Sundance 2023 capsule review: Anna Hints’ profound documentary ‘SMOKE SAUNA SISTERHOOD’ is a collective sigh of womanhood.

SMOKE SAUNA SISTERHOOD

The ancient Estonian ritual of sauna building is a physical and spiritual cleansing. Women gather to share everything from funny childhood stories to earthly, almost guttural chants to intimate confessions with unfiltered honesty. Anna Hints‘ Sundance 2023 documentary Smoke Sauna Sisterhood is a visceral and profoundly deep film.

Mesmerizing closeups of body parts beading with sweat captured with static and handheld camerawork beautifully complement the conversations and place the audience inside the room. Haunting vocals during transition moments captivate the audience. Images of south Estonian matriarchs are projected on the sauna smoke as their voices recall tales from their lives. It is another stunning addition to an already visually sumptuous film.

Topics like cancer, women’s rights, body shaming, unresolved trauma, sex, and sexuality swirl freely. It is a safe space I envy. Smoke Sauna Sisterhood brings a contagious joy. There is a raw elegance I think Sundance 2023 audiences, specifically female viewers, will welcome. This film is a celebration of our complexities, highlighting the tender care we take with one another. It is revelatory to rediscover the interconnectedness of women and our shared experiences, good and bad. It is an astonishingly rewarding emotional catharsis.


Screening Times
In Person
PREMIERE
AddFAVORITE
Jan. 22 6:00PM MST
Prospector Square Theatre

PARK CITY

SECOND SCREENING
AddFAVORITE
Jan. 23 8:30PM MST
Megaplex Theatres at The Gateway 6

SALT LAKE CITY

SECOND SCREENING
AddFAVORITE
Jan. 25 11:45AM MST
Egyptian Theatre

PARK CITY

SECOND SCREENING
AddFAVORITE
Jan. 26 4:00PM MST
Redstone Cinemas – 2

PARK CITY

SECOND SCREENING
AddFAVORITE
Jan. 27 12:00PM MST
Screening Room

SUNDANCE MOUNTAIN RESORT

Online
SECOND SCREENING
AddFAVORITE
Jan. 24 8:00AM MST
Available Until Jan. 29 11:55PM MST


Anna Hints is an Estonian film director with a background in contemporary art and experimental folk music. Having deep roots in the distinct culture of South Estonia, Hints’ second home is in India. As an active dumpster diver, Hints’ short documentary For Tomorrow Paradise Arrives initiated public discussion and growth of new grassroot movements against food waste in Estonia.


 

Slamdance 2023 review: ‘A Perfect Day for Caribou’ is a captivating character study.

A PERFECT DAY FOR CARIBOU

We find Herman with a tape recorder in hand, giving estranged son Nate life tips and recalling snippets of random stories from his past. When his phone rings, he finds Nat on the other end, requesting a visit. Nate arrives with his six-year-old son Ralph in tow. Three generations in the same place for the first time, Herman and Nate swap stories as they play catch-up with one another as Ralph explores the cemetery with his soccer ball. Midway through the film, Ralph goes missing. Father and son search the surrounding area far and wide, with Nate explaining this is a habit of Ralph’s. Their talk continues along the way, Herman toting a mysterious box with them and Nate chainsmoking as a coping mechanism. A Perfect Day for Caribou catches Slamdance 2023 audiences off-guard with honesty and reflection.

The film opens with Jeb Berrier and a glorious 10-plus minute monologue of stories and advice. His delivery lands somewhere between stoic and hypnotizing. It is an extraordinary turn. Charlie Plummer never ceases to amaze me with his grounded portrayals. It’s like watching a documentary. Plummer settles into Nate without missing a beat. His calming demeanor, similar to Berrier’s, grabs you instantly. Rutherford’s script allows Plummer to break free as the story progresses, and again, he nails it. There is a purity to the performance.

Cinematographer Alfonso Herrera Salcedo‘s work is beautiful. The combination of black-and-white and thoughtful framing captures your attention immediately. I adored the stationary swings. Long takes allow the audience to focus on the dialogue, heightening the emotional investment. The location is a cemetery and the surrounding open plains. Something about this choice speaks volumes on a metaphoric level. Short intercut scenes surprise and delight.

The film is a perfect fit for Slamdance 2023. Writer-director Jeff Rutherford offers an intimate portrait of attempted redemption and connection. Complete with full-circle moments, A Perfect Day for Caribou is a mesmerizing character study brimming with complexity.


A Perfect Day for Caribou – Festival Trailer from Jeff Rutherford on Vimeo.

A PERFECT DAY FOR CARIBOU, starring Charlie Plummer (Lean on Pete; Looking for Alaska) and Jeb Berrier (First Cow; Shrill), premieres at Slamdance Film Festival on Saturday, January 21. 

And from January 23-29, watch from anywhere with the Slamdance Channel.

A PERFECT DAY FOR CARIBOU follows an estranged father and son who spend the day ambling, wandering, searching, and stumbling through disharmony and heartache. This heartfelt yet unconventional narrative is filmed in the nostalgic 4:3 aspect ratio and evocative black and white by cinematographer Alfonso Herrera Salcedo.


 

Slamdance 2023 review: The weird and wonderful world of ‘Who’s Annie?’

Slamdance 2023 Premiere of

WHO’S ANNIE?

After jail-time, 12-step programs and five marriages, Annie begins her acting career in her mid-fifties with the help of a young director she met at a Burger King. In this show within a show, Annie tackles both her gigs as an actor and the role of herself in her own life story.


A farcical meta delight, Slamdance 2023 episodic WHO’S ANNIE skewers the absurdity of Hollywood, but that’s only the beginning. Annie Pisapia plays herself and doesn’t. Yup. You read that correctly. This “series within a series” is wildly entertaining and wholly bizarre. 

Writer-director Sophia Peer plays “herself,” a television director with awkward and quirky energy. Peer bears a striking resemblance to Rhea Pearlman. It’s a head-scratching role, and I could not look away. Sofia Dobrushin plays the “series” version of Peers. Wide-eyed and perfectly cast, Dobrushin appears both afraid and at home in coordinated chaos. I adored her. Annie Pisapia owns the screen, as her comic timing is something to behold. Her rough exterior feels part false flag, part true identity. She is so convincing it is genuinely tough to discern between Annie’s real life and the script. That is the entire point of the series, and Peer has succeeded with flying colors. Adding in Peer’s manic confidence and Dobrushin’s “yes, and” attitude, these three women exquisitely complement one another.

Because the show jumps in style, so does the cinematography. It is eye candy that never gets boring. It is pure silliness, and I’m dying for more. It’s Comedy Central meets Mad TV. There is a lot of meat on the bone for series development. Everyone has enough (or a lot) of backstory to expand upon and plenty of weirdness to start. WHO’S ANNIE is unique in this Slamdance 2023 episodic lineup.


WHO’S ANNIE? – 30 Minute Scripted Comedy Series – Trailer from sophia peer on Vimeo.


2 Screenings at Treasure Mountain Inn: 255 Main St, Park City, UT 84060
Sunday 1/22: 9:45pm- Ballroom 
Thursday, 1/26: 11:30am- Crescent Room
Ticket Link Here

 

CREDITS:

Creator/Director: Sophia Peer

Written by Sophia Peer & Annie Sicherman

EPs: Ryan Cunningham, Troy Thompson

Co-Executive Producer: Randy Stulberg

Produced by: Manon Carrié

Cinematographer: Adam Uhl

Production Designer: Erica Magrey

Editor: Matt Posey

Starring: Annie Pisapia, Sofia Dobrushin, Sophia Peer


BIOS:

Creator and Director: Sophia Peer (she/her) was born and raised in Flushing, Queens, where she began her career as filmmaker, directing her parents in scripted/doc hybrids before she knew that was even a thing. She was awarded the NY Foundation for the Arts ‘Made In NY’ grant, a finalist for the ScreenCraft Film Fund, accepted into The Gotham’s Episodic Lab, and invited to Gotham Week, for WHO’S ANNIE?, a series she’s creating, co-writing and directing. Sophia is currently pitching a doc/scripted hybrid series created in collaboration with Jigsaw Productions. After years of working on series for Nike, Super Deluxe, Nylon, Genius, and Pitchfork, Sophia is now also directing a surreal cooking show, DANNY’S FOOD CORNER, starring queer comedian Lily Marotta (Celebrity Book Club). Sophia’s work has been screened at the Whitney Museum of Art, Hauser & Wirth, Abrons Art Center, the Giphy Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, Contemporary Arts Center, The Queens Museum, Indie Memphis Film Festival, and MoMA. She has directed music videos for artists such as Paramore, Julien Baker, Paramore, The National, Interpol, Yeasayer, and Junior Boys. 

Co-Writer: Annie Sicherman (she/her) is an award-winning queer screenwriter from Queens, NY.  She is the co-writer of WHO’S ANNIE?, a pilot that was awarded the NYFA “Made in NY” Grant, accepted into The Gotham’s Episodic Lab, and a finalist in the ScreenCraft Film Fund. Recently, Annie’s comedy pilot DOCTOR BABIES advanced in the Austin Film Festival.

Executive Producer: Ryan Cunningham (she/her) is an Emmy and Peabody award-winning producer who launched the development company Running Woman, with projects set up at FX, Party Over Here, and Swimsuit Edition. She has 20 years experience producing 25 different comedy TV series. TV producer credits include BROAD CITY, INSIDE AMY SCHUMER, SEARCH PARTY, THE LAST O.G., and stand-up specials for Comedy Central, Showtime, Amazon, Netflix, and HBO. Ryan was also the Director/EP on specials for Ilana Glazer, Alan Cumming, and the docuseries EXPECTING AMY.

Executive Producer: Troy Thompson (he/him) started Running Man in 2009 with his business partner Ryan Cunningham as a place to inspire creativity, and over the last 14 years has seen it turn into one of New York’s premiere post houses. He has been working in television and film for 25 years now as both an editor and colorist with an unending attention to detail. Credits include PATRIOT ACT with Hasan Minhaj, ZIWE, FLATBUSH MISDEMEANORS, AT HOME WITH AMY SEDARIS, BROAD CITY, IINSIDE AMY SCHUMER, SEARCH PARTY, THE DETOUR, and THE CHARACTERS. He has worked on stand-up specials for Chris Rock, Hasan Minhaj, Amy Schumer, Mike Birbiglia, Roy Wood Jr., Atsuko Okatsuka, Aida Rodriguez, Yvonne Orji, and music specials for Apple Live for Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige. His work in feature films include the HBO documentary THE TRANS LIST; co-productions of 3RD STREET BLACKOUT, CLAIRE IN MOTION, KEEP THE CHANGE, winner of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival; and BECKS, winner of the US Fiction Prize at the LA Film Festival. Troy’s most recent goal is to be a part of content that will someday inspire his 11-year-old daughter. 

Co-Executive Producer: Randy Stulberg (she/her) is an award winning creative EP/ showrunner from New York. Most recently she has been working on episodic development for various clients in TV and digital including Jigsaw Productions, The New York Times,  Refinery29, Vice, Apple/ JV8inc. and VOX/New York Magazine. She was the showrunner for Viceland TV’s highest rated show Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia, helping reimagine the series from its original digital format for an international TV audience and executive produced 2022 Sports Emmy nominated series “Golden” featuring Olympic gold medalist Sunisa Lee for LeBron James’ SpringHill Company and Peacock streaming. 

Producer: Manon Carrié (she/her) is a French/Filipina-American writer and producer with a multitude of innovative work in docustyle branded content, television and narrative film for award-winning companies such as Vice, Hearst, Condé Nast, HBO Max, Freeform, Jigsaw, Hulu and The New York Times. Her projects playfully experiment with unexpected hybrids of form and genre, and aim to probe the peculiar nuances of characters, cultures and structural conflicts, which can be glimpsed in her 2020 mockumentary webseries ABROAD and bilingual dream-doc short OISEAUX DES ÎLES. She currently has three narrative scripts and several docu-projects in development, one of which plans to take place in her mother’s birth-village in the Philippines. She splits her time between Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Paris.

Cinematographer: Adam Uhl (he/him) is a cinematographer based out of New York. His first film MALA MALA, was produced by Christine Vachon and Killer Films and received an Audience Award at the 2014 TriBeCa Film Festival. In 2017, his second film, DINA, produced by Dan Cogan, Impact Partners, and Killer Films, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it received the Grand Jury Prize. He has also lensed several series including UNTOLD and LOSERS, THE FIX, and PANIC for Netflix and HBO. 

Production Designer: Erica Magrey (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based production designer, prop stylist, and interdisciplinary artist with a particular interest in examining female tropes, high/low-brow culture blends, and the future of the past. Working with commercial and editorial clients on scripted series, music videos, and still life photography, she creates work that examines the performance of identity. Erica has had screenings, performances and exhibitions at art spaces such as Socrates Sculpture Park, The Sculpture Center, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Kaskadenkondensator (Basel), The Kitchen, 106 Green, Klaus von Nichtssagend, Magic Pictures, Freight + Volume, and Storefront for Art and Architecture. 

Editor: Matt Posey (he/him) is an editor based in NY and LA. In addition to features, shorts, and award-winning commercials, he has edited music videos for Depeche Mode, Metallica, Rob Thomas, and many others.

The Star and inspiration for the series: Annie Pisapia (she/her) is an award winning actor born and raised in Queens. She can be spotted in many of the big series you’ve seen for the past six years playing roles such as Inmate, Police Officer, Drug Addict, Bartender and Janitor. Annie was the recurring character “Smoking Woman” in HIGH FIDELITY, scene partners with Bobby Cannavale in THE WATCHER, and held the role of “Agitated Woman” on NEW AMSTERDAM. Other shows include INVENTING ANNA, BETTY, MANIFEST, BILLIONS, BLUE BLOODS, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, CRASHING and THE OA. Annie’s swagger, charm, and New York attitude make her very hard to miss, even when she’s playing a background role. There are more than ten projects that are about to premiere in which Annie plays a major role including “Senior Biker Chic” in AWKWAFINA IS NORA FROM QUEENS, “Sister Joseph” in Jennifer Esposito’s directorial debut FRESH KILLS, and “Cathy” in the Netflix A24 comedy series SURVIVAL OF THE THICKEST.

Co-Star: Sofia Dobrushin (she/they) is Bicoastal, Biracial and Bisexual. They love to be at the intersection of many things and we see that reflected in their craft as an actor, director, comedian and musician. Acting credits include HIGH MAINTENANCE, César Alvarez’ ELEMENTARY SPACETIME SHOW, and On the Rock’s EDELWEISS at Ars Nova. Sofia was recently in Apple TV’s WECRASHED where she yelled at Anne Hathaway and got to wear fake glasses.


 

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: Steve Balderson’s ‘Alchemy of the Spirit’ is a crossroads of grief and art

Artist Oliver Black (Xander Berkeley) wakes to discover his wife Evelyn (Sarah Clarke) has died in their bed overnight. Brimming with magical realism, we enter a world in which the misconceptions of our belief in a solid reality are revealed. Space and time bend in a way to challenge the audience with what is real, what is illusion, and what is beyond…
This peaceful and hypnotic quiet is interrupted by the outside world and the threat of everyday, common reality, thanks to Oliver’s art dealer (Mink Stole).

Steve Balderson‘s films are rather distinctive. Their lush visual impact sticks in your brain. His newest film, Alchemy of the Spirit, is no exception. Possessing a dreamy, even otherworldly look, Balderson makes the mundane glow. The quiet becomes claustrophobic. As the film begins, the sound editing alongside the score creates an unsettling feeling. The audience resides inside the manic mind of a grieving man. At 23 mins and 10 seconds into the film, we get a shot that elicits every emotion tied to this film. The symmetry, artistic and of two souls as one, is breathtaking. You will not miss it. There is a Picasso-esque madness to it. Balderson thought about its impact as it is the current key art for the film. Very smart. That sense of panic eases once introduced to a languid score of Debussy, Bach, and other classical beauty. While the darkness lies just under the surface, the screenplay’s nuances extend beyond what I expected from the first third of the film.

Sarah Clarke, as Evelyn, is chilling and beautiful. Her voice, combined with soul-piercing imagery, is haunting. The grounded chemistry between Clarke and Xander Berkeley plays with a familiarity of real-life lovers, which makes sense as the two actors have been married since 2002. Berkeley, who I recently lauded in The Dark and The Wicked, is similarly spectacular here. He’s an actor that can capture emotion with a glance. Balderson’s screenplay allows him to live in grief in an extraordinarily imaginative way. It’s a stunning performance. Not only that, but the actual art in the film is Berkeley’s. It will wow you.

The idea of “the proper way to grieve” is front and center. How do we honor the dead? How do we mark the life we have? Oliver creates a literal death mask both as a means to stop time and keep Evelyn’s spirit alive. We get to explore the meaning of life through memory. The film easily could have been a stage play. It is dripping with theatricality. Alchemy of the Spirit is a genre-bending ode to art and romance. It’s a visual love poem.


Steve Balderson’s Gothic Love Story Alchemy of the Spirit

Streaming Now on Amazon Prime Video

Soon to Debut on All Major VOD Platforms

 
Alchemy of the Spirit: 91 minutes / United States / English

Review: Adult Swim’s ‘YULE LOG’ – How a surprise horror film is this year’s greatest stocking stuffer.

A warm fireplace with logs set ablaze and traditional holiday songs descend into pure Christmas horror chaos. The camera stays static as characters enter and exit the frame, never entirely in focus. For the first seven minutes, the film relies on voice acting akin to a radio show. A bait and switch occur when the camera owners, Alex and Zoe, return to the cabin and push out the focus to reveal the room. A curse, a serial killer, a few aliens, and all hell breaks lose when two groups double-book the listing. Shit gets gruesome and infinitely bonkers in YULE LOG (aka The Fireplace).

Even though the script overflows with tropes, they are masterfully woven into a compelling narrative. As multiple complications arise, the camera finally moves in a smooth dronelike manner. Then the gore hits us right in the face. *nudge, nudge, wink, wink* I would pay so much money to experience YULE LOG again in 3D. No, seriously. Also, don’t for a moment think you have the slightest idea of what comes next. YULE LOG is absolutely deranged and ridiculously entertaining.

Performances are outstanding. The commitment to the absurd is perfection. With shocking emotional swings and spectacular editing, there is not a slow moment. How Adult Swim managed to sneak in a last-minute horror film without Warner Bros. knowing blows my mind. It’s a holiday miracle. The creativity applied to this low-budget and undeniably genius production makes it one of the finest genre films of the year. YULE LOG is a Willy Winka mindfuck of a revenge horror. Don’t dare leave before the credits. You’ll miss out on writer-director Casper Kelley’s original theme song. It’s one final bizarre and brilliant stocking stuffer.


 

“Adult Swim Yule Log” is now available to stream on HBO Max and to purchase digitally.

About Adult Swim

Adult Swim is the leader in adult animation and #1 destination for young adults for over fifteen years, offering critically acclaimed, award-winning original and acquired series such as “Rick and Morty,” “Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal,” “The Eric Andre Show,” and “SMILING FRIENDS.” Fan favorite anime block, Toonami, airs on Saturday nights and has expanded beyond acquisitions, producing original series including “Housing Complex C,” “Uzumaki,” and new seasons of “FLCL.” The annual Adult Swim Festival reaches a global audience, and features performances by top musicians and comedians. Adult Swim airs nightly from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. (ET/PT) on its linear channel and reaches fans via HBO Max. Connect with Adult Swim on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Tik Tok. Subscribe to Adult Swim on YouTube.

About Warner Bros. Discovery

Warner Bros. Discovery (NASDAQ: WBD) is a leading global media and entertainment company that creates and distributes the world’s most differentiated and complete portfolio of content and brands across television, film and streaming. Available in more than 220 countries and territories and 50 languages, Warner Bros. Discovery inspires, informs and entertains audiences worldwide through its iconic brands and products including: Discovery Channel, discovery+, CNN, DC, Eurosport, HBO, HBO Max, HGTV, Food Network, OWN, Investigation Discovery, TLC, Magnolia Network, TNT, TBS, truTV, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Television, Warner Bros. Games, New Line Cinema, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, Discovery en Español, Hogar de HGTV and others. For more information, please visit www.wbd.com.


GRIMMFEST 2022 review: ‘MOON GARDEN’ gave me goosebumps.

MOON GARDEN

One of the most extraordinary and exciting cinematic experiences of the year, GRIMMFEST audiences got a taste of the uniqueness of Moon Garden. A five-year-old girl’s trauma manifests as bizarre and visceral images as she sits in a coma. The audience hears the real-time action as the doctors and her parents navigate their tumultuous relationship. Guided by her parents’ voices, Emma attempts to escape her mysterious prison world, wading through creatures of good and evil. Moon Garden is an industrial steampunk fairy tale that is relentlessly haunting and undeniably riveting.

Moon Garden is character and world-building at its best. Fascinating and terrifying all at once, we are right alongside Emma in this frightening in-between existence. A bit of Return To Oz with a touch of Pan’s Labyrinth, the magic of Moon Garden grows with each passing second. The editing is stunning. In addition to the monstrous action, writer-director Ryan Stevens Harris incorporates memories, giving Emma the tools to survive in her strange surroundings. It’s a beguiling screenplay tackling love and fear.

Haven Lee Harris plays Emma with authentic fear and wonder. She is darling. As a mother of two children around her age, Moon Garden made my palms sweat. My pulse elevated, and I simply could not take my eyes off the screen. Harris is nothing short of captivating. I cannot wait to see what she does next. What a star!

Ryan Stevens Harris cleverly utilizes cinematic homage and fantasy to express childhood trauma. This gothic fairytale surprises at every turn. It is undoubtedly one of my favorite films of the year.

 

  • Year:
    2022
  • Runtime:
    95 minutes
  • Language:
    English
  • Country:
    United States
  • Premiere:
    International premiere
  • Rating:
    12A
  • Director:
    Ryan Stevens Harris
  • Screenwriter:
    Ryan Stevens Harris

Review: ‘THE SILENT TWINS’ is an imaginative interpretation of The Gibbons’ sisters haunting history.

THE SILENT TWINS

The real-life story of twin sisters June and Jennifer Gibbons continuously confounds psychologists and curious onlookers alike. As young girls from Barbados whose father transferred for work, they were the only Black family in their Wales neighborhood. The girls experienced insurmountable isolation and bullying. As a result, they turned inward, refusing to speak to anyone other than each other, and exhibited succinct behavior, almost catatonic at times. With each passing year, The Gibbons sisters enigmatic relationship wreaked havoc on their families, communities, and each other. The Silent Twins creatively illustrate their experiences. Theirs is a story that baffles the world.

The only time they spoke aloud was in their bedroom, as they created magnificent plays, poems, and short stories. The Silent Twins utilizes mixed media stop motion animation to illustrate the girls’ elaborate writing. When you hear their diary entries, you soon realize their astonishing level of intellect.

Following their dismissal from school, the girls enter a specialized education program (which later proved useless), followed by separate residential schools. June struggles to adjust due to the separation, becoming despondent. Once reunited, things regress to the status quo in their childhood bedroom for the next few years.

The dynamic between the two is clear; Jennifer exerts all power over June. Adolescent jealousy brings a new level of vengeful animosity to Jennifer and June’s relationship. Jennifer’s infatuation with an influential bad boy brings drugs and pyromania into their lives. The consequences of these behaviors lead them to their eleven-year admission to Broadmoor Hospital. The publication of June’s book further drives their competitive nature.

*SPOILER ALERT* If you’d like to stay in the dark about the story, skip the following paragraph!!

The Gibbons made a pact in childhood stating that if one of them died, the other should begin to speak and live a “normal life.” On the day of their release from Broadmoor, Jennifer passes away in the transport van. While the circumstances did not sit well with anyone, her autopsy would later reveal a case of undiagnosed myocarditis. Rather than sink into grief, the death of Jennifer frees June from a lifelong emotional and physical prison.

** Continue below…

Performances from Letitia Wright and Tamara Larance will blow you away. Their vocal specificity is imperative to understanding the real-life twins’ dialect and speech patterns. Their volatile chemistry jumps off the screen. Each actress has their time to shine.

Prior knowledge of this bizarre case proved to be a blessing and a curse. A few things felt stylistically superfluous, especially a runtime of nearly 2 hours. I almost wish this haunting tale were a touch more straightforward. The stop-motion sequences are such a powerful device that the added songs and whimsical choreography appear overkill. I’m unsure if The Silent Twins works as a whole. Perhaps, a viewer with zero previous understanding of The Gibbons’ strange existence might come to a different conclusion. If you fall into that category, I recommend going into the film blind. Either way, director Agnieszka Smoczynska displays a unique vision of two mind-boggling women.


Silence was their bond. Imagination set them free.

Letitia Wright and Tamara Lawrance star in #TheSilentTwins, only in theaters September 16.


A version of this review first appeared on AWFJ.org. To read more insights from the amazing women in the alliance, click here!


 

TIFF22 review: Midnight Madness selection ‘THE PEOPLE’S JOKER’ is a trans coming-of-age tale with eye-popping visuals and laughs to spare.

THE PEOPLE’S JOKER

An aspiring clown grappling with her gender identity combats a fascistic caped crusader, in writer-director Vera Drew’s uproariously subversive queer coming-of-age origin story.


Vera Drew‘s TIFF22 Midnight Madness feature, THE PEOPLE’S JOKER, is a visual explosion of mixed media deliciousness. Creatively autobiographical, watching the film is like taking ecstasy while simultaneously receiving an important message. Drew’s script overflows with biting satire about gender politics, comedy, and emotional healing. While we’re busy laughing and wondering how she got away with parodying DC, Disney, and other trademarks, she slyly exposes cyclical and deep-seated trauma.

 

I have to mention Nathan Faustyn by name. He plays Penguin with an unfiltered edge. Faustyn has incredible comic timing, and his chemistry with Vera is perfect. I want to see more of him in anything. Vera Drew speaks truth to power in a raw and undeniably hilarious manner. The writing is fearless, the performance is vulnerable, and her vision as a filmmaker is endlessly engrossing and quirky.

I adored the “bleeping” to avoid deadnaming. It was a quietly powerful device allowing Drew to address it head-on later in the film. Keep your ears sharp for voice cameos from Tim Heidecker and Bob Odenkirk. The original music is super catchy. Stick around through the credits for some extra treats. You’ll finally realize how expansive THE PEOPLE’S JOKER is. Each visual aspect comes from a different creative’s brilliant mind. This wild fandom mash-up is part confessional therapy session and another part cult coming-of-age indie.


United States of America, 2022
English
WORLD PREMIERE
92 minutes
Director
Vera Drew
Cast
Vera Drew, Vera Drew, Lynn Downey, Kane Distler, Nathan Faustyn, David Liebe Hart, Christian Calloway, Griffin Kramer, Phil Braun, Tim Heidecker, Ember Knight, Sarah Sherman
Cinematography
Nate Cornett
Editing
Vera Drew, Vera Drew
Executive Producers
Lindsay Cohen, Brian Alkerton, Bee Frederickson, Leo Kovalik, Jr., Johnee Reyna
Producer
Joey Lyons
Production Company
Haunted Gay Ride Productions
Production Designers
Laura Wheeler, Courtney McIntosh, Amy Smoot, Yesi Rego, Lauren Kezon
Screenplay
Vera Drew, Bri LeRose
Sound
Jake Robinson
Original Score
Justin Krol, Quinn Scharber, Ember Knight, Danni Rowan, Elias and the Error

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


Fantasia 2022 review: ‘Incredible But True’ is another ludicrously comical creation from filmmaker Quentin Dupieux.

INCREDIBLE BUT TRUE

Quentin Dupieux brings his unique level of absurdity to audiences once again with Fantasia 2022 film Incredible But True. Alain and Marie’s new home comes with one hell of a caveat; a tunnel in the basement that transports the individual 12 hrs forward in time. But that’s not all it does. This sharp comedy manages to be socially relevant through its silliness. 

The meandering dialogue is hilarious and infuriating. Dupieux has characters constantly waiting to get to the damn point already, and you know what? It works like gangbusters. Performances are outstanding across the board. They feel effortless through the profound theme of chasing vanity. His previous films RubberKeep An Eye Out, and Mandibles are cult classics. Incredible But True is a brilliantly bizarre addition to his signature storytelling style. You’ll want it in your Dupieux catalog. 


To find out more about Incredible but true screening at Fantasia 2022 click here!

Incredible But True sees a husband and wife move into a suburban house of their dreams only to discover that a mysterious secret is hidden in the basement, which may change their lives forever.
The quirky French comedy stars Alain Chabat (The Science of Sleep, Mood Indigo), Léa Drucker (Custody, The Man of My Life), Benoît Magimel (The Piano Teacher, Thieves) and Anaïs Demoustier (Sweet Evil, Alice and the Mayor).

Fantasia 2022 review: ‘All Jacked Up and Full Of Worms’ is gagworthy arthouse horror.

ALL JACKED UP AND FULL OF WORMS

Writer-director Alex Phillips brings a special kind of WTF to Fantasia 2022 with micro-budget arthouse horror, All Jacked Up and Full of Worms. In a wicked multiple narrative of some seriously messed up people, we are party to some of the sickest storylines we never signed up for. Roscoe, a motel maintenance man in a creepy, sexually adventurous throuple, a mentally ill man named Benny looking to be a father, a violent addict couple, the former pagan member giving an endless interview, and his sex worker daughter all collide. The throughline of these stories is that the characters ingest worms like drugs. The consequences will make you as queasy as you think. If David Cronenberg and Requiem for a Dream had a baby, you might get All Jacked Up and Full of Worms in the bassinet. The likelihood that you’ll be looking around the theatre to check if everyone else is just as horrified as you are incredibly high. Would I recommend you watch high? I’m not not saying it’s a good idea. Films like this bring audiences to Fantasia in the first place. Am I jacked up to see what Alex Phillips does next? Yup.

All Jacked Up and Full of Worms also stars Eva Fellows, Mike Lopez, Carol Rhyu, and Sammy Arechar. The film was produced by Phillips, Georgia Bernstein, and Ben Gojer.


Click here for more information about Fantasia 2022


Fantasia International Film Festival is back with its 26th edition to rescue us from reality. Here’s what we’re excited to see! #Fantasia2022

It’s no secret that all the best genre films come through Fantasia Film Festival. 2022’s fest comes just in time to distract us from all the actual horrible things happening in the world.

Welcome to a list of things we’re excited about playing this year. Some are already on our best of the year lists and some we anticipate adding. Check out our picks below.

For all things Fantasia Film Festival 2022 stay tuned to Reel News Daily with some special posts from our friends at Unseen Films


Six films we’ve seen at previous festivals and their reviews can be found below. Highly recommend each of them for a myriad of reasons.

Next Exit
Legions
Sissy


Honeycomb
Hypochondriac
Speak No Evil (One of the year’s most brutal films)



FREAKS OUT (Italy)

– Dir: Gabriele Mainetti

Rome, 1943. A pack of sideshow performers with supernatural powers face off against occupying Nazis in the most unusual superhero film you will ever see. This fantastical and gutsy celebration of the different that walks an electrifying tightrope between blockbuster filmmaking and edgier, more subversive genre work. From the director of THEY CALL ME JEEG. Winner of the Leoncino d’Oro at last fall’s Venice Film Festival. Canadian Premiere. 

Sounding like a genre fan’s wet dream, FreaksOut is a priority watch this year.



Princesse Dragon

Bristle is a little girl raised by dragons. But when her father, Dragon, has to pay the Sorcerog using his second most valuable asset, he offers her Bristle – Throwing her into an infinite sadness and forcing her to flee the family cave. Bristle then embarks on a journey to discover the world of men.

Feminist anime? Give it to me all day, every day.


Polaris

Set in 2144 against the harsh backdrop of a frozen wasteland, Sumi, a human child raised by Mama Polar Bear, narrowly escapes capture from a brutal Morad hunting party and sets out across the vast winter landscape. When Sumi stumbles across Frozen Girl, an unlikely friendship is forged and together they race ahead of the vindictive hunters towards the only guiding light Sumi knows, the Polaris star.

All female-led opening film. Sold.


One Cut of the Dead

(French remake of the cult classic)

After opening this year’s Cannes, FINAL CUT (Coupez!), Michel Hazanavicius’s riotous remake of Shinichirou Ueda’s ONE CUT OF THE DEAD, is coming to North America. Starring Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo, Grégory Gadebois, Finnegan Oldfield, Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, and Yoshiko Takehara reprising her beloved role from the original film as a producer, this hilarious ode to the do-or-die spirit of filmmaking is a joy to behold. It is especially noteworthy for the film’s North American journey to be starting at Fantasia, as the festival was among the first to popularize the original Audience Award-winning ONE CUT OF THE DEAD in the West. Poetically, Ueda’s latest, POPRAN, will also be having its North American Premiere at the festival this year. Bet your viewfinder that FINAL CUT is going to bring the house down in cheers. North American Premiere.

Without knowing the original, the buzz around this remake is out of this world. Will it live up to its predecessor? I guess we’ll all find out together.

Huesera

Pregnant with her first child and consumed by terrifying visions, Valeria (Natalia Solián) believes that she may be cursed by a supernatural entity. A brilliant and frightening breakout debut as important as Jennifer Kent’s THE BABADOOK, HUESERA firmly announces Mexico’s Michelle Garza Cervera as one of the leading new voices of the genre. A scorching personal vision that asks complex questions with ferocious honesty, this profound, nightmarish blessing comes to Fantasia hot off its award-winning Tribeca launch and is already one of the most talked-about genre works of the year.  Canadian Premiere. 

A big winner out of Tribeca 22, this is a slick film tackling identity and motherhood in a surprising way. If you’ve ever been pregnant and didn’t love every single second of it, this one will cut extra deep.



Bodies, Bodies, Bodies

Also screening as part of Fantasia’s closing night events will be Halina Reijn’s wildly entertaining and gloriously twisted BODIES BODIES BODIES. A party game leads to murder when young and wealthy friends gather at a remote family mansion in this instant classic comedy horror joyride that maintains a taut balance of uneasy tension and wicked humor. Starring Amandla Stenberg (THE HATE U GIVE), Maria Bakalova (BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM), Myha’la Herrold (INDUSTRY), Rachel Sennott (SHIVA BABY) and comedy superstar Pete Davidson. Special Screening.

When people cannot stop talking about a film, you know you have to see it. Coming to theaters August 5th.

 DIRECTOR: Halina Reijn CAST: Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha’la Herrold, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott, with Lee Pace and Pete Davidson


Piggy

Laura Galán appears in PIGGY by Carlota Pereda

During the sweltering summertime of rural Spain, Sara carries an extra load of teenage agony due to the perpetual bullying from her peers. She’s also an outsider at home—her parents and little brother just don’t understand her—so, feelings internalized, she’s often found buried in her headphones, drowning out her surroundings. One day, Sara’s usual solo dip at the local pool is disrupted by the presence of a mysterious stranger in the water and an exceptionally grueling bout of abuse at the hands of three girls. But, in a strange twist of fate, along the way home Sara witnesses her bloodied tormentors being kidnapped in the back of the stranger’s van.

Another buzzy title, this one focusing on mean girls and morality is a star vehicle for actress Laura Galán.


The Pez Outlaw

Steve Glew spent the 1990s smuggling rare pez dispensers into the USA from Eastern Europe, making millions of dollars. It was all magical until his arch-nemesis, The Pezident decided to destroy him.

Who wouldn’t want to watch a film about rival pez dispenser smugglers is really the question.


Everybody Goes To The Hosptial (short film)


Based on a true story, EVERYBODY GOES TO THE HOSPITAL is a stop motion animated exploration of physical, psychological, and familial trauma, telling the tale of 4-year-old Little Mata (writer/director Tiffany Kimmel’s mother) as she’s taken to the hospital in late 1963 with appendicitis.

This is s personal pick for me, as someone traumatized by hospitals more than once in my life. The first time was when I was diagnosed with appendicitis. Check out a teaser here.


For all things Fantasia 2022 stay tuned to Reel News Daily with some special posts from our friends at Unseen Films.


 

Bentonville Film Festival 2022 world premiere: ‘The Seven Faces Of Jane’ is a visionary experiment from 8 filmmakers.

THE SEVEN FACES OF JANE

Eight filmmakers come together to create one genre-obliterating film that centers around a woman named Jane. 

Goodbye/Hello

Gillian Jacobs

Jane drops off her daughter at sleepaway camp.

JaneSquared

Gia Coppola

In search of coffee, Jane encounters her doppelganger. 

Tayo

Boma Iluma

Jane reconnects with a previous lover. With super 8 footage overtop flashbacks, this story is pure romantic nostalgia. 

Guardian

Ryan Heffington

Jane rides an emotional and musical rollercoaster from delight to broken-heartedness, celebrating the friendship between her and a friend named Sybil. 

The Lonesome Road

Xan Cassavetes 

Jane picks up a free-spirited hitchhiker. Their drive is a fantasy sequence in more than one way. 

Rose

Julian J. Acosta

Jane encounters a girl running away from her Quinceanera. Their conversation turns to identity and confessions. It’s a celebration of similarities amongst strangers. As Rose, actress Daniela Hernandez is a star. 

The One Who Got Away

Ken Jeong

Community costar Joel McHale reunites with Gilligan Jacobs when Jane flags down a jogger and old friend sharing an intimate past. Jacobs and McHale have explosive chemistry together. When it comes down to it, McHale completely steals this scene. It is a wow of a turn. 

The Audition

Alex Takacs

Jane attends a call for a mysterious audition that begs more questions than answers. Breeda Wool gives us a manic performance you’ll struggle to shake. 

The only visual throughline is Jacobs and Jane’s all-new Ford Mustang Mach E. The automaker worked with producer Roman Coppola to bring the film to life. The stylistic maneuvering never lets you tune out. As each story differs in length and cinematography, The Seven Faces of Jane is an extraordinary film. Bentonville 2022 audiences are in for one wild ride.


Directed by:

Gillian Jacobs, Gia Coppola, Boma Iluma, Ryan Heffington, Xan Cassavetes, Julian J. Acosta, Ken Jeong, Alex Takacs

Starring:

Gillian Jacobs, Anthony Skordi, Chido Nwokocha, Sybil Azur, Emanuela Postacchini, Joni Reiss, Soledad St. Hilaire, Joel McHale, Caroline Ducrocq, Breeda Wool

Produced by:

Roman Coppola p.g.a., Jason Baum p.g.a. Sarah Park. Allison Amon p.g.a. and Luke Ricci

Executive Producers:

Chris Chang, Duffy Culligan, Tara Schaeffer, Alessandro Uzielli and Jordan Weisman

Editors:

Peter Cabada Hagan, Scott Hanson, Armen Harootun, Niles Howard, Jacob Mendel, Michael Wolfe

Cinematographer:

Andy Catarisano

Runtime:

92 minutes


To find out more about Bentonville 2022 click here!

In-Person Festival – June 22 – 26; Virtual Festival – June 22 – July 3

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 capsule review: ‘There There’ is a star-studded cinematic experiment.

THERE THERE

Andrew Bujalski attempts to make a film where no actor ever actually appears in the same space as their scene partners. In year three of the pandemic, we’ve been watching cleverly shot movies made through zoom and phones. Despite the star power and phenomenal writing, There There falls flat. I never realized the emotional impact of a two-shot until I didn’t have any in a film. The musical transitions between vignettes performed by Jon Natchez made the flow even more disjointed. Admittedly, it took me until midway through the first scene between Lili Taylor and Lennie James to realize there were not in the same room. I cannot say the same for the next story in which Taylor and actress Annie LaGanga. The script is overlong, and the editing doesn’t help. The third story of a parent-teacher conference is, hands down, the most intriguing. As a former educator and current parent, I was squirming in my seat. It’s cringeworthy and brilliant. Jason Schwartzman reigns supreme in the way only Jason Schwartzman can in the subsequent two scenes. I’ll watch him do anything. Finally, we come full circle with Lennie James ladies man and Molly Gordan‘s teacher, decompressing from the day from hell. This editing is the best sleight of hand by a long shot. Performances across the board are outstanding. It is a cast from movie heaven. I feel compelled to reiterate that Bujalski’s concept of interconnected storytelling is slick and works 90% of the time. If There There were ever reshot with this cast in the same place at the same time, I would watch that version.


DIRECTOR
Andrew Bujalski
PRODUCERS
Houston King, Dia Sokol Savage, Sam Bisbee
SCREENWRITER
Andrew Bujalski
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Matthias Grunsky, BVK
COMPOSER
Jon Natchez
EDITOR
Andrew Bujalski
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
Greg Stewart, Jackie Kelman Bisbee, Cody Ryder, Lance Acord, Sam Slater
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Emily Da Silva Prado
CO-PRODUCER
Danielle Massie
CAST
Jason Schwartzman, Lili Taylor, Molly Gordon, Lennie James, Avi Nash, Annie LaGanga, Roy Nathanson, Jon Natchez


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: ‘My Love Affair With Marriage’ is an animated handbook to the complexities of female existence.

My Love Affair With Marriage

From an early age, songs and fairytales convinced Zelma that Love would solve all her problems as long as she abided by societal expectations of how a girl should act. But as she grew older something didn’t seem right with the concept of love: the more she tried to conform, the more her body resisted. A story about the acceptance of the inner female rebellion.


A musical evolution of one girl’s journey into womanhood, navigating every cliché influence thrown at her from birth. 2D and stop motion animation illustrate Zelma’s life and thoughts. The film charms you with a mix of science and storytelling. Zelma narrates her journey like diary entries performed at a read-aloud. They are honest, funny, and universally relatable. Viewers will grin from ear to ear and nod knowingly. “Biology” explains how Zelma’s chemistry simultaneously affects her actions and reactions. 

The musical numbers are snappy and frequent. The lyrics allow those clichés to become confessions of the ridiculous patriarchal structures. They are predominantly performed by three women, akin to muses, following Zelma through life. The nonsensical expectations of society, combined with the hardwiring of a woman’s brain, create an incredible insight into our behavior. 

I am a big fan of Signe Baumane‘s film Rocks In My Pockets. I was delighted to see My Love Affair With Marriage on Tribeca 2022 slate. This film is something special. It’s unafraid to reveal our innermost thoughts, fears, hopes, regrets, mistakes, and dreams. It celebrates unfiltered authenticity with clever writing and delightful visuals. It’s an outstanding feminist film that will undoubtedly win over audiences everywhere. 



https://www.tribecafilm.com/films/my-love-affair-with-marriage-2022

RT: 107 minutes

Sunday, 06/19/2022, 4:00 PM at VEC-05 – 3rd Screening


Director & Screenwriter: Signe Baumane

Cast: Dagmara Domicnik (“Succession,” “We Are The City”), Matthew Modine (“Stranger Things”), Emma Kenney (“Shameless,” “The Conners”), Cameron Monagha (“Shameless”) and Stephen Lang (Avatar 1-4)

Producers: Roberts Vinovskis, Sturgis Warner, Signe Baumane, Raoul Nadalet

Executive Producers: Matthew Modine, Adam Rackoff, John Jencks


Review: Out on Digital tomorrow, ‘LUX ÆTERNA’ is pure Gaspar Noé chaos.

LUX ÆTERNA

LUX ÆTERNA takes place backstage of a French film production, often utilizing split-screens to follow two characters at once. Charlotte Gainsbourg, acting as herself, plays the film’s — and the film-within-a-film’s — leading role of an actress taking on the role of a witch burned at the stake while French actress Beatrice Dalle, playing a version of herself as well, takes on the on-screen role of director. The film progresses with mounting tension as the set descends into aggressive chaos— both in style, form, and plot. Actress and model Abbey Lee (The Neon Demon), Karl Glusman (Love), Claude-Emmanuelle Gajan-Maull (Climax), Félix Maritaud (Sauvage / Wild, Knife + Heart), and Clara Deshayes also appear as interpretations of themselves.


Narcissism, gaslighting, sexism, celebrity, the industry as a whole, everything is on the line in this 50 minutes of coordinated chaos. Toxicity and ass-kissing intermingled with personal drama, as each actor in LUX ÆTERNA plays a version of themselves. As the tension mounts, who and how will each player respond when “art” is on the line?

The lighting, which comes with a trigger warning before the film begins, is undeniably jarring. Combined with the incessant ringing of an alarm, it’s a visceral invasion. In tandem with the distress of Charlotte on screen, the viewer slowly finds themselves on sensory overload. 

Charlotte Gainsbourg can do no wrong in my book. She possesses a vulnerability that is unsurpassed. The amount of trust she has in Gaspar Noé astounds me with each additional project. Gainsbourg understood the assignment.

In true Gaspar Noé fashion, LUX ÆTERNA  pushes the boundaries of color, sound, and content. Few filmmakers have a style that screams their name, and Noé has cultivated that skill. In a short runtime, LUX ÆTERNA  has a lot to say. Welcome to one of the most unexpected and raw moments of exploitation.


Following a successful theatrical run across the United States from May into early June that put the film in the top 10 indies at the box office, Yellow Veil Pictures will release Gaspar Noe’s LUX ÆTERNA on digital platforms including Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, and more this Friday, June 10th in North America, followed by a 2-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray available summer 2022. LUX ÆTERNA is currently available for digital pre-order on Vimeo on Demand.


SXSW 2022 review: Winner of Best Cinematography ‘A VANISHING FOG’ is spellbinding journey of whimsy and warning.

A VANISHING FOG

Facing the imminent return of an unnamed social and ecological violence, F – played by the emblematic and commanding newcomer Sebastián Pii in his debut cinematic role—yearns to overcome his human limitations and plan his escape, knowing all too well that his departure will come with a heartrending goodbye to the only world he has ever known.


It should be no surprise that A Vanishing Fog won the SXSW22 film festival award for Best Cinematography. This film not only speaks to the race against the climate crisis, but The Vanishing Fog also specifically tackles the helpless human aspect. The film follows a young man named F. He appears to be the last protector of an enormous and lush hidden landscape. As capitalist outsiders seek to buy his home, F’s internal struggle between escape and loyalty is palpable. Caring for his ailing father, attempting to communicate with any possible remaining ally by yelling out into the abyss, F understands the end is nigh, whatever that form may take. 

First-time cinematographer Gio Park shot A Vanishing Fog in the mysterious and formidable Páramo of Sumapaz—the largest swath of alpine moorland in the world. It is the first feature film to be shot in this location. You won’t believe such a place exists. It is so incredible that it looks to have been created on a soundstage or green screen. It will take your breath away. 

A Vanishing Fog is a film that deserves enormous screens. Imagine sitting in a room surrounded by IMAX-sized walls. The film begs this experience. I could easily see this becoming a staple at any museum. Lead actor Sebastián Pii leaves every ounce of himself in this role. He’s charming, innocent, desperate, endearing, and determined. You are right alongside his emotional journey. Visual grandeur aside, Pii captures your heart with his wonder and physical fearlessness. A Vanishing Fog is unlike anything you’ve experienced before. It’s a must-see.

 


A VANISHING FOG (Entre la niebla). Colombia/Czech Republic/Norway, 2021, 76 min. In English and Sunapakún with English subtitles. Director / Writer: Augusto Sandino; Producer: Augusto Sandino; Executive Producer: Alejandro Santo Domingo, Munir Falah and Nubia Stella Cubillos; Cinematography: Gio Park; Editor: Augusto Sandino; Production Designer: Constanza Romero; Sound Designer: Emil Nygård Olsen; Music: Emil Nygård Olsen; Principal Cast: Sebastián Pii, Mario de Jesús Viana, Christian Ballesteros; Worldwide Sales: Pluto Film.

About the director:

Augusto Sandino is one of the outstanding names in Colombian contemporary cinema. Winner of over 30 international accolades and the National Cinema Award 2000-2005 given by the Ministry of Culture of Colombia for his short Aniversario. His feature debut Gentle Breath (Suave el aliento) won the Special Jury prize and the FIPRESCI award at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in 2016. Founding Director of the Auteur cinema symposium manifesto with Carlos Reygadas, Lisandro Alonso and Amat Escalante in 2014, Sandino has also been the producer of his films plus the works La forma del presente (The Shape of Now) at DOK Leipzig Next Masters 2018; La torre (The Tower) at IFFR Bright Future 2018; and Karen llora en un bus (Karen Cries on the Bus) at Berlinale Forum 2011. A Vanishing Fog (Entre la niebla) is his second feature film.


SXSW.com


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

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


Linoleum

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

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


The Cellar

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

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


DIAMOND HANDS: THE LEGEND OF WALLSTREETBETS

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

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

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


Hypochondriac

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

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


The Cow

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

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


Mickey: The Story of a Mouse

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

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


The Prank

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

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


The Unknown Country

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

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


Sissy

**WORLD PREMIERE**

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

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

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


SOFT & QUIET

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

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


Radical Honesty

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

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

Radical Honesty Teaser from Bianca Poletti on Vimeo.


Slash/Back

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

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


Pirates

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

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


Jethica

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

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


The Voice Actress

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

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


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

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


SXSW ANNOUNCES 2022 FILM FESTIVAL SLATE

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST ANNOUNCES 2022 FILM FESTIVAL SLATE

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



The SXSW 2022 Program:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

FESTIVAL FAVORITES
Acclaimed standouts from festivals around the world.