Fantastic Fest 2022 review: ‘UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS’ stays grounded with compelling performances from Matthew August Jeffers and Sarah Hay.

UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS

Winona knocks on Peter’s door, begging to borrow his car. With the promise of cash and the passenger seat to Canada, this unlikely duo goes on a trip of self-discovery involving aliens and personal redemption. A road movie that’s as universal as it is unique, UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS sticks the landing. 

Sarah Hay plays Winona with a free-spirited urgency that is entirely endearing. She pulls you into her sphere with an indescribably genuine allure. Her chemistry with co-star Matthew Jeffers makes for a ceaselessly engrossing watch. They share an intimate vulnerability that creeps up on you.

Matthew August Jeffers couldn’t be funnier as Peter. I had a permanent smirk pasted on my face listening to his natural delivery of dark, acerbic wit. His curmudgeonly aura is merely a facade for unresolved trauma. A few LP actors come to mind off the top of my head. Honestly only two; Warwick Davis and Peter Dinklage. Jeffers enters the arena with ease. The nuance we witness as he plays Peter is a star-making turn.

The script tackles guilt, a longing for acceptance, prejudice, and a willingness to take a chance. The otherworldly score by Sebastián Zeluta is hypnotic. It’s a touch transcendent. The handheld camera work, particularly during emotionally wrought scenes between our two leads, is a specific and keenly impactful choice. It also highlights the progressing surreal chaos occurring along Peter’s journey.

Fantastic Fest 2022 is the perfect platform for UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS. Writer-director Juan Felipe Zeluta and co-writer Leland Frankel creatively capture the longing of two seemingly different people brought together by universal circumstance. Pun intended.


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

THE PEOPLE’S JOKER

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


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

 

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

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


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

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

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


CHARCOAL (PLATFORM SECTION–WORLD PREMIERE)

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

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


BONES OF CROWS (Contemporary World Cinema, World Premiere)

 

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


THE WOMAN KING  (World Premiere — Gala Presentations)

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

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


ALLELUJAH (SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS)

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

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


FIXATION (Contemporary World Cinema)

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

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


LIVING (CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA)

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

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

THE LOST KING (SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS)

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

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

MOVING ON (GALA PRESENTATIONS)

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

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


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

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

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


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

For more information on the fest, visit tiff.net


Capsule Review: Henrika Kull’s ‘BLISS’ (Glück) is a raw and realistic depiction of love.

BLISS

An unconventional LGBTQ love story set in the world of sex workers, Bliss is set in a world where femininity is considered a commodity. Two sex workers fall in love with each other while working in a Berlin brothel. Together – and yet each on her own – they experience the one moment when happiness seems possible – but their love is threatened by different ideas of life and their own abysses.


In private, there is an uncomplicated intimacy between Maria and Sascha, but judgment bubbles to the surface once in mixed company. Self-loathing and regret are deep-seated, a deadly combination for sabotage. The script slowly but slickly reveals Sascha’s inner demons, putting Maria and the audience in an uncomfortable position. The second half of Bliss deals with the ripple of her emotional instability. It’s tricky but familiar. Performances from Katharina Behrens and Eva Collé are spectacular, fearless, and raw. It’s stylistically similar to a docu-drama, and I dug the energy of the entire film. Writer-director Henrika Kull gives audiences a gem.


Available On Digital August 16th

 

Directed by Henrika Kull

Starring Katharina Behrens, Eva Collé (as Adam Hoya), Nele Kayenberg, Jean-Luc Bubert


 

Fantasia 2022 review: ‘Swallowed’ is any LGBTQ person’s nightmare… and then some.

SWALLOWED

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

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

The camera work has visceral intimacy. Writer-director Carter Smith (The Ruins) gives audiences a unique genre entry, with the leads being LGBTQ male characters in scenarios we usually see female characters tackle. Swallowed is part crime thriller, part coming-of-age, and body horror. This film is an LGBTQ scenario of nightmares. Fantasia 2022 audiences, get ready to squirm.


Click here for all things Fantasia 2022


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

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

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

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


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

Next Exit
Legions
Sissy


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



FREAKS OUT (Italy)

– Dir: Gabriele Mainetti

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

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



Princesse Dragon

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

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


Polaris

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

All female-led opening film. Sold.


One Cut of the Dead

(French remake of the cult classic)

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

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

Huesera

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

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



Bodies, Bodies, Bodies

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

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

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


Piggy

Laura Galán appears in PIGGY by Carlota Pereda

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

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


The Pez Outlaw

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

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


Everybody Goes To The Hosptial (short film)


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

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


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


 

Tribeca Film Festival 2022 review: Perfectly titled, ‘A Matter Of Trust’ is one of this year’s best films.

A Matter Of Trust

A young man outed by a classmate takes solace in his English teacher. 

A doctor honors her Hippocratic oath on a repatriation flight to Afghanistan. 

A mother and her daughter have a beach day. 

A newlywed couple attends a funeral. 

An Airbnb triste is interrupted by the owner of the home. 

We are humble witnesses to these tales. Tribeca 2022 film A Matter Of Trust will enthrall audiences. The film is challenging to describe because I want you to see it. Aptly titled, I want to you take my word that what you’ll see is extraordinary filmmaking. The multiple narrative structure keeps you engaged, but the writing and performances capture your full attention. The cinematography has an intrusive intimacy you cannot escape. The script burns itself into your brain with unexpected moments. Loaded with nuance, director Annette K Olesen and co-writer Maren Louise Käehne, present a shockingly honest portrait of humanity through five stories. A Matter Of Trust is undoubtedly one of the best films from this year’s festival. 


FEATURE | DENMARK | 105 MINUTES | DANISH | ENGLISH SUBTITLES
DIRECTOR
Annette K Olesen
PRODUCER
Jonas Frederiksen
SCREENWRITER
Annette K Olesen, Maren Louise Käehne
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Anders Nydam
COMPOSER
Kåre Bjerkø
EDITOR
Denniz Göl Bertelsen
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Bo Ehrhardt, Birgitte Hald
SOUND DESIGN
Mick Raaschou
ADD’L CREDIT 1
Mick Raaschou
LINE PRODUCER
Julie Carla Mortensen
ADD’L CREDIT 2
Julie Carla Mortensen
ADD’L CREDIT 3
Heidi Plugge Gustav Pontoppidan
PRODUCTION DESIGNER
Gustav Pontoppidan
CAST
Trine Dyrholm, Jakob Cedergreen, Sofie Juul Blinkenberg, Ellen Rovsing Knudsen, Morten Hee Andersen, Emil Aron Dorph


Tribeca Film Festival 2022 capsule review: Midnight section ‘Attachment’ dazzles with its smart script.

ATTACHMENT

New couple Maja and Leah battle terror and tradition when they move back into the same house as Leah’s Hasidic mother, Chana. Jewish mysticism takes center stage in this unique entry for Tribeca 2022 Midnight section. Is Chana an overprotective parent, or is something more sinister happening? Enter writer-director Gabriel Bier Gislason‘s Attachment

The writing is perfectly genius, as it disguises the mystery within the secretive nature of the religion. I watch a lot of horror, and Attachment had me on the ropes. I had no idea where this script would land. The language barrier raises the stakes, as important revelations become lost in translation, literally. Performances are spectacular and nuanced. The emotional journeys are lush. Their pasts slowly revealed create a genuine and curious bond. I could not take my eyes off the screen while watching Attachment, fearing I’d miss the smallest detail. Audiences will be hypnotized. 


FEATURE | DENMARK | 105 MINUTES | DANISH, ENGLISH | ENGLISH SUBTITLES
DIRECTOR
Gabriel Bier Gislason
PRODUCER
Thomas Heinesen
SCREENWRITER
Gabriel Bier Gislason
CINEMATOGRAPHER
Valdemar Winge Leisner
EDITOR
Nikoline Løgstrup
KEY CAST
David Dencik
US DISTRIBUTOR
Shudder
CAST
Josephine Park, Ellie Kendrick, Sofie Gråbøl, David Dencik

Tribeca 2022 review: Sex sells in new documentary ‘All Man: The International Male Story,’ how one “It” catalog introduced lifestyle branding for men.

ALL MAN: THE INTERNATIONAL MALE STORY

More than outrageous fashions, hunky models, and scandalous undies, ALL MAN: THE INTERNATIONAL MALE STORY is a journey across three decades of the International Male catalog’s lasting impact on fashion, masculinity, and gay rights. With revenues at its peak of $120 million and circulation of over 3 million, the catalog successfully appealed to both gay and straight audiences, and helped transform conservative notions of American masculinity towards a more carefree, cosmopolitan, and confident expression. Written and produced by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jones and narrated by Matt Bomer (MAGIC MIKE, THE BOYS IN THE BAND, etc…), ALL MAN is a character-driven portrait of a band of outsiders who changed the way men looked and how the world looked at them. This is their story – a modern-day fairy tale that really did come true.


The impact of men’s fashion takes center stage in Tribeca 2022 doc ALL MAN: THE INTERNATIONAL MALE STORY. One innovative catalog gave men the freedom to be themselves. Its global and cultural influence spans generations like no other men’s fashion publication. In building International Male, Gene Burkard’s emphasis wasn’t on sex, even if the catalog featured chiseled men in high fashion. He and his creative team broke the mold of selling menswear while pushing a lifestyle brand. In the same way men ogle Victoria’s Secret, International Male became a household object to covet for innumerable reasons. 

Matt Bomer‘s narration adds a brilliant touch of nostalgia in a way that is hard to describe until you experience it for yourself. The film uses archival footage and photography, sit-down interviews, and creative transitional animation. The catalog was bright, smart, sexy, and gave men something to aspire to be. It challenged the idea of masculinity with its European-inspired fashion and copy, written by Gene. He was meticulous in his work ethic, taking customer feedback and recognizing that 75% of their shoppers were women. Watching the images from the catalogs made me want to order (almost) every single article of clothing for my husband. Gene clearly understood the broad appeal. If International Male existed today, I’d be begging them to take my money. 

Everything shifted for International Male once the AIDS epidemic touched the employees and the world. Gene sold the catalog, and the new creative directors were more hesitant to hire queer staff, in fact, firing a huge percentage of them. In the 90s, the positive changes came in the form of more models of color. But with the loss of gay buyers and department stores filled with men’s retail, International Male was no longer a cash cow. But it’s easy to see how the catalog catapulted our current influencers in pop culture with the freedom to express themselves on a gender spectrum now celebrated across the globe. So, thank you, International Male. You made a difference while allowing us to drool.


Written and Produced by
Peter Jones
Directed and Produced by
Bryan Darling
Jesse Finley Reed
Executive Producer
Peter Jones


World Premiere: June 12 2022, 8:30pm (ET) at
Village East Cinema
Run Time: 83 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Language: English


Review: ‘A SEXPLANATION’ is the single most sex positive lesson of my entire life.

Just your typical queer, Asian American, comedic sex education documentary about the universal search for love, connection, and family acceptance.


Gloriously raw and unapologetic, A Sexplanation was the most informative lesson on sex I’ve ever seen. Like director Alex Liu, my parents never had “The Talk” with me. My Catholic school elementary sex-ed class was in 5th grade. Separating the boys and girls, we got the basics on menstrual health and body parts. That was it. I think I got that same lesson in my high school health class. Why are those classes always taught by gym teachers, anyway? Seriously, why don’t schools bring in experts? In A Sexplanation, Alex Liu does all the groundwork for those left to their own devices at slumber parties, sleep-away camps, and dial-up internet. 

Liu sits down with folks across the sexuality information spectrum; doctors, scientists, therapists, activists, a politician, and a priest! Some of the most intriguing moments happen when Alex speaks with his parents. They are honest, unfiltered, and make the viewer feel the need to talk to their parental figures to clear some shit up. The film also introduces us to programs like INclued, an LGBTQ-centered evidence-based sexual health education program for youth ages 14-19. I wish that existed when I was a teen!

Along with the interviews, visual gags featuring phallic objects and vibrant cartoon animation from Woodenmarker serves as quirky transitions. The biggest challenge in watching the film will be the same for everyone, and Liu understands this. Getting past our ingrained biases, owning each cringe at an image or word, and diving deep into the reasons those reactions occur in the first place. Tackling family dynamics, “The Talk” is so important and how we learn to talk about sex. Statistics do not lie. States teaching abstinence-only have higher teen pregnancy and STI rates. Families need to normalize open lines of communication. We need to step out of our comfort zones and embrace our own sex positivity to better the world. 

 Liu makes himself the guinea pig in a project that could actually save lives. The amount of information in the doc is mind-blowing. The lack of shame makes A Sexplanation a glorious watch and an honest-to-goodness celebration of sexual literacy.


Available on Digital Download from 6th June

Director’s Statement

Alex Liu, writer and director: “A Sexplanation follows my quest to confront my sex education — by finally getting a real one.

Growing up, sex felt shameful. My parents never brought it up. School focused on disease, pregnancy, and abstinence. By my 30s, I was surprised by how much shame I still carried. After talking with friends, I realized I wasn’t alone.

  The film documents my attempt to strip away this shame, no matter how awkward it might get — even masturbating in an MRI machine (for science!).

Through honest conversations with scientists, educators, and even my parents, I try to uncover some naked truths and hard facts that will get us to a healthier, sexier future.”

asexplanation.com

A Sexplanation will be available on Digital Download from 6th June on iTunes on GooglePlay.


Review: Drag superstar Bebe Zahara Benet gets real in Emily Branham’s documentary ‘Being Bebe’

BEING BEBE

BEING BEBE intimately charts 15 years of drag performer Marshall Ngwa (aka BeBe Zahara Benet): An immigrant to America from homophobic Cameroon, first champion on now-iconic LGBTQ+ reality show phenomenon RuPaul’s Drag Race. Grounded by Marshall’s present-day narration, the film features vérité, interviews and performances illustrating his journey to Queer Black Excellence.


A cultural icon in the world of female illusion, BeBe Zahara Benet rose to international fame as the first winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race. But Marshal Kudi Ngwa‘s career was years in the making before the reality series. Director Emily Branham uses archival footage mixed with sit-down interviews during COVID. How does a star slowed down by a global pandemic remain relevant without a live audience’s love and energy? Being BeBe is a heartfelt and honest look at the artist pushing boundaries without pause.

The film addresses the criminality of queerness in Cameroon. Branham respectfully blurs the faces of the participants not only for their physical safety but to give them the freedom to express themselves fully on camera. These young men explain the constant fear of being discovered by family or friends. The isolation takes a toll. The slip of a gesture could mean putting their existence at risk. BeBe has become a role model for those in Cameroon. She uses her platform to support the queer community and give a face to black excellence.

Marshall has a personable and glorious nature. You long to be in his presence as he radiates kindness, humor, grace, and an intensely inspiring work ethic. The film is an unfiltered look at the industry’s ups and downs. That unpredictability causes Marshall to push his ego aside, emotional breakthroughs, and unapologetic admissions. Being BeBe is infectious. If you weren’t a fan before, get ready for newfound respect and adoration for BeBe Zahara Benet because, honey, she continues giving us Face, Face, Face, no matter what.


BEING BEBE // Festival Teaser from Emily Branham on Vimeo.

BEING BEBE, roars into Pride Month on June 7th on major Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD) platforms via digital distributor Giant Pictures
(Apple TV, Prime Video, Google Play, Vudu – Pre-Order at https://geni.us/BeingBeBe).
The film will also make its Broadcast Premiere on Fuse on June 21st.


Review: ‘BALONEY’- Joshua Guerci’s documentary about San Francisco’s only Gay All-Male burlesque troupe is magnetic, intimate, and hilarious.

Baloney follows San Francisco’s wildly popular Gay All-Male Burlesque show over 18 months as the group rehearses for New Year’s Eve 2020. Told through the eyes of the group’s co-founders, as well as the larger ensemble, the film contemplates the struggles that come with being a performing artist in San Francisco, the most expensive city in North America. Through a mix of interviews, rehearsal footage, and filmed performances, Baloney captures the group’s unique combination of humor, confession, and sex positivity in ways that directly reflect the private fantasies of people who come to the show. It’s also a story of the people who choose to perform in Baloney who, like their audience, find themselves in a world that constantly silences kinky, queer, and gender non-conforming people. Finally, it spotlights that real failure in life is often not doing that thing you know you need to do or being the person you know you need to be. Even if that thing is daring to be an artist!


Equal parts sincerity, sexuality, and soul – Baloney takes a deep look behind the scenes of San Francisco’s only Gay All-Male burlesque troupe. Joshua Guerci’s documentary follows this scrappy team as they plan, practice, and perform. Led by co-creators and real-life partners Michael Phillis and Rory Davis, the troop crafts performances that delight their audiences while offering insights across the wide spectrum that is the gay and queer male experience.

I marveled at the editing of this documentary (75 minutes!) Guerci’s team seamlessly transitions from practice to performance in a way that energizes the audience while still giving a deep appreciation for the vision and artists involved.

This documentary leaves you asking a lot of questions. Some are likely to be practical and hilarious (like, how do you wash beans out of your hair, or, did you maybe miss all the queer innuendos in Star Trek?) But others are more serious. I left Baloney with one question at the forefront of my mind: what does it mean to really suffer for your art?

Nearly every member of Baloney has a substantial day job. Everyone talks about their passion for the arts and the power of this burlesque troupe and wishes that they could make Baloney their sole focus, if only they could afford it. Now, plenty of people want to quit their day jobs and take off for Broadway or the hills of Hollywood. The context here is important. Baloney’s performance venues are shown to be sold-out, sure, but always humble in size and scale. They even have a great song poking fun at themselves on this. The energy and community of the shows seem to draw the performers back, just as much as it does for the audience members. 

The performers making up the troupe are magnetic. Guerci’s candid style further breaks down walls and makes the interviews feel intimate and informal. He speaks with them as they prepare breakfast or while they lounge together in bed. I particularly loved Andrew Slade, who leverages his past education in animation and video game design to hilarious burlesque effect.

Michael and Rory, who on paper have captured that elusive dream-job as day-job balance, are still shown to wobble. They are, at once, a producer, casting expert, director, and performer. They even provide rehearsal space out of their San Francisco apartment. There is a tragic irony that San Francisco proudly celebrates its queer and artistic legacy while simultaneously making it nearly impossible for those communities to endure and thrive within its borders.

Watch Baloney, and you’ll see some flat-out great burlesque numbers. But there’s much more here that will keep you thinking long after the final curtain call.


Baloney (2021) – Official Trailer from Joshua Guerci on Vimeo.

Baloney debuts June 7 across North America and will be available on a number of digital and cable platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu, Spectrum, and inDemand.


Los Angeles, CA – 13th Gen and Gravitas Ventures are proud to present Baloney, Joshua Guerci’s no-holds-barred documentary chronicling 18 months in the life of Baloney, a mostly male, mostly naked, very erotic San Francisco burlesque troupe. The clothing documentary about t-shirt printing fulfillment made its world premiere at Frameline and went on to inspire audiences at Outfest Los Angeles, Seattle Queer Film Festival, Cinema Diverse Palm Springs, Winnipeg Reel Pride Film Festival, TLVFest: Tel Aviv LGBT Film Festival, Boston Wicked Queer LGBTQ+ Film Festival, and Tampa Bay International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. At RuPaul’s DragCon Los Angeles, the film is nominated for Best Documentary.


 

SXSW 2022 short film capsule reviews: ‘Roommates,’ ‘Gay Haircut,’ & award winner ‘Glitter Ain’t Gold’

Roommates


Synopsis: Students Izzy and Sophia get placed as dorm-mates because they’re both disabled. They reach common ground via vodka shots and getting personal, christening their first day of college with a night of adventure.


Simultaneously awkward and natural, this is an awesome and important ten minutes about accessibility, perception, and power. Stay for the credits!

·      Writer/Director: Ashley Eakin

·      Writer: Kelsey Johnson

·      Cast: Kiera Allen (RUN), Kelsey Johnson


Gay Haircut

Synopsis: For a stand-up comic, a drastic life change can mean losing one’s entire act. Bisexual comedian Krista has decided her relationship with a trans woman is worth coming out over—but will she commit to an entire rebrand with one gay haircut?


A seemingly simple change with a lot of weight attached. In 7 minutes we get an entire journey about identity filled with some quirky weirdness.

·      Director/Producer: Jude Harris

·      Writer/Producer: Krista Fatka

·      Cast: Krista Fatka (Shaky Ground, Night of the Living Karens), Zach Holmes (JACKASS FOREVER, Too Stupid to Die, Tosh.0Ridiculousness)


GLITTER AIN’T GOLD

*Winner*

SXSW 22 Special Jury Recognition for Directing and Community Filmmaking

     Synopsis: Sixth-grader Jibril and his reluctant best friend Tawanda hustle up some cash and journey to the flea market to buy Jibril’s first chain, in hopes that it will catch the eye of his crush Marlana and divert her attention away from his sworn enemy Rashad.


Writer-director Christian Nolan Jones brings to life a coming-of-age short that dives into the universal feeling of acceptance. Set in the 90s, two best friends Jibril and Tawanda are on a mission to purchase an item that will catch the eye of his crush. Glitter Ain’t Gold perfectly captures middle-school angst. The costumes and overall aesthetic were spot on. Our two young leads Alfred R. Lewis III and Priah Ferguson are stellar. This might as well have been a documentary with their natural ability to captivate the audience. Each beat is authentic. Glitter Ain’t Gold is a tight treatment for s feature or series.

·      Writer/Director: Christian Nolan Jones

·      Executive Producers: Common, Corey Gamble

·      Cast: Priah Ferguson (Stranger Things, THE OATH, Atlanta), Alfred R. Lewis III (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Bunk’d)


 

SXSW 2022 review: Living your best life is triggering in ‘SISSY.’

SISSY

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


Catty, protective, territorial; girls can be the worst. Mean girls made my life a living hell for years. Everyone I know has a story involving them. SXSW22 Midnighters world premiere SISSY addresses them head-on. 

Slow clap for the editing in SISSY. It is clever and engaging from the beginning. The tension in the script is a deliberate build, sort of like ascending a rollercoaster, knowing that that first drop is coming and will be one many. But there are moments of silliness that cut through the anticipation. Overall a slick structure that never lets up. Trust me when I say you will not see where this leads. The practical FX are so tight I exclaimed, “Oh, F*ck,” at one point. There is no better an endorsement than that. 

The chemistry between Aisha Dee and Hannah Barlow (who co-writes and directs with Kane Senes) is magic. You believe they were best friends when they were twelve. Fast forward 15 years or so, and things look very different in their relationship. But, best friends never really lose their groove. That is until someone comes between them. Aisha Dee is our true leading lady, and she friggin kills it. SISSY obliterates your moral compass. 

SISSY tackles unresolved childhood trauma most darkly. Combined with the influencer angle is pure genius. SXSW22 audiences are going to love this. You root for all the wrong things, and therein lies the brilliance.


SISSY – Midnighters (**World Premiere**)
Writers/Directors: Hannah Barlow, Kane Senes
Cast: Aisha Dee, Hannah Barlow, Emily De Margheriti, Daniel Monks, Yerin Ha, Lucy Barrett


To find out more about SXSW22 click here!


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

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


Linoleum

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

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


The Cellar

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

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


DIAMOND HANDS: THE LEGEND OF WALLSTREETBETS

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

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

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


Hypochondriac

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

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


The Cow

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

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


Mickey: The Story of a Mouse

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

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


The Prank

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

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


The Unknown Country

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

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


Sissy

**WORLD PREMIERE**

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

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

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


SOFT & QUIET

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

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


Radical Honesty

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

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

Radical Honesty Teaser from Bianca Poletti on Vimeo.


Slash/Back

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

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


Pirates

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

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


Jethica

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

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


The Voice Actress

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

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


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

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


Valentine’s Day Special: Our favorite films about love and loss, make-outs and breakups. Here’s a few movies to binge this weekend…

Valentine’s Day Special 2022

Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is coming. Whether you expect to get roses and chocolates, booze and pizza, spend it with a significant other, or all by your beautiful self, Valentine’s Day brings up A LOT of emotions. So, to ease you into whatever kind of weekend you’re planning (or not planning) on having, here are a handful of our suggestions for films that highlight the greatest make-outs and hideous breakups from years gone by.


Liz’s Picks:

Can’t Buy Me Love

Nerdy high schooler Ronald Miller (Patrick Dempsey) rescues cheerleader Cindy Mancini (Amanda Peterson) from parental punishment after she accidentally destroys her mother’s designer clothes. Ronald agrees to pay for the $1,000 outfit on one condition: that she will act as though they’re a couple for an entire month. As the days pass, however, Cindy grows fond of Ronald, making him popular. But when Ronald’s former best friend gets left behind, he realizes that social success isn’t everything.

I saw this film at my very first teenage sleepover for which they got an snoring seeping aid at https://theislandnow.com/blog-112/best-anti-snoring-devices/. I was 13 and the night consisted of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Life of Brian, and Can’t Buy Me Love. Before McDreamy was on millions of small screens, he was Ronald Miller to me. This was a twist on the classic girl gets makeover lands boy plot I’d been pumped with. It was a pivotal moment in my continued adoration for the nerdy guy.


Only Lovers Left Alive

Artistic, sophisticated and centuries old, two vampire lovers (Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston) ponder their ultimate place in modern society.

Jim Jarmusch, Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, (the late and eternally extraordinary) Anton Yelchin. The names alone should get you to run to this film. Gloriously shot and deliciously acted, why wouldn’t you watch a film about a depressed rockstar vamp and his ultra-cool wife getting disrupted in their centuries-long affair by her younger sister’s shenanigans? This film is sexy and romantic. Trust me when I say it will be on the list of top films you force your friends to watch.


The Notebook

A poor yet passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman, giving her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences.

“If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.” Noah and Allie’s complicated and oftentimes volatile love story is one that has become a household name. In fact, it was my husband’s first pick when it came to Valentine’s Day films. We watched the onscreen couple become real-life couple Ryan Goslin and Rachel McAdams and followed along as they dated, broke up, became engaged, and finally parted ways. I’m not going to lie, I still pine for those two to end up together, however irrational it might be.


Marriage Story

A stage director and his actor wife struggle through a gruelling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.

If you’re looking for an award-worthy performance from Adam Driver, look no further than Marriage Story. The complexities of this script are far beyond anything you’re prepared for. I was lucky enough to speak with writer-director Noah Baumbach and the cast in 2019 when the film premiered at NYFF. If you’re a Broadway buff, you’ll find the gravity of the numbers from COMPANY particularly poignant. Marriage Story is a Netflix film.


Fatal Attraction

For Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas), life is good. He is on the rise at his New York law firm, is happily married to his wife, Beth (Anne Archer), and has a loving daughter. But, after a casual fling with a sultry book editor named Alex (Glenn Close), everything changes. Jilted by Dan, Alex becomes unstable, her behavior escalating from aggressive pursuit to obsessive stalking. Dan realizes that his main problem is not hiding his affair, but rather saving himself and his family.

This film has inspired so many copycats since it premiered in 1987. A woman spurned is taken to new heights in one of the scariest and most intense reactions from being ignored. If you haven’t seen this classic breakup film, a little warning; Don’t get too attached to the family rabbit.


Blue Is The Warmest Color

A French teen (Adèle Exarchopoulos) forms a deep emotional and sexual connection with an older art student (Léa Seydoux) she met in a lesbian bar.

Fearless, sexy, raw, captivating, in 2013 I sat in the fullest theatre at NYFF and experienced this film with a hushed audience. While there has since been much controversy surrounding the sex scenes and the treatment of the leading ladies during filming, there is no denying the life they breathe into this film. Know your audience. Do Not Watch with children or your parents in the room.



Melissa’s Picks:

War of the Roses

After 17 years of marriage, Barbara (Kathleen Turner) and Oliver Rose (Michael Douglas) want out. The trouble is, neither one wants to part with their opulent home. So begins a long war between husband and wife, reaching farcical heights that leave much of the house — not to mention their lives — in shambles. The couple’s children (Sean Astin, Heather Fairfield) watch in horror while lawyer Gavin D’Amato (Danny DeVito) tries his best to stem the bloodshed.

Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas were an “it” couple of the 80s which was great on its own, but then once you add in Danny DeVito, you get something special. The three of them blended well in Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile, but by War of the Roses, Danny DeVito started directing and had just finished Matilda. His style is subtle but unbelievably purposeful. From camera angles thanks to technology like the drones from Droneuncover to choreography, he toes the line of comedy/drama/horror with a story where you yearn for them to get back together while at the same time anxiously looking forward to the bigger jab.


She-Devil

A surprisingly resourceful housewife vows revenge on her husband when he begins an affair with a wealthy romance novelist.

“Don’t get mad, get revenge” is taken to new levels when Ruth (Roseanne Barr) decides to turn the tables on her husband (Ed Begley, Jr) when he leaves her after an affair (Meryl Streep). This time capsule of a movie gives you “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” Sally Jesse Raphael, and stories in People magazine, all following this love train. At times, grotesque, you’ll get lost in the 80s clothes, decor, and the slang. Like, totally.


Presumed Innocent

Prosecuting attorney Raymond Horgan (Brian Dennehy) assigns his chief deputy, the taciturn Rusty Sabitch (Harrison Ford), to investigate the rape and murder of colleague Carolyn Polhemus (Greta Scacchi), unaware of their torrid affair. When evidence implicates Rusty, Horgan’s political enemies demand his arrest, devastating Rusty’s wife, Barbara (Bonnie Bedelia). In desperation, Rusty turns to crafty defense attorney Sandy Stein (Raul Julia), only to be stunned by his trial’s revelations.

This made an impression on me as the first movie I saw with Harrison Ford in a dramatic role. I was so thrown and hanging on every moment. It’s classic crime and trial drama ala Law & Order. It’s so full of twists and turns, it was easy to get lost and get that pow of the final twist. Love. It’s quite something.


Britni’s Picks:

The Best Man

After writing a soon-to-be bestselling novel, writer and committed bachelor Harper Stewart (Taye Diggs) attempts to hide the fact that his saucy new book is loosely based on the lives and loves of his tight-knit group of friends. Harper is set to be best man at his friend Lance’s (Morris Chestnut) wedding, and all his friends will be in attendance. When an advance copy of the book makes its way into the hands of his ex-flame, Jordan Armstrong (Nia Long), Harper attempts to keep it under wraps.

  • The Best Man + Best Man Holiday – 5 stars for both


You’ve Got Mail

Struggling boutique bookseller Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) hates Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), the owner of a corporate Foxbooks chain store that just moved in across the street. When they meet online, however, they begin an intense and anonymous Internet romance, oblivious of each other’s true identity. Eventually Joe learns that the enchanting woman he’s involved with is actually his business rival. He must now struggle to reconcile his real-life dislike for her with the cyber love he’s come to feel.

Perfect rom-com! Meg Ryan is honestly living my best life with her cute independent book store and also gigantic Manhattan apartment.


What Lies Beneath

It had been a year since Dr. Norman Spencer (Harrison Ford) betrayed his beautiful wife Claire (Michelle Pfeiffer). But with Claire oblivious to the truth, Norman’s life and marriage seem so perfect that when Claire tells him of hearing mysterious voices and seeing a young woman’s image in their home, he dismisses her terror as delusion. Claire moves closer to the truth and it becomes clear that this apparition will not be dismissed, and has come back for Dr. Spencer and his beautiful wife.

A bit of a wild card, but I think we can categorize it as a breakup!


The First Wives Club

Despondent over the marriage of her ex-husband to a younger woman, a middle-aged divorcée plunges to her death from her penthouse. At the woman’s funeral, her former college friends (Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton) reunite for the first time in nearly 30 years. When the three discover the reason for their friend’s suicide, they realize that all of their ex-husbands have taken them for granted — and deciding it’s time for revenge, they make a pact to get back at their exes.

Ultimate breakup film.


Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Struggling musician Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is better-known as the boyfriend of TV star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). After she unceremoniously dumps him, he feels lost and alone but makes a last-ditch bid to get over it by going to Hawaii. However, she and her new boyfriend (Russell Brand) are there in the same hotel.

I feel like this should be a classic but no one talks about it!


 

 

SXSW ANNOUNCES 2022 FILM FESTIVAL SLATE

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST ANNOUNCES 2022 FILM FESTIVAL SLATE

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



The SXSW 2022 Program:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

FESTIVAL FAVORITES
Acclaimed standouts from festivals around the world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


EPISODIC PROGRAM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


EPISODIC PILOT COMPETITION
A pilot showcase introducing fresh work from bright new talent, many with an eye towards finding production, completion funds, or a release platform.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dumbfoundead – ‘Secret Menu’ / Director: Sean Wang

Hana Vu – ‘Keeper’ / Director: Maegan Houang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

XR Experience Competition
World Premieres of exciting immersive work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


XR Experience Spotlight
Shining a spotlight on acclaimed immersive projects.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


XR Experience Special Events

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


2022 ART PROGRAM INSTALLATIONS

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

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

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

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


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

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

Covid -19 Guidelines for SXSW

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

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

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