The South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival announced its feature lineup Thursday, including dozens of world premieres, critical smashes at Sundance and music documentaries for every taste.
A mess of movies that already made a splash at Sundance will be here, including Richard Linklater’s groundbreaking “Boyhood,” filmed over the course of 12 years; Austinite Kat Candler’s “Hellion,” starring Aaron Paul; Jeffrey Radice’s “No No: A Dockumentary” about ground-breaking pitcher Dock Ellis; Austin filmmaker Michael Tully’s “Ping Pong Summer,” about the magical year of 1985; and the Zellner brothers’ “Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter,” about a Japanese woman convinced the Coen brothers’ “Fargo” was real and a movie for which the Austin band Octopus Project took a Sundance special jury prize for their soundtrack.
Wes Anderson, a UT graduate, screens and discusses his brand new “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” while “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” one of the most influential movies ever shot in Texas, gets a 40th anniversary screening, complete with director Tobe Hooper and screenwriter Kim Henkel.
As usual, Austin films and filmmakers (and Texas-shot films) dot the SXSW landscape. (The following are world premieres and not in competition unless otherwise noted.)
Austin director David Gordon Green’s “Joe,” an adaptation of the Larry Brown novel starring Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan, makes its U.S. premiere, along with former Austinite Rob Thomas’s heavily anticipated big-screen take on his cult TV show “Veronica Mars.”
SXSW also sees the premiere of “Road to Austin,” a documentary about the history of Austin music that also acts as record of the late Stephen Bruton’s 2007 “Road to Austin” concert at Auditorium Shores.
Remember when the first two episodes of “Girls” premiered in SXSW, increasing the hype exponentially for the soon-to-be-hit series? SXSW has expanded its TV offerings with the new “Episodic” category. The series includes premieres of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” (created by Austinite Mike Judge) and “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series,” debuting on Austin filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network.
Emilio Aragón’s “A Night in Old Mexico,” written by “Lonesome Dove” scribe William D. Wittliff and starring Robert Duvall as a rancher uninterested in giving up his land, was shot in Brownsville.
Austinite Matt Muir wrote and directed “Thank You a Lot,” about a down-on-his-luck music manager who wants to sign a country singer played by the West-based singer James Hand, while the Texas thriller “Two Step,” from director/screenwriter Alex R. Johnson, was filmed here.
In the documentary feature competition, former Austinite Margaret Brown brings us “The Great Invisible,” a multifaceted look at the Deepwater Horizon disaster, while over in documentary spotlight (not competing) John Fiege’s “Above All Else” follows a stuntman as he organizes East Texas landowners and activists to blockade the Keystone XL pipeline.
In the more experimental Visions category, UT lecturer Steve Mims wrote and directed “Arlo and Julie,” about an obsession with a mysterious puzzle, while Patrick Brice’s “Creep,” written by and starring UT graduate Mark Duplass, is about a Craigslist ad that maybe shouldn’t have been answered.
So far, SXSW has announced 115 features, including 68 from first-time filmmakers, 76 world premieres, 10 North American premieres and seven U.S. premieres. (Look for genre films and shorts to be announced Feb. 5 with the full lineup out Feb. 12.)
A full list of the announced features can be found at Austin360.com. The festival starts March 7 and lasts through March 15.