With Sundance now behind us South by Southwest has gone ahead and announced its feature film lineup for 2021. Set to take place virtually from March 16th to 20th, the Austin-based festival will screen nearly a hundred new features.
Not surprisingly, the major highlights of the lineup are of the musical variety, specifically documentaries Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free, Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil, and the Charli XCX-focused Alone Together.
“It’s been a year unlike any we’ve experienced, first marked by the cancellation of SXSW 2020,” said Janet Pierson, Director of Film. “We feel privileged to have been able to pivot to SXSW Online and present a fantastic treasure trove of programming, including a pared down and wonderful selection of films that we know will delight, entertain and move our attendees. SXSW Online will bring attendees a multifaceted event that speaks to so many areas of creativity in one five-day experience that everyone can access on their laptops, phones and TVs. While we won’t have the wonderful in-person SXSW that we know and love, we can gather together to be inspired by the work.”
The Midnighters selections have also been unveiled and include curious anthology film Broadcast Signal Intrusion, Barbara Crampton’s highly anticipated Jakob’s Wife, Mickey Keating’s Offseason, and the star-studded fantasy thriller The Spine of Night.
Consult the exhaustive lineup below.
This year’s Headliners: Opening and Closing Night Films and a Centerpiece Film with associated Special Events on our Live Channel.
Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil
Director: Michael D. Ratner, Producer: Marc Ambrose
Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil is a powerful YouTube Originals documentary event, exploring every aspect that led to Lovato’s nearly fatal overdose in 2018, and her awakenings in the aftermath. (World Premiere) (Opening Night Film)
Directors: Bradley Bell, Pablo Jones-Soler, Producers: Ross Levine, Emmie Lichtenberg, Brian Ferenchik
Charli XCX, a popstar in quarantine, embarks on a whirlwind creative and romantic journey while making an album in 40 days that unites a community around the world. (World Premiere) (Closing Night Film)
Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free
Director: Mary Wharton, Producer: Peter Afterman
Drawn from a newly discovered archive of 16mm film showing Tom Petty at work on his 1994 record Wildflowers, considered by many including Rolling Stone to be his greatest album ever, Somewhere You Feel Free is an intimate view of a musical icon. (World Premiere) (Centerpiece Film)
NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
Eight world premieres, eight unique ways to celebrate the art of storytelling.
Here Before (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Stacey Gregg, Producer: Sophie Vickers
After new neighbours move in next door, a bereaved mother begins to question her reality in this unsettling psychological thriller. Cast List: Andrea Riseborough, Martin McCann, Jonjo O’Neill, Eileen O’Higgins (World Premiere)
I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking)
Directors: Kelley Kali, Angelique Molina, Screenwriters: Kelley Kali, Angelique Molina, Roma Kong, Producers: Roma Kong, Angelique Molina, Kelley Kali, Capella Fahoome
When a recently widowed mother becomes houseless, she convinces her 8-year-old daughter that they are only camping for fun while working to get them off the streets. Cast List: Kelley Kali, Wesley Moss, Deon Cole, Brooklynn Marie, Steven Ira Scipio, Andrew Galvan, Lamar Usher, Brian Brooks II, Jacolyn Holmes, Xing-Mai Deng (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Martin Edralin, Producer: Martin Edralin, Priscilla Galvez
Joshua, a shy Filipino immigrant on the cusp of 50, has lived in the comfort of his parents’ home his entire life. With his parents now in old age, he pleads with God for a companion, terrified of being alone after they pass. Cast List: Rogelio Balagtas, Sheila Lotuaco, Esteban Comilang, Vangie Alcasid, Pablo Quiogue, Isys Szuky, Maximus Szuky (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Bradley Grant Smith, Producers: Alex Thompson, Ian Keiser, Steven Callas
In a last ditch attempt to foster a meaningful bond, estranged sisters Beta and Zelda go in search of their mysterious Uncle Jerry. Cast List: Baize Buzan, Allison Torem, Austin Pendleton, Corey Hendrix, Tim Hopper, Ann Whitney, Keith Kupferer, Guy Massey, Lance Baker, D’Wayne Taylor (World Premiere)
Potato Dreams of America
Director/Screenwriter: Wes Hurley, Producers: Mischa Jakupcak, Wes Hurley
A true story about a gay boy growing up in the collapsing USSR, his courageous mail-order bride mother, and their adventurous escape to Seattle in the 90s. Cast List: Marya Sea Kaminski, Dan Lauria, Tyler Bocock, Lea DeLaria, Sera Barbieri, Hersh Powers, Jonathan Bennett, Sophia Mitri Schloss, Cynthia Lauren Tewes, James Grixoni (World Premiere)
The End Of Us
Directors/Screenwriters: Henry Loevner, Steven Kanter, Producers: Claudia Restrepo, Henry Loevner, Steven Kanter, Lovell Holder
After a savage breakup, two exes must continue living together when California issues its stay-at-home order for COVID-19. Now they’ll try to move on without moving out. Cast List: Ben Coleman, Ali Vingiano, Derrick DeBlasis, Gadiel Del Orbe, Kate Peterman, Colin Weatherby, Caroline Kwan, Will Neff, Jesse Benjamin, Claudia Restrepo (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Megan Park, Producers: David Brown, Rebecca Miller, Cara Shine, Joannie Burstein, Shaun Sanghani
High schooler Vada navigates the emotional fallout she experiences in the wake of a school tragedy. Relationships with her family, friends and view of the world are forever altered. Cast List: Jenna Ortega, Maddie Ziegler, Niles Fitch, Will Ropp, Lumi Pollack, John Ortiz, Julie Bowen, Shailene Woodley (World Premiere)
Women is Losers
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Lissette Feliciano
In 1960s San Francisco, a once-promising catholic school girl, Celina Guerrera (Lorenza Izzo), sets out to rise above the oppression of poverty and invest in a future for herself that sets new precedents for the time. Cast List: Lorenza Izzo, Bryan Craig, Chrissie Fit, Simu Liu, Steven Bauer, Liza Weil, Cranston Johnson, Alejandra Miranda, Shalim Ortiz, Lincoln Bonilla (World Premiere)
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
Eight world premieres: Eight real world stories that demonstrate innovation, energy and bold voices.
Introducing, Selma Blair
Director: Rachel Fleit, Producers: Mickey Liddell, Pete Shilaimon, Troy Nankin
Introducing, Selma Blair is a deeply intimate and raw portrait of the actress after she is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and makes a valiant, risky effort to try to slow the progression of her disease. For the acclaimed, yet often supporting actress, her starring role has finally arrived – she just had to show up and fully embrace herself.
Director: Jasmine Stodel, Producers: Jasmine Stodel, Chevis LaBelle, William Dorrien-Smith
Kid Candidate tells the story of Hayden Pedigo, an 24-year old experimental musician and his unlikely run for Amarillo city council after his Harmony Korine inspired spoof campaign video went viral. (World Premiere)
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)
Not Going Quietly
Director: Nicholas Bruckman, Screenwriters: Nicholas Bruckman, Amanda Roddy, Producer: Amanda Roddy
When a young father chances to meet a powerful senator on an airplane, their exchange goes viral, sparking one of the most unlikely political movements in a generation. (World Premiere)
The Oxy Kingpins
Director: Brendan FitzGerald, Producers: Drea Bernardi, Brendan FitzGerald, Nick August-Perna
The Oxy Kingpins covers the untold story of how a network of pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, and retailers worked together to orchestrate and perpetuate the opioid crisis that has killed over half a million people in America. (World Premiere)
The Return: Life After ISIS (Spain, United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Alba Sotorra Clua, Producers: Alba Sotorra Clua, Vesna Cudic
Shamima Begum (UK) and Hoda Muthana (US) made it into worldwide headlines when they left their countries as teenagers to join ISIS. Now they want to return but their countries don’t want them back. (World Premiere)
Subjects of Desire (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Jennifer Holness, Producers: Jennifer Holness, Sudz Sutherland
Subjects of Desire is a thought provoking film that examines the cultural shift in beauty standards towards embracing (or appropriating) Black aesthetics and features, deconstructing what we understand about race and the power behind beauty. (World Premiere)
United States vs. Reality Winner
Director: Sonia Kennebeck, Producer: Ines Hofmann Kanna
A state of secrets and a ruthless hunt for whistleblowers – this is the story of 25-year-old Reality Winner who disclosed a document about Russian election interference to the media and became the number one leak target of the Trump administration. (World Premiere)
High profile narrative features receiving their World, International, North American, U.S. or Texas premieres at SXSW.
The Drover’s Wife: the Legend of Molly Johnson (Australia)
Director/Screenwriter: Leah Purcell, Producers: Bain Stewart, David Jowsey, Angela Littlejohn, Greer Simpkin, Leah Purcell
The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson is a reimagining of Leah Purcell’s acclaimed play and Henry Lawson’s classic short story. A searing Australian western thriller asking the question: how far do you go to protect your loved ones? Cast List: Leah Purcell, Rob Collins, Sam Reid, Jessica De Gouw, Malachi Dower-Roberts (World Premiere)
The Fabulous Filipino Brothers (Philippines, United States)
Director: Dante Basco, Screenwriters: Dante Basco, Darion Basco, Dionysio Basco, Arianna Basco, Producers: Joan Banaga, Rawn Erickson II, Dante Basco, Rome Reyes, Sienna Olazo, Belay A Santillan, Guido Zaballero
From Northern California to The Philippines, four brothers confront their issues with love, family, and culture, surrounding a highly controversial Filipino wedding. Told in four vignettes with cockfights, adultery, romance, food, and family. Cast List: Dante Basco, Derek Basco, Dionysio Basco, Darion Basco, Solenn Heussaff, Liza Lapira, Tirso Cruz III, Cheryl Tsai, Arriana Basco, Joe Jitsukawa (World Premiere)
Director: Natalie Morales, Screenwriters: Mark Duplass, Natalie Morales, Producer: Mel Eslyn
A Spanish teacher and her student develop an unexpected friendship. Cast List: Natalie Morales, Mark Duplass, Desean Terry, Christine Quesada (North American)
Director: Edson Jean, Screenwriters: Edson Jean, Joshua Jean-Baptiste, Producers: Fabiola Rodriguez, Mark Pulaski
Ludi, a hardworking and exhausted nurse, battles coworkers, clients and one impatient bus driver to learn her self worth as she chases the American Dream in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood. Cast List: Shein Mompremier, Alan Myles Heyman, Madelin Marchant, Success St. Fleur Jr., Kerline Alce, Plus Pierre, Patrice DeGraff Arenas, Farah Larrieux (Texas Premiere)
Paul Dood’s Deadly Lunch Break (United Kingdom)
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)
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)
See You Then
Director: Mari Walker, Screenwriters: Kristen Uno, Mari Walker, Producers: Mia Schulman, Kristen Uno, Mari Walker
A decade after abruptly breaking up with Naomi, Kris invites her to dinner to catch-up on their complicated lives, relationships, and Kris’ transition. Cast List: Pooya Mohseni, Lynn Chen, Nican Robinson, Danny Jacobs, Nikohl Boosheri (U.S. Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Todd Stephens, Producers: Todd Stephens, Eric Eisenbrey, Tim Kaltenecker, Stephen Israel
An aging hairdresser (Udo Kier) escapes his nursing home and embarks on an odyssey across his small town to style a dead woman’s hair for her funeral, rediscovering his sparkle along the way. Cast List: Udo Kier, Jennifer Coolidge, Linda Evans, Michael Urie, Ira Hawkins, Stephanie McVay (World Premiere)
Shining a light on new documentary features receiving their World, International, North American or U.S. premieres at SXSW.
Alien On Stage (United Kingdom)
Directors/Producers: Danielle Kummer, Lucy Harvey
British Bus driver’s amateur stage show of Ridley Scott’s Alien, accidentally makes it to a famous London theatre! With awkward acting and special effects requiring more luck than judgement, will their homemade homage be alright on the night? (International Premiere)
Fruits of Labor
Director: Emily Cohen Ibañez, Screenwriters: Ashley Solis Pavon, Emily Cohen Ibañez Producer: Emily Cohen Ibañez
A Mexican-American teenage farmworker dreams of graduating high school, when ICE raids in her community threaten to separate her family and force her to become her family’s breadwinner. (World Premiere)
The Hunt for Planet B
Director: Nathaniel Kahn, Producers: Bonnie Hlinomaz, Nathaniel Kahn
Taking us behind the scenes with NASA’s high-stakes James Webb Space Telescope, The Hunt for Planet B follows a pioneering group of scientists—many of them women—on their quest to find another Earth among the stars. (World Premiere)
Director: Andrea Nevins, Producers: Ross Dinerstein, Rebecca Evans, Carolina Groppa
Hysterical is an honest and hilarious backstage pass into the lives of some of stand-up comedy’s most boundary-breaking women, exploring the hard-fought journey to become the voices of their generation and their gender. Featuring Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster, Rachel Feinstein, Marina Franklin, Nikki Glaser, Judy Gold, Kathy Griffin, Jessica Kirson, Sherri Shepherd, Iliza Shlesinger and more. Available on FX in 2021. (World Premiere)
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)
Mau (Austria, United States)
Directors: Benji Bergmann, Jono Bergmann, Producer: Karol Martesko-Fenster
Mau follows the unlikely story of design visionary Bruce Mau and his ever-optimistic push for massive change. (World Premiere)
Director: Garrett Zevgetis, Producers: Chico Colvard, Jeff Consiglio, Ariana Garfinkel
An explosive viral video shows a white policeman throwing a Black teenager from her school desk. One woman uproots her life to help the girl, face the officer, and dismantle the system behind the “Assault at Spring Valley.” (World Premiere)
WeWork: or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn
Director: Jed Rothstein, Producer: Ross Dinerstein
WeWork: or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn explores the rise and fall of one of the biggest corporate flameouts and venture capitalist bubbles in recent years – the story of WeWork, and its hippie-messianic leader Adam Neumann. (World Premiere)
When Claude Got Shot
Director: Brad Lichtenstein, Producer: Steven Cantor, Brad Lichtenstein, Jamie Schutz, Santana Wilson (co-producer)
Three strangers’ lives become inextricably entwined by a weekend of gun violence. (World Premiere)
Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
Directors: Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler, Screenwriter: Jeffery Robinson, Producers: Jeffery Robinson, Emily Kunstler, Sarah Kunstler
ACLU lawyer Jeffery Robinson’s shattering talk on the history of U.S. anti-Black racism is interwoven with archival footage, interviews and Robinson’s story, exploring the legacy of white supremacy and our collective responsibility to overcome it. (World Premiere)
Scary, funny, sexy, controversial – eight provocative after-dark features for night owls and the terminally curious.
Broadcast Signal Intrusion
Director: Jacob Gentry, Screenwriters: Phil Drinkwater, Tim Woodall, Producers: Greg Newman, Brett Hays, Giles Edwards, Nicola Goelzhaeuser
In the late 90s, a video archivist unearths a series of sinister pirate broadcasts and becomes obsessed with uncovering the dark conspiracy behind them. Cast List: Harry Shum Jr., Kelley Mack, Chris Sullivan, Jennifer Jelsema, Arif Yampolsky, Justin Welborn, Michael B. Woods, Steve Pringle (World Premiere)
The Feast (United Kingdom)
Director: Lee-Haven Jones, Screenwriter/Producer: Roger Williams
Over an evening a wealthy family gathers for a sumptuous dinner with guests in their ostentatious house in the Welsh mountains. Served by a mysteriously disturbing young woman, the assembled party do not realise they are about to eat their last supper. Cast List: Anne Elwy, Nia Roberts, Julian Lewis Jones, Steffan Cennydd, Sion Alun Davies, Lisa Palfrey, Rhodri Meilir (World Premiere)
Gaia (South Africa)
Director: Jaco Bouwer, Screenwriter: Tertius Kapp, Producer: Tertius Kapp, Jorrie van der Walt, Jaco Bouwer
In the depths of an ancient forest, something has been growing. Something older than humanity itself, and perhaps greater too. When a park ranger discovers a man and his son living wild, she stumbles onto a secret that is about to change the world. Cast List: Monique Rockman, Carel Nel, Alex van Dyk, Anthony Oseyemi (World Premiere)
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)
Director/Screenwriter: Mickey Keating, Producer: Eric B. Fleischman, Maurice Fadida
After receiving a mysterious letter, a woman travels to a desolate island town and soon becomes trapped in a nightmare. Cast List: Joe Swanberg, Jocelin Donahue, Melora Walters, Richard Brake, Jeremy Gardner (World Premiere)
Sound Of Violence (Finland, United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Alex Noyer, Producer: Hannu Aukia, Alex Noyer
A young girl recovers her hearing and gains synesthetic abilities during the brutal murder of her family. Finding solace in the sounds of bodily harm, as an adult, she pursues a career in music composing her masterpiece through gruesome murders. Cast List: Jasmin Savoy Brown, Lili Simmons, James Jagger, Tessa Munro (World Premiere)
The Spine of Night
Directors/Screenwriters: Philip Gelatt, Morgan Galen King, Producers: Will Battersby, Philip Gelatt, Jean Rattle
In this ultra-violent, fantasy epic, ancient dark magic falls into sinister hands and unleashes ages of suffering onto mankind. A group of heroes from different eras and cultures must band together in order to defeat it at all costs. Cast List: Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, Betty Gabriel, Joe Manganiello, Larry Fessenden, Nina Lisandrello, Abby Savage, Tom Lipinski, Patrick Breen (World Premiere)
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Director/Screenwriter: Kier-La Janisse, Producers: Kier-La Janisse, David Gregory, Winnie Cheung
Woodlands Dark Days and Days Bewitched is the first feature-length documentary on the history of folk horror, from the 1960s to today. (World Premiere)
Acclaimed standouts and selected premieres from festivals around the world.
Dear Mr. Brody
Director: Keith Maitland, Producers: Melissa Robyn Glassman, Megan Gilbride, Keith Maitland, Sarah Wilson
A psychedelic journey into the heart (and bank account) of Michael Brody, Jr, the hippie-millionaire who offered the world peace for the price of a postage stamp. (Texas Premiere)
How It Ends
Directors/Screenwriters/Producers: Daryl Wein, Zoe Lister-Jones
On the last day on Earth, one woman goes on a journey through LA to make it to her last party before the world ends, running into an eclectic cast of characters along the way. Cast List: Zoe Lister-Jones, Cailee Spaeny, Nick Kroll, Olivia Wilde, Helen Hunt, Lamorne Morris, Fred Armisen, Bradley Whitford, Charlie Day, Whitney Cummings
In the Same Breath
Director: Nanfu Wang, Producers: Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn
Nanfu Wang’s deeply personal In The Same Breath recounts the origin and spread of the novel coronavirus from the earliest days of the outbreak in Wuhan to its rampage across the United States. (Texas Premiere)
Ma Belle, My Beauty
Director/Screenwriter: Marion Hill, Producers: Ben Matheny, Kelsey Scult, Marion Hill
A surprise reunion in southern France reignites passions and jealousies between two women who were formerly polyamorous lovers. Cast List: Idella Johnson, Hannah Pepper, Lucien Guignard, Sivan Noam Shimon (Texas Premiere)
Director: Carey Williams, Screenwriters: Carey Williams, Rickie Castaneda, Producers: Timur Bekmambetov, Igor Tsay
A re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet, featuring a diverse cast in the classic Shakespearean roles. This modern day take is told on mobile and is a mashup of Shakespearean dialogue with current social media communication. Cast List: Camaron Engels, Francesca Noel, RJ Cyler, Diego Tinoco, Russell Hornsby, Siddiq Saunderson (Texas Premiere)
Directors/Screenwriters/Producers: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli
A troubled woman on the edge of divorce returns home to her younger sister after years apart. But when her sister and brother-in-law betray her trust, she embarks on a vicious crusade of revenge. Cast List: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Anna Maguire, Jesse LaVercombe, Obi Abili, Jasmin Geljo, Cynthia Ashperger (Texas Premiere)
Visions filmmakers are audacious, risk-taking artists in the new cinema landscape who demonstrate raw innovation and creativity in documentary and narrative filmmaking.
Director: Floyd Russ, Screenwriters: Ariana Ron Pedrique, Floyd Russ, Vilma Vega, Producers: Kara Durrett, Floyd Russ, Corey Waters, Andy Coverdale
Ayar, a first-generation American Latina, returns home to reunite with her daughter. But when her mother, Renata, refuses to let her see her due to Covid, Ayar is confronted by the many roles she’s been forced to play, including the role in this film. Cast List: Ariana Ron Pedrique, Vilma Vega, Henry Foster Brown, Simon Haycock, Calliah Sophie Estrada, Pete Pano, Briza Covarrubias, Ceasar Hartman, Jay Lawrence Kiman, Frances Fuches (World Premiere)
Delia Derbyshire – the Myths and the Legendary Tapes (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Caroline Catz, Producer: Andy Starke
A portrait of the character and legacy of electronic sound pioneer Delia Derbyshire, who realised the Dr Who Theme tune in 1963 and explores the idea that this extraordinary composer lived outside of time and space as other people experience it. Featuring Caroline Catz, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Julian Rhind-tutt, Tom Meeten, Richard Glover, Saskia Reeves, and Michael Higgs. (International Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Mei Makino, Producers: Matt Stryker, Connor Pickens, Emily Gollahon, Kate Gollahon, Udoy Rahim
Teen artist Angie Chen turns to secret hookups with the heartthrob of her private school after her parents’ sudden divorce. Cast List: Emma Galbraith, William Magnuson, Emily Garrett, Lizabeth Waters, KaiChow Lau, Thanh Phuong Bui, Shanshan Jin, Kelsey Buckley (World Premiere)
Through the Plexi-Glass: The Last Days of the San Jose
Director: Liz Lambert, Producers: Liz Lambert, Tina Gazzerro Clapp, Ariel Quintans
The documentary tells the story of a real estate deal’s unexpected detour — one that sparked the gentrification of Austin’s hippest neighborhood — and reveals layers of knotty, unanswerable questions, all more relevant than ever today. (World Premiere)
Director: Steven Cantor, Producers: Steven Cantor, Jamie Schutz
Interwoven with her storied career and prolific works, Twyla Moves sees legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp navigate her latest creative challenge: making a dance for a world plagued by the Covid-19 pandemic. (World Premiere)
24 BEATS PER SECOND
Showcasing the sounds, culture and influence of music and musicians, with an emphasis on documentary.
Director/Screenwriter: David Wexler, Producers: David Wexler, Bradford Coleman
As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 looms near, William Basinski contemplates the enduring legacy of The Disintegration Loops (his elegy to the 2001 Attacks), while quarantined in the midst of COVID-19. (World Premiere)
I Went To The Dance/J’ai Été Au Bal
Directors: Les Blank, Chris Strachwitz, Producer: Chris Strachwitz
Beautiful 5K restoration of the celebrated film on the history of Cajun and Creole/Zydeco music of SW Louisiana. Exhilarating performances by Clifton Chenier, Marc and Ann Savoy, BeauSoleil, and more. By Les Blank, Chris Strachwitz and Maureen Gosling (World Premiere)
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché (United Kingdom)
Directors: Paul Sng, Celeste Bell, Screenwriters: Celeste Bell, Zoë Howe, Producers: Rebecca Mark-Lawson, Matthew Silverman, Daria Nitsche
The death of punk icon and X-Ray Spex frontwoman Poly Styrene sends her daughter on a journey across the world and through her mother’s archives to reconcile their fraught relationship. (North American Premiere)
Directors: Jeremy Ungar, Ivaylo Getov, Screenwriters: Agustín Rexach Martín, Ivaylo Getov, Jeremy Ungar, Producer: Robin Miller Ungar
When the Vocal Vidas, an all-female Cuban quartet, are invited to play their first show in the US, a simple concert becomes a journey across physical and ideological borders – affirming the connective power of music, even in the most uncertain times. (World Premiere)
Under the Volcano (Australia)
Director: Gracie Otto, Screenwriters: Cody Greenwood, Gracie Otto, Ian Shadwell, Producers: Cody Greenwood, Richard Harris
The story of George Martin’s AIR Studios Montserrat and the island that changed music forever. Featuring interviews with Sting, Mark Knopfler, Nick Rhodes, Jimmy Buffett, Verdine White, Tony Lommi, Stewart Copeland, Guy Fletcher, Midge Ure, Roger Glover. (World Premiere)
A diverse selection of international filmmaking talent, featuring innovative narratives, artful documentaries, premieres, festival favorites and more.
Bantú Mama (Dominican Republic)
Director: Ivan Herrera, Screenwriters: Clarisse Albrecht, Ivan Herrera, Producers: Ivan Herrera, Nicolas LaMadrid, Franmiris Lombert
An Afropean woman escapes after being arrested in the Dominican Republic. She is sheltered by a group of minors, in a dangerous district of Santo Domingo. By becoming their protégée and maternal figure, she will see her destiny change inexorably. Cast List: Clarisse Albrecht, Scarlett Reyes, Arturo Perez, Euris Javiel, Donis Taveras, Jarold Santos (World Premiere)
Fucking with Nobody (Finland)
Director: Hannaleena Hauru, Screenwriters: Hannaleena Hauru, Lasse Poser, Producers: Emilia Haukka, Jussi Rantamäki
Hanna is a film director. She loses her dream job to her rival Kristian who is much more popular, and not single. Thus, she decides to create a parody romance on Instagram to question the image one offers to society. This fake romance will have unexpected effects. Cast List: Hannaleena Hauru, Samuel Kujala, Lasse Poser (North American Premiere)
Directors: Paola Calvo, Patrick Jasim, Screenwriters: Patrick Jasim, Paola Calvo, Phillip Kaminiak, Producer: Phillip Kaminiak
Luchadoras portrays the courageous female wrestlers of Ciudad Juárez, a city known for its high murder rate against women – who in the ring and in their daily lives fight to redefine the image of what it means to be a woman in Mexico. (World Premiere)
Director: Yngvild Sve Flikke, Screenwriter: Johan Fasting, Producer: Yngve Sæther
When Rakel (23), way too late, finds out she’s six months pregnant after a not-so-romantic one-night stand, her world changes. Cast List: Kristine Thorp, Arthur Berning, Nader Khademi, Tora Christine Dietrichson (International Premiere)
Director: Manal Khaled, Screenwriters: Manal Khaled, Rasha Azab, Producer: Manal Khaled
Trapped revolves around a number of women from different walks of life whose destinies are tied together; being all under one siege. As the events unfold, their own personal stories reflect on a far bigger siege that depicts the shackles imposed by a patriarchal society. Cast List: Coroline Khalil, Reem Hegab, Osama Abo El Ata, Ne’ma Mohsen, Mona Mokhtar, Sara’a Jebel (World Premiere)
Exciting Narrative, Documentary and Episodic projects from across our sections from the 2020 edition of the SXSW Film Festival.
Best Summer Ever
Directors: Michael Parks Randa, Lauren Smitelli, Screenwriters: Michael Parks Randa, Will Halby, Terra Mackintosh, Andrew Pilkington, Lauren Smitelli, Producers: Andrew Pilkington, Katie White, Terra Mackintosh, Leah Romond, Jake Sharpless
A fresh and exhilarating take on the beloved teen musical genre featuring eight original songs and a fully integrated cast and crew of people with and without disabilities. Cast List: Shannon DeVido, Rickey Wilson Jr., MuMu, Jacob Waltuck, Emily Kranking, Eileen Grubba, Holly Palmer, Ajani “AJ” Murray, Lawerence Carter-Long, Bradford Hayes (Texas Premiere)
Showrunner/Screenwriter: Nasim Pedrad, Director: Rhys Thomas, Producer: David Cress
An awkward 14-year-old Persian-American boy navigates his first year of high school on a mission to become popular. Cast List: Nasim Pedrad, Jake Ryan, Ella Mika, Saba Homayoon, Paul Chahidi, Alexa Loo, Thomas Barbusca (World Premiere) (Episodic)
Clerk (Canada, U.S.A.)
Director: Malcolm Ingram, Producers: Malcolm Ingram, Craig Fleming
A documentary on the life and career of Kevin Smith (World Premiere)
Executive Order (Brazil)
Director: Lázaro Ramos, Screenwriters: Lusa Silvestre, Lázaro Ramos, Aldri Anunciação, Elísio Lopes Jr, Producers: Daniel Filho, Tania Rocha
In a dystopian near future in Brazil, an authoritarian government orders all citizens of African descent to move to Africa – creating chaos, protests, and an underground resistance movement that inspires the nation. Cast List: Alfred Enoch, Taís Araújo, Seu Jorge, Adriana Esteves, Renata Sorrah, Mariana Xavier, Pablo Sanábio (Texas Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Justine Bateman, Producers: Justine Bateman, Michael D. Jones, Larry Hummel, Matt Paul
A film development executive realizes that “guiding voice” inside her head has been lying to her about everything. Cast List: Olivia Munn, Luke Bracey, Justin Theroux (World Premiere)
We Are As Gods
Directors/Screenwriters: Jason Sussberg, David Alvarado, Producers: Kate McLean, Jamie Meltzer, David Alvarado, Jason Sussberg
“We are as gods and might as well get good at it,” Stewart Brand wrote in ‘68. The legendary pioneer of LSD, cyberspace, futurism, and modern environmentalism now urges people to use our god-like powers to fight extinction by reviving lost species. (World Premiere)
We Are The Thousand (Italy)
Director/Screenwriter: Anita Rivaroli, Producer: Simone Catania
Learn the story behind the viral video and what came after! We Are The Thousand takes you backstage with the Rockin’1000. A thousand musicians gathered together with one mission–to get the Foo Fighters to perform in their small town. (North American Premiere)
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)
Without Getting Killed or Caught
Directors: Tamara Saviano, Paul Whitfield, Screenwriters: Tamara Saviano, Bart Knaggs, Producers: Tamara Saviano, Paul Whitfield
Without Getting Killed or Caught is the true story of Guy Clark, the dean of Texas songwriters, who struggles to write poetic, yet indelible songs while balancing a complicated marriage with wife Susanna, and a deep friendship with Townes Van Zandt. (World Premiere)
Presenting world premieres of prestige serials slated for release.
Confronting A Serial Killer
Showrunner: Po Kutchins, Director: Joe Berlinger, Producers: Eve Rodrick, Eleanor Yu, Cassandra Corbett, Janine Nask, Julia Pontecorvo, Lesley Grossman, Emma McNamara, Ariel Kay
Confronting a Serial Killer tells the story of the unprecedented relationship between author Jillian Lauren and serial killer Sam Little while investigating the devastating impact of bias against marginalized women in the criminal justice system. (World Premiere)
Showrunner: Tia Napolitano, Director: Max Winkler
From Exec Producer Jessica Biel, Freeform’s Cruel Summer is a psychological thriller taking place over three summers when a popular girl goes missing and an awkward outlier transforms to queen bee and eventually, the most despised person in America. Cast List: Olivia Holt, Chiara Aurelia, Michael Landes, Froy Gutierrez, Harley Quinn Smith, Allius Barnes, Blake Lee, Brooklyn Sudano (World Premiere)
The Girlfriend Experience
Showrunner/Director/Screenwriter: Anja Marquardt, Producer: Chris Thompson
The third installment of The Girlfriend Experience is set in the London tech scene, Iris, a neuroscience major, begins to explore the transactional world of The Girlfriend Experience and quickly learns that client sessions provide her with a compelling edge in the tech world. Cast List: Julia Goldani Telles, Oliver Masucci, Frank Dillane, Daniel Betts, Armin Karima, Tobi Bamtefa, Jemima Rooper (World Premiere)
Made for Love
Showrunner: Christina Lee, Director: Stephanie Laing, Screenwriters: Written for Television by Alissa Nutting & Dean Bakopoulos and Patrick Somerville and Christina Lee
Based on Alissa Nutting’s tragicomic novel, Made for Love is a dark, absurd, and cynically poignant story of divorce and revenge following Hazel Green (Cristin Milioti), a thirty-something woman on the run after 10 years in a suffocating marriage. Cast List: Cristin Milioti, Billy Magnussen, Dan Bakkedahl, Noma Dumezweni, Augusto Aguilera, Caleb Foote and Ray Romano. Executive producers: Christina Lee, Alissa Nutting, Patrick Somerville, Dean Bakopoulos, Liza Chasin, SJ Clarkson. (World Premiere)
Showrunner/Director: Joshua Rofé, Producers: Duplass Brothers Productions, Number 19
Sasquatch is a true crime doc series following investigative journalist David Holthouse as he attempts to solve a bizarre twenty-five year old triple homicide that was said to be the work of a mythical creature. (World Premiere)
Showrunner: Little Marvin
Set in 1953, Them, a co-production from Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television, centers on a Black family who move from North Carolina to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood. The family’s idyllic home becomes ground zero where malevolent forces, next door and otherworldly, threaten to taunt, ravage & destroy them. Cast List: Deborah Ayorinde, Ashley Thomas, Alison Pill, Melody Hurd, Shahadi Wright Joseph (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.
4 Feet High (Argentina, France)
Directors: Maria Belen Poncio, Rosario Perazolo Masjoan, Screenwriters: Greta Molas, Javier Correa Caceres, Elisa Gagliano, Rosario Perazolo Masjoan, Maria Belen Poncio, Delphine Agut, Ivana Galdeano, Gabriela Vidal
Imagine your last year of High School in a wheelchair. Cast List: Marisol Agostina Irigoyen, Florencia Licera, Marcio Ramses, Natalia Di Cienzo, Francisca Spinotti (Texas Premiere)
Showrunner: Julie Lake, Director: Kat Whalen, Screenwriters: Matt Kirsch, Julie Lake, Producers: Matt Kirsch, Julie Lake, Dana Fares
Dale’s House is a horror comedy about two estranged best friends, both at rock bottom in their careers and personal lives, who end up house sitting together in a demonic house that grants them all the success they desire, in exchange for their souls. Cast List: Julie Lake, Matt Kirsch, Sandy McCree, Jeff Cahn (World Premiere)
For the Record (Canada)
Showrunner: Julian De Zotti, Directors: Lisa Baylin, Julian De Zotti, Screenwriter: Julian De Zotti, Producer: Lisa Baylin
Ray and Angela just broke up. What if music had the power to bring them back together? Follow the iconic songs that make up the unforgettable soundtrack for a uniquely interconnected cast of characters. Cast List: Anna Hopkins, Julian De Zotti, Lyriq Bent, Alexandra Beaton, Karen LeBlanc, Maurice Dean Wint, Kyra Clavell, Moni Ogunsuyi, Alannah Ong, Johnny Orlando (International Premiere)
Parked in America
Showrunner/Screenwriter: Kayla Yumi Lewis, Director: Luke Salin, Producers: Cole Bannick, Jori Johnson, Alexandro Pacheco
Parked in America is a half-hour dramedy following Jamie Park, a Korean teenager, who moves in with her relatives in Illinois after a family tragedy strikes back at home in Seoul. Cast List: Judy Song, Jeff Lawless, Solomon Abell, Ella Baker-Smith, Judy Han, Jim Cairl, Lexi Perkel, MeeWha Alana Lee (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Matthew Lessner, Producers: Breeda Wool, Michael Kaleda, Matthew Lessner
The Position is a metaphysical comedy about two modern women’s unlikely partnership and subsequent misadventures in pursuit of a portal to the multiverse. Cast List: Breeda Wool, Remi Nicole (World Premiere)
Showrunners/Screenwriters/Producers: Kristin Erickson, Ron Najor, Director: Ron Najor
Two (not so good) friends realize they are better together than alone. Cast List: Kristin Erickson, Ron Najor, Kandis Fay, Dan J. Johnson (World Premiere)
Special Events for 2021 consist of conversations associated with projects in the 2021 Film Festival, table readings and other unique one-off events on our Live Channel 4.
Opening Night Special Event: YouTube Originals Docuseries Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil Special Event Q&A
Global superstar Demi Lovato, Director and Executive Producer Michael D. Ratner, YouTube’s Global Head of Original Content Susanne Daniels and moderator Jenelle Riley from Variety discuss the new documentary event exploring the traumas and every aspect that led to Lovato’s nearly fatal overdose in 2018, followed by her powerful awakenings in the aftermath.
Closing Night Film Special Event: Live Q&A with Charli XCX, a SICK moderator, and directors Bradley & Pablo
Live Q&A Followed by a virtual rave dance party which will consist of:
-A pre-recorded DJ set from Charli, shot in a big empty warehouse space with minimal, dark rave-y lighting. A true pandemic rave shot as a live performance.
-Different performers will be spotlighted on Zoom dancing to the set: Poison Oakland + other drag performers + fans featured in the film + lucky attendees!
Filmmaker Sam Green and musician JD Samson ask you to step away from your computer and focus on the experience of listening in the present moment. 7 Sounds is an immersive, live-streamed audio-video work that explores the universal influence of sound. The piece weaves seven specific audio recordings into a meditation on the power of sound to bend time, cross borders, and profoundly shape our perception—opening new ways to hear our everyday world.
Art and Life Talk with Filmmakers Daryl Wein & Zoe Lister-Jones of Mister Lister Films
Dive into the filmmaking careers of husband-wife duo, Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones of such films as How It Ends (Sundance/SXSW 2021), The Craft (Sony), White Rabbit (Sundance/Gravitas), Band Aid (Sundance/IFC Films), Lola Versus (Fox Searchlight), Breaking Upwards (IFC Films/SXSW).
Black Monday Q&A
Join the brilliant cast and showrunners of Black Monday as they come together virtually for an exclusive Q&A. This series never fails to surprise as it tells subversively modern stories against a backdrop of big hair and bigger fashions. Miraculously, Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells, Paul Scheer, Yassir Lester and Casey Wilson and showrunners David Caspe and Jordan Cahan are even more fun live. Hilarity guaranteed.
Clerk and Twerk with Kevin Smith and Malcolm Ingram
Clerk is an examination and celebration of the life of Kevin Smith – and an exploration on how one kid from Jersey completely transformed the cultural landscape. A journey which began 25 years ago at the Sundance Film festival where his DIY film Clerks, financed on credit cards took the film world by storm. Leading to a career as a filmmaker, podcaster, stand-up comedian, author, comic book writer, television producer – a veritable pop culture icon with a very large and loyal fanbase.
Confronting a Serial Killer Conversation
Discussion with the team behind Confronting a Serial Killer: director/EP Joe Berlinger, EP/showrunner Po Kutchins and Jillian Lauren. Premiering on STARZ this Spring, the five-episode series that tells the timely story of the unprecedented relationship between acclaimed author and journalist Jillian Lauren and the most prolific serial killer in American history, Sam Little, and her race against time to identify his victims before it’s too late.
Jada Pinkett Smith in Conversation with the Creator, Executive Producers, and Cast of the new Amazon Prime Video Terror Anthology, Them
Them creator and executive producer Little Marvin and executive producer Lena Waithe, will join cast, Deborah Ayorinde, Ashley Thomas, Alison Pill, Melody Hurd, and Shahadi Wright Joseph in a discussion moderated by Jada Pinkett Smith (Actress, Red Table Talk Host). In this candid conversation, executive producers and cast will unpack the first episode, set to World Premiere during this year’s SXSW Film Festival, as well as themes explored across the series. Them is a co-production from Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television.
A Conversation with the Filmmakers Behind Hulu’s WeWork: or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn
Join Director Jed Rothstein and Producer Ross Dinerstein as they uncover the rise and fall of WeWork, the real estate startup whose CEO Adam Neumann blended spirituality, entrepreneurial hustle and free beer to convince investors that shared office space could change the world… until it entered near bankruptcy. The two will share a behind-the-scenes look at this captivating documentary while breaking down the personality that drove the company’s culture and its massive financial deals.
Cosmic Breakthrough: Women in The Hunt for Planet B
Are we alone? This dynamic panel of eminent scientists and engineers will discuss the search for life in the universe. With the discovery of thousands of exoplanets and the huge James Webb Space Telescope launching this year, a new golden age of astronomy is dawning—and these women are at the heart of it. With Natalie Batalha, Amy Lo, Sara Seager, Jill Tarter, and Maggie Turnbull; moderated by Nathaniel Kahn.
Cruel Summer Q&A
From Executive Producer Jessica Biel (The Sinner), Cruel Summer is a psychological thriller that follows two young women; Kate Wallis, the popular girl with a charmed life who one day goes missing, and Jeanette Turner, the nerdy wannabee who is accused of being connected to Kate’s disappearance. Please join us for an exciting panel with series stars Olivia Holt, Chiara Aurelia, and executive producers Tia Napolitano, Jessica Biel and Michelle Purple. The panel will be moderated by Jessica Radloff from Glamour Magazine.
HBO Max’s Made for Love: Panel with Stars and Executive Producers
Join stars Cristin Milioti, Billy Magnussen, Dan Bakkedahl, Noma Dumezweni, Caleb Foote and Ray Romano, and executive producers Christina Lee and Alissa Nutting for a conversation about HBO Max’s upcoming series Made for Love premiering this spring. The darkly absurd and cynically poignant story of love and divorce follows Hazel Green (Milioti), a thirty-something woman on the run after 10 years in a suffocating marriage to Byron Gogol (Magnussen), a controlling tech billionaire. Glamour‘s Samantha Barry moderates.
Homeroom with Nasim Pedrad, creator of TBS’s new comedy series Chad
A conversation with Nasim Pedrad, the creator, star and executive producer of TBS’ upcoming series, Chad, and Glamour‘s Editor-in-Chief Samantha Barry.
Hysterical: Behind the Velvet Curtain with Comedy’s Boundary-Breaking Women
Stand-up comedy had always been a male domain. Join the cast and director of Hysterical, a feature documentary that explores female comics’ hard-fought journey to become the voices of their generation and gender, for an honest and hilarious Q&A. The all-female panel discusses their shared stories and struggles as some of the boundary-breaking women shattering comedy’s glass ceiling with perfectly timed punch lines. Hysterical, produced by Campfire, will be available on FX in 2021. Panelists include Fortune Feimster, Rachel Feinstein, Marina Franklin, Sherri Shepherd, Iliza Shlesinger, Jessica Kirson (who also serves as EP) and director/EP Andrea Nevins. Moderated by Melanie McFarland.
In Conversation with Mark Duplass & Natalie Morales
Language Lessons filmmakers Mark Duplass and Natalie Morales sit down to discuss the process of writing a bilingual movie, the complexities of platonic love, and filmmaking during a global pandemic.
Incorporating Choreography and Verse Into Blindspotting
A discussion with the Blindspotting series creators and writers Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs, lead actress Jasmine Cephas Jones, director Aurora Guerrero, cinematographer Tarin Anderson, and renowned choreographers Lil Buck and Jon Boogz on incorporating choreography and verse into the new television series Blindspotting.
Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story – Scenes from the Rough Cut
See work-in-progress scenes from the rough cut of Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story. This documentary weaves together live performances and interviews from the 50th anniversary of the iconic festival, featuring some of the biggest names in music, along with a wealth of archival documentary footage from the past half century. Academy-award nominee Frank Marshall shares insights from behind the scenes.
The Making and Digital Restoration of I Went to the Dance
This virtual Q&A, hosted by journalist/author Joe Nick Patoski, will go behind the scenes of the making of the celebrated 1989 feature documentary on the roots of SW Louisiana’s Cajun & Creole/Zydeco music, I Went to the Dance. Featured are Co-Filmmaker/Producer, Chris Strachwitz, Co-Filmmaker/Editor Maureen Gosling and Associate Producer/Sound Recordist, Chris Simon. It will also delve into the challenges and magic behind the 2021 ground-breaking 5k digital restoration of a documentary, I Went to the Dance, by Harrod Blank and Anthony Matt. Blank, the son of the late Co-Filmmaker/Cinematographer Les Blank, took on the task to bring back to life this exuberant film which celebrates the most important and influential performers of the era.
On the Road(trip) to Recovery: Filmmakers Mallory Everton, Whitney Call and Stephen Meek Talk their Feature Debut in the Midst of a Pandemic
For most people, quarantine looked a lot like baking bread and catching up on Tiger King, but for Utah-based sketch comics Mallory Everton, Whitney Call, and Stephen Meek, they saw a chance to do something different. The creative minds (and lifelong friends) behind JK Studios wrote, produced, directed, starred — and even gaffed — their first feature film with Recovery. In this SXSW-exclusive Q&A, the gang comes together to chat about their journey to creating their first feature…all from a safe social distance. The masks will come OFF as the filmmakers dive into what it really takes to make a movie with your quarantine family and the long road to a SXSW World Premiere. From Sorø Films and the whole family, we hope you’ll join us on the road to Recovery.
Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché – In Conversation with the Filmmakers
In this special Q&A event, directors Celeste Bell and Paul Sng will discuss their new documentary film Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché, about the late punk icon’s life, legacy, and relationship with Bell, her daughter. Featuring editor Xanna Ward Dixon and moderated by producer Matthew Silverman, this conversation will cover everything from Poly’s influence on the riot grrrl and Afropunk movements to the years-long filmmaking process that took place across three continents.
A Q&A with Kier-La Janisse of Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched
Join programmer Liane Cunje in conversation with Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched director Kier-La Janisse as they discuss the process behind the film – from its genesis as a short featurette to a comprehensive look at the folk horror phenomenon in film and television worldwide that became the House of Psychotic Women author’s first feature as a writer, director and producer. They’ll discuss the myriad definitions and taxonomies of folk horror, its touchstone films and most vocal champions, and the many challenges of finishing a documentary in the midst of a global pandemic.
Solar Opposites Table Read & SHLORPION SILENT (AND ALONE) DISCO
The Solar Opposites are going to SXSW! Join Justin Roiland (“Korvo”), Thomas Middleditch (“Terry”), Sean Giambrone (“Yumyulack”), Mary Mack (“Jesse”), executive producer Mike McMahan, and more as they take it bigger, funnier, and more oppositer than ever before during a virtual table read. As Hulu’s most-watched original comedy premiere to date, Solar Opposites centers around a family of four aliens and their Pupa who are still stuck on earth in suburban America.
Scoring my first Feature Film, a conversation with Finneas O’Connell
Join internationally acclaimed, multi GRAMMY-Award-winning artist and producer Finneas O’Connell and Variety contributor (Songs for Screens) Andrew Hampp for an exclusive and live discussion at SXSW, as O’Connell delves into the process and his experience when making his feature film-score debut; composing and performing for The Fallout, a powerful new film about the unseen faces of a tragedy.
Lifted from the parchment and downloaded onto your smartphone, Swipe Righteous reimagines famous Bible stories through our screens. Watch as Adam swipes right on Eve, Cain blocks Abel, and God tweets out his Ten Commandments—all told through Bazelevs’ Screenlife format.
SXSW Film Fest Episodic Pitch-a-Thon Presented by SeriesFest
For the second year in a row at SXSW Film, independent content creators will have the opportunity to participate in the Episodic Pitch-A-Thon presented by SeriesFest in partnership with SXSW. SXSW 2021 filmmakers will participate in the virtual event where each Creator/Creative Team will have 5 minutes to pitch in front of an audience. An industry panel of experts including top television, news media, and digital execs, will then have 7 minutes to give their feedback on each project.
Til Death Do Us Part: A Jakob’s Wife Discussion
Moderator Jordan Crucchiola leads an intimate conversation with genre legends Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden and writer/director Travis Stevens about reinventing yourself later in life, finding your own voice as an artist and how to have a happy marriage in a horror film.
Twyla Moves… You
Twyla Tharp teaches you her infamous and humorous Banjo dance and then talks about the experience of synopsizing her 55 year career into an 82 minute film experience.
Join Violet writer/director/producer Justine Bateman and special guests for a discussion of the film.
Weed, Murder & Bigfoot: A Conversation with the Team Behind Hulu’s Sasquatch
While visiting a pot farm in Northern California in 1993, investigative journalist David Holthouse heard a story that still haunts him: On a nearby farm three men were torn limb from limb in a savage Bigfoot attack. Hulu’s Sasquatch follows David as he revisits the Redwoods in search of any evidence that might lead to the truth of what happened that night. Join David Holthouse, director Joshua Rofé and executive producer Mark Duplass as they break down the production of this wild murder mystery.
NARRATIVE SHORTS COMPETITION
A selection of original, well-crafted films that take advantage of the short form and exemplify distinctive and genuine storytelling.
Are You Still There?
Directors/Screenwriters: Rayka Zehtabchi, Sam Davis
Safa’s been through a lot. Now her car battery’s dead in a strip mall parking lot. (North American Premiere)
Director: Miles Warren, Screenwriters: Miles Warren, Ben Medina
After his father gets into a fight at a bowling alley, Darious begins to investigate the limitations of his own manhood. (Texas Premiere)
Chuj Boys of Summer (Guatemala, United States)
Director: Max Walker-Silverman, Screenwriters: Marcos Ordoñez Ixwalanhkej Mendoza, Max Walker-Silverman
Speaking only his native language, a Guatemalan teenager begins his new life in rural Colorado. (Texas Premiere)
The Criminals (Romania, Turkey)
Director/Screenwriter: Serhat Karaaslan
Late at night in a small Turkish town, a young couple tries to find a hotel room to spend the night together.
Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma
Directors: Topaz Jones, rubberband., Screenwriters: Topaz Jones, Jason Sondock, Simon Davis
Topaz Jones debuts his 2nd album, Don’t Go Telling Your Momma as a reimagining of the 70s Black ABCs; a view into his and America’s Black Identity through 26 individual scenes, each representing a letter and a corresponding update to their meanings. (Texas Premiere)
Femme (United Kingdom)
Directors/Screenwriters: Ng Choon Ping, Sam H. Freeman
When Jordan gets into the car of a flirtatious drug-dealer, his night takes a dangerous turn. (World Premiere)
The Journey (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Ève Saint-Louis
The Journey is the story of a father and daughter reunion. From Montreal’s airport, they will travel along a chaotic path, where their inability to find each other will unveil a complicated relationship and have them drift from their initial course. (World Premiere)
Like The Ones I Used To Know (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Annie St-Pierre
December 24, 1983, 10:50PM: Julie and her cousins ate too much sugar, Santa Claus is late and Denis, alone in his car, is anxious at the idea of setting foot in his ex-in-law’s house to pick up his children. An early quirky and poetic coming-of-age. (Texas Premiere)
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.
The Mohel (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Charles Wahl
After celebrating the birth of their first child, James and Loa are faced with family expectations and financial strain as they fly in a Mohel to perform their son’s Brit Milah – The circumcision ceremony. (World Premiere)
The Nipple Whisperer (Belgium)
Director/Screenwriter: Jan Van Dyck
Maurice Sanders has a gift. He’s a nipple whisperer. Once he was known as “Magic Sandy”. But that was years ago, before Doris, a famous model and Sander’s muse, fell ill. Now, after more than a decade, Doris wants to meet Maurice again. (World Premiere)
The Other Morgan
Director/Screenwriter: Alison Rich
When a dopey young exterminator discovers there’s another version of her out in the world, she begins to question her life choices. (Texas Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Molly Gillis
A lonely American faces unrequited love on a farm commune in the south of France. (World Premiere)
Play It Safe (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Mitch Kalisa
Coaxed into playing a racial typecast in a fellow student’s play, Black drama student Jonathan is faced with all too familiar decision: to challenge prejudice, or play it safe. (World Premiere)
Sales Per Hour
Directors: Michelle Uranowitz, Daniel Jaffe, Screenwriter: Michelle Uranowitz
A young woman faces a moral dilemma when she witnesses a sexual encounter in a dressing room at the clothing store where she works. (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Jess Brunetto
Hidden secrets cause tension when two estranged sisters are forced to confront each other while preparing for their ailing mother’s death. (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Hannah Bang
A 16 year old tries to convince her runaway mother to return home. (World Premiere)
Squeegee (Canada, United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Morgan Krantz
A high-powered female CEO meets her high-rise window-washer for an erotic rendezvous on opposite sides of a skyscraper window. (World Premiere)
Directors/Screenwriters: Sam Guest, Julia Baylis
Determined to save her wheelchair ramp from repossession, Daisy confronts the shady insurance agent who owes her money. (Texas Premiere)
DOCUMENTARY SHORTS COMPETITION
Slices of life from across the documentary spectrum.
Directors: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, Maite Zubiaurre, Screenwriters: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, Maite Zubiaurre, Nico Sandi
Along the scorching desert border in Arizona, it is estimated that only one out of every five missing migrants are ever found. Águilas is the story of one group of searchers, the Águilas del Desierto. (World Premiere)
The Beauty President
Director: Whitney Skauge
In 1992, drag queen Joan Jett Blakk made a historic bid for the White House as an openly queer write-in candidate. Today, Terence Smith, the man behind the persona, reflects back on his place in gay rights history at the height of the AIDS crisis. (World Premiere)
Directors/Screenwriters: James Burns, Shal Ngo
The Box is a hybrid documentary that explores the effects of solitary confinement through three people’s harrowing true stories – they’ve spent a combined nine years in isolation, and one of them co-directed this film. (World Premiere)
I Ran from It and Was Still in It
Director: Darol Olu Kae
A poetic meditation on familial loss and separation, and the love that endures against dispersion. (Texas Premiere)
Joe Buffalo (Canada)
Director: Amar Chebib, Screenwriters: Joe Buffalo, Amar Chebib
Joe Buffalo, an Indigenous skateboard legend and Indian Residential School survivor, must face his inner demons to realize his dream of turning pro. (World Premiere)
The Last Cruise
Director: Hannah Olson
The Last Cruise chronicles the first major COVID-19 outbreak outside of China. Using footage recorded by passengers and crew aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, we watch class divisions emerge as the world misses its chance to contain the virus. (World Premiere)
Directors: Chelsi de Cuba, Gabriel de Cuba
California’s fight to protect native succulents from an international poaching ring worth millions. (World Premiere)
As protests unfold in Hong Kong, Red Taxi shows a city in upheaval through the eyes of those who must traverse the streets day and night to make a living. Filmed by a local film crew, who remain anonymous due to ongoing safety concerns. (North American Premiere)
Sophie and The Baron
Director: Alexandria Jackson
Iconic photographer Baron Wolman and contemporary artist Sophie Kipner transcend eras and mediums in a collaboration that demonstrates the magic of just saying yes. (World Premiere)
Ten Leaves Dilated
Directors: Kate E. Hinshaw, Ebony Blanding
A documentary that uses the make-believe world crafted by Cabbage Patch Kids to examine discourses surrounding childbirth in the American South. (World Premiere)
Director: Adam Baran
The voices of five gay men who cruised for sex at the World Trade Center in the 1980s and 1990s haunt the sanitized, commerce-driven landscape that is the newly rebuilt Freedom Tower campus. (World Premiere)
ANIMATED SHORTS COMPETITION
An assortment of stories told using traditional animation, computer-generated effects, stop-motion, and everything in between.
The Expected (Sweden)
Director/Screenwriter: Carolina Sandvik
A father-to-be ends up in a feverish nightmare after a miscarriage, when a strange entity seems to be growing in the mother’s blood. (North American Premiere)
Hold me Tight (Belgium, France)
Director/Screenwriter: Mélanie Robert-Tourneur
In the middle of a dark forest, two silhouettes meet. In search of sexual desire, they start a dangerous and explosive parade. (International Premiere)
KKUM (Republic of Korea)
Director/Screenwriter: Kang Min Kim
My mother’s dreams have always been strong premonitions for important moments in my life. I rely on her dreams more than any religion. (Texas Premiere)
Love is Just a Death Away (Czechia)
Director/Screenwriter: Bára Anna Stejskalová
A tender story about finding love even amid utter decay. (U.S. Premiere)
My Fat Arse and I (Poland)
Director/Screenwriter: Yelyzaveta Pysmak
An amusing film about anorexia and butts. (North American Premiere)
Navozande, the Musician (France)
Director/Screenwriter: Reza Riahi
At the time of the attack of the Mongols, a young musician and the love of his life are separated from each other. Fifty years later, the musician is summoned to perform at the castle of the Mongols where his beloved is being held. (Texas Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Julie Caty
Dany is a rich heir who faces existential emptiness. He meets Karl Marx who asks him to destroy capitalism in order to save humankind. Reluctantly, Dany accepts his request and turns into a superhero. But he is quickly overwhelmed by his task. (North American Premiere)
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)
Director: Erick Oh
Opera is a massive 8K size animation installation project which portrays our society and history, which is filled with beauty and absurdity. Erick enables viewers to experience the range of in-depth emotions through this epic reflection of human life. (Texas Premiere)
Our Bed Is Green
Director/Screenwriter: Maggie Brennan
A young woman seeks digital refuge from an overwhelming world and a bewildering obsession. (World Premiere)
Rendang of Death (Indonesia)
Director: Percolate Galactic, Screenwriters: Ryan Jackson, Indraswari Pangestu, Skolastika Lupitawina
In a quaint Padang restaurant, filled with people enjoying their lunch break, two bros put their friendship to the test when it turns out that there’s only a single plate of their favorite food left: the Rendang of Death.
Your Own Bullshit (Poland)
Director: Daria Kopiec, Screenwriters: Daria Kopiec, Agata Zyzniewska
There’s nothing better than dinner with family. Though it remains a looped script that repeats itself infinitely. Recited singingly for many long years. (North American Premiere)
Bite-sized bits for all of your sex, gore, and hilarity cravings.
Director/Screenwriter: Julian Terry
While playing a videogame, a young woman comes across a creepy character who wants to be let out.
Directors/Screenwriters: Josefin Malmén, David Strindberg
A semi-surreal comedy short that (literally) lets you under the skin of a bodybuilder and his ambivalent self-image – exploring the fine line between self-loathing and self-loving.
Director/Screenwriter: Ariel Zengotita
A reclusive college student is driven mad after picking a booger he can’t flick away.
Joanne Is Dead
Director/Screenwriter: Brian Sacca
It’s easy to dismiss the ramblings of the dementia-riddled elderly as nonsense. But what if there is a deadly truth behind those words? (World Premiere)
The Moogai (Australia)
Director/Screenwriter: Jon Bell
An Aboriginal psychological horror, The Moogai is the story of a family terrorised by a child-stealing spirit. (International Premiere)
A Puff Before Dying
Directors/Screenwriters: Michael Reich, Mike Pinkney
A wild night of drugs and drugged up driving ends in tragedy for three teenage girls that happen to be marionettes. (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Leah Shore
Samantha desperately wants to get laid, but is finding it to be difficult for some reason. (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Polaris Banks
A team of altruistic vigilantes destroy evidence to keep as many people from prison as possible, but when one of their crime scene clean-ups is revisited by the killer, the strength of their convictions is tested. (World Premiere)
Run That Shit!
Director: Tristan Kim, Screenwriters: Tristan Kim, Will Allyn Robinson
A Satanic cult lures a no-name rapper into stealing an enchanted chamber pot from his estranged friend and now superstar rapper, Big Tobacco. (Texas Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Quinn George
A couple struggles to see eye to eye when a mysterious red orb appears in their new home. (Texas Premiere)
Stuffed (United Kingdom)
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 ageing he volunteers to be her specimen. An unexpected romantic spark between them complicates their plans. (North American Premiere)
A Tale Best Forgotten (Sweden)
Director/Screenwriter: Tomas Stark
In a house by a river that lamented as it ran, lived a father, and his daughter, and the dog-headed man… A murder ballad. (North American Premiere)
The Thing That Ate The Birds (United Kingdom)
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)
An offshoot of our regular shorts program, composed of work shot in, about, or somehow relating to the Lone Star state.
Director/Screenwriter: Channing Godfrey Peoples
Doretha goes out for her evening drink at her local watering hole when a news story dredges up old memories. (World Premiere)
Learning Tagalog with Kayla
Director/Screenwriter: Kayla Abuda Galang
In this lesson, Kayla teaches you Tagalog, the language of her homeland. (World Premiere)
Directors: Morgan Bond, Nickolas Grisham, Screenwriters: Nickolas Grisham, Curtis McOsker
Chynna travels to a West Texas health retreat to visit her terminally ill mother. As she learns more about the faith-based wellness preached in the commune, Chynna desperately attempts to convince her mother to leave. (World Premiere)
O Black Hole! (United Kingdom)
Director: Renee Zhan, Screenwriters: Renee Zhan, Vanessa Rose
A woman who can’t stand the passing of time turns herself into a black hole. A thousand unchanging years pass until one day, the Singularity wakes inside her. (Texas Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Haley Elizabeth Anderson
Living out of a motel, 15-year-old Tommy makes a drastic decision in order for her siblings to escape the heat before the summer’s over. (World Premiere)
The Unlikely Fan
Directors: Sai Selvarajan, Jeff Bednarz, Screenwriter: Sai Selvarajan
She’s a Sri Lankan born, Dallas-based, retired teacher and mother. She’s also crazy about basketball. Meet “The Unlikely Fan” who knows a thing or two about hoops. (World Premiere)
TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHORTS
A preview of the next filmmaking generation, as Texas High Schoolers present shorts of five minutes or less.
Beyond the Model
Director: Jessica Lin
After the assaults and discrimination of Asians because of COVID-19, this film shines a light on what it is like be a “model minority” in an increasingly divided America. (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Meredith Smith
A family vacation forces Aaron to spend time with his diabolical cousin, Richard. The family’s indifference to Richard’s relentless bullying proves tragic as Aaron is ultimately led to his destructive breaking point.
The Good Wife’s Guide
Director/Screenwriter: Chloe Merriman
The Good Wife’s Guide is a take on 1950s housewife culture based off of Housekeeping Monthly’s article “The Good Wife’s Guide” published in 1955.
Director: Satvik Shankar, Screenwriter: Jackson Coates
A teenage boy goes on an exploration of his own fears about death, religion, and sin. (Texas Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Gaelila McKaughan
In the still gaps of her loosely-bound routine, a girl confronts a strange figure.
Director/Screenwriter: Kate Saltel
Under great pressure, humans undergo similar steps of metamorphism.
A Really Dark Comedy
Director: Manasi Ughadmathe, Screenwriter: Jackson Coates
In a frantic rush to ask his crush out to prom, Gus and his friend Elliot speed to her house, unbeknownst to the horrors that lie on the road. (World Premiere)
Director: Alex O. Martinez
A teenage boy breaks his jaw and has to have his mouth wired shut. (World Premiere)