SXSW 2022 short film review: Is ‘RADICAL HONESTY’ merely an expression or a way of 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. Performances are natural and the opening camerawork is fun. It is no surprise that the idea of radical honesty is something we experience more and more now. With the push of social media platforms, everyone is encouraged to share an opinion. Yes, this leads to awareness, self-discovery, and connections across the globe, if we’re talking upsides, only. My Xennial self also understands this to be a potential trap. C’est la vie.

I am excited to see this short get an expansion into series form (which is currently in the works). I anticipate having further investment into the world of Jack and Rachel, and whomever they intend to take along on their “journey of truth.” It’s bound to be a hot mess, in the best way possible. Radical Honesty is a great pairing with Hannah Marks‘ film Mark, Mary, and Some Other People. Modern dating is complicated by a lot more than just email and actually showing up these days. Director Bianca Poletti, and actress and screenwriter Allison Goldfarb nail this idea.


Check out the teaser trailer for the film’s aesthetic.

To learn more about how you can watch Radical Honesty and SXSW22 in general, click here!


Director: Bianca Poletti

Screenwriter: Allison Goldfarb

Principal Cast: Allison Goldfarb, John Hein, Melanie Alexa Buenrostro

Executive Producers: Jacki Calleiro, Mindy Goldberg, Bianca Poletti

Producer: Shayna Gianelli

Cinematographer: Corey C. Waters

Editor: Nina Sacharow

Production By: Epoch Films, Disco Pants Inc

SXSW 2022 review: Teen angst and aliens in the Arctic tundra, ‘SLASH/BACK’ is a culturally cool coming-of-age film from director Nyla Innuksuk.

SLASH/BACK


We can all attest to being bored as teenagers. Even the Arctic tundra might seem uncool when you’re a certain age. SXSW22 feature film Slash/Back follows a group of Inuit girls who’ve had enough of being disregarded. Something is quite wrong in their town. When the adults won’t listen, they take matters into their own hands. Gather your pride, the girls from Pang are about to kick some ass.

The original music by The Halluci Nation and vocal performances by Tanya Tagaq are electrifying. It vibrates off the screen. During the opening credits, I stood up and danced in my kitchen because it was so infectious. The special FX makeup and CGI are startling. But it is the performances from this fresh young cast that pulls you into the narrative. These kids are stars. The emotional upheaval is all too familiar as they struggle with hormones, racism, and, in this instance, aliens. While most of us don’t have the alien experience in our back pocket, we can all agree that pre-teen to teenage years was complicated. The dialogue from writers Nyla Innuksuk (who also directs) and Ryan Cavan almost feels improvised. They have nailed the jargon of youth. The cinematography is breathtaking. Even if the characters aren’t impressed with the landscape, the audience unmistakably experiences the natural grandeur of Pangnirtung.

Pay close attention to the very intentional opening and closing credits as they change from Inuktitut to English. It’s a subtle but powerful statement. Slash/Back is a quirky coming-of-age tale with horror as a catalyst. With elements of The Thing and the energy of Stranger Things, the genre audience will adore this film.



Slash/Back at Online Screening
Mar 14, 9:00am CDT – Mar 16, 9:00am CDT
9:00am10:26am
Availability: United States
Slash/Back at Violet Crown Cinema 1
Mar 14, 2022
3:45pm5:11pm
Slash/Back at Violet Crown Cinema 3
Mar 14, 2022
4:15pm5:41pm
Slash/Back at Stateside Theatre
Mar 17, 2022
6:15pm7:41pm


Director:

Nyla Innuksuk

Executive Producer:

Hussain Amarshi, Neil Mathieson

Producer:

Dan Bekerman, Christopher Yurkovich, Alex Ordanis, Nyla Innuksuk, Stacey Aglok McDonald, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, Ethan Lazar

Screenwriter:

Nyla Innuksuk, Ryan Cavan

Cinematographer:

Guy Godfree

Editor:

Simone Smith, Todd E. Miller

Production Designer:

Zosia Mackenzie

Sound Designer:

John Loranger

Music:

The Halluci Nation and Michael Brook

Principal Cast:

Tasiana Shirley, Alexis Wolfe, Chelsea Prusky, Frankie Vincent-Wolfe, Nalajoss Ellsworth


 

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!


Jordan Peele’s official trailer for ‘NOPE’ has landed.

NOPE

“What’s a bad miracle?”


Oscar® winner Jordan Peele disrupted and redefined modern horror with Get Out and then Us. Now, he reimagines the summer movie with a new pop nightmare: the expansive horror epic, Nope

The film reunites Peele with Oscar® winner Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Judas and the Black Messiah), who is joined by Keke Palmer (Hustlers, Alice) and Oscar® nominee Steven Yeun (Minari, Okja) as residents in a lonely gulch of inland California who bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery.

Nope, which co-stars Michael Wincott (Hitchcock, Westworld) and Brandon Perea (The OA, American Insurrection), is written and directed by Jordan Peele and is produced by Ian Cooper (Us, Candyman) and Jordan Peele for Monkeypaw Productions. The film will be released by Universal Pictures worldwide.


NOPE – Only in Theaters 7.22.22

https://www.nope.movie/


SXSW ANNOUNCES 2022 FILM FESTIVAL SLATE

SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST ANNOUNCES 2022 FILM FESTIVAL SLATE

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



The SXSW 2022 Program:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

FESTIVAL FAVORITES
Acclaimed standouts from festivals around the world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


EPISODIC PROGRAM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dumbfoundead – ‘Secret Menu’ / Director: Sean Wang

Hana Vu – ‘Keeper’ / Director: Maegan Houang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

XR Experience Competition
World Premieres of exciting immersive work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


XR Experience Spotlight
Shining a spotlight on acclaimed immersive projects.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


XR Experience Special Events

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


2022 ART PROGRAM INSTALLATIONS

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

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

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

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


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

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

Covid -19 Guidelines for SXSW

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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


 U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION

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

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

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

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


U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

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

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


WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION

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

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

 

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

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


WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

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

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

 

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


NEXT

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

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

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


MIDNIGHT

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

 

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

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


KIDS

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


INDIE EPISODIC PROGRAM

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

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


INTERNATIONAL LIVE ACTION SHORT FILMS

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

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


U.S LIVE ACTION SHORT FILMS

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


U.S. NONFICTION SHORT FILMS

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


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


 

Here are 8 films at Indie Memphis Film Festival 2021 that we’re looking forward to before it’s hybrid addition arrives October 20th-25th!

INDIE MEMPHIS FILM FESTIVAL 2021

So much to see we have to plan out our schedule now! Here are 8 wildly different films we’re looking forward to seeing and why…

JUJU STORIES (Dirs. Abba Makama, C.J. ‘Fiery’ Obasi, Michael Omonua) – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
A three-part anthology film exploring juju (magical) stories rooted in Nigerian folklore and urban legend, written and directed by the Nigerian new wave cinema collective known as Surreal16.
2021, 84 min, Drama/Fantasy/Horror

Give me horror based on folklore, any day. Written and directed by C.J. Obasi, Abba Makama, and Michael Omonua. The film features three stories: “Love Potion” by Omonua, “YAM” by Makama, and “Suffer The Witch” by Obasi. Anthologies as a horror subgenre definitely continue to be successful. Watching the teaser alone gave me chills.


THE PILL (Dir. Franco Clarke) 
An African-American family indulges in the use of a secret pill that helps them cope with their day-to-day stressors of racism outside of their home.
2021, 81 min, Comedy, Theater/Virtual

A story that is, perhaps, hundreds of years in the making, The Pill might not be so hard to swallow. What if this pill existed in the real world? Would families of color indulge in such an option? This seemingly small idea amounts to something much bigger than most of us can imagine.


WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR (Dir. Jane Schoenbrun) 
Reality and fantasy begin to blur when a teen immerses herself in a role-playing horror game online.
2021, 86 min, Drama/Horror, Theater/Virtual

This has been making the rounds at festivals for the past year. I have not stopped hearing about it. As someone who grew up when the internet and chatrooms first became a thing, We’re All Going To The World’s Fair has an eerie hold on my psyche. Anna Cobb commands the screen in her first-ever feature. This will continue to Wow audiences when it hits theaters and streams on HBOMax next year. Indie Memphis audiences can be “in the know” way beforehand.


QUEEN OF GLORY (Dir. Nana Mensah) 
Ghanaian-American Sarah is all set to abandon her Ivy League doctoral program to follow her married lover across the country. Her plans are derailed, however, when her mother’s sudden death leaves her the owner of a neighborhood bookshop in the Bronx.
2021, 75 min, Comedy/Drama, Theater

We do strange things for love. Take it from someone who moved from NYC to India for 6 months with my boyfriend (now my husband). The sacrifices we make, the people we leave behind, are all tricky choices when it comes to matters of the heart.


I WAS A SIMPLE MAN (Dir. Christopher Makoto Yogi) 
As Masao (Steve Iwamoto) gets sicker, he is visited by ghosts of his past, including his wife, Grace (Constance Wu), who helps shepherd him into the beyond. Merging dream, family history, romantic period piece, all bridged by gently psychedelic observations of nature.
2021, 101 min, Drama, Virtual

Facing our mortality puts things into perspective. You cannot help but assess your life and whether or not it had any impact. I Was A Simple Man plays with time and memory in a beautifully eclectic manner. While writer-director Christopher Makoto Yogi’s second feature thoughtfully tackles death, it is simultaneously an homage to Hawaii.


BUNKER (Dir. Jenny Perlin) – WORLD PREMIERE
The debut feature film of renowned filmmaker Jenny Perlin investigates the lonely lives of American men who have decided to live in decommissioned military bunkers and nuclear missile silos, and follows the process of building and selling these structures to the wealthy and not-so-wealthy alike.
2021, 92 min, Documentary, Theater/Virtual

As a child playing in my grandparents’ home, I stumbled upon a small room that was normally locked. I came to learn that it was a fallout shelter. This perplexed and fascinated me. As a genre film fan, I have often thought about the number of narrative fictions that involved these bunkers. As an adult who has a relative that is a “Prepper” this doc intrigues me to no end.


LISTENING TO KENNY G (Dir. Penny Lane) 
Penny Lane’s documentary takes a witty and provocative look at the easy-listening saxophonist’s story while asking: what makes music good or bad?
2021, 97 min, Documentary, Theater/Virtual

If you’re not a Kenny G fan, the mere mention of his name can be satire. His record sales tell you another story with over 52 million albums sold. Being the butt of the joke is a double-edged sword for G, over his 40-year career he’s changed musical culture, whether we “get it” or not. Penny Lane gives us an intimate insight into Kenny G. He’s going to slay you with his charm. Good luck.


KILLER (Dir. A.D. Smith, 90 min) 
After a pandemic strikes the nation, ten friends decide to quarantine under the same roof. Unfortunately, one of them is a killer.
2021, Horror, Theater/Virtual

The longer you’re in close quarters with someone, the more likely you want to kill them. That’s simply human nature, right? I laugh, in hindsight, thinking that lockdown was only going to be two weeks. Lucky for me, I didn’t have an actual killer in my house. But, I did have two toddlers, and that’s sort of the same thing. A.D. Smith takes a group of college friends and places them in a game of life or death. High stakes for pandemic films right now. Fingers crossed for some creative kills, because what else can a genre fan hope for?


More information on tickets and virtual screenings for
Indie Memphis Fim Festival 2021
HERE

 

 


 The 24th Annual Indie Memphis Film Festival, Ft. Sean Baker’s RED ROCKET as Opening Night Film, World Premieres of FERNY & LUCA and BUNKER, and More

Image from Andrew Infante’s IMFF2021 World Premiere, FERNY & LUCA

 Indie Memphis Film Festival, presented by Duncan Williams, Inc., for its 2021 incarnation runs from October 20th – 25th. This year’s festival promises to be a very exciting and wildly varied one, featuring films ranging from new discoveries to beloved classics, from festival hits to experimental wonders, and everything in-between.

“I am incredibly excited by what we are offering this year with the festival,“ says Indie Memphis Executive Director Knox Shelton, “The programming is stellar and, in terms of how we’ve planned the festival, we hope that we have found ways for people to celebrate independent filmmaking based on their comfort level. We understand that there is no perfect way to do this, but we’ve taken steps to ensure the health and safety of our filmmakers, attendees, volunteers, and staff.”

In the quest to reach a large audience while taking staunch COVID-19 precautions, this year’s festival will be a hybrid of online and in-person screenings and events. For in-person Memphis screenings and events, proof of COVID-19 vaccine is required for all staff, volunteers, contractors, and attendees, and masks are required at all times indoors. Venues for screenings are now focused on larger theaters to better accommodate social-distanced seating; these include Crosstown Theater, The Block Party will be delayed until a year in which we can better protect the health of our attendees, partners, and staff. Circuit Playhouse, Playhouse on the Square, and the Malco Summer Drive-In. Festival parties will be limited to outdoor celebrations on Opening and Closing Night.

The 2021 festival features work from up-and-coming filmmakers, as well as festival hits such as Jonas Carpignano’s A CHIARA, Jane Schoenbrun’s WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR, Penny Lane’s LISTENING TO KENNY G, Céline Sciamma’s PETITE MAMAN, and many more.

The festival also features exciting premieres, such as the World Premiere of Andrew Infante’s FERNY & LUCA. The film is a look into the on-and-off relationship between Ferny, a sweet and naive pretty boy, and Luca, a rough and tumble disco queen, who is more concerned with chasing her dreams than chasing boys. There’s also the World Premiere of Jenny Perlin’s BUNKER, a documentary that investigates the lonely lives of American men who have decided to live in decommissioned military bunkers and nuclear missile silos, and follows the process of building and selling these structures to the wealthy and not-so-wealthy alike.

The Opening Night film is Sean Baker’s Cannes favorite RED ROCKET, starring Simon Rex as a pornstar who returns to his Texas hometown that barely tolerates him, the Centerpiece Presentation is Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s DRIVE MY CAR, and the Closing Night is Pablo Larrain’s SPENCER. Some additional standout titles include Robert Greene’s PROCESSION, a documentary about a group of survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests battle for justice, and Rhayne Vermette’s STE. ANNE, a drama that traces an allegorical reclamation of land through personal, symbolic, and historical sites.

“We’re honored to be introducing these titles to Memphis audiences,” said Indie Memphis Artistic Director Miriam Bale. “I’m confident many of these are classics that will be talked about for a long time to come. We aim to have a collection of films that is winnowed down to the best of year, and I think this line-up reflects that.”

The festival continues to feature live music performed in the theaters before every screening. The Black Creators Forum also returns for a fourth year, this time in a hybrid format, both online and with an outdoor in-person component. This festival programming continues to reflect diversity in all areas, with a special focus on films from the African Diaspora and Africa. Indie Memphis is privileged to present the North American premiere of JUJU STORIES, an anthology film from the Nigerian new wave cinema collective known as Surreal16, after its World Premiere at Locarno.

Additional upcoming announcements will include the Black Creators Forum program, virtual IndieTalks Panels, Live Music Lineup, and more.


2021 Indie Memphis Film Festival Slate
Alphabetical by Category

OPENING NIGHT

RED ROCKET (Dir. Sean Baker)

In a magnetic, live-wire performance, Simon Rex plays a pornstar who returns to his Texas hometown that barely tolerates him.

2021, 128 min, Drama, Theater


CENTERPIECE

DRIVE MY CAR (Dir. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)

Adapted from a Haruki Murakami short story in which an aging actor can no longer drive, so he hires a quiet 20-year-old girl as his chauffeur.
2021, 179 min, Drama, Theater


CLOSING NIGHT

SPENCER (Dir. Pablo Larraín)

An imagining of one weekend in the life of Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart), as she spends the Christmas holiday with the royal family at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, and decides to leave her marriage to Prince Charles.
2021, 101 min, Drama, Theater


NARRATIVE COMPETITION

FERNY & LUCA (Dir. Andrew Infante) – WORLD PREMIERE

A look into the on-and-off relationship between Ferny, a sweet and naive pretty boy, and Luca, a rough and tumble disco queen, who is more concerned with chasing her dreams than chasing boys… mostly.
2021, 70 min, Drama, Theater/Virtual

JUJU STORIES (Dirs. Abba Makama, C.J. ‘Fiery’ Obasi, Michael Omonua) – NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
A three-part anthology film exploring juju (magical) stories rooted in Nigerian folklore and urban legend, written and directed by the Nigerian new wave cinema collective known as Surreal16.
2021, 84 min, Drama/Fantasy/Horror

THE PILL (Dir. Franco Clarke) 
An African-American family indulges in the use of a secret pill that helps them cope with their day-to-day stressors of racism outside of their home.
2021, 81 min, Comedy, Theater/Virtual

WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR (Dir. Jane Schoenbrun) 
Reality and fantasy begin to blur when a teen immerses herself in a role-playing horror game online.
2021, 86 min, Drama/Horror, Theater/Virtual

QUEEN OF GLORY (Dir. Nana Mensah) 
Ghanaian-American Sarah is all set to abandon her Ivy League doctoral program to follow her married lover across the country. Her plans are derailed, however, when her mother’s sudden death leaves her the owner of a neighborhood bookshop in the Bronx.
2021, 75 min, Comedy/Drama, Theater


DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

LARRY FLYNT FOR PRESIDENT (Dir. Nadia Szold) 

Assembled from never before seen footage shot in 1983, this film documents controversial Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt’s unlikely bid for the White House after a gunman’s bullet left him partially paralyzed.
2021, 90 min, Documentary, Theater/Virtual

ONE OF OURS (Dir. Yasmine Mathurin) 
After a Haitian-born youth is racially profiled at an Indigenous basketball tournament, he wrestles with his shaken sense of belonging in his Indigenous adoptive family while attempting to heal from his past.
2021, 88 min, Documentary, Virtual/Theater

WE STILL HERE (Dir. Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi) 
An introduction to the incredible youth activists of Comerío, Puerto Rico, who navigate the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, a disaster that brought an unprecedented level of devastation to an island already in economic and political crisis.
2021, 100 min, Documentary, Virtual

YOU DON’T KNOW ME (Dir. Jon Kent) 
A documentary film about Tennessee death row inmate Abu-Ali ‘Abdur Rahman and the celebrated attorney and justice system that failed him following one of Nashville’s most notorious crimes.
2020, 100 min, Documentary, Theater/Virtual


NARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT

A CHIARA (Dir. Jonas Carpignano)

A 15-year-old girl doggedly searches for the truth behind her adored father’s sudden abandonment in Calabria.
2021, 121 min, Drama, Theater/Virtual

C’MON C’MON (Dir. Mike Mills) 
Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) and his young nephew (Woody Norman) forge a tenuous but transformational relationship when they are unexpectedly thrown together in this delicate and deeply moving story about the connections between adults and children, the past and the future.
2021, 108 min, Drama, Theater

MEMORIA (Dir. Apichatpong Weerasethaku) 
From the extraordinary mind of Palme D’or winning director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and starring Academy Award-winner Tilda Swinton, comes a meditative mystery about a Scottish woman who begins experiencing a mysterious sensory syndrome while traversing the jungles of Colombia.
2021, 136 min, Drama, Theater

PETITE MAMAN (Dir. Céline Sciamma) 
8-year-old Nelly has just lost her beloved grandmother and is helping her parents clean out her mother’s childhood home. While exploring the surrounding woods where her mother used to play, she meets another little girl who seems eerily familiar. Nelly’s new friend takes her to a house that is a mirror of her own.
2021, 72 min, Drama, Theater/Virtual

I WAS A SIMPLE MAN (Dir. Christopher Makoto Yogi) 
As Masao (Steve Iwamoto) gets sicker, he is visited by ghosts of his past, including his wife, Grace (Constance Wu), who helps shepherd him into the beyond. Merging dream, family history, romantic period piece, all bridged by gently psychedelic observations of nature.
2021, 101 min, Drama, Virtual

SECRET SCREENING
One of the most daring and moving films of the year! You won’t want to miss this.
2021, 142 min, Theater


DOCUMENTARY SPOTLIGHT

ALIEN ON STAGE (Dirs. Danielle Kummer and Lucy Harvey) 

Bus Drivers from Dorset, England stage a homemade homage of Ridley Scott’s ALIEN, with special effects needing “more luck than judgement.”
2021, 86 min, Documentary, Theater/Virtual

FLEE  (Dir. Jonas Poher Rasmussen) 
Recounted mostly through animation to director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Amin Nawabi tells of his extraordinary journey as a child refugee from Afghanistan.
2021, 90 min, Documentary, Theater/Virtual

MAURICE HINES: BRING THEM BACK (Dir. John Carluccio) 
An intimate portrait of an outspoken showman who with humor and grace navigates the highs and lows of a seven-decade career, and a complex relationship with his superstar brother, Gregory Hines.
2021, 95 min, Documentary, Virtual

THE MUSHROOM SPEAKS (Dir. Marion Neumann) 
A film about the fungal reign explores the theme of renewal, and questions what connects us when the world seems to be falling apart.
2021, 89 min, Documentary, English, VirtuaL

SISTERS WITH TRANSISTORS (Dir. Lisa Rovner)
Beautifully narrated by Laurie Anderson, this documentary is about electronic music’s women pioneers, including Clara Rockmore, Daphne Oram, Bebe Barron, Pauline Oliveros, Delia Derbyshire, Maryanne Amacher, Eliane Radigue, Suzanne Ciani, and Laurie Spiegel.
2021, 86 min, Documentary, Virtual


DEPARTURES
Films That Depart from Expectations

BUNKER (Dir. Jenny Perlin) – WORLD PREMIERE

The debut feature film of renowned filmmaker Jenny Perlin investigates the lonely lives of American men who have decided to live in decommissioned military bunkers and nuclear missile silos, and follows the process of building and selling these structures to the wealthy and not-so-wealthy alike.
2021, 92 min, Documentary, Theater/Virtual

MANY FIRES THIS TIME WE THE 100 MILLION (Dir. Jason R.A. Foster)
A poetic docudrama about the 1 in 3 Americans living in economic insecurity. It follows the journey of poet and activist A Scribe Called Quess? as he connects with fellow activist poets and the communities they represent from Oakland to Chicago to Kentucky to his hometown of New Orleans.
2021, 70 min, Documentary, Virtual

NORTH BY CURRENT (Dir. Angelo Madsen Minax)
A family death spurs a first-person study on the nature of grief, time, and origins.
2021, 86 min, Documentary, Theater/Virtual

PROCESSION (Dir. Robert Greene)
A group of survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests battle for justice.
2021, 119 min, Documentary, Theater

STE. ANNE (Dir. Rhayne Vermette)
Shot over the course of two years, Ste. Anne traces an allegorical reclamation of land through personal, symbolic and historical sites all across Treaty 1 Territory, heartland of the Métis Nation.
2021, 80 min, Drama, Virtual


SOUNDS
Films That Celebrate Music

ELDER’S CORNER (Dir. Siji Awoyinka)

ELDER’S CORNER is a historical music documentary showcasing the lives and work of Nigeria’s pioneering musicians.
2021, 97 min, Documentary, Theater/VirtuaL

LISTENING TO KENNY G (Dir. Penny Lane) 
Penny Lane’s documentary takes a witty and provocative look at the easy-listening saxophonist’s story while asking: what makes music good or bad?
2021, 97 min, Documentary, Theater/Virtual

POLY STYRENE: I AM A CLICHE (Dirs. Celeste Bell and Paul Sng)
The life and work of X-Ray Spex singer-songwriter and punk icon Poly Styrene is explored by her daughter in this dynamic yet delicate personal film. There are also explorations of Styrene’s identity as a half-Somali woman in the largely white punk scene.
2021, 96 min, Documentary, Theater/Virtual

REZ METAL (Dir. Ashkan Soltani Stone)
A documentary about the metal band I Don’t Konform and the vibrant heavy metal scene throughout the Navajo reservation.
2021, 75 min, Documentary, Virtual


HOMETOWNER FEATURES
Films From Memphis Filmmakers

A BALLET SEASON (Dirs. David Goodman, Steven J. Ross)

A year in the life of Ballet Memphis, a southern dance organization dedicated to putting diversity on the stage while challenging preconceptions about regional ballet. This predominantly observational documentary follows the many individuals and artists who collaborate together as a community over the course of a dizzying pre-pandemic season (2018-2019).
2021, 56 min, Documentary, Theater/Virtual

THE LUCKY ELEVEN (Dir. George Tillman)
A group of eleven young men from the south side of Memphis began their journey in Jr High and made their way to the NFL.
2021, 66 min, Documentary, Theater/Virtual

KILLER (Dir. A.D. Smith, 90 min)
After a pandemic strikes the nation, ten friends decide to quarantine under the same roof. Unfortunately, one of them is a killer.
2021, Horror, Theater/Virtual

LIFE AIN’T LIKE THE MOVIES (Dir. Robert Butler)
An awkward 16 year old black teen comes of age and learns about love, bullying, tragedy and how to connect to his father who he’s extremely different from.
2021, Drama, Theater/Virtual

REEL ROCK: BLACK ICE (Dirs. Peter Mortimer & Zachary Barr)
A crew of aspiring ice climbers from the Memphis Rox gym travels to the frozen wilds of Montana, where mentors Manoah Ainuu, Conrad Anker and Fred Campbell share their love of winter adventure in the mountains.
2021, 45 min, Virtual/Theater


REVIVALS/ RESTORATIONS

CHAMELEON STREET (Dir. Wendell B. Harris Jr.)

In this seminal work in African-American independent film, William Douglas Street is bored with his life. Working for his father is getting to him, his wife wants more money, and he’s had enough. His solution is to re-invent himself. He becomes a chameleon, taking on whatever role suits the situation.
1989, 94 min, Comedy/Drama, Theater 

DEEP BLUES (Dir. Robert Mugge)
Music critic Robert Palmer narrates the insightful story of Delta blues and North Mississippi hill country blues.
1992, 91 min, Documentary, Theater

RADIO ON (Dir. Chris Petit)
Set in 1970’s Britain, a man drives from London to Bristol to investigate his brother’s death. The purpose of his trip is offset by his encounters with a series of odd people.
1979, 104 min, Drama, Theater


SPECIAL SCREENING
Don Meyers Memorial Retrospective

A collection of some of the notable films by actor, filmmaker, artist, and Memphis legend, Don Meyers.
2021, 180 min, Theater

‘The Matrix Resurrections’ Official Trailer 1 is here, and we have chills!

The Matrix Resurrections – Official Trailer 1

This epic journey began in 1999. It’s been 18 years since the last installment. After watching the trailer, we’ve got A LOT of questions. The plot is currently unknown.

The Matrix Resurrections will be released on December 22nd, 2021. This is going to be one hell of a holiday surprise.

Which pill will you choose?


From visionary filmmaker Lana Wachowski comes “The Matrix Resurrections,” the long-awaited fourth film in the groundbreaking franchise that redefined a genre. The new film reunites original stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss in the iconic roles they made famous, Neo and Trinity.

The film also stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (the “Aquaman” franchise) Jessica Henwick (TV’s “Iron Fist,” “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens”), Jonathan Groff (“Hamilton,” TV’s “Mindhunter”), Neil Patrick Harris (“Gone Girl”), Priyanka Chopra Jonas (TV’s “Quantico,”), Christina Ricci (TV’s “Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story,” “The Lizzie Borden Chronicles”), Telma Hopkins (TV’s “Dead to Me,”), Eréndira Ibarra (series “Sense8,” “Ingobernable”), Toby Onwumere (TV’s “Empire”), Max Riemelt (series “Sense8”), Brian J. Smith (series “Sense8,” “Treadstone”), and Jada Pinkett Smith (“Angel Has Fallen,” TV’s “Gotham”).

Lana Wachowski directed from a screenplay by Wachowski & David Mitchell & Aleksander Hemon, based on characters created by The Wachowskis. The film was produced by Grant Hill, James McTeigue and Lana Wachowski. The executive producers were Garrett Grant, Terry Needham, Michael Salven, Jesse Ehrman and Bruce Berman.

Wachowski’s creative team behind the scenes included “Sense8” collaborators: directors of photography Daniele Massaccesi and John Toll, production designers Hugh Bateup and Peter Walpole, editor Joseph Jett Sally, costume designer Lindsay Pugh, visual effects supervisor Dan Glass, and composers Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer.

Warner Bros. Pictures Presents, In Association with Village Roadshow Pictures, In Association with Venus Castina Productions, “The Matrix Resurrections.” The film will be distributed by worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures. It will be in theaters nationwide and on HBO Max via the Ad-Free plan on December 22, 2021; it will be available on HBO Max for 31 days from theatrical release.


 

Fantasia International Film Festival 2021 reviews: ‘Baby, Don’t Cry’ & ‘Wonderful Paradise’


BABY, DON’T CRY

Baby, a withdrawn and sensitive 17-year-old Chinese immigrant from a troubled home, is living in the outskirts of Seattle. One day, she meets a 20-year-old delinquent named Fox. Together they embark on a twisted journey to escape their hopeless fate.


A story of cyclical abuse with a touch of magical realism, Baby, Don’t Cry was a completely unexpected journey. Fair warning for survivors of abuse, this film may be a trigger watching for you. The deeper you go into the story the more complex our leads are revealed to be. Two young people in hopes of escaping their sad circumstances, latch onto one another. It’s evidently unhealthy to the audience but entirely understandable. Lack of father figures is a running theme, as are racism and mental illness. The emotional burdens that Baby and Fox carry are unrelenting. Zita Bai, our leading lady, and creator of Baby, has given us a thoroughly nuanced character. Some moments will make you infuriated with her, while others provoke sympathy It’s an extraordinary culmination of emotions. Baby, Don’t Cry will make you cringe, shake your head, and fill you with a bit of wonder.


DIRECTOR

Jesse Dvorak

WRITER

Zita Bai

CAST

Zita Bai, Boni Mata, Vas Provatakis, Helen Sun


WONDERFUL PARADISE

The Sasayas are moving out, but not without a party! A demented spin on the unwanted-guest scenario from punk iconoclast Masashi Yamamoto.


Thanks to Twitter, an estranged and dysfunctional family throws an accidental party on their move-out day. A barrage of quirky characters show up to explore and wreak their own brand of havoc. Wonderful Paradise is an absurdist sideshow. I would genuinely recommend watching this high. The number of times I exclaimed, “Huh?”, “What?”, or, “Sure, why not?! ” I lost count quite frankly. I must applaud the cast for their absolute commitment to their craft. The cast grows exponentially as the film rolls on and every single performer gives it 110%. The slow and district progression of the set is wild. The practical FX combined with the wackiest of screenplays make Wonderful Paradise perfect for Fantasia audiences. It is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Do I understand the final result? Absolutely not. Would I watch it again? Don’t threaten me with a good time.


DIRECTOR

Masashi Yamamoto

WRITER

Suzuyuki Kaneko, Masashi Yamamoto

CAST

Akira Emoto, Seiko Ito, Kaho Minami, Miyu Ogawa, Soran Tamoto


 

 

Review: ‘Love Type D’ is charming and unexpected.

 

Bad news. Being unlucky in love is genetic.

 How can someone love you yesterday and not today? Shortly after her boyfriend sends his 12-year-old brother to break the news that she’s dumped, Frankie Browne discovers that she has a loser in love gene. Every man she goes out with will inevitably break up with her. Facing a lifetime of romantic failure, Frankie turns to the only genetics expert she knows: her former nemesis, Wilbur, a schoolboy science prodigy. Wilbur develops a maverick theory to reverse her romantic fortunes that sets into motion an unexpected and comic journey into Frankie’s past of questionable romantic choices.

Love Type D is a quirky and completely unexpected romcom. With a mixture of flashbacks and impressive ingenuity, Frankie figures she has nothing left to lose in love. Taking the advice of 12-year-old Wilbur throws her life into chaos. But it’s all in the name of finally understanding herself and the patterns of heartbreak. Wrangling in co-workers with similar relationship woes, Frankie becomes bolder than she ever thought possible. Love Type D is anything but the typical romcom. The script, by director Sasha Collington, is endlessly fun. Maeve Dermody skillfully plays upon Frankie’s eccentricities to make her genuinely loveable. This gives the film a solid Bridget Jone’s Diary vibe. But Love Type D easily stands on its own two left feet. Dermody is pure delight.  Even though Oliver Farnworth is on the poster with Dermody, it’s the performance from Rory Stroud as Wilbur that makes this film magic. His delivery of Collington’s dialogue is like watching a 45-year-old man inside a 12-year-old’s body. He is simply darling. If he’s not cast in every single upcoming British film, I’ll be flabbergasted. He’s a star.

OPENING ON-DEMAND EVERYWHERE

ON JULY 9, 2021

LOVE TYPE D stars Maeve Dermody, Rory Stroud, Oliver Farnworth, and Tovah Feldshuh.

It was written and directed by first-time filmmaker Sasha Collington.

The film has a running time of 94 minutes and will not be rated by the MPAA.  Vertical Entertainment will release LOVE TYPE D On Demand everywhere on July 9, 2021.

SXSW21: What we’re excited to dive into at this year’s virtual fest.

SXSW21 is virtual, allowing it to reach a wider audience. Screenings begin Tuesday and we’re already salivating at the lineup. Here are just a few films we’re excited to watch.


NARRATIVE:

RECOVERY

Directors: Mallory Everton, Stephen Meek, Screenwriters: Whitney Call, Mallory Everton, Producers: Scott Christopherson, Stephen Meek, Abi Nielson Hunsaker
Two directionless sisters brave a cross-country road trip to rescue their grandmother from a COVID outbreak at her nursing home. Cast List: Whitney Call, Mallory Everton, Anne Sward Hansen, Julia Jolley, Baylee Thornock, Jessica Drolet, Stephen Meek, Tyler Andrew Jones, Noah Kershisnik, Justin Call (World Premiere)

It’s officially been a year since we locked ourselves in our homes. If anyone can make pandemic humor relatable, it’s Whitney Call and Mallory Everton with their improv and sketch comedy background. Also, the fact that they’ve known each other forever, I’m guessing that will only help make this the most believable chemistry between co-stars. 

WITCH HUNT

Director/Screenwriter: Elle Callahan, Producers: Eric B. Fleischman, Maurice Fadida
In a modern America where witches are real and witchcraft is illegal, a sheltered teenager must face her own demons and prejudices as she helps two young witches avoid law enforcement and cross the southern border to asylum in Mexico. Cast List: Gideon Adlon, Elizabeth Mitchell, Abigail Cowen, Nicholas and Cameron Crovetti, Christian Camargo (World Premiere)

I know women who practice witchcraft. To think their wellbeing could ever be put in jeopardy is a terrifying thought. Originally slated to screen at SXSW2020, it’s time to share this film with the masses. The synopsis alone gets the gears turning on possible political parallels from the past few years.

PAUL DOOD’s DEADLY LUNCH BREAK

Director: Nick Gillespie, Screenwriters: Brook Driver, Matt White, Nick Gillespie, Producer: Finn Bruce
When Paul’s chances of winning a national talent contest are ruined and his dreams of fame are slashed, he plans a deathly revenge rampage!! 1 lunch break, 5 spectacular murders! Each wrongdoer dispatched in a fitting manner by the sparkly suited Paul! Cast List: Tom Meeten, Katherine Parkinson, Kris Marshall, Alice Lowe, Mandeep Dhillon, Johnny Vegas, Steve Oram, Craig Parkinson, Kevin Bishop, Pippa Haywood (World Premiere)

Here is another cast list that grabbed my attention right away. Plus sequins and murder aren’t usually synonymous. British humor gets me every single time.

JAKOB’S WIFE

Director: Travis Stevens, Screenwriters: Travis Stevens, Kathy Charles, Mark Steensland, Producers: Barbara Crampton, Bob Portal, Travis Stevens, Inderpal Singh
The disappearance of a young woman threatens to change the beige and banal lives of Anne Fedder (Barbara Crampton) and her pastor husband Jakob Fedder (Larry Fessenden) forever. Cast List: Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Bonnie Aarons, Mark Kelly, Sarah Lind, Robert Rusler, Nyisha Bell, Phil Brooks (World Premiere)

Travis Stevens gave me one of the most gagworthy practical FX-filled films in 2019 with GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR. Starring genre queen (and Timelord in my own mind) Barbara Crampton and the legendary Larry Fessenden, the buzz around this newest work is electric. Crampton’s uncanny ability to own the screen with a glance will undoubtedly captivate audiences, yet again. Also, knowing that Stevens is a huge horror fan himself (his producer credits give him away as does his totally down-to-earth Twitter feed) gives me the warm and fuzzies knowing that he’ll take care of audiences in all the ways we need.


DOCUMENTARY:

LILY TOPPLES THE WORLD

Director: Jeremy Workman, Producers: Jeremy Workman, Robert J. Lyons
Lily Topples The World follows 20-year-old Lily Hevesh — the world’s most acclaimed domino toppler and the only woman in her field — in a coming-of-age story of artistry, passion, and unlikely triumph. Executive produced by Kelly Marie Tran. (World Premiere)

My kids (and I) have become obsessed with toppling videos on YouTube. Once you go down that rabbit hole, you’re not coming out. The sheer patience it must take to build these feats is something I cannot even fathom. Knowing that this entire doc centers on a young woman at the top of her game encourages me to watch with my kids. I have a feeling SXSW audiences may do the same.

THE LOST SONS

Director: Ursula Macfarlane, Producer: Gagan Rehill
1960s Chicago, a baby is kidnapped from a hospital. Fifteen months later, a toddler is abandoned. Could he be the same baby? In a tale of breathtaking twists and turns, two mysteries begin to unravel and dark family secrets are revealed. (World Premiere)

This is a story I was slightly familiar with from its 20/20 broadcast. Since we’re all true crime junkies now, The Lost Sons should garner a sold-out audience.


SHORT FILMS:

THE THING THAT ATE THE BIRDS

Directors/Screenwriters: Sophie Mair, Dan Gitsham
On the North Yorkshire Moors, Abel, Head Gamekeeper, discovers the thing that is eating his grouse. (North American Premiere)

Gunpowder & Sky’s horror brand, ALTER will be premiering the horror short film by writer and director duo Sophie Mair (Ella, And the Baby Screamed) and Dan Gitsham (Ella, And the Baby Screamed), The Thing That  Ate The Birds. They had me at the title. Since horror is my jam, and the name alone instills a sense of fear and anxiety, I have to know what “The Thing” is!

NUEVO RICO

Director: Kristian Mercado, Screenwriters: Kristian Mercado, Juan Arroyo
A brother and sister stumble upon a celestial secret that changes their lives forever and propels them into Reggaetón stardom, but they soon discover that their newfound fame comes at a deep price. (World Premiere)

Animation with edgy social commentary will catch my attention every time. Filmmaker Kristian Mercado Figueroa is known for this skill. With the voice talents of Orange Is The New Black alum Jackie Cruz, this one caught my eye from its press still alone.

STUFFED

Director: Theo Rhys, Screenwriters: Theo Rhys, Joss Holden-Rea
Stuffed is a short musical about a taxidermist who dreams of stuffing a human and the man she meets online, so afraid of aging he volunteers to be her specimen. An unexpected romantic spark between them complicates their plans. (North American Premiere)

You had me at the categories Horror and Musical. Since Sweeney Todd, Repo: The Genetic Opera, and Anna and the Apocalypse, I’ve been dying for more genre musical goodness. STUFFED may just fill that void even in short form.

MARVIN’S NEVER HAD COFFEE BEFORE

Director: Andrew Carter, Screenwriters: Andrew Carter, Kahlil Maskati
Marvin Wexler tries coffee for the first time and desperately tries to talk about it with anyone who will listen.

I grew up a tea drinker. I loathed just the idea of coffee until I was in my 30’s. Now I have 10 bags in different flavors and roasts and an obnoxious coffee maker in my apartment. I remember the joy of discovering this drink that fuels my days and some of my nights as a writer and a Mom.


You can find the full lineup of events and grab yourself tickets at

SXSW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple TV+ review: ‘CHERRY’ has Tom Holland spiralling.

CHERRY

The wild journey of a disenfranchised young man from Ohio who meets the love of his life, only to risk losing her through a series of bad decisions and challenging life circumstances.

Tom Holland plays the titular role in Cherry. The character feels like what might have happened to a modern-day Holden Caufield after the end of Catcher In The Rye. Cherry is classified as an American crime drama, but for me, it’s a genre-bending film that flows similarly to the Nico Walker novel it’s based on. Presented in parts, prologue and epilogue included, the screenplay moves at a rapid pace so you never have time to get too settled. Color is an important part of the structure, as red indicates each chapter shift. The lighting choices are smart and help create the overall mood of the film. There is a palpable heaviness to the story. The camera work is fantastic. Closeups are intentional and amazing. The score is also a huge highlight.

There’s an intense charm about Tom Holland. He commands the screen with his ability to both put you at ease and surprise you. You just believe him. If that’s not the very definition of great acting, I’m not sure what is. His narration controls the overall atmosphere of the film from the get-go. While Holland gets to explore the dark humor in it all, you’re constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop for Cherry. The military PTSD exacerbates his already existing sadness which inevitably leads to addiction… Which leads to a string of bank robberies.

Cherry is a self-destructive story of a young man with no sense of direction, controlled by impulse rather than logic. It could just as easily been an entire series. There’s a lot jammed into its two hour and twenty-minute run. If I’m being perfectly honest, it’s almost too much. With 30 minutes left, I had to pause and come back later. To clarify it was very engaged it was just a lot to ingest in one sitting. Had this played in theaters, I worry an audience wouldn’t be able to stick with the length. Outside of that one concern, Cherry is highly entertaining thanks to Holland’s full commitment to Jessica Goldberg, and Angela Russo-Otstot‘s phenomenal screenplay, and the stylistic choices of The Russo Brothers’ overall aesthetic choices.

Apple will release the movie in theaters on February 26 then on Apple TV+ on March 12. Customers can view Apple TV+ on any Apple device, recent smart TVs, set-top boxes, or on the web.

 

Review: What is ‘Fire Bones’? It’s almost gleefully indescribable.

We’re all stuck at home, binge-watching crime doc, reading books, listening to music and podcasts like fiends. What if we could take all of those things and combine them into one incredible immersive theatrical experience? Enter FIRE BONES, a multi-media project utilizing film, music, audio, visual art, and even poetry as it tells a whimsical Southern Gothic tale via a road trip to solve a crazy mystery. The project was created by poet and Director of Creative Writing at SMU, Greg Brownderville, and features the narrative directorial debut of Bart Weiss, the Founder of Dallas Video Fest and a Professor of Film at University of Texas, Arlington. FIRE BONES is a visual feast. The Chapter pages have small, striking mixed media tags that are strung as clues. I would hang each one of them on my walls. When you click through, each numbered to avoid confusion, you are treated to something unique that pushes this mystery along.

The story revolves around the disappearance of an extraordinary woman named Amra. She was a pilot, a leader of the town’s Pentecostal church “Fire Bones”, and a local legend that everyone knew… or so they thought. We follow Greg and Bart’s search for answers as accusations fly and information slowly comes to light in this unusual town filled with eccentric residents. The commitment to this unique format by this cast is magic. It’s weird and wonderful and I guarantee you have never seen or heard anything like it. Each clue gets better and better. Two standouts from the first half of this journey are Chapter 4: Clue #13 – Trainbow – Poetric dialogue set against breathtaking swamp and train imagery. And Chapter 5, Clue #15 Sign of the Times –  A hilarious song with a tongue-in-cheek take on church board messaging.

If the pandemic had never happened, this could have easily been one of the most popular in-person attractions in immersive theatre history. If you’ve ever experienced a show like Sleep No More, which is an intense, live walkthrough of Macbeth in which the scenes play out from room to room as the audience wears masks and is encouraged to interact with the cast, you’d understand what I mean. FIRE BONES could easily adopt this presentation. It could be a permanent exhibit at MoMA. In our current circumstances, it’s a fun thing to do with family members. Fare warning, if you are listening with younger ears, there is a bit of profanity from time to time. While it is ultimately 4 1/2 hrs of content, you easily breeze from one piece to the next. The audio style wavers between true crime and radio drama. The videos are stunning to look at. Sharply shot and puzzling in content, you cannot help but we swept up in the mystery. Because each chapter is short, you never have time to get distracted. And because the format changes, you’re constantly engaged. FIRE BONES has massive expansion potential, but in its current form is undeniably entertaining. In an unpredictable world, some predictable fun is welcome.

Fire Bones trailer from Fire Bones on Vimeo.

 

Review: Will HBO docuseries ‘ALLEN v. FARROW’ finally lead to accountability?

ALLEN v. FARROW

The four-part documentary series Allen v. Farrow, from award-winning investigative filmmakers Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering and Amy Herdy, goes behind the years of sensational headlines to reveal the private story of one Hollywood’s most notorious and public scandals: the accusation of sexual abuse against Woody Allen involving Dylan, his then 7-year-old daughter with Mia Farrow; their subsequent custody trial, the revelation of Allen’s relationship with Farrow’s daughter, Soon-Yi; and the controversial aftermath in the years that followed.

There is a chilling feeling while watching this series. As a critic, I long fell into the same category as the journalists featured at the beginning of the episode. You grow up with the notion that Woodey Allen represented the quintessential essence of what New York City culture was. You’re enamored with it all. While inarguably furthering the early careers of actresses Diane Keaton, Mariel Hemingway, and Mia Farrow (they made 12 films during their relationship), the pattern of behavior and theme of his obsession with young women run through his scripts. Woody Allen has somehow been allowed to continue to work mostly unscathed, even after the world knew about his relationship with Farrow’s adopted daughter Soon-Yi, even after the #MeToo movement continues to rain hell down on abusers. Allegations swirled about the sexual abuse of adopted daughter Dylan. This is the first time that Dylan gets to tell her story in earnest. This doc utilized Allen’s own words against him as excerpts of him narrating his 2020 memoir play in between intimate sitdown interviews with Mia, Dylan, Ronan, family, and friends of the once power couple. Mia took endless hours of home videos for years, adding to the amount of readily available footage from the media. Finally hearing all the details from the source is brutal. It’s a visceral watch.  As a parent, it is next-level painful. Watching the cycle of emotional abuse Mia endured from one man to the next, all while unconditionally loving her children adds another complex layer to this situation. This series will undoubtedly be controversial. It will be interesting to see the apologists come out loud and proud. There’s an enormous amount of evidence to digest. You will be shocked, sickened, furious, heartbroken. All this just at the end of the first of four episodes. ALLEN v. FARROW has to potential to reopen old wounds for a lot of trauma survivors. It also has the potential to knock another man off the pedestal we’ve kept him on for far too long.

The remaining episodes of ALLEN v. FARROW will air over the next subsequent Sunday nights on HBO at 9 pm.

Fathom Events review: Movie musical ‘STAND!’ only in theaters tonight, December 1st.

STAND!

In Theaters Only on December 1, 2020

Directed by: Robert Adetuyi (Stomp The YardBring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack)

1919. Stefan and his father Mike fled Ukraine for the New World, where they struggle to earn enough to reunite the family. Stefan is instantly smitten with the Jewish suffragette neighbour, Rebecca – but Rebecca’s brother Moishe and Mike oppose the would-be Romeo and Juliet. Returned soldiers, angry at the lack of jobs after the war, violently threaten the city’s immigrants, including Emma, the refugee from racist violence in Oklahoma. When a movement develops for workers to leave their jobs in protest, AJ Anderson, a wealthy lawyer, pits all against each other in a dramatic and inspirational final stand.

The potential in this story is obvious. Catchy numbers and an intriguing premise based on a true story. Unfortunately, it needs to stage to fully bloom. As someone who graduated from a musical theatre conservatory in Manhattan, I recognize the over-the-top gesture and intonation that is needed to reach the back row. But because the audience is experiencing it from a screen, it comes off as forced at times. The energy is lost in translation and it feels uneven. Theater broadcasting LIVE in a movie theater is different. Here, it’s actually the camera that ruins that genuine connection. Performances are outstanding so they deserve that give and take electric feeling. It also lacks in one major area where most musicals thrive; choreography. With a large and varied immigrant ensemble, this was a lost opportunity leading to momentary lulls in pacing. I kept hoping something was coming, some big number highlighting the different facets of people coming together. The moments definitely presented themselves over and over and not a single number. I think it could have pushed STAND! across the finish line.

The issues in the stage play turned screenplay is still incredibly relevant. This is the most successful aspect. Taking pages from Ragtime, Newsies, Parade, and Hamilton, stories of immigrants, race, religious persecution, classism, and the right to strike are all still ripe for vibrant storytelling in 2020. STAND! shines brightest when it sings. By far the best numbers belong to Lisa Bell. Get this girl on Broadway the minute it’s officially back. The Romeo and Juliet aspect between Rebecca and Stefan is charming enough but not as powerful as Emma or Mike Sokolowski’s emotional journey, whom the original stageplay STRIKE! is based upon. STAND! needs an Off-Broadway run and a workshop. But be the first movie theater audience to get chills while Lisa Bell belts out the theme in the final moments of the film, for sure. It’s worth the ticket price.

Music, Lyrics and Score: Danny Schur (Made In Winnipeg: The Terry Sawchuk Origin Story)

Featuring Lisa Bell’s show-stopping performance of the protest song Stand!

Starring:
Marshall Williams (“Glee”, “How to Build a Better Boy”)
Laura Wiggins (“Shameless”, 20th Century Women)
Lisa Bell (No Time Like Christmas, “Canadian Idol”)
Gregg Henry (“Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Scandal”)
Erik Athavale (Fractured, Breakthrough)
Paul Essiembre (“Covert Affairs”, “Silver Surfer”)
Hayley Sales (Deadpool 2, “The Good Doctor”)

Tickets and a list of participating theater locations will be available at www.FathomEvents.com.

RT: 110 Minutes

Review: ‘The Owners’ is a twisted home invasion.

SYNOPSIS:  A group of friends think they found the perfect easy score – an empty house with a safe full of cash. But when the elderly couple that lives there comes home early the tables are suddenly turned. As a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues the would-be thieves are left to fight to save themselves from a nightmare they could never have imagined.

The film has a simple enough setup but the script goes off the rails in the darkest way possible. There is a thread of manipulation that runs deep with Sylvester McCoy‘s dialogue. It’s not even hidden but it is enthralling to watch. As a Doctor Who and The Hobbit fan, this was so far out of the box for my experience with his persona it made my skin crawl. Can someone be too good at being bad? Maisie Williams holds her own against this maniacal couple and the group of misogynistic thugs in her sphere. The violence in the film is extremely high and she bares the brunt of much of it. Handling it like a pro, we are rooting for her survival from the very beginning. Writer-director Julius Berg (along with co-writer Matthieu Gompel) turns up the weird and evil with a subplot that is downright heinous. You’ll be sweating and yelling at the screen as you watch what happens to every single character. Another interesting subplot is centered around dementia. It goes hand in hand with manipulation but at times, you have to respect the way in which it ties in. It’s just so sick you cannot look away. The practical fx are gag-worthy but completely appropriate. I can easily admit that my anxiety was through the roof while viewing. Rita Tushingham‘s performance, in particular, gave me flashbacks to The People Under The Stairs and more recently, Villians.  Under all the madness is both one of the saddest love stories I’ve ever seen and one of the most ghoulish. The Owners is totally unexpected. The ending is like a punch in the face. There is so much happening in this film that you’ll be stuck in this whirlwind of violence and mayhem just as I was. This one will take a bit to shake.

RLJE Films will release the thriller THE OWNERS in Theaters, On Demand and Digital on September 4, 2020.

THE OWNERS  stars  Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones,” The New Mutants),  Sylvester McCoy  (The Hobbit franchise, “Doctor Who”),  Jake Curran  (Spotless”, Stardust),  Ian Kenny  (Solo: A Star Wars Story, Sing Street),  Andrew Ellis  (Teen Spirit, “This Is England”),and Rita Tushingham  (“The Pale Horse,” Vera). The film is directed by Julius Berg (“The Forest,” “Mata  Hari”) who co-wrote the film with  Matthieu Gompel (The Dream Kids).

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Fantasia International Film Festival 2020 is here!!!

If you did not sing the title of this article, then shame, shame, I know your name. It is no secret that Fantasia International Film Festival is my favorite of the entire year. While this year the fest is strictly virtual (because that’s the responsible thing to do), there are a plethora of amazing films to check out from the comfort of your own couch. Fantasia is always a sure bet for the films that will be talked about nonstop all year. Since we’re all stuck inside we might as well escape the scary reality with some scary unreality. Throw in the weird and wonderful and you’ve got yourself an annual good time.

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Here are just a few titles that should pique your interest, people.

MORGANA

How does one woman go from lonely housewife to Feminist pornstar? Morgana is an extraordinary documentary about sex positivity, self-worth, mental illness, and new beginnings. Stunningly visual and creatively edited, Morgana will knock your socks off… and maybe more. *Wink, wink. You can find our coverage of the film here.

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MINOR PREMISE

Attempting to surpass his father’s legacy, a reclusive neuroscientist becomes entangled in his own experiment, pitting ten fragments of his consciousness against each other.

 

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THE BLOCK ISLAND SOUND

Something terrifying is happening off the coast of Block Island. A strange force is thriving, influencing residents and wildlife alike. Birds are dropping out of the sky. Some people have been dropping too, into inexplicable emotional collapse. Harry Lynch (Chris Sheffield, THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT) has always been a bit of an outsider in town. Now, he watches in dread as his father (Neville Archambault, 13 CAMERAS) grows increasingly forgetful and confused. And angry. Very, very angry. His sister Audry (Michaela McManus, THE VILLAGE), whose work in marine biology will soon prove invaluable, returns to town with her daughter and immediately sees what Harry sees. Her explorations into the increasingly grisly wildlife phenomena intersect with the triggers of her father’s actions, leading them all towards chilling revelations that no one is prepared for. Revelations that will affect her family in unimaginable ways.

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BLEED WITH ME

With BLEED WITH ME, her feature debut, director Amelia Moses invites us on an intimate cabin trip where boundaries and relationships collapse. Rowan (Lee Marshall), a shy and awkward young woman, struggles to integrate herself on a weekend getaway with her best friend, Emily (Lauren Beatty) and her unfriendly boyfriend, Brendan (Aris Tyros). Feeling like a third wheel, she drinks to calm her nerves, pushing her body and mind deep into a hazy trance, where she begins to witness nightmarish late-night visions that make her feel increasingly unwelcome, unsure and unstable. A slow-burn thriller with arresting visuals, BLEED WITH ME, captures a vulnerability and discomfort as it explores issues related to self-harm and social isolation. Set against a wintry backdrop, BLEED WITH ME uses the limits of a small budget to its full potential.

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YUMMY

The young woman wants a breast reduction. … Wandering through an abandoned ward the boyfriend stumbles upon a young woman, gagged and strapped to an operating table; she is the result of an experimental rejuvenation treatment.

 

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THE MORTUARY COLLECTION

A kid is being interviewed for a job at the local mortician’s office and is asked to tell his scariest stories. What results is a collection of 4 of the scariest stories ever told spanning into 4 decades starting from the 50s to the 80s.

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LUCKY

Luck doesn’t seem to be with self-help author May Ryer (Brea Grant) lately. Her books aren’t selling like they used to, and one night, a masked intruder breaks into the house she shares with her husband Ted (Dhruv Uday Singh). To make matters worse, Ted seems strangely unconcerned about the incident, talking about it in matter-of-fact terms as if it’s just something to be accepted, and an investigating cop actually says they’re lucky things didn’t go worse. Then things do become worse as the attacker appears again… and again… and again, continuing to terrorize May no matter how valiantly she fights back. He seems to have supernatural properties, and when May seeks help, she’s met with indifference and condescension. One of her books is called Problem Solving for Staying Alive, and now she’s faced with a dilemma that seems to have no solution, and that may indeed claim her life.

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Shorts Programs

Do not miss out on the amazing short film programs. I am always partial to the Born Of Woman section, myself.

 

Fantasia 2020 officially opened last night.
You can purchase tickets and check out the amazing lineup of films and events at https://fantasiafestival.com/en/

 

 

Tribeca Film Festival 2020 Shorts Program review: ‘Update Required’

Tribeca Film Festival 2020 Shorts Program- UPDATE REQUIRED

Out of this world Sci-Fi shorts.

Playing in this program:

Toto

Rosa Forlano, a 90-year-old Nonna, falls in love with a Robot while teaching it how to make spaghetti. Unfortunately, her recipe is forgotten after a software update.

A charming look at companionship through the eyes of a 90-year-old woman and her robot. Marco Baldonado, writes, directs, produces, and voices our titular character. It’s a lovely look at generational relationships in more ways then you’d expect.

Abducted

A tongue-in-cheek Southern thriller about a rookie cop’s (Jenna Kanell) first date gone horribly wrong.

This film immediately sent me into panic mode as a woman. Never leave your drink unattended. Don’t worry, the universe works in mysterious ways.

Jack and Jo Don’t Want to Die

Jack (Justin Kirk) works at a suspension facility where people choose to halt their lives. On the night of his suspension, Jack’s life takes a turn when he meets Jo.

Justin Kirk plays a heartbroken man who is confronted with his own mortality. This film beautifully explores the small moments that make living so wonderful.

A Better You

Living in a dystopian, neo-steampunk world, a shy young man named Douglas (Seán T. Ó’Meallaigh) invests in a customizable carbon clone to help him win the girl of his dreams.

This shirt is a gorgeously stylized look at being confident in your own skin. It’s one of the most endearing performances of the festival this far.

Carmentis

An injured and grief-stricken miner (Ben Mortley) on the desolate planet Carmentis must overcome his personal demons in order to survive, but can he get there before the planet freezes?

Human instinct Vs the AI created to protect it. This short is completely unpredictable. It’s a beautiful commentary on the fragile human spirit.

The Light Side

An aging Sith Lord (Joseph Ragno) must come to grips with his past and discover why humility may be the greatest force in the galaxy.

Utilizing a booming voice over from Tim Plewman combined with lead actor Joseph Ragno’s physical performance, this film shines with true humor. It is pure fandom fun with a side order of redemption.

System Error

George works at a convenience store, desperately hoping for a friend. But George is a robotic service unit, and robotic service units do not have friends. Not yet, anyway.

This short challenges how emotion and information alter a being’s perception of others. It will leave the imagination running wild. I can safely say I would watch an entire series or full-length feature based on the storytelling laid out in this 13-minute cut. It sounds like I’ll be getting my wish, as the filmmakers have a development deal at Screen Australia for a dystopian rom-com TV show based on the characters in System Error. I could not be more excited. There is so much more to explore and laugh at here.

Review: ‘Transference’ is the beginning of something powerful.

SYNOPSIS: A twelve-year-old boy, Joshua, is charged with the protection of his twin sister when their father passes, but she possesses a special ability and his greatest challenge will not be keeping her safe but keeping her hidden. Twenty years later, Joshua is struggling to cope with the events of his childhood and the choices he has made since. Out of desperation, he places Emma in a psychiatric compound against her will. Joshua is driven to the world of underground crime to maintain their secret. But he cannot earn enough to hide their past and someone has followed their trail of destruction. When a sinister visitor attempts to remove Emma from his care, Joshua comes to the most important realization he can make for himself, his sister, and the world.

Twins connected by trauma, stalked by evil, forced into hiding to protect themselves and the outside world. Yeah, I’ll bite. Transference has a lot going on in the way of structure. The narration breaks are very effective as they keep you on your toes during the madness. Emma’s “affliction” is fascinating. The idea that it can be weaponized is something looms large. As the plot slowly rolls out, the dread grows. The big reveal is pretty great. While there is something a little off with the film as a whole, it has big potential. Melissa Joy Boerger, AaronTomlin, and Jeremy Ninaber are all very dark and brooding. Tomlin is allowed to show the most range with the material. These three are obviously capable of much more. I would have liked to have seen more adult flashbacks that included Boerger. She was held back by the script.

The editing is the real winner in Transference. It’s skillfully crafted back and forth keeps the storytelling intriguing. Just when you think you’re following the plot, it flips the switch. What is real and what is imagined is up to the audience. Matthew Ninaber has given is an engrossing sci-fi. I would watch this as a series. There is a ton of potential for this world to be expanded. I think it would shine brighter as one, frankly. For now, I’ll take the feature. Fellow genre fans will see what I mean. 

TRANSFERENCE will open in L.A. March 6th

Available on nationwide VOD March 10th & on Blu-Ray March 24th

TRANSFERENCE

Genre: Sci-Fi / Thriller

Country: CANADA

Runtime: 85 min

Language: English

Rating: NA

Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2020 review: The world premiere of ‘The Night’ is as captivating as it is terrifying.

Kourosh Ahari’s THE NIGHT
The Iranian-American Ahari makes a startling feature directorial debut with a stylish psychological thriller about a young couple trapped in a mysterious hotel that hungers for their secrets and may not release them or their child back into the world. The film stars Shahab Hosseini (star of A SEPARATION and THE SALESMAN).

What a knock out world premiere for director Kourosh Ahari. Beautifully lush cinematography (including some early haunting POV shots) props up the richness of The Night. The score adds a layer or jarring dread that is simply gorgeous. While the script skillfully utilizes a number of classic tropes, it is also stacked with a multitude of original imagery that unnerves the viewer from the very beginning. I was thrown for a loop more times than I can count. The heightened sound editing also pushes The Night into next-level scary. The plot will have you questioning your own sanity. Is this a dispute between exhausted new parents? Is this an alcohol-induced hallucination? Or is this hotel housing unwanted guests?

Performances are so strong you will quickly forget that the film is predominantly in Farsi. As Parasite director Boon Jong-Ho so eloquently stated at this year’s Golden Globes, “Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” This is the most important quote in cinema right now. Kourosh Ahari’s THE NIGHT is a heart-pounding and twisted watch. Santa Barbara International Film Festival is lucky to host its world premiere. This film should be on every genre fan’s radar this year.

WORLD PREMIERE – SATURDAY, JANUARY 18