Matt Vesely’s intense ‘MONOLITH’ (2024) takes podcast storytelling to another realm.

well-go-usa-logo

Monolith 2024 poster

One suspect article takes down a once respected journalist. Holed up in her wealthy parent’s estate while they are on holiday, our leading lady tries to revamp her image by creating a conspiracy theory podcast. While wading through emails, she spots one that is particularly eye-catching. Following up on the information, she continues down a path of potential otherworldly objects influencing people around the globe. But truth and lies are closer aligned than you might want to believe. Matt Vesely‘s SXSW 2023 sci-fi feature MONOLITH pulls you into oblivion.

Lily Sullivan in Monolith The film takes place in a single location where The Interviewer records her podcast. The secluded and expansive modern mid-century estate allows her to wander, but most of the action happens at a desk or in front of the wall of windows that contain her discoveries. Our journalist creates an episode of her first phone calls. Editing the calls at her will, the audience questions her culpability. This small moment puts your morality compasses in a tailspin. It is a slick move from writer Lucy Campbell. Podcasts are my nightly ritual, cleaning motivation, and my travel companion. Since SERIAL, the industry has exploded. In MONOLITH, the story goes viral. People begin contacting her directly with their stories, always warning her to stop.

Lily Sullivan in MonolithAt some point, the danger reaches the front door of our journalist’s secluded location when she receives a package related to the mysterious story. The darkness attached to the object feels slightly Faustian and not of this planet. No one remembers how they received their object, but each reaches a point in questioning where they feel compelled to hang up out of fear.

Lily Sullivan plays The Interviewer. Her emotional arc is mesmerizing, acting as a therapist to her callers, a manipulator for personal gain, and a target of the unknown. As the only onscreen actor in the film, her ability to carry such an intense and mysterious film is quite a feat. Sullivan owns the audience.

Matt Vesely's MonolithIs this a case of mass hysteria? In many ways, the plot mirrors today’s conspiracy groups like QAnon. Our leading lady goes down the rabbit hole, and the audience follows. MONOLITH boasts a jaw-dropping final ten minutes. This is one hell of a sci-fi thriller. It is a must-see.

IN THEATERS AND ON DIGITAL: February 16, 2024 

 

For more Well Go USA film reviews, click here!

 

Sundance 2024 review: AI advancements walk a fine line between healing and harmful in shocking doc ‘ETERNAL YOU’

Sundance 2024 logo

ETERNAL YOU

Sundance 2024 Eternal You

Sundance 2024 documentary ETERNAL YOU is deeply disturbing and endlessly intriguing. It is something straight out of a horror sci-fi film. Filmmakers Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck guide audiences through the latest technological advances in AI, where versions of your lost loved ones can interact with you in real-time. The moral and emotional gray area this tech exists in becomes the overarching ghost of this film (no pun intended).

First, we meet Joshua Barbeau, a man who lost his girlfriend, Jessica, and one of the early users of Project December. Founder Jason Rohrer works with the very little information Joshua provided from his viral experience, leading to thousands of requests. User Christi Angel speaks with her ex-boyfriend, Cameroun. Their chat gets darker and darker, and now she’s torn between continuing and walking away from the project altogether. Her journey is the perfect test case for and against afterlife AI.

Jason Rohrer is an open book. He’s transparent with negative reviews, going so far as to read a transcript that went completely off the rails. Interwoven into the narrative are clips from Senate hearings with Sam Altman, the creator of Open AI (ChatGTP), discussing safety. Rohrer admits his disconnection to the emotional impact of his clients while also confessing his intrigue in the eerie side effects. They don’t tackle the danger the VR jump presents. Justin Harrison, creator of YOV, believes in this technology so much that he chose it over his wife. His passion is evident. Harrison’s view on its expansion is, “Fuck death.”

There is no guarantee that a loved one’s data is safe forever. Could it be used to create porn? Ask the filmmakers of Another Body, where a college student found her face deepfaked on multiple sexually graphic videos created by one rejected classmate. Don’t even get me started on the political implications. Wait until you witness the production and results of a 2020 television series titled “Meeting You.” It will wreck you.

Gregor Keienburg and Raffael Seyfried‘s ethereal score makes your heart race and gives you goosebumps. A mix of disembodied voices and ominous strings fill you with dread. Bravo to editors Lisa Zoe Geretschläger and Anne Jünemann for hitting every emotional beat possible. Sundance audiences will undoubtedly feel the gravity of this doc. Is this concept a way to grieve and heal, or are we simply further monetizing the dead?


Check out this exclusive clip:

Remaining Screenings

January 25 – 1:45 PM MST – Holiday Village Cinemas – Park City

Online 
January 25, 7 AM PST – January 28, 10:55 PM PST


Panelist Name

Hans Block

Hans Block

Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck are German directors. Their debut film, The Cleaners, about the shadow industry of digital censorship, celebrated its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and has since been screened at more than 70 international festivals, in cinemas, and on TV worldwide. In their work, Block and Riesewieck question the impact of digital technologies on society.

Panelist Name

Moritz Riesewieck

Moritz Riesewieck

Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck are German directors. Their debut film, The Cleaners, about the shadow industry of digital censorship, celebrated its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and has since been screened at more than 70 international festivals, in cinemas, and on TV worldwide. In their work, Block and Riesewieck question the impact of digital technologies on society.

Credits

  • DIRECTOR(S)

    HANS BLOCK

    MORITZ RIESEWIECK

  • PRODUCERS

    CHRISTIAN BEETZ

    GEORG TSCHURTSCHENTHALER

  • EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS

    KATHRIN ISBERNER

    ANNA GODAS

    OLI HARBOTTLE

    CHRISTOPHER CLEMENTS

    JULIE GOLDMAN

    JENNY RASKIN

    KELSEY KOENIG

    LIZZIE FOX

    DAVIS GUGGENHEIM

  • CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

    MERYL METNI

  • CO-PRODUCER

    PATRICK M. MÜLLER

  • EDITING

    ANNE JÜNEMANN

    LISA ZOE GERETSCHLÄGER

  • DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY

    TOM BERGMANN

    KONRAD WALDMANN

  • MUSIC

    GREGOR KEIENBURG

    RAFFAEL SEYFRIED

  • YEAR

    2023

  • CATEGORY

    FEATURE

  • COUNTRY

    GERMANY/UNITED STATES

  • LANGUAGE

    ENGLISH, KOREAN

  • RUN TIME

    87 MIN

  • COMPANY

    GEBRUEDER BEETZ FILMPRODUKTION

  • CONTACT

    L.RAITH@GEBRUEDER-BEETZ.DE


Sundance Film Festival 2024 runs Thu, Jan 18, 2024, 2:45 PM – Sun, Jan 28, 2024

Eastern Time

Sundance 2024 preview: A film for everyone at the festival’s 40th Edition.

Sundance Film Festival 2024 Color Logo
The Sundance Film Festival has launched the careers of indie film directors, writers, and actors now for 40 years. Back with in-person and online screening opportunities, this year’s iteration boasts new and bold storytelling from every genre. Here are a handful of films we’ll track in 2024.

 

For more information and tickets to Sundance 2024, click here! Be on the lookout for shared coverage with our good friend, Steve Kopian, at Unseen Films. To see all of his reviews and what he’s looking forward to this year, head over to his home base.

(World Cinema Dramatic Competition)
SUJO

S till from the Sundance film SUJO
When a cartel gunman is killed, he leaves behind Sujo, his beloved 4-year-old son. The shadow of violence surrounds Sujo during each stage of his life in the isolated Mexican countryside. As he grows into a man, Sujo finds that fulfilling his father’s destiny may be inescapable.

A movie about time and trauma, this beautifully acted and hauntingly written film from the directors of Identifying Features will be sure to captivate audiences. 

This film contains strobe effects.
Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


40th Edition Celebration Screenings And Events

DIG! XX

DIG! XX tracks the tumultuous rise of two talented musicians, Anton Newcombe, leader of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Courtney Taylor, leader of the Dandy Warhols, and dissects their star-crossed friendship and bitter rivalry. Through their loves and obsessions, gigs and recordings, arrests and death threats, uppers and downers, and ultimately to their chance at a piece of the profit-driven music business, they stage a self-proclaimed revolution in the music industry.

DIG! premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Documentary Competition, where it ultimately won the Grand Jury Prize in the documentary category. DIG! XX, which will premiere at the upcoming Festival, is not only a digitally enhanced, remixed, and remastered version of DIG!, but also a special 20th anniversary new edit of the film culled from footage shot over seven years, and brought to you by the original sibling team, Ondi and David Timoner.

*Digitally enhanced and featuring new footage


(Premieres)

And So It Begins

Amidst the traditional pomp and circumstance of Filipino elections, a quirky people’s movement rises to defend the nation against deepening threats to truth and democracy. In a collective act of joy as a form of resistance, hope flickers against the backdrop of increasing autocracy.

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


(World Cinema Documentary Competition)

Eternal You

Startups are using AI to create avatars that allow relatives to talk with their loved ones after they have died. An exploration of a profound human desire and the consequences of turning the dream of immortality into a product.

“I wanted to see if he was okay,” explains Christi, one of the users of Project December. With this innovative software, users can communicate with a virtual version of the deceased through a chatbot that simulates the dead person’s conversation patterns. Hers was an attempt to check on her first love. Others may simply miss someone, seek permission to move on, or want to rid themselves of guilt.

At this point, I think we’ve all seen the app that turns photos into moving images. The idea feels equally sentimental and disturbing. Eternal You takes this tech further, begging the question, “How far are we willing to go to feel connected to those we’ve lost, and how might that affect our brains?” 

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


World Cinema Documentary Competition

A New Kind of Wilderness

In a forest in Norway, a family lives an isolated lifestyle in an attempt to be wild and free, but a tragic event changes everything, and they are forced to adjust to modern society.

Silje Evensmo Jacobsen mixes home movies and a carefully intimate approach to the Payne family, whose isolated existence gets shaken up quite suddenly. This beautiful portrait of connection and resilience in the face of grief will touch your heart.

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


(NEXT)

REALM OF SATAN

An experiential portrait depicting Satanists in both the every day and in the extraordinary as they fight to preserve their lifestyle: magic, mystery, and misanthropy.

Filmmaker Scott Cummings is no stranger to Sundance, having edited many highly acclaimed festival premieres over the past decade, including Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Monsters and Men, and Wendy.

When I tell you that you aren’t ready for this doc, I mean it in the best way possible. Created to ruffle feathers and dispel right-wing hypocrisy, Scott Cummings titillates with gorgeous framing and a touch of tongue-in-cheek magical realism. 

This film contains graphic sexual content. Audiences must be 18 or older.

Available in person. Also available online for the public (January 25–28)


(Premieres)

My Old Ass

Maisy Stella and Aubrey Plaza in Sundance film MY OLD ASS

Maisy Stella and Aubrey Plaza in the Sundance film MY OLD ASS

The summer before college, bright-yet-irreverent Elliott comes face-to-face with her older self during a mushroom trip. The encounter spurs a funny and heartfelt journey of self-discovery and first love as Elliott prepares to leave her childhood home.

The concept alone should get your butt into a seat, but filmmaker Megan Park casting Aubrey Plaza is chef’s kiss in indie cinema.


(Midnight)

I Saw the TV Glow

Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine  in I SAW THE TV GLOW

Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine in I SAW THE TV GLOW

Teenager Owen is just trying to make it through life in the suburbs when his classmate introduces him to a mysterious late-night TV show — a vision of a supernatural world beneath their own. In the pale glow of the television, Owen’s view of reality begins to crack.

Writer-director Jane Schoenbrun’s We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021 Sundance Film Festival) gave us one of the coolest genre-bending films with a breakout performance from star Anna Cobb. I cannot wait to see how this one twists my sanity and senses. 

This film contains violence and gore.

This film contains strobe effects.


Sundace Film Festival 2024 Black and White logoTo find out more information on all things Sundance 2024, head to https://festival.sundance.org/

 

Now streaming and out on Blu-ray today, Shem Bitterman’s ‘DISTANT TALES’ tackles the good, the bad, and the ugly of humanity and isolation

DISTANT TALES

In a near-future dystopia, when a worldwide event means people can no longer meet face to face, four stories — PLACEBO, PLEASE LOG ON, TOUCH, and R NOUGHT — unfold with unexpected revelations as the screens through which they connect hide the twisted reality of their lives.


Writer-director Shem Bitterman

Writer-director Shem Bitterman taps into human nature with four stories that capture the echoes of the Covid lockdown. The dialogue is theatrical. DISTANT TALES could easily transition from screen to stage. The real-time, intensely intimate vulnerability would be electric. It already pours off the screen.


TOUCHCo-workers surreptitiously connect over late-night Zoom calls. Once discovered by their partners, Ben and Seraphina show their true colors. Samuel Martin Lewis gives Ben a relatable longing. The performance from Tiffany Wolff is chilling.


PLEASE LOG ON
A job interview goes off the rails when the effects of prolonged isolation rear their ugly head. Liz Fenning gives Beth an irritable edge and desperation we all recognized during lockdown. Rupak Ginn is Rohit, a character in the opposite headspace. This segment presents the viewer with an awkward moral dilemma.


PLACEBOThe head of a clinical trial and one of her subjects find common ground through culture and shameless flirting but clash over social distancing protocols and the trial’s progress. Amen Igbinosun plays Ese as a jovial spirit. His physical and emotional journey is heartbreaking. Carolyn Michelle Smith balances skepticism and kindness. It is a nuanced turn.


R NOUGHTThis intense piece explores online extremism and conspiracy theories with phenomenal performances from Ben Bowen and Christoper Curry. An online talking head pushes a grieving husband to take up arms against the government. Can he battle his emotions and resist the influences in his life?


As a whole, DISTANT TALES tackles all the chaos of lockdown in complex ways. Each story gets under the audience’s skin for vastly different reasons. If nothing else, Bitterman’s keen observation of human desperation will undoubtedly have people talking.


“Distant Tales” trailer:


 
IS NOW AVAILABLE ON iTunes, AMAZON.COM, and VUDU
COMING OUT ON BLU-RAY ON DECEMBER 12


The dark psychological thriller, DISTANT TALES, a 4-part anthology from writer/director, award-winning playwright, Shem Bitterman (who, as a young screenwriter, wrote HALLOWEEN 5) and executive produced by Oscar-winner, Tom Schulman (Academy Award – Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen “Dead Poet’s Society”), will be released on Blu-ray December 12.


What’s Your Story?



Los Angeles, CA (November 30, 2023) – After a two-month exclusive run on Cable TV OnDemand with Xfinity, Spectrum, and Contour, DISTANT TALES, from acclaimed playwright and screenwriter writer/director Shem Bitterman and executive producer and Oscar-winner Tom Schulman (“Dead Poet’s Society”), is now available on iTunes, Amazon.com, and Vudu. The film will be available on additional streaming platforms later in December. Pre-orders are now available for the December 12 Blu-Ray release on Amazon.com.


DISTANT TALES, a dark, four-part dramatic anthology where desire, madness and a struggle for love erupt in a dystopic future after a worldwide event prevents people from meeting face to face, was filmed in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.


In DISTANT TALES four individual stories set during a worldwide pandemic unfold with unexpected twists and revelations: an extramarital affair, cut short by a pandemic and continued online; a mysterious job interview, overseen by an unseen judge; a vaccine trial, where a burgeoning love leads to some bad decisions; a grieving dad who finds sympathy from an online advocate for violence.


 

Review: ‘LIBERTY’ is a slick, genre-bending environmental thriller that burrows into your brain.

LIBERTY

A young park ranger with a soulful connection to animals locks a group of eclectic strangers in a cage, forcing them to confront the realities that innocent creatures face daily.

The clever dialogue juxtaposes the fragility of animals in captivity as Matt assigns an animal to each human prisoner. The underlying theme of Matt’s bullying slyly mirrors the psychological torture of animals and the imprisonment of his captives.

Nicholas Michael McGovern delivers a mesmerizing performance through narration and chilling direct-to-camera fourth wall breaks. His steady voice soothes the audience. It is melodic and informative, making his intentions more frightening. He is magnificent.

The unit set lends itself to a stage play. I would pay good money to witness this on Broadway. It’s immersive enough to captivate a live audience even more. LIBERTY could be a unique opportunity for Gravitas to enter the theatre world. If I were producing a screen-to-stage adaptation, I would edit live audience reactions during each performance, creating a curated, visceral experience for each ticket holder.

Philippe De Witte‘s clever allegory about animal rights takes the audience on an unexpected moral journey. Akin to the strangling anxiety of Saw without the gore, LIBERTY is a one-of-a-kind entry into the psychological horror/ environmental thriller subgenre. LIBERTY is dark and daring. It is an emotional roller coaster that twists and turns, loops and lurches with a quiet, raw intensity. De Witte unlocks a primal fear surrounded by poetic madness. You are not ready for this film.


Available on VOD November 21st, 2023

*Winner of Best Foreign Feature Film, Best Music Score – Musical Composition for a Feature Film, and nominee for Best Feature Film – 2022 Burbank International Film Festival 

*Winner of Best Thriller – 2022 Montreal Independent Film Festival

*Winner of Best Feature Film, Best Thriller, Best Cast Ensemble, and Outstanding Achievement in Production Design – 2022 Lonely Wolf International Film Festival*

*Semi-finalist – 2022 Dumbo Film Festival*

*Official selection – 2022 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival*

Written and Directed by Philippe De Witte 

Produced by Michel Gouzée de Harven, Jean-Christophe Van den Berg, Yves Merlin, and Michael Whalen 

Featuring a breakout performance by Nicholas Michael McGovern  and Starring Alice Barrett (“Another World”), Olan Montgomery (“Stranger Things”), Denny Dale Bess (“Law & Order: SVU”), Samantha Smart (“Katy Keene”), Jonathan Kirkland (“Tulsa King”) and Andrea McKinnon (Boyhood)

In the environmental thriller Libertyan idealistic park guide holds six strangers captive, treating them like caged animals, to deliver his chilling message of freedom to the world. As his hostages run the gamut from confusion and disbelief to anger and hostility to grief and despair, our anti-hero compares their mental and physical breakdown to those of wild animals struggling in captivity.

RT: 103 minutes


 

Review: Ira Rosensweig’s ‘SHARE?’ is one of the smartest genre films of the year

SHARE?

Disturbing, funny, and undeniably thrilling, SHARE? is an intriguing human experiment. The premise is slick, a mix of social commentary, the dystopian role of influencer culture, and the disease of instant gratification. The film opens with a man (Melvin Gregg), dubbed #14, in an empty room wearing nothing but a pair of underwear. Once he hears the ping of a rudimentary computer interface, SHARE? unfolds like gangbusters. 

Bradley Whitford is a veteran “participant” craving interaction. Each man gains knowledge from the other’s vastly different strategies for survival. Gregg discovers rewards flow when he either embarrasses or hurts himself. As one coaches the other, a mutually beneficial relationship develops. Alice Braga enters the scene as a woman on a mission, determined to find a way out. Her fiery passion counters Whitford’s stubbornness and Gregg’s growing popularity. When best intentions backfire, and another very influential participant butt heads with her, the consequences prove unthinkable. 

The performances are magnificent. Whitford’s energy is manic. It is like hypnotic live theatre. Alice Braga brings her usual fierceness, rattling the day-to-day flow of events. Melvin Gregg is a one-man show that gets better and better by the minute. His flawed vulnerability pulls you into this mesmerizing plot. He is magnificent. 

The first feature film to be shot entirely from one fixed camera angle, SHARE? is a wonder. The structure demands your undivided attention, as each captive, like Pavlov’s Dog, learns and responds to obtain food, water, clothing, nonessentials, and social interaction. Desperation, cancel culture, isolation, and voyeurism drive SHARE? headlong like a freight train and with a finale so fitting it’s breathtaking. You’ll scream at the screen.


ARRIVING IN SELECT THEATERS & ON DIGITAL AND VOD

NOVEMBER 10, 2023

 

SHARE?

Directed by: Ira Rosensweig

Screenplay by: Benjamin Sutor

Story by: Ira Rosensweig & Benjamin Sutor

Producers: Carissa Buffel, Kevin Matusow, Ira Rosensweig

Country of Origin: USA

Language: English

Genre: Sci-fi Mystery

Distributor: XYZ Films

Cast: Melvin Gregg (The Way Back, The Blackening), Bradley Whitford (Get Out, The Handmaid’s Tale), Alice Braga (The Suicide Squad, Hypnotic), 

Danielle Campbell (Tell Me a Story)

 

OPENING IN SELECT THEATERS ON NOVEMBER 10th

AND NATIONWIDE ON DIGITAL / VOD

NYC: Alamo Drafthouse, Lower Manhattan, November 6th (one night only)

Philadelphia: PFS Bourse Theater – November 7th (one night only)

Chicago: Alamo Drafthouse, November 8th (one night only)

Austin: Alamo Drafthouse, November 9th (one night only)

San Francisco: Alamo Drafthouse, November 10th

Los Angeles: Arena Cinelounge November 10th (full week run)

Los Angeles: Alamo Drafthouse DTLA, November 11th

Richmond, VA: BTM Movieland at Boulevard Sq, Richmond, VA, November 10th

Columbia, SC: BTM Dutch Square Cinema 14, Columbia, SC, November 10th

Oaks, PA: Oaks Center Cinema, November 10th


 

Review: Festival favorite ‘QUANTUM COWBOYS’ continues to wow wordlwide.

QUANTUM COWBOYS

A mixed media extravaganza, Geoff Marslett‘s genre-obliterating QUANTUM COWBOYS is an indie film fan’s dream. Two drifters find themselves in a time warp as they attempt to help a local woman reclaim her land and right a wrong.

Various animation styles change from scene to scene, from hand-drawn to greenscreen, live-action to stop motion layer and mesmerize, forcing the audience to sit up and pay attention. QUANTUM COWBOYS‘ narrative timeline loops and shifts to give our protagonists a chance at redemption. Butterfly effects cling to each of them as “Memory” plays the storyteller and provides second chances disguised as a mysterious stone arc. This clever device keeps the audience enthralled, wondering how this might end.

The cast boasts faces familiar and iconic. Kiowa Gordon and John Way shine alongside David Arquette and Lily Gladstone ( a near-future Oscar winner IMHO). This one-of-a-kind film will undoubtedly delight with its wacky and meta climax. QUANTUM COWBOYS is an ambitious film that, while currently planned as a trilogy, could easily transition to a series at a major studio. Marslett gives audiences a choose-your-own-adventure-style story whose possibilities are endless.

Quantum Cowboys STREAMING TRAILER from Geoff Marslett on Vimeo.

The movie stars Lily Gladstone (about to break big in Killers of the Flower Moon), Kiowa Gordon (Twilight, Dark Winds), John Way (A Love Song), David Arquette (Scream), Frank Mosley (Upstream Color), and supporting roles by Neko Case (musician), Gary Farmer (Reservation Dogs, Dead Man), Alex Cox (Repo Man, Sid and Nancy), Trieste Kelly Dunn (Banshee, Loves Her Gun), John Doe (X, Roadhouse), Anna Karina (Alphaville, French New Wave), Patrick Page (Broadway star of Hadestown), Devon Wycoff, Antonio Jeffries, Geoff Marslett, Jesse Lee Pacheco and Howe Gelb (musician).

The film has played over 40 international film festivals (including Annecy, Fantastic Fest, Vancouver, Champs Elysees and Atlanta) and won awards at 9 festivals and runner ups and nominations at 6 more.

TRT: 99 minutes
Completion date June 2022


Filmed in 16mm film, 8K digital, Hand Drawn Animation, Paper Cutl Outs, Oil Paintings,
Digital Collage, CGI and Computer Painting

On set for QUANTUM COWBOYS with David Arquette and director Geoff Marslett.

Directors Bio:
Geoff Marslett (born in Texas) is an animator, director, writer, producer and actor. His work
often revolves around the romance of connection and the way exploring your universe changes
you and the place you explore. He grew up a cowboy with an interest in physics, and has
worked in both construction and science before becoming a filmmaker. He adores feral cats and
still genuinely loves making things.
He splits his time between teaching at the University of Colorado and making his own films.

Animators and Artists:
ARTLESS MEDIA
Anna Bradley McCall
Hannah McSwiggen
Russell Schaeffer

MINNOW MOUNTAIN
Nathan Bayless
Inaya C. Bialik
Blue Bliss
Rachel Dendy
Dean Hsieh
Christopher S. Jennings
Leyla Mamedova
Annie B McCall
Craig Staggs
Steph Swope
Lindsey Taylor
Julia Zipporah

SWERVE PICTURES
Myles Aquino
JD Arredondo
Sebastian Bisbal
Javier Bonafont
Madeleine Capen
Gina Marie Cercone
Sarah Connor
Joana Correia
Maxine Curva
Owen DeGroot
Stephan Fonseca
Amanda Julina Gonzalez
Alex Grey
Conner Hagan

Kiera Hagen-Brenner
Mitchell Hawley
Shunsaku Hayashi
Tazio Hilbert
Claire Hsieh
Natalie Johns
Jacq Kirkman
Nic Koller
Michelle Li
Geoff Marslett
Gen Mbesi
Holiday McAllister
Jefferson Melo
Rachel Merrill
Ailin Mo
Xuan Nguyen
Tim Nolte
Rhea Patel
Lucy Scherrer
Leon Simone
Laura Spicer
Sean Tredway
David Vieira
Matthew Wade
Rosie Di Wu
Isaias Yetemegn

MYSTERY MEAT MEDIA
Ri Crawford

All Compositing, Animation Design and
Direction by
Geoff Marslett


 

Review: Corey Stanton’s ‘TRADER’ is the ultimate disruptor.

TRADER

Trader posterA manipulative sociopath armed with a dangerously ambitious spirit, her wits, and an affinity for snorting wasabi voyages into the high-intensity game of stock market trading and wages war against the financial world. When she stumbles upon news of a monumental pharmaceutical trade, she risks everything to complete her ultimate success story no matter the cost.


The script is structured like chapters of a commerce self-help book, not unlike the ones my husband consumes, even ten years deep into the IB world in Manhattan, now top of the food chain. Day trading is grittier, riskier, and with your own dollars, not those of an often faceless whale. TRADER understands the real-life dynamics and injects a magical realism that plays as the trader’s innermost thoughts and motivation. It also directly tackles market manipulation. It’s nothing short of ingenious.

Kimberly-Sue Murray owns every second of screen time. Her manic energy drives the narrative like a runaway freight train. The character is slick, interested only in the genuine long con. Murray masters everything from various accents to grounded emotional release through interpretive dance. She truly is the smartest person in the room. Filmmaker Corey Stanton gives the trader a backstory that slowly reveals itself, adding a new level to the complexity of TRADER. Just when you think you’ve got the story pegged, think again. TRADER is relentlessly tense. It is a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream. 

TRADER is a one-woman show. I would love to see this live onstage, to feel the energy in person. TRADER is an indictment of capitalism and how, with the aid of the internet, the combination of the two may be the undoing of society. This twisted film is a one-of-a-kind ride. It’s an ever-evolving endgame that sucks you in. Don’t forget to unclench your jaw and draw a breath while you watch. TRADER is the ultimate disruptor.

The New Thriller from Filmmaker Corey Stanton

TRADER

Hits U.S. VOD Nationwide on August 10th!


 About XYZ Films 
XYZ Films is an independent studio whose mission is to empower visionary storytellers from every corner of the planet. XYZ was founded in 2008 by Nate Bolotin, Nick Spicer, and Aram Tertzakian and has expanded in recent years into documentary, talent management, and distribution. Some of the company’s classic titles include THE RAID franchise, 2017 Sundance winner I DON’T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE, and Panos Cosmatos’ psychedelic revenge thriller MANDY.


 

Fantasia 2023 review: ‘PIAFFE’ is a surprising tale of obsession, sexual awakening, and otherness.

Fantasia Festival 2023 logo

PIAFFE

Piaffe posterEva takes over as a Foley artist for her hospitalized sibling Zara. With no knowledge or self-esteem for the task, Eva endures shockingly abusive behavior from every angle; Zara, her boss, and the hospital nurse. When threatened with dismissal from Zara’s position, she becomes obsessed with the assigned commercial clip.

The video features a horse. Upon visiting a stable for research, Eva’s determination to perfect the audio ignites an immersive approach. Her relentless work ethic causes Eva to grow a horsetail. As she embraces her newfound appendage, Eva becomes entangled with a Botonist who opens her eyes to different forms of pleasure, increasing her confidence and sparking her sexual awakening.

PIAFFE gives audiences a fever dream of imagery and sound. Music is an eclectic Giallo-inspired mix of ominous cello and techno. The color Red features symbolically in lipstick, a telephone, tinsel, roses, and lighting. Simone Bucio is fearless as Eva. Her palpable anxiety and social awkwardness pour off the screen, making her relatable in the most unexpected ways.

The real star of PIAFFE is Robert Hefter and Jonas Vincent‘s jarring augmented sound mixing. As a viewer with Sensory Processing Disorder, PIAFFE is equal parts hair-raising nightmare and auditory orgasm. The sparse dialogue contributes to the focus on the heightened sound. Writer-director Ann Oren celebrates otherness in all its forms. Fantasia 2023 audiences experienced a sensory explosion with an unpredictable complexity.

Oscilloscope Labs will release PIAFFE on August 25th


Shot on lush 16mm, PIAFFE is a visceral journey into control, gender, and artifice.

The film will open in New York on August 25th at The Quad Cinema and in Los Angeles on September 15th at Landmark’s Nuart Theatre.

DIRECTED BY ANN OREN

STARRING SIMONE BUCIO, SIMON(E) JAIKIRIUMA PAETAU,

and SEBASTIAN RUDOLPH

SCREENINGS:
Mon August 07, 2023
2:15 PM

Salle J.A. De Sève

Fantasia 2023 review: ‘HOME INVASION’ is one of the year’s most upsetting films.

HOME INVASION

Home Invasion stillUtterly fascinating, this documentary horror hybrid effectively puts the fear of God into the audience. The film begins by sharing the history of each incarnation of what we now refer to as the “Ring” security camera, each inspired by a recurring nightmare. Historical recounting gets the creepy treatment with a random subject’s security footage playing in its fisheye lens version behind the storytelling text. There is no formal dialogue. This voyeuristic nightmare is unlike anything we’ve seen before, featuring videos of everything from natural disasters to doorstep theft and animal encounters to delivery people behaving badly and creatively.

The score is bone-chilling, with its piano cords striking. It’s something straight out of hell. But, the film is even scarier than it initially appears when we learn the global and societal impact of advancing technology. Cinematic tropes alone reflect the world’s potential terror. Fantasia 2023 audiences get a taste of a film that would be a perfect Fall statement at MoMA. HOME INVASION is exceedingly disturbing. If anything, it reminds you how quickly the scales of good and evil tip. It will haunt you.


Official selection – Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival 2023
Berlin International Film Festival 2023
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 2023

DIRECTOR

Graeme Arnfield

PRODUCER

Graeme Arnfield

WRITER

Graeme Arnfield

SOUND DESIGNER

Sarah Naylor, Baudoin Oosterlynck

EDITOR

Graeme Arnfield

Fantasia 2023 review: Run to see the powerful Ukrainian drama ‘STAY ONLINE.’ It will rock you to your core.

Fantasia Festival 2023 logo

STAY ONLINE

Stay Online poster

Best served on the biggest movie screen possible, STAY ONLINE takes us on a real-time journey of political mayhem through the eyes and laptop screen of one Ukrainian resister. Switching from tab to app to window, Katya places us inside the war via news popups, video calls, and chats while air raid sirens blare in the background. This coordinated chaos forces you to sit up and pay attention. Following the action takes focus, and there isn’t a moment of downtime.

Stay Online - Ukrainian thrillerThe narrative flips when Katya becomes entangled with the son of the laptop owner. Her online sleuthing would put the cops to shame. It is millennial cyberstalking at its best. Liza Zaitseva gives a heart-stopping performance as Katya. Her relentless emotional investment is a rollercoaster ride. She is simply magnificent.

STAY ONLINE speaks directly to the power of information sharing in a time when news media outlets gloss over images of war in tightly edited clips that run every hour. Grisly is profitable, and so is fear-mongering. The human aspect often becomes a political pawn. Ukrainian filmmaker Yeva Strelnikova‘s feature-film debut leaves your heart in your throat. The film’s premiere comes at a particularly auspicious time, with Ukraine throwing its hat in the ring at NATO. STAY ONLINE is gripping, devastating, and entirely brilliant. It is one of the most powerful films of the year.



Mon July 24, 2023
2:05 PM

DWF LA review: Thriving with anxiety is a challenge in Sara Friedman’s ‘HEIGHTENED’

HEIGHTENED

Neurodivergent behavior manifests in a myriad of ways. Sometimes it rears its ugly head in the form of ticks, rituals, and a short temper, but mostly in weird behavior misunderstood by the general population. HEIGHTENED boasts an augmented sound design that perfectly captures what it feels like to be sensory overloaded. As a fellow SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) sufferer, this film is intentional visceral torture but for a purpose. Although they never explicitly call it that, all the signs, symptoms, and medical gaslighting appear in the script.

Real-life couple Xander Berkeley and Sarah Clarke play Nora’s waspy parents. Their seemingly selfish nature and high expectations explain Nora’s closed-off temperament. They are fantastic additions to the cast. Dave Register is Dusty, the Park ranger who mentors Nora. His genuine sweetness pours off the screen. Register’s performance is grounded in kindness and perfectionism that comes with a backstory.

Writer-director-star Sara Friedman exposes the complexities of neurodivergence, exploring daily life and behavioral origins with heart and humor. Nora’s journey comes in waves of empathy for Dusty’s bullying. His presence calms her. Their relationship takes a natural turn as Friedman and Register have a fun chemistry. They hit the mark with slightly larger-than-life humor leaning into a loveable and quirky side of character-building.

HEIGHTENED is a lovely little film that delicately delves into the minds of those grappling with constant anxiety, capturing the raw emotions without ever daring to overstep boundaries. It sincerely respects our differences and beautifully celebrates the journey of finding a partner who accepts you as you are. Just like the welcoming atmosphere of the stiiizy santa rosa dispensary, where individuals can find solace and understanding, this film embraces the diversity of human experiences.


For all things DWF LA, click here!

Tribeca Festival 2023 Curtain raiser: Films we are putting on our must-see lists before the festival begins

TRIBECA FESTIVAL 2023 brings thrills, mystery, comedy, fantasy, you name it, there is something for everyone. This year’s lineup features Joe Lynch‘s latest, Suitable Flesh, Gabriela Cowperthwaite‘s I.S.S., and David Duchovny‘s Bucky F*cking Dent. Let’s get into a few of the films we are dying to get our eyeballs on this year.

 

THE LISTENER – North American Premiere – Spotlight Narrative 
Directed by: Steve Buscemi
Written by: Alessandro Camon
Produced by: Wren Arthur, Steve Buscemi, Oren Moverman, Lauren Hantz, and Tessa Thompson
Executive Producers: John Hantz, Eddie Vaisman, Julia Lebedev, and Suzanne Warren
Co-Producers: Billy Mulligan, Kat Barnette, and Joyce Pierpoline
Associate Producer: Brian Miele
Starring: Tessa Thompson


An understated drama about a night in the life of a mental health helpline volunteer, The Listener is a stirring testament to the power of empathy.

Tessa Thompson continues her Tribeca greatness in a role that could easily translate from film to stage. This is a character study.


MAGGIE MOORE(S) – World Premiere – Spotlight Narrative 

In Theaters & On Demand June 16th

Directed by John Slattery
Written by Paul Bernbaum
Produced by John Slattery, Vincent Garcia Newman, Dan Reardon, Santosh Govindaraju, Nancy Leopardi, and Ross Kohn
Starring Jon Hamm, Tina Fey, Micah Stock, Nick Mohammed, Happy Anderson, and Mary Holland

When two women with the same name are murdered days apart, small-town police chief Jordan Sanders (Hamm) finds himself wading through an unlikely collection of cheating husbands, lonely hearts, nosy neighbors and contract killers in an effort to put the pieces of the case, and his life, together. The film is inspired by actual events.

The cast alone should get you through the door. This bizarre tale, based on real-life events, is a wacky we-know whodunit, but it doesn’t lessen the impact.



THE MIRACLE CLUB – World Premiere – Spotlight Narrative Category (Sony Pictures Classics)



Directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan (Vera, Call the Midwife)

Written by Jimmy Smallhorne, Timothy Prager, and Joshua D. Maurer

Produced by Joshua D. Mauer, Alixandre Witlin, Chris Curling, Larry Bass, Aaron Farrell, John Gleeson and Oisín O’Neill


Three close friends who have never left the outskirts of Dublin (much less Ireland) get the journey of a lifetime — a visit to Lourdes, the picturesque French town and place of miracles.

An absolute charmer about healing old wounds and forgiveness set in the gorgeous French countryside. Laura Linney and Dame Maggie Smith? That’s an instant yes.

Check out the trailer below:


SOMEWHERE QUIET– US Narrative Competition

Director/Writer: Olivia West Lloyd

Producers: Emma Hannaway, Taylor Ava Shung, and Eamon Downey

Cast: Jennifer Kim, Kentucker Audley, Marin Ireland, Michéal Neeson

Running Time: 98 minutes

In the ominous and tense Somewhere Quiet, a woman readjusts to normalcy after surviving a traumatic kidnapping — but her grounded sense of reality soon starts to deteriorate when she travels with her husband to his wealthy family’s isolated compound.

This solid thriller will catch you off guard, making you second-guess your sanity along the way.


OUR SON– Spotlight Narrative

Director/Co-Writer: Bill Oliver

Co-Writer: Peter Nickowitz 

Producers: Fernando Loureiro and Eric Binns

Key Cast: Luke Evans, Billy Porter

Running Time: 104 Minutes

Nicky (Luke Evans), a book publisher devoted to his work, lives with his husband Gabriel (Billy Porter), a former actor and stay-at-home dad, and their eight year-old son, Owen. Gabriel loves Owen more than anything; Nicky loves Gabriel more than anything. Despite appearances, Gabriel has been dissatisfied with their marriage for some time and files for divorce, leading to a custody battle that forces both of them to confront the changing reality of their love for each other and for their son.

This beautifully complex story of the growing pains of changing love.


I.S.S. – Spotlight Narrative

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Writer: Nick Shafir

Producers: Pete Shilaimon and Mickey Liddell

Cast: Ariana DeBose, Chris Messina, Pilou Asbæk, John Gallagher Jr., Maria Mashkova, Costa Ronin

Running Time: 95 Minutes

Tensions flare in the near future aboard the International Space Station as a worldwide conflict occurs on Earth. Reeling from this, the astronauts receive orders from the ground: take control of the station by any means necessary.

A stunning look at loyalty. This intense sci-fi thriller captivates you with Ariana DeBose holding you in the palm of her hand.


SUITABLE FLESH –  Midnight (World Premiere)

Director: Joe Lynch
 
Screenwriter: Dennis Paoli
 
Producers: Barbara Crampton, Bob Portal, Inderpal Singh, Joe Wicker
 
Cast: Heather Graham, Judah Lewis, Bruce Davison, Barbara Crampton, Johnathon Schaech
 
Running Time: 100 Minutes
 

After murdering her young patient, a once-esteemed psychiatrist helplessly watches her life spiral into a nightmarish maelstrom of supernatural hysteria and gruesome deaths, all linked to a seemingly unstoppable ancient curse.

Let Joe Lynch direct all the Lovecraftian weirdness. Honestly, as a genre fan, you had me at Barbara Crampton.


BAD THINGS – US Narrative Competition 

DIRECTOR: Stewart Thorndike
 
PRODUCER: Lizzie Shapiro, Lexi Tannenholtz
 
SCREENWRITER: Stewart Thorndike
 
 
CAST: Gayle Rankin, Hari Nef, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Rad Pereira, Jared Abrahamson, Molly Ringwald
 
A weekend getaway for a few friends at a snowy resort becomes a psychological tailspin and bloody nightmare. Long-deceased guests and the space itself come to life in this haunting thriller.
 

There is always something to be said for a film that gets snapped up by Shudder before its premiere. The platform’s ability to spot great genre storytelling goes head-to-head with the major studios. Gayle Rankin‘s ability to live in whatever role she takes on is astounding. I have no doubt that she’ll kill it. *wink, wink*

**COMING TO SHUDDER (US, UK, IRELAND, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND) 
AND AMC+ (US, CA, ANZ) ON AUGUST 18TH, 2023**


BUCKY F*CKING DENT – Spotlight Narrative

DIRECTOR: David Duchovny
 
PRODUCER: Jordan Yale Levine, Jordan Beckerman, Tiffany Kuzon, David Duchovny
 
SCREENWRITER: David Duchovny
 
CAST: David Duchovny, Logan Marshall-Green, Stephanie Beatriz, Jason Beghe, Evan Handler, Pamela Adlon, Daphne Rubin-Vega
 
Follows Ted who moves in with his father Marty when he develops a fatal illness. To keep him happy and alive, Ted enlists Marty’s grief counselor Mariana and friends to fake a Red Sox winning streak.
 
As a born and bred Red Sox fan, Bucky Dent felt like the modern-day equivalent of “He Who Shall Not Be Named,” long before that reference was a pop-culture reference. I grew up sitting against The Green Monster. You can clock my age in successive photographs. Based on his novel, David Duchovny brings this father-son story to the big screens at Tribeca. I couldn’t be more excited. I’m pretty sure that for true fans, this one is destined to be a home run. 
   OF NIGHT AND LIGHT: THE STORY OF IBOGA AND IBOGAINE – Spotlight Documentary

DIRECTOR:Lucy Walker
PRODUCER:Julian Cautherley, Lyn Davis Lear, Laurie Benenson, Lucy Walker
CINEMATOGRAPHER:Sebastian Denis, Lorenzo Hagerman, Aaron Phillips
EDITOR:Parker Laramie

Of Night and Light: The Story of Iboga and Ibogaine tells the astounding unknown story of what might be the scientific discovery of our generation. Back in 1962, a teenage psychonaut in New York City named Howard Lotsof experimented with an obscure psychedelic from the root bark of a West African shrub and recognized its unique therapeutic potential. Together with his African-American wife Norma, a pair of outsider NYU film students, they dedicated their lives to convincing the scientific community and government agencies to research it, certain that it would be of great medicinal benefit, despite it sounding too good to be true – like the textbook definition of snake oil – and being written off as con artists.

Sixty years later, their dream is now materializing as clinics spawned from their original test sites have treated more than 100,000 people with opiate use disorder and now over 1,000 US Special Forces veterans, who have experienced dramatic relief from a spectrum of problems including traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety, ptsd, addictions, and physical disabilities through the use of ibogaine. Now jaw-dropping new research, about to be published, is revealing that ibogaine is the most powerful therapeutic ever observed for the human central nervous system.

Psychedelics have a complicated past, but their present-day use is more prevalent than most people know. I can’t wait to dig into the history of this life-changing medicine because that’s what it is. I have family members in the medical industry who use them, and audiences will have family members with PTSD, so this one has the potential to be more personal than anyone expected.


THE FUTURE– International Narrative Competition (World Premiere)

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY Noam Kaplan
STARRING Dar Zuzovsky, Samar Qupty, Reymonde Amsellem
PRODUCED BY Yoav Roeh, Arit Zamir
CINEMATOGRAPHY BY Shark de Mayo
EDITED BY Effi Cohen Vertes
MUSIC BY David Klemes

At 42, Dr. Bloch (Reymonde Amsellem), a profiler, wants a child. A future. Her only way is to find a surrogate mother. At the same time, her groundbreaking algorithm designed to identify individuals planning to carry out terror attacks fails and a young Palestinian woman (Samar Qupty) assassinates the Israeli minister of Space and Tourism. In order to ‘fix the bugs’ in her algorithm, Nurit faces the assassin in person. The sessions between these two brilliant women raise questions about their past, while the sessions between Bloch and the potential surrogate (Dar Zuzovsky) challenge Bloch’s decision about her future.

This near-future femme-centric drama from Noam Kaplan gives brilliant women the chance to challenge one another at every turn.  A futuristic collision within the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, THE FUTURE has more nuance than you are prepared for.


TO MY FATHER – Shorts (World Premiere)

DIRECTOR: Sean Schiavolin
PRODUCER: John Papola, Troy Kotsur, Justin Bergeron
SCREENWRITER: Sean Schiavolin
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Brody Carmichael 
EDITOR: Josh Meyers, Sean Schiavolin
COMPOSER: Hanan Townshend
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Jessi Bennett
CAST: Troy Kotsur

 

To My Father depicts Deaf actor Troy Kotsur’s journey to winning an Oscar and his father’s inspiring influence on him, despite a tragic accident.

Grab the tissues and be prepared for the beauty presented by Sean Schiavolin. If you haven’t been living under a rock then you are familiar with the extraordinary Troy Kotsur. This twenty-minute short pierces your heart, once again, as we learn more about the deaf actor’s inspiration. Do Not Miss It.


CHASING CHASING AMY – Viewpoints (World Premiere)

DIRECTOR: Sav Rodgers
PRODUCER: Alex Schmider, Carrie Radigan, Lela Meadow-Conner, Matthew C. Mills, Sav Rodgers
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bill Winters, Bradley Garrison
CAST: Kevin Smith, Guinevere Turner, Joey Lauren Adams, Scott Mosier, Sav Rodgers, Andrew Ahn, Kevin Willmott, Trish Bendix, Princess Weekes, Regina “Riley” Rodgers

 

12-year-old Sav Rodgers watched the film Chasing Amy, and his life was forever changed. Developing a kinship — and maybe a slight obsession — with it as he grew into his queerness, he decides to fund and direct a documentary that examines its role in LGBTQ+ film culture. He makes significant progress, even garnering the support and collaboration of its director, Kevin Smith. However, as the production of the documentary continues, Rodgers realizes that the legacy of the film and his relationship with it might be changing. So where does that leave him?

Chasing Amy was a sexual awakening for more of us than we might like to admit. It felt like a narrative shock to the system in the most welcome way for audiences obsessed with Clerks and Mallrats. We were open-minded Kevin Smith nerds and we were ready to listen. This timely look at LGBTQAI+ issues is sure to spark conversation.


For all things Tribeca Festival, click here!

Keep your eyes peeled for shared coverage from us, Unseen Films, and AWFJ.org!


 

Review: Festival favorite ‘A LIFE ON THE FARM’ is a weirdly moo-ving doc. Yup.

A LIFE ON THE FARM

Somerset, England, and a mysterious VHS tape of a local farmer named Charles Carson. A LIFE ON THE FARM is a documentary feature that has had genre festivals buzzing since last year. Well, the chickens have come to roost, as they say, because the film finally arrives in theaters. You are not ready.

Carson’s tape provides viewers with so much unwanted information and detail. Most notably, a distasteful closeup of a bovine afterbirth and a dead cat. That is only the first taste of weirdness, as images get much darker the longer you watch. Carson’s nonchalant attitude toward everything on the farm feels jarring. His nervous laughter echoes throughout the film and viewers are disturbed. A LIFE ON THE FARM is one of the most bizarre home movies ever discovered. It feels wrong to watch, and yet you cannot look away!

Director Oscar Harding happened upon the tape as a child but had only had the pleasure of watching until his father hit stop on the VCR. It isn’t until the VHS reemerges in his adulthood that he feels compelled to dig deeper into the man beyond the vast amount of background provided by Charles along the way.

Carson’s neighbors and fans of the tape share their confusion, fascination, and shock at the tape’s contents, but I stopped in my tracks and took a step back when I realized the deeper meaning behind Charles’s actions. The films are part of his coping mechanism for loneliness, loss of purpose, grief, and, eventually, dementia. Friends honor Carson’s memory with understanding and respect for his complicated circumstances.

A new chapter to the mystery of Charles Carson occurred in 1996 when a new video appeared on YouTube. Harding and his peers are astounded by the short film’s artistry, story, and editing. Carson’s view of mortality is astonishing. A LIFE ON THE FARM is a creepy, enchanting, unusual, and extraordinary chronicling of a particular life.


** Theatrical tour at Alamo Drafthouse theaters throughout the US
starts April 13th (schedule below); both films available On Demand May 9th **


Fan Favorites from Fantastic Fest 2022, CHOP & STEELE, and A LIFE ON THE FARM will be screened as a double feature, with a theatrical rollout starting on April 13th at Alamo Drafthouse theaters throughout the country. The above special screenings will all precede live comedy shows with Found Footage Festival founders Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, as well as filmmaker Q&As for A LIFE ON THE FARM in select cities. This double feature will screen as part of the theater chain’s fan-favorite “Fantastic Fest Presents” series and will expand further with additional shows in the weeks following.


 

Review: Robbie Banfitch’s ‘The Outwaters’ is dizzying terror like you’ve never experienced before.

THE OUTWATERS

Robbie Banfitch‘s found footage horror film THE OUTWATERS begins its reign of terror immediately. Presented as case evidence in the disappearance of four friends shooting a music video in the Mojave desert, we experience the film through the three memory cards filled with video in chronological order. Yes, we’ve seen plenty of found footage since The Blair Witch Project in 1999, but THE OUTWATERS takes the genre to a new level. Welcome to the latest film you’ll talk about for a long time.

Like in The Blair Witch Project, each character goes by their real-life name. Banfitch is the sole cinematographer. The shaky handheld camerawork gives the film solid legitimacy. The sound editing varies based on the speaker’s proximity to the camera, lending to the validity of the experience. With the film opening with a horrifying 911 call, memory card number one contains relatively mundane introductions to the characters. Background information reveals itself in what is essentially Robbie’s private vacation footage. But, you’re so entranced by the opening audio, you become obsessed with discovering the cause of those screams. That, my friends, is compelling editing.

Card two introduces the mystery in earnest. Card three is chaos. 99.9% of the film occurs through Robbie’s lens’ perspective. Much of the explosive final hour is lit by nothing but a flashlight. Therefore, a great deal of what we can’t see paralyzes us. Don’t for a second think that the daylight is any safer. What we do get a glimpse of is gag-inducing and chaotic fear. Ultimately, the ear-piercing manipulation of sound grabs you by the throat. I forgot to breathe. Fair warning: Everything is so dizzying you may get queasy. The script evolves in such a clever and unique way I just resigned myself to yelling. “WTF?!” at each new reveal. It simply keeps going and going. I stopped trying to figure out which way was up. THE OUTWATERS‘ final few minutes made me gasp. If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is. Robbie Banfitch is the next great horror auteur. No one can take that away from him.


Directed by: Robbie Banfitch

Starring: Robbie Banfitch, Angela Basolis, Michelle May, Scott Schamell, and Leslie Ann Banfitch and features original music by Salem Belladonna.

Playing in select theaters nationwide (US and Canada) beginning February 9 including: New York (Alamo Drafthouse Manhattan, Regal Essex 14, Kaufman Astoria), Los Angeles (Music Hall 3), Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, D.C and many more.

Following its theatrical run, Cinedigm and Bloody Disgusting plan to release The Outwaters exclusively on its horror streaming service as a SCREAMBOX Original.

All theaters: https://fandan.co/3jjjkuW


 

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


Beginning this Friday, both in-person in NYC and virtually, The 15th Annual Imagine Science Film Festival is ready to blow your mind.

15th Annual Imagine Science Film Festival
(October 14-21)


Alejandro Loayza Grisi’s Utama opens the festival
with a gala screening at the Museum of the Moving Image


Spotlight screenings include Godard’s classic
Alphaville, Ali Cherri’s The Dam (Le Barrage),
Jacqueline Mills’ Geographies of Solitude,
and Signe Baumane’s My Love Affair with Marriage



This year’s festival is overflowing with cool. Here are a few of the films we’ve previously covered. 

My Love Affair With Marriage

Fire of Love

Maika: The Girl from Another Galaxy 

Of Medicine and Miracles

For more information on this year’s edition, continue below!

 

New York City’s Imagine Science Film Festival
announced the lineup of films and events for the hybrid presentation of its 15 th edition, taking
place October 14-21. Screenings will kick off with the Opening Night presentation of Alejandro
Loayza Grisi’s Utama, and Spotlight Features including a special presentation of Jean-Luc
Godard’s classic Alphaville: The Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution, Ali Cherri’s The
Dam (Le Barrage), Jacquelyn Mills’ Geographies of Solitude, and Signe Baumane’s My Love
Affair with Marriage. Read More →

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

BRUTAL SEASON

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

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

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

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


You can still catch BRUTAL SEASON at FF@Home!


Tribeca Immersive 2022 reviews: ‘Plastisapiens’ & ‘This Is Not A Ceremony’ are visions of despair and pleas for action.

THIS IS NOT A CEREMONY

I was greeted outside the exhibit by director Ahnahktsipiitaa (Colin Van Loon) before I knew I was about to enter his endlessly effective film. As I sat with VR goggles on in a small dark room, I was treated to an experience that would leave me forever changed. I bore witness to tragic stories of racism and mistreatment of Canadian Indigenous people. This structure is like a fever dream with reenactments, an enormous burning buffalo, and two indigenous narrators that guided my eyes in a 360-degree manner. When immersive tech first started to appear at film festivals, I was one of the earlier guinea pigs. Now, outside of the gaming world, immersive films have the ability to place an audience inside a story, touching almost every one of our senses. When This Is Not A Ceremony concluded, Van Loon handed me a Blackfoot tobacco tie, thanking me for being part of this narrative. The passion and format of this film are unmissable. You cannot help but feel the need to do something about the ongoing injustice. This Is Not A Ceremony is a haunting call to action.


PRODUCED BY
NFB (Dana Dansereau)
PUBLISHER
NFB (Dana Dansereau)
DIRECTOR
Ahnahktsipiitaa
PROJECT CREATOR
Ahnahktsipiitaa (Colin Van Loon)
SCREENWRITER
Ahnahktsipiitaa
EDITOR
Jessica Dymond
ART DIRECTOR
James Monkman
NAGAMO PUBLISHING
Nagamo Publishing
PRODUCER
Dana Dansereau


PLASTISAPIENS

Plastisapiens had an ethereal appearance as I approached the experience. Housed in a draped tent, with dripping and “organic” masses hanging from its ceiling. I was left to a small enclave and comfy stool where I was given my VR goggles and controllers. Plastisapiens had me on the bottom of the ocean floor back in time. The evolution of life and the introduction of plastic toxins into that environment are tracked into a speculative future. Used the controllers and my breath to maneuver forward through time and grasp objects. As the timeline pressed on, I skyrocketed upwards from sea to a new environment. The narration utilizes a modulated voice-over that is absolute perfection, as human merges with inorganic material, changing the very existence of life as we know it. Plastisapiens was mesmerizing. Writer-directors Miri Chekhanovich and Édith Jorisch created something mysterious, educational, and terrifying. I left awestruck.

PRODUCED BY
NFB (Marie-Pier Gauthier, Isabelle Repelin), Dpt. (Raphaëlle Sleurs), Lalibela Productions
PUBLISHER
National Film Board of Canada
KEY COLLABORATORS
Canada Media Fund, The National Film Board of Canada, Makor Foundation of Israel, The Israel Film Council, The Ministry for Culture and Sports
PROJECT CREATOR
Miri Chekhanovich, Édith Jorisch, Dpt.
CREATED BY
Dpt.
PRODUCER. NFB
Isabelle Repelin, Marie-Pier Gauthier
PRODUCER, DPT.
Raphaëlle Sleurs
PRODUCER
Lalibela Productions