° film, meet extraordinary women chefs revolutionizing the food industry and watch their cuisine in super-sized macro 3D.

Eggscape (Argentina)
Director: German Heller, Producers: German Heller, Lucila Trobbiani, Screenwriters: German Heller, Federico Heller, Jorge Tereso
An MR experience about terrified little eggs struggling to stay alive in a world full of enemies. Play in an unprecedented way with the physical world, and build your own adventure with friends mixing the digital with the real. (North American Premiere)

The Eye and I Vol. I (Taiwan)
Directors: Hsin-Chien Huang, Jean-Michel Jarre, Producer: Hsiao-Yue Tsao, Screenwriter: Hsin-Chien Huang
The Eye and I is a VR experience that illuminates the surveillance crisis with music from legendary electronic musician Jean-Michel Jarre and visuals from award-winning VR director Hsin-Chien Huang. (International Premiere)

Figural Bodies (United Kingdom)
Directors: Clarice Hilton, Neal Coghlan, Producers: Susanna Dye, Kat Hawkins
Figural Bodies challenges and reimagines the normative and ableist ways the body is understood and represented through immersive technology. This dance mocap performance explores fantastical interaction and embodiment beyond the humanoid avatar form (World Premiere)

In Pursuit Of Repetitive Beats (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Darren Emerson, Producers: Ashley Cowan, Dan Tucker
A multi-sensory joyride into the heart of a revolution in dance. Grab your friends and plug into a virtual reality adventure that transports you into the early days of the Acid House movement. Share in an experience that shaped a generation. (North American Premiere)

Lou (Canada)
Directors: Martine Asselin, Annick Daigneault, Producers: John Hamilton, Sebastien Gros, Screenwriters: Annick Daigneault, Martine Asselin, Louis-François Archambault-Therrien
Experience the world with the sensitivity of a person with autism. (U.S. Premiere)

Mrs Benz (United Kingdom)
Director: Eloise Singer, Producer: Siobhan McDonnell, Screenwriters: Eloise Singer, Jedidjah Noomen
Travel back in time to 1886 with Bertha Benz and discover how her journey changed the course of history. (North American Premiere)

Shib the Metaverse
Directors: Marcie Jastrow, Sherri Cuono, Producer: Brandie Konopasek
The Metaverse is the culmination of our history as a community, virtually displayed, in a layer of beautiful visuals that showcase our innovation and unity with a place to truly call home. (World Premiere)

Spring Odyssey (France)
Director: Elise Morin, Producer: Lucid Realities, Screenwriter: Sabrina Calvo
Tangible, material sculptures await the digital in the exhibition space. The display invites a reversal of our apprehension of the relationship between reality and the digital by completing the gaps of one and the other. (International Premiere)

Temporal World: A Haptisonic Virtual Reality Memory World (Germany)
Director/Producer: Chloé Lee
Temporal World is a haptisonic VR experience inspired by the artist’s memories in a place where she has no personal history. Visitors explore and shape a landscape that is as fragmented and fickle as memory itself while wearing a custom haptic coat. (International Premiere)

UnEarthed (United Kingdom)
Director: Jamie Davies, Producer: Jennifer Mortimer, Screenwriters: Jamie Davies, Phil Porter
UnEarthed is a spectacular interactive adventure into the natural world, inspiring people to respect, protect, and restore our planet’s biodiversity, through impactful learning and entertainment. (North American Premiere)

You Destroy. We Create. (Germany)
Directors/Producers: Felix Gaedtke, Gayatri Parameswaran
Witness how Ukrainian art and culture have become targets of the ongoing war, and meet the inspiring people on the frontlines protecting it.

Yuki MR (Brazil)
Director: Kako, Producer: Lia Pinheiro, Screenwriters: Kako, Flavio Mattos, Lia Pinheiro, Marcelo Nery
Yuki MR is an upbeat mix of bullet-hell in Mixed Reality! Take your favorite toy in your hand to defeat evil creatures in a multidimensional universe. (Texas Premiere)



XR Experience Special Events

Neo-Wulin: The Era of Black Ark (China)
Director/Screenwriter: Guanyu, Producers: Chenchenchen, Bingbing Wang
Neo-Wulin is the first virtual performance series IP in China created by the OXYZ3 team.
Each musician will have a unique music world that combines performance, exhibition, and social interaction, and can be constantly extended. (International Premiere)



COMPETITION AWARDS
The Narrative Feature Competition, the Documentary Feature Competition, Poster Design, and Special Awards will be announced on Tuesday, March 14 along with all the Short Film Program winners, which are eligible for Jury Awards within their respective screening categories. All film categories, except Special Screenings and TV Spotlight, 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.

In addition to film festival screenings, registrants 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 30th year, SXSW Film & TV 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 2023 will take place March 10 – 19, 2023. For more information, please visit sxsw.com. To register for the event, please visit sxsw.com/attend.

SXSW 2023 is sponsored by White Claw, Volkswagen, Itaú, and The Austin Chronicle


Review: Who’s sorry now? ‘THE APOLOGY’ will be in theaters and streaming simultaneously on Shudder and AMC+ this Friday.

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THE APOLOGY

Anna Gunn plays Darlene, a woman whose daughter went missing 20 years ago. After a long day of preparations to host Christmas Day with the help of her adoring neighbor and best friend, Gretchen, a knock on the door changes the trajectory of her night and life. Darlene enters a fight for truth and revenge. Writer-director Alison Star Locke challenges audiences to contemplate grief, unresolved trauma, and guilt in an explosive confrontation of a survivor’s deepest fantasies.

Locke’s script sets a solid pace, with details of her daughter’s disappearance slowly revealing themselves, unrequited love, past regressions, and secrets boiling over. Darlene’s ex-brother-in-law lands on her doorstep under the guise of a surprise family reunion, but his ulterior motive involves a revelation in Sally’s case. The information he’s been sitting on as Darlene relentlessly searched for Sally, became an advocate for other families, and got her alcoholism under control. The rage and fear evolve into a knockdown, drag-out fight between redemption and revenge. 

Compounded by the raging snow outside, any turmoil coming from the house is more than muffled. This simple device proves to be a wonderful segway for Gretchen to reenter the story. Janeane Garofalo nails this role. She’s funny, down to earth, and perfectly wonderful. Her iconic snark lies underneath the surface of a woman whose love for Darlene surpasses all things. Linus Roache plays Jack with a presumptuous air that comes off as slimy immediately. His arrogance and bulldozing persona make him punchable, which is how Locke meant for him to come off. The smugness makes your blood boil. Anna Gunn‘s turn as Darlene is rife with hurt and drenched in melancholy. Her scenes with Roache are tense. 

Here is where I felt like The Apology missed the mark. The film hinges on Jack and Darlene’s dynamic. Locke gives them a juicy backstory. Somehow the level of intensity from Gunn and Roache was at an 8 when it needed to be at a 10. That extra oomph of passion and terror (or lack thereof) kept me with one foot in disbelief and one foot firmly intrigued. I wanted to jump over that threshold, but I never got there. The screenplay had all the makings of the success of films like An Eye For An Eye. I’m not sure why this happened. We all know Gunn is a spectacular actress, but it didn’t go far enough. I hate it when my bullshit meter lights up.

THE APOLOGY will surely capture your attention. Those who live and breathe true crime these days will undoubtedly wish this scenario on every family member left to wonder what happened to their loved one. Hopefully, the story is enough to keep audiences satisfied.


THE APOLOGY will be in theaters and streaming simultaneously on Shudder and AMC+ on December 16th.



DIRECTOR: Alison Star Locke
WRITER: Alison Star Locke
CAST: Anna Gunn, Linus Roache, Janeane Garofalo
SYNOPSIS: Twenty years after the disappearance of her daughter, recovering alcoholic Darlene Hagen (Anna Gunn) is preparing to host her family’s Christmas celebration with her best friend Gretchen (Janeane Garofalo). Late Christmas Eve, Darlene’s estranged ex-brother-in-law, Jack (Linus Roache) arrives unannounced, bearing nostalgic gifts and a heavy secret. Soon, Darlene finds herself caught between reason and ruthless instinct. Trapped together by a dangerous storm, a battle of wits escalates to a violent game of revenge.
RUN TIME: 91 minutes
RATING: Not Rated
GENRE: Thriller
DISTRIBUTOR: RLJE Films/Shudder


 

Review: Blake Jenner shines alongside Bruce Willis in ‘Paradise City’

PARADISE CITY

SYNOPSIS:

Movie icons and Pulp Fiction costars Bruce Willis and John Travolta face off in this action-packed thriller. When bounty hunter Ian Swan (Willis) is shot and presumed dead after disappearing in Maui waters, Swan’s son, Ryan (Blake Jenner), his ex-partner (Stephen Dorff), and a local detective (Praya Lundberg) set out to find his killers. After being threatened by a ruthless power broker (Travolta), it appears Ryan and his team are out of options — until an excursion to the closely guarded island community of Paradise City unites them with an unforeseen ally.

John Travolta plays island crime boss Buckley. His eccentricity is evident through costume choices and dialogue. Thank goodness he is who he is because the character leans heavily into caricature territory. He is at his best in high-stakes action sequences.

Stephen Dorff is Ian Swan’s former bounty-hunting partner. He has a bit of an ambulance-chaser energy to him. He vibes well with Jenner, and his chemistry with Willis is chef’s kiss.

Bruce Willis plays Ian Swan with that legendary, effortless swagger we love. He is funny, charismatic, and a total badass. He is everything you want him to be.

I’ve been a fan of Blake Jenner since his turn on GLEE. He stands out from the crowd in every role. In PARADISE CITY, he plays Willis’s son, Ryan Swan. He possesses a natural fearlessness. No matter who is his opposite onscreen, your eyes stay on Jenner. He deserves more leading roles. Frankly, he has the charm of a young Bruce Willis. It was spectacular casting. He is magnificent.

Somehow, PARADISE CITY makes Jenner’s character impervious to automatic rifle bullets and, somehow, possesses the ability to survive a 10th-floor header into a shallow koi pond. It is unbelievable. No, literally, even for an action film, it is far-fetched. And this pains me to say that every female performance is downright atrocious, except for Mary Ann Perreira as Auntie Kona. She is a treasure. The dialogue from director Chuck Russell and co-writers Corey Large, and Edward John Drake, is mostly eye-roll-inducing. The already sped-through, convoluted plot also jumps in time, but not enough. It is messy.

Here is what works. The fight choreography is undeniably entertaining. (Extra points for having Savannah kick off her heels for brawling.) Overall, the tightest scenes occur when Savannah and Ryan arrive in Paradise City proper. There is genuine yet surprising humor and a grounded backstory. That’s all I’ll say to avoid spoilers. I could see this story maybe working better in serial form. But that’s a big maybe. Jenner is the only one that sustains authenticity. He deserves better, and so does Bruce Willis’s legacy.

**Stick around for the credits**


In Theaters, on Digital, and On Demand November 11, 2022

DIRECTED BY:

Chuck Russell

WRITTEN BY:

Corey Large, Edward Drake and Chuck Russell

STARRING:

John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Blake Jenner, Praya Lundberg, with Stephen Dorff

RATING:

R for violence and language

RUN TIME:

94 minutes

GENRE:

Action


 

Netflix documentary review: A family’s mission, ‘I AM VANESSA GUILLEN’ is more than a hashtag, it is a movement.

I AM VANESSA GUILLEN

Netflix presents I AM VANESSA GUILLEN, a film about one family’s relentless push for justice and exposing the toxic culture that permeates the military, specifically Fort Hood. Director Christy Wegener brings us the story that sparked a social media frenzy, a race to pass new legislation, and the family that would not stay quiet.

The systemic failure at Fort Hood will leave you seething. After two months of desperate outcry, the Army finally makes a statement and begins to search, but it is too little too late. With the pro bono help of maverick lawyer Natalie Khawam, The Guillen family takes their fight to Capital Hill.

I remember this story. I remember feeling so angry when I heard how long Vanessa had been missing before I heard about it on the news. Then, when the details emerged of her murder and subsequent failure at Fort Hood, I was disgusted. Those feelings returned and multiplied as I watched this film. Understanding the extent of their coverup will blow your mind. The military justice system allows for secrecy and discretion to sweep everything under the rug. It is beyond broken.

I AM VANESSA GUILLEN proves the saying, “No justice. No peace.” The Guillen family never backed down. The military counted on their silence, and they got the exact opposite. I AM VANESSA GUILLEN has been in the top 10 since the film’s release last Friday. It is easy to understand why.


I Am Vanessa Guillen | Official Trailer | Netflix https://youtube.com/Netflix

I AM VANESSA GUILLEN is now streaming on NETFLIX


 

Fantastic Fest 2022 review: ‘BRUTAL SEASON’ brings unresolved trauma and mystery in this theatrically immersive film.

BRUTAL SEASON

It’s the summer of 1948 in Redhook, Brooklyn, and the Trouth family exists in quiet peace until Louis Jr. appears after years away. Old wounds have festered, and now he’s back for revenge. Guilt is his weapon. Well, that and a unique knife with a Turkish inscription belonging to younger brother Charles. BRUTAL SEASON is like an immersive theater experience on film. This slow-burn thriller is not what I expected, in all the right ways.

Performances across the board are stellar. One is particularly inescapable. The subtle manipulation Houston Settle brings into the fray, you know he’s up to no good. Jr.’s bitterness is palpable. His passive-aggressive nature turns vicious. 

The lighting is extraordinary. The sound editing, filled with waterway traffic, barking dogs, and seagulls, serves as a constant din in the background. It’s impeccable. Andrew Burke‘s oboe and trumpet-heavy score bring a tense noir feeling.

There’s no denying that BRUTALSEASON has a similar energy to Death Of A Salesman. The narration harkens back to Our Town. Writer-director Gavin Fields brings an ambiguity that strings you along until the end. I’d love to see this performed live and feel the vibration from these actors pouring off the stage. BRUTAL SEASON is a welcome addition to this year’s Fantastic Fest 2022. It’s a standout for theatre lovers. 


You can still catch BRUTAL SEASON at FF@Home!


Fantastic Fest 2022 review: ‘MISSING (Sagasu /さがす)’ is one of the year’s best genre films.

MISSING

This wild multiple narrative film tells the story of Kaede, her father’s disappearance, and the serial killer she’s determined to hunt down. MISSING is one story told from three different angles.

Performances from the entire cast are spectacular. There is not a loose thread in the bunch. Here is where things get tricky. To tell you more about the plot defeats the purpose. You need to go into with as little information as possible. The complexity of MISSING is relentless. Do not get comfortable with what you think you know. Writer-director Shinzô Katayama and co-writers Kazuhisa Kodera and Ryô Takada bring twist after twist. I stopped counting at a certain point. The final scene is a mindblowing metaphor for everything we witness in two hours. Wow doesn’t even begin to cover it. Fantastic Fest 2022 audiences are in for one of the year’s best features.


Dark Star and Bloody Disgusting plan a US theatrical release for MISSING on November 4, 2022, an On Demand release on November 18, 2022, and the Blu Ray release for the film to follow on December 6, 2022.

(US Premiere, 124 min)

Directed by: Shinzô Katayama

Starring: Aoi Ito, Hiroya Shimizu, Misato Morita, Jirô Satô 

Japan, 2021 (In Japanese with English Subtitles)

 

FF 2022 OFFICIAL SCREENINGS

All screenings are at The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, South Lamar, Austin.

Location: 1120 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704

 

Thu, Sep 22nd, 8:30 PM @ Theater 2

Thu, Sep 22nd, 8:30 PM @ Theater 3

Wed, Sep 28th, 11:00 AM @ Theater 5

Wed, Sep 28th, 11:00 AM @ Theater 6

FF 2022 PAGE:

https://2022.fantasticfest.com/films/62fbbf1dd0f21300854b372b


After working as an assistant director for Japanese films, including Nobuhiro Yamashita’s works, filmmaker ShinzôKatayama crossed paths with Bong Joon-Ho while shooting “TOKYO!” (2008) and served as his assistant director on “Mother” (2009). In 2019, his debut feature, “Siblings of the Cape” was selected by numerous domestic and international film festivals. He now is one of the most promising, emerging directors in Japan, and his second feature, MISSING (“Sagasu /さがす”) will be his commercial film debut.


 

Review: Writer-director Valerie Buhagiar brings the enchanting tale of ‘CARMEN’ to life with help from Natascha McElhone.

CARMEN

In a small Mediterranean village, Carmen has looked after her brother, the local priest, for her entire life. When the Church abandons Carmen, she is mistaken for the new priest. Carmen begins to see the world, and herself, in a new light.


A tongue-in-cheek story of sacrifice and reward inspired by actual events, CARMEN finds Natascha McElhone recapturing the youth she lost to familial duty and heartache. After a life spent taking care of her brother, the local priest in Malta, his death pushes Carmen, quite literally, out the door.

Carmen’s years of demure nature allow her to become a ghost, eavesdropping on the townsfolk that ignored her. With the unlikely help of a pigeon, Carmen takes control of the very church that kicked her to the curb, fooling the locals for personal entertainment. But, her mischievous advice from the confessional booth changes everything.

Natascha McElhone is elegant and effortlessly charming. CARMEN is essentially a later coming-of-age tale. McElhone’s wide-eyed exploration of life is enchanting, funny, and honest. Shot on the beautiful island of Malta, which if you’ve never been, I suggest you visit. The script’s structure utilizes flashbacks of Carmen’s elusive backstory. Writer-director Valerie Buhagiar brings unbridled joy and hidden complexity to audiences. CARMEN is a delight.


CARMEN will be released in the US Theatrically in major cities and on VOD in the US and Canada on Friday, September 23.

Director: Valerie Buhagiar

Starring: Natascha McElhone, Michaela Farrugia, Steven Love.

 

Theaters include:

NEW YORK – Cinema Village

LOS ANGELES – Laemmle Monica

With exclusive engagements in Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco (Bay Area), Columbus and more.

 

VOD Platforms include:

US: Apple TV/iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, XFinity Cable, and more.


 

Film lovers unite! TIFF 2022 is upon us. Here’s what we’re excited to see. #TIFF22

TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2022 has arrived! This year there is a little bit (or a lot) for everyone, from In Conversation With Taylor Swift and a screening of All Too Well: The Short Film on 35mm, Viola Davis in The Woman King, to the Midnight Madness world premiere of Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. TIFF never disappoints and this year, in its 47th edition, the stars come out to entertain the masses. With so many options, here are a few titles we’re keeping our eyes on.


CHARCOAL (PLATFORM SECTION–WORLD PREMIERE)

Brazil, 2022. In a remote area in São Paulo’s countryside, a rural family who lives beside a charcoal factory accepts a proposal to host a mysterious foreigner. The home soon becomes a hideout as the so-called guest happens to be a highly wanted drug lord. The mother, her husband and child will have to learn how to share the same roof with this stranger, while keeping up appearances of an unchanged peasant routine.

Writer-director Carolina Markowicz has had many of her short films play the festival. This will be her feature debut and I cannot wait to experience her storytelling in long form.


BONES OF CROWS (Contemporary World Cinema, World Premiere)

 

Unfolding over 100 years, BONES OF CROWS is a feature film told through the eyes of Cree Matriarch Aline Spears as she survives a childhood in Canada’s residential school system to continue her family’s generational fight in the face of systemic starvation, racism, and sexual abuse.

We’re all aware by now of the horror stories of the children forced to live in Canada’s residential schools. So much so that the Pope apologized for the abuse the children endured after innumerable graves were discovered on the former grounds. Bones of Crows is a vastly important story.

*This program contains scenes that may distress some viewers, especially those who have experienced harm, abuse, violence, and/or intergenerational trauma due to colonial practices.

Support is available 24 hours a day for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools and for those who may be triggered by content dealing with residential schools, child abuse, emotional trauma, and racism. The national Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line is available at 1-866-925-4419.


BROTHER (Special Presentations, World Premiere)
Propelled by the pulsing beats of Toronto’s early hip hop scene, BROTHER is the story of Francis (Aaron Pierre) and Michael (Lamar Johnson), sons of Caribbean immigrants maturing into young men. Director Clement Virgo expertly tackles themes of masculinity, identity and family as a mystery unfolds during the sweltering summer of 1991, and escalating tensions set off a series of events that change the course of the brothers’ lives forever.

Writer-director Clement Virgo brings TIFF audiences a tale more relevant today than ever. A study in grief, Brother is bound to impact viewers is a visceral manner.


DALÍLAND (Gala Presentation, World Premiere, **Closing Night**)
Mary Harron’s DALÍLAND is both a coming of age story and a searing, funny and sympathetic portrait of crisis in the late life of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. Experienced through the eyes of young gallery assistant James Linton (Christopher Briney) as he is invited into a glamorous new world, audiences will uncover the true Dalí (Sir Ben Kingsley) – the complex, flawed, and deeply human man behind the brilliant paintings, wild theatrics, and iconic mustache and explore his especially tempestuous relationship with Gala (Barbara Sukowa), his wife and muse.\

Sir Ben Kingsley releases Dali from an enigmatic caricature and humanizes the genius, his life, and his work.


THE PEOPLE’S JOKER (Midnight Madness, World Premiere)
After years numbing herself with irony and an inhalant called Smylex, an unfunny aspiring clown grapples with gender identity, first love, and old foes all while founding an illegal comedy theater in Gotham City. It’s a queer coming-of-age Joker Origin story. Completely unlicensed by DC and Warner Brothers. Starring and directed by Vera Drew (“Beef House,” “Who Is America”) and featuring the work of 200 independent artists on three separate continents, all made during a global pandemic!

A queer coming-of-age satire and multi-media extravaganza, this mashup of fandoms I never knew I needed.


MY SAILOR, MY LOVE (Contemporary World Cinema, World Premiere)
MY SAILOR, MY LOVE is a heart-warming drama on timeless love and forgiveness. Howard (James Cosmo) is a retired sailor and widower, his daughter Grace (Catherine Walker) hires a caregiver Annie (Bríd Brennan). Reclusive and stubborn, Howard rejects Annie’s company, but eventually opens his heart and gives final love a chance.

A raw and compelling family drama, My Sailor, My Love is teeming with complexity and outstanding performances.


THE WOMAN KING  (World Premiere — Gala Presentations)

Synopsis: The Woman King is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Inspired by true events, The Woman King follows the emotionally epic journey of General Nanisca (Oscar®-winner Viola Davis) as she trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life. Some things are worth fighting for…

Listen, if you tell me that Viola Davis is starring in a film, my butt is in a seat. Based on a true story? Well, that’s solidly in Davis’ wheelhouse, but really what isn’t? This is one highly anticipated film already.


ALLELUJAH (SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS)

This glorious reunion of Oscar winner Judi Dench and director Richard Eyre (Notes on a Scandal) is a spirited homage to the idiosyncrasies of old age and the noble fortitude of health-care workers everywhere. Adapted by Heidi Thomas from Alan Bennett’s stage play, Allelujah assembles a stunning ensemble of veteran British actors, including Jennifer Saunders, David Bradley, and Derek Jacobi.

There is every chance this will be an absolute crowd pleaser. The premise alone has me making up scenarios in my head of pure shenanigans. With a hell of a cast, Allelujah cannot go wrong.


FIXATION (Contemporary World Cinema)

Maddie Hasson (Malignant) plays a young woman committed to an unorthodox institution by a pair of enigmatic doctors (Genesis Rodriguez and Stephen McHattie).

Another feature debut from a female filmmaker, Mercedes Bryce Morgan brings to life an ambitious physiological thriller that will mesmerize with wild production design. I don’t think any of us are ready for such treatment. (pun intended)


LIVING (CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA)

In this exquisitely realized remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 film Ikiru, director Oliver Hermanus teams with Nobel- and Booker Prize–winning author Kazuo Ishiguro to renew a classic. LIVING is the story of an ordinary man, reduced by years of oppressive office routine to a shadow existence, who at the eleventh hour makes a supreme effort to turn his dull life into something wonderful – into one he can say has been lived to the full

The magnificent Bill Nighy helms this film about humanity and mortality. With Mothering Sunday vets, cinematographer Jamie Ramsay and production designer Helen Scott, Living will undoubtedly be a feast for the eyes.

THE LOST KING (SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS)

Synopsis: In the archaeological find of a century, the remains of King Richard III — presumed scattered over 500 years ago — were discovered beneath a parking lot in Leicester in 2012. The search had been conceived and motivated by an amateur historian, Philippa Langley, whose passion and unrelenting research were met with skepticism. THE LOST KING is the inspiring true story of a woman who refused to be ignored and who took on Britain’s most eminent historians, forcing them to rethink the legacy of one of the most controversial kings in England’s history. A tale of discovery, obsession, and stolen glory (both then and now), THE LOST KING is a magical adventure illuminated by one woman’s growing sense of purpose.

My husband and I are history nerds. We’ve seen the documentary of this very story and it was nothing short of fascinating. For those who may not know the vile things said about King Richard III, it’s rather shocking. Sally Hawkins is the perfect choice to capture Philippa Langley‘s determined journey to uncover the truth.

MOVING ON (GALA PRESENTATIONS)

Synopsis: Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star in this fusion of audacious comedy and bracing drama about estranged pals who are reunited when a beloved mutual friend dies, leaving her widower the target of a revenge plan.

Perhaps some of the most notable chemistry we’ve seen between two women in years bounds off the screen when Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda work together. These two powerhouse ladies bring heart and humor to a story much more complex than at first sight. TIFF audiences are bound to cheer for Moving On.


ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE (Discovery)

Based on the book by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, two teenage Mexican-American loners in 1987 El Paso explore a new, unusual friendship and the difficult road to self-discovery.

Another female director’s feature debut (in case anyone is counting and cheering along with me), Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is more than a queer coming-of-age story. You’d never guess Max Pelayo and Reese Gonzales were first-time leads. Lin-Manuel Miranda joins a powerhouse team of producers after narrating Sáenz‘s audiobook in 2013 and then reading writer-director Aitch Alberto’s screenplay. He knows a little something about quality writing, so his seal of approval is huge.


TIFF 2022 runs from September 8th to the 18th.

For more information on the fest, visit tiff.net


Review: Will ‘CAMPING TRIP’ leave you asking for s’more? (I had to.)

*Resisting the urge to title this review “camping is in tents.”*


Two couples escape the monotony of lockdown by journeying into the woods for a camping trip. When they inadvertently become entangled in a crime, secrets come to light, and things get more intense. What’s a little money and murder between friends?

Performances are fine. I wish I sensed more believable chemistry between our four protagonists. Michael D’ Amico and Jonathan Vanderzon fare better as our villains. Their presence elicited a genuinely visceral reaction.

Camping Trip would benefit from a 15 to 20-minute cut. While the climax is satisfying, by no means did it need that much slow-motion editing. What follows is a confusing shift in relationships that feels forced. Like much of their response to finding a body and a bag filled with money, their decisions are laughable, if not infuriating. If nothing else, it gives the audience a reason to keep watching and wondering how this bungling crew parts ways.

The camera work in the final ten minutes is quite literally dizzying. It also allows the audience to use their imaginations, rather than relying on mediocre fight choreography and the continued use of watered-down practical fx blood. Polly’s particular skill makes for a slick final moment. I had hoped it was featured more in the story. Michel DeMars’ score in this scene, in particular, is perfect. In the end, Camping Trip has an intriguing plot, even if the exposition lacks polish.


FAR FROM COVID FAR FROM SAFE

 

Debuting on Digital On Demand August 16

 

Fuica Film Pictures and 8Cube are delighted to share the new trailer and poster for their upcoming horror, Camping Trip. The sinister thriller will be available on Digital Download from 16th August.

Camping Trip stars Leo Zola (Leonardo Fuica), Caitlin Cameron, Hannah Forest Briand, and Alex Gravenstein and is directed by Leonardo and Demian Fuica, who both make their English language feature-length directorial debuts.


 

Review: ‘GIRL IN THE PICTURE’ is Netflix’s most heinous true crime documentary to date

One hell of a mystery! With clues and revelations spilling off the screen like Niagara Falls, Girl In The Picture is another phenomenal entry into Netflix’s true crime genre. The unusual death of a young mother named Tanya and the subsequent kidnapping of her son, what would unravel from those two events would be one of the craziest stories of abuse, fraud, and terror.

Filmmaker Skye Borgman sits down with Sharon Marshall‘s friends from high school. Intelligent, sweet, and determined, she had her life planned out. A promising future as an engineer with a full-ride scholarship, everything changed when she found out she was pregnant. Her father whisked her away on a journey that would lead investigators into a world of heinous crime and abuse.

Borgman delves into the mind of a serial killer. His crimes date back further than anyone expected. He’s a vile individual. But, like many criminals with a penchant for abuse, it’s cyclical. Hopes of discovering Sharon’s origins grew like gangbusters in the early 2000s with the publication of investigative journalist Matt Birkbeck‘s book “A Beautiful Child.” A break in 2005 broke open an entirely new mystery. The hits keep on coming.

With a mix of interviews, photographs, recreations, archival footage, and slick transitions, Girl In The Picture is a heart-pounding and nauseating watch. The how and why will blow your mind. You will have no idea where this story begins or ends. It is one of the most sinister stories I’ve ever heard. Watch as friends and the police unravel the chaos around Sharon, her son, and the man that made their lives a living nightmare. The amount of information in this film could have easily been an entire series. Trust me when I say you will be relieved it isn’t.


Girl in the Picture is only on Netflix on July 6th.

Directed by: Skye Borgman
Source Material: Matt Birkbeck
Produced by: Jimmy Fox
Executive Producers: Matt Birkbeck


The jaw-dropping true crime story of a search to solve a 30-year-old mystery: who was Sharon Marshall, and why was her real identity unknown to everyone – even her?

In his international bestseller A Beautiful Child and its follow-up, Finding Sharon, award-winning investigative journalist Matt Birkbeck told the heartbreaking story of a brilliant and beautiful teenager known as Sharon Marshall. Caught in the twisted web of the monster she called her father, Sharon wasn’t her real name.


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 for which he end up being saved by a private money lender.

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.

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