Britain’s Andrea Arnold won third place, the jury prize, for the American-set “American Honey,” while Jaclyn Jose of Brillante Mendoza’s “Ma’ Rosa” won best actress. The latter was also a surprise, since Isabelle Huppert wowed critics with her performance in Paul Verhoeven’s thriller “Elle.”
The Camera d’Or, which goes to first-time directors, went to “Divines,” which played in Directors’ Fortnight.
The ceremony capped a contentious festival, where many critics voiced strong opinions about the competition entries. The biggest victim of the annual barrage of vitriol was Sean Penn’s “The Last Face,” which ended up getting the lowest score in history from the critics featured in the British trade journal Screen International. It got only 1 star from two critics, and the rest gave it an “X,” or “F.”
Loach’s Palme winner, however, was in the middle of the critical pack. It has an overt political message, criticizing the bureaucracy that administers the British welfare system. It stars Dave Johns as Daniel Blake, a pensioner who faces loss of payments, and Hayley Squires as Katie, a single mother of two who is befriended by Daniel after she, too, loses battles with the welfare bureaucracy.
It’s a very touching, humanistic tale, as most of Loach’s movies are. But it treads dangerous ground in almost becoming too preachy — a turnoff for most critics. Still, it has heart, and Loach is a veteran, beloved filmmaker in Cannes.
Dolan’s victory was greeted with boos in the press audience. But his movie, which deals with a gay man who goes home to tell his family that he is dying, has been far underrated by critics, some of whom deride the 27-year-old for his early success. He first appeared in Cannes when he was only 19 and has become Canada’s filmmaking prodigy.
It’s too early to say which films from Cannes will be contenders for an Oscar. Certainly, Iran’s “The Salesman” should be among the best foreign language Oscar contenders, if Iran chooses to submit it. Variety and other American outlets have been predicting that Nichols’ “Loving” will also be an Oscar contender.
Two fine but very different movies — Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” and Asghar Farad’s “The Salesman” — closed out the competition this weekend for the Palme d’Or in Cannes. And either one could get a major prize.
First, let’s talk about the deliciously evil and perverse “Elle.” Verhoeven, who brought “Basic Instinct” to Cannes in 1992, is back with another tale of a woman in danger who is also dangerous.
This time, it’s the brilliant Isabelle Huppert as Michele, a video game company founder in Paris who is raped by a man in a black ski mask in her luxurious home at the beginning of the film. Michele doesn’t act the way you might think. Once the rapist leaves, she calmly cleans up the broken glass from the floor. Then she takes a hot bath, not crying, just going about cleaning up in a methodical way.
She doesn’t call the police. At first, she doesn’t even tell anyone. She goes to work the next day and pretends nothing happened while giving instructions to her employees about how to build the suspense in a violent video game.
We slowly discover why Michele has an aversion to going to the police, and why she’s so determined to stay in control of life. When she was a child, her father went on a killing spree in Paris, and after the massacre, he came back home and asked his girl to help burn up the family possessions. She did, and as her father was being arrested, she was photographed in front of the fire, with ashes on her face. Ever since, she has been associated with the murders and has fought hard to build a prosperous life.
The rapist has her cell number and starts texting her, and she suspects that the perp might be someone who works for her. But we’re kept guessing.
She has a loser son, Vincent (Jonas Bloquet), who works at a fast-food joint. The husband whom she divorced is named Richard (Charles Berling), and he’s a frustrated writer. Her best friend is Anna (Anne Consigny), who co-founded the game company with Michele. And her next-door neighbors are the stockbroker Patrick (Laruent Lafitte) and his religious wife Rebecca (Virginie Efira).
All of these characters are introduced with skill by Verhoeven, but the movie centers on Huppert’s Michele, who is in every scene.
The movie is full of suspense, irony and, surprisingly, many laugh-out loud moments. Most of these come from Michele’s bluntness about those around her, and her peculiar take on life — that she’s going to live her life in freedom and not be constrained by societal norms.
In no way does the movie suggest that she’s come to terms or is OK with the rape, as some have suggested. Far from it. She plots to figure out who the rapist is, and then she carefully maneuvers the man, who knows that his identity has been discovered. And rather than immediately turn him in to police, she begins a rather unnerving game. It’s not a revenge thriller, necessarily, although you might end up interpreting it that way. But there’s more ambiguity than you might think. And the movie is very French. It’s hard to imagine anyone except, perhaps, Sharon Stone, playing such a role in an American film.
Huppert does so with wry glee. There’s a disturbing glint in her eye, and you come to understand that she’s completely amoral, in an almost scary way. But that’s why the movie is deliciously perverse. Huppert and Verhoeven are a great team, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t walk away with the best actress prize at Sunday’s awards ceremony. Her main competition: Ruth Negga of Austin director Jeff Nichols’ “Loving,” or possibly Kristen Stewart of “Personal Shopper.”
The other late standout in Cannes is Iran’s “The Salesman,” which follows the fate of Rana (Taraneh Aliodoosti) and her husband Emad (Shahab Hosseini). The two work at a local school, and both are starring in a play, Arthur Miller’s “The Death of a Salesman.” One day, Rana thinks the person ringing her high-rise bell below is her husband, coming home from practicing the play, and she buzzes the caller in without asking. She starts to shower, but ends up being attacked by an intruder. She hits her head on the bathroom glass and goes unconscious, and neighbors discover her lying on the floor as the intruder runs down the steps.
When Emad gets home, he discovers that his wife is in the hospital, possibly with a concussion. But his wife won’t tell Emad exactly what happened. He suspects the worst, possibly a sexual assault, but his wife refuses to discuss the matter. She’s scared, and she doesn’t want to stay in the apartment any more.
While Rana tries to return to normalcy, her husband becomes obsessed with finding the attacker. It turns out that the man left his keys to his truck, a cellphone and some money behind. And Emad finds the truck and waits for the owner to come back to claim it, planning on a confrontation.
To say much more would give away some key plot points, but the director, whose previous films include “The Past” and “A Separation,” is masterful at building tension between the wife and husband, leading us to wonder where all of this will go.
With the premieres of “Elle” and “The Salesman,” the race for the major prizes on Sunday becomes more complicated. Some think “American Honey,” from British director Andrea Arnold, will score big. Others think Nichols’ “Loving” has a shot at a major prize. Some, including me, think Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson” has to be among the contenders. And it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Germany’s Maren Ade become the second woman to win the Palme d’Or, for “Toni Erdmann.” Jane Campion is the only other woman who has won such an honor in Cannes, for “The Piano.”
There are several people, mainly among the European press, who think Olivier Assayas’ “Personal Shopper,” starring Stewart, will be among the award winners. And it would not be a surprise to see Kleber Mendonca Filho of Brazil win something for his Brazilian tale of a widow fighting a corrupt developer in “Aquarius.” And, no, you can’t rule out the Dardenne brothers, who premiered “The Unknown Girl” and are longtime Cannes favorites.
Sunday should be interesting.
Tonight, the winner of Un Certain Regard, the prestigious sidebar event, will be named.
Sean Penn told the Financial Times that he had a lot riding on the Cannes premiere of his new directorial effort, “The Last Face.” If he was counting on gaining support in Cannes for his film, he’s in a lot of trouble. It was one of the worst receptions of a film I’ve ever seen in Cannes, and he still has to do a press conference later in the day. Here are a few reasons why the movie failed so badly.
Here’s a film about the ravages of war in Africa, mainly in Liberia and the South Sudan. But unlike last year’s “Beasts of No Nation,” there are no significant roles for black people.
Instead, Penn focuses his story on a love affair between two doctors who work in refugee camps. They’re played by Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem, and the central argument in their relationship is whether they could do more good at the United Nations in Switzerland or helping the wounded in Africa. Theron’s character prefers the halls of the U.N., while Bardem prefers the camps. They argue and argue. But the dialogue is dreadful. And most of the words spoken in the film are mumbled voiceovers.
The supporting cast is equally awful, including poor Jean Reno, who utters some of the most ridiculous lines ever penned for the screen.
The movie features lots of surgeries, with an approach that almost seems like war-wound porn. We see legs being chopped off. We see a Caesarean section done in the jungle, on a woman who has had her throat slit. We see gaping wounds in legs and stomachs and elsewhere. It’s rather clear that Penn is trying to show us the horrors of war, but he goes too far.
The movie is so didactic that it ends with a lecture, given by Theron at a gathering of philanthropists, where she talks of the dreams of refugees and how they’re just like us. But lets make this clear: While Penn’s intentions might be good and warm-hearted, his movie is woefully tone-deaf. Cannes is the temple of art films, and there’s an artful way to tell the tragic story of African wars. See the aforementioned “Beasts of No Nation.” This is didacticism at its worst. It’s hard to believe that Penn, who has been known for his philanthropic works, hasn’t been warned about the “white savior” complex. But he walks right into it in “The Last Face.” He might want to return to acting.
It’s repertory season, also known as summer, which means the lineup for the 2016 Summer Classic film series at the Paramount and Stateside Theatres is out now.
2016 marks 41 years of Paramount’s signature classic films series, which goes from May 26 through September 4. Film tickets are on sale now at austintheatre.org.
This year, the Paramount unveils a new digital projection system, new sound system and new screen (they will retain the capacity to screen 35mm and 70mm prints whenever available).
Before the series formally starts, look for the “Bridesmaids” Pub Run May 24. There will be booze and then a screening of Paul Feig’s modern comedy classic.
This year’s series once again kicks-off with Michael Curtiz’s “Casablanca” as the opening night film with screenings May 26 and 27.
The popular Martinis & Manicures event returns July 10 with, as one might imagine, martinis and manicures before a screening of Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike.”
Additionally, Iron and Wine’s Sam Beam (a former Dripping Springs resident who moved to North Carolina in 2014) will return July 22 for a special screening of Austin filmmaker Andrew Bujalski’s”Computer Chess.”
There are a whole mess of anniversary screenings this year.
Look for 75th anniversary presentations of the 1941 classics “The Maltese Falcon” and “Citizen Kane” as well as the 100th anniversary of D.W. Griffiths’ “Intolerance,” the 80th anniversary of Charlie Chaplin’s still-perfect “Modern Times,” and the 95th anniversary of Chaplin’s “The Kid,” which screen in a new digital restoration.
Also look for the 50th anniversary of Sergio Leone‘s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and Mike Nichols’ “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” the 20th anniversary of the Coen brothers’ “Fargo” and Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo + Juliet.”
The Family Film Festival series kicks off with a double feature of Joe Pytka’s “Space Jam” and Michael Pressman’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze” on June 5, and a special 50th anniversary screening of Les Martinson’s “Batman: The Movie” (aka Batman ’66), July 30.
To celebrate the end of primary season, expect the Leo McCarey’s Marx brothers movie “Duck Soup,” Alan J Pakula’s “All the President’s Men,” John Fankenheimer’s “The Manchurian Candidate” and more.
There are musicals and science-fiction, foreign films and “Grease” sing-along. In late August, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean will be feted with screenings of Howard Hawks’ “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Billy Wilder’s “Some Like It Hot,” Elia Kazan’s “East of Eden,” Nicholas Ray’s “Rebel Without a Cause” and George Stevens’ “Giant” (the latter turns 60 this year). The Summer Classic Film Series closes Sept. 4 with “Gone with the Wind.”
There are a couple of ticketing options.
Tickets are available online, by phone, or at Paramount Box Office. General Admission is $12, Film Fan Admission is $7. The Film Fan program involves free admission to two member parties, reserved seating, discounted tickets and more. Full details available online at www.austintheatre.org/filmfan.
The Flix Tix program gives you a book of 10 admissions, good in any combination to the Paramount’s Summer Classic Film Series for only $60 ($50 for Film Fans).
Here is a the full slate. Films screening at the Paramount will be marked with a (P), while films screening at Stateside will be marked with a (S). DCP means the print is digital.
“Toni Erdmann,” a German comedy from newcomer Maren Ade, has to be one of the early favorites in the annual race for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
It screened Friday night, and even at 2 hours and 42 minutes, it constantly kept engaging the audience. Part of the reason: It’s a woman’s film, directed by a woman, with all sorts of nuances about the corporate life of a seemingly money-grubbing capitalist, Ines, played with much depth by Sandra Huller.
She exudes the corporate mentality, staying on the phone constantly, ignoring other people even at family gatherings, obsessing over how to get ahead, putting work above all else. She wears the same old black pantsuit, and does everything she can to fit in with her corporation team. But she’s trying a bit too hard, and the casual sexism that she faces is demoralizing.
But Ines’ biggest problem isn’t sexism in the workplace. It’s her dad, Toni (Peter Simonischek), who’s a practical joker of the highest order. And when he sees what’s happening to his daughter, he thinks she needs to lighten up, to make more time for her private life, and to laugh a little. So he shows up unexpectedly at her Bucharest office, where she’s trying to negotiate a corporate downsizing.
Any attempt to describe the father’s antics will sound cliched, like the bucktooth mouthpiece he keeps in his front pocket. Yet there’s genuine pathos in his attempts to reach his daughter. And she’s amazed that he keeps showing up in disguises wherever she goes.
Two scenes in particular are laugh-out-loud: When he father forces her to sing a cheesy pop song before a crowd, and when she melts down and decides to through a birthday party where she and all the guests must be naked. It’s absolutely nuts.
Many more competition films have yet to screen, and there are always surprises. Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson” sounds promising. So does “Loving” from Austin director Jeff Nichols. And then there’s the enfant terrible Nicolas Winding Refn, who’ll be screening “Neon Demon,” and French-Canadian whiz kid Xavier Dolan, who’ll be showing “It’s Only the End of the World.”
In the Un Certain Regard sidebar, where films are eligible for the Palme d’Or, there’s still another early standout. It’s “The Student” from Russia’s Krill Serebrennikov. Once again, he’s a newcomer to Cannes, but his movie packs a wallop.
It deals with a teenage Russian boy who abruptly decides to obsess over the Bible and memorize various passages. He begins quoting these passages to his befuddled teachers, and he warns that the young women in swim class should be wearing one-piece swimsuits rather than sexually proactive bikinis, which he finds sinful. He continues to battle his science teacher over evolution and sex education, and he starts a protracted battle with her that borders on dangerous.
She’s just as adamant that the student will not sidetrack her progressive teaching methods, and it’s pretty much all-out war.
As the student, Peter Skvortsov is full of rage, spouting off verses that he has memorized. But there’s a big difference between memorizing the Bible and comprehending its meaning, and he’s falling far short in the latter category.
As the teacher, Victoria Isakova delivers another fine performance, showing a stubbornness that matches her student’s. And you end up with a preachy Bible student and a strident science teacher amid a movie that’s remarkably not didactic.
But make no mistake. There’s a clear undercurrent about the dangers of fanaticism, and that’s a timely message for a festival that’s facing heightened security because of perceived threats from Islamic fundamentalists in France.
One other movie deserves a shout-out. It’s Park Chan-Wook’s “Mademoiselle,” or “The Handmaiden.”
The Korean film takes us back to the 1930s, during the period of Japanese occupation, and it deals with a Japanese heiress, Hideko (Kim Min-Hee), who has recently employed the services of a handmaiden, Sookee (Kim Tae-Ri).
Sookee plays all dumb, and Hideko plays like she’s sexually innocent. But neither woman is what she seems. And in the middle of the action is a fake count (Ha Jung-Woo), who is wooing Hideko and seeking some way to get all of her money.
The movie unfolds in three acts, and the cinematography is drop-dead gorgeous, as is the set design. There’s a bit of overlap in the storytelling, as we see the events from different perspectives, and there are far more twists and turns than expected.
I suspect this has the potential to be a cult arthouse favorite. But the sexuality and nudity are strong elements, and its distribution will probably be limited. If it opens in the States later this year, it’s well worth your time.
Park’s most famous movie is another cult favorite, “Oldboy,” which played in Cannes in 2003.
Here’s an uplifting tale for aspiring filmmakers out there. And it also illustrates why festivals like South by Southwest, Fantastic Fest and the Austin Film Festival are so important.
Austin resident Greg Kwedar got his debut feature, “Transpecos,” into the narrative feature competition this March at South by Southwest. It was unheralded, and few people in the Austin film crowd even knew who Kwedar was.
But securing a spot in the competition – and providing an early screener to critics – helped build buzz,, and the thriller about the Border Patrol went on to win the audience award – which means festival attendees thought it to be the best of the bunch.
Kwedar and his team had no distributor for the film, however. And without a distributor, most movies just end up screening here and there, at places like the Austin Film Society and various festivals, without reaching a wide audience.
But that’s what festivals are for – raising the profile of small, independent films. And this week, Kwedar got the best news possible. Samuel Goldwyn Films is buying the rights to “Transpecos” and plans a theatrical release in the fall.
And in May, Screen Media Ventures will be attending the Cannes Film Festival, trying to sell distribution rights to international territories.
The deal was first reported by Deadline.com. And Peter Goldwyn of Samuel Goldwyn Films said, “Greg is a raw talent in independent cinema. ‘Transpecos’ is an accomplished first feature that we’re eager to deliver to audiences in theaters and in homes across the country.”
Details of the deal were not disclosed.
The thriller stars Johnny Simmons, Gabriel Luna and Clifton Collins Jr. Kwedar co-wrote the script with Clint Bentley.
The Peruvian film “Magallanes,” written and directed by Salvador del Solar will open the 19th annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, while the Costa Rican dramdy “Viaje,” written and directed by Paz Fábrega, will close the fest.
Cine Las Americas opens at 6 p.m. May 4 with “Magallanes” following at 7.
Ceremonies for the Closing Night Awards start at 7 p.m. May 8 with “Viaje” to follow. Both parties will be held at the Marchesa Hall & Theatre.
“Magallanes” stars Damián Alcázar as the title character, a taxi driver and former soldier who also chauffeurs a retired colonel (Federico Luppi), who was his commander. A secret begins to emerge when Celina (Magaly Solier), takes a ride in Magallanes’ cab.
The film is del Solar’s first feature and was nominated for Best Latin American Film for the 2016 Goya Awards, Spain’s most prestigious annual film awards.
“Viaje” explores attraction and commitment for Costa Rican millenials. After meeting at a party, Luciana (Kattia González) and Pedro (Fernando Bolaños) spark up a spontaneous rendezvous, embarking on a spur-of-the-moment journey. Nominated for Best Narrative Feature by Tribeca Film Festival in 2015, this is Paz’ second feature.
The festival will showcase contemporary films from the US, Canada, Latin America, and the Iberian Peninsula. All films are in English or with subtitles.
Wakefield was stripped of his British medical license in 2010 after his 1998 study linking the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine and autism was found to be fraudulent, a study which largely kicked off the modern anti-vaccination movement.
Last week, De Niro, who has an autistic child, defended the film’s inclusion, then released a statement Saturday saying he had changed his mind after reviewing the film with members of the scientific community.
In a statement, Wakefield said, “We have just witnessed yet another example of the power of corporate interests censoring free speech, art and truth. Tribeca’s action will not succeed in denying the world access to the truth behind the film ‘Vaxxed.'”
Mike Birbiglia’s new comedy about an improv group starring Keegan-Michael Key, a feature about Miles Davis and a new HBO series by Danny McBride are a few of the highlights from the latest round of films (and television shows) slated to play the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival in March.
Birbiglia’s “Don’t Think Twice,” Don Cheadle’s “Miles Ahead” and McBride’s “Vice Principals” join previously announced films such as Richard Linklater’s
opening night film “Everybody Wants Some,” Austin filmmaker Jeff Nichols’ “Midnight Special,” “Pee-wee’s Big Holiday” and the upcoming AMC TV show “Preacher.”
Also of note, the world premiere of “Slash,” Austin director Clay Liford’s feature about two young people who write erotic fan-fiction.
This year, SXSW plans to show 139 features, with additional titles to be
The lineup thusfar includes 52 films from first-time filmmakers, 89 World Premieres, 13 North American premieres and eight U.S. premieres.
The films were selected from 2,456 feature-length film submissions composed of 1,467 U.S. and 990 international feature-length films from a total of 7,236 submissions.
New this year? A Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality track open to all badgeholders. In addition, any badgeholder can come to Episodic screenings, plus other SouthBites, SXsports and SXstyle Convergence designated screenings. Music badge holders can once again attend any 24 Beats Per Second screenings. The complete Conference lineup and schedule with dates and times will be released on February 16.
Feature films in the SXSW lineup screen in 12 sections: Narrative Feature Competition, Documentary Feature Competition, Headliners, Narrative Spotlight, Documentary Spotlight, Visions, Midnighters, Episodic, 24 Beats Per Second, SXGlobal, Festival Favorites and Special Events.
Midnighters, Festival Favorites, and Special Events will be announced along with the Short Film Program on Feb. 9. All feature categories, with the exception of Special Events will be eligible for category specific Audience Awards.
The Narrative Feature Competition includes:
“The Arbalest” directed by Adam Pinney
“Before The Sun Explodes” directed by Debra Eisenstadt
“Claire in Motion” directed by Lisa Robinson and Annie J. Howell
“collective:unconscious” directed by collective:unconscious (Lily Baldwin, Frances Bodomo, Daniel Patrick Carbone, Josephine Decker, Lauren Wolkstein)
“Donald Cried” directed by Kris Avedisian
“Hunter Gatherer” directed by Josh Locy
“Miss Stevens” directed by Julia Hart
“The Other Half” directed by Joey Klein
“A Stray” directed by Musa Syeed
“Transpecos” directed by Greg Kwedar.
The Documentary Feature Competition includes:
“Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America” directed by Matt Ornstein
“Alive and Kicking” directed by Susan Glatzer
“Best and Most Beautiful Things” directed by Garrett Zevgetis
“Goodnight Brooklyn – The Story of Death By Audio” directed by Matthew Conboy
“The Liberators” directed by Cassie Hay
“Orange Sunshine” directed by William A. Kirkley
“Ovarian Psycos” directed by Joanna Sokolowski and Kate Trumbull-LaValle;
“The Seer” directed by Laura Dunn
“The Space in Between – Marina Abramovic and Brazil” directed by Marco Del Fiol
“TOWER” directed by Keith Maitland.
Check out the Austin Movie Blog for the full rundown on these and dozens of other films.
The 2016 SXSW Film Festival will feature:
NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION
Ten world premieres; ten unique ways to celebrate the art of storytelling. Selected from 1,443 narrative feature submissions in 2016.
“The Arbalest” Director/Screenwriter: Adam Pinney
The inventor of the world’s greatest toy reflects on his decade-long obsession with a woman who hates him. Cast: Mike Brune, Tallie Medel (World Premiere)
“Before The Sun Explodes” Director: Debra Eisenstadt, Screenwriters: Debra Eisenstadt, Zeke Farrow
After his wife kicks him out, an anxious comedian is lured in by an intriguing woman with a stalker. Cast: Bill Dawes, Sarah Butler, Christine Woods, Michael Rivkin, Amir Arison, Kerri Safran, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Gene Serritella, Kristin Slaysman, Eric Fillipkowski (World Premiere)
“Claire in Motion” Directors/Screenwriters: Lisa Robinson, Annie J. Howell
Claire is sure of herself, her work and family, until — like a bad dream — her husband disappears, leaving a trail of puzzling secrets that shatter her certainty. Cast: Betsy Brandt, Chris Beetem, Zev Haworth, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Sakina Jaffrey (World Premiere)
“collective:unconscious” Directors: collective:unconscious (Lily Baldwin, Frances Bodomo, Daniel Patrick Carbone, Josephine Decker, Lauren Wolkstein), Screenwriters: Jamal Batts, Lily Baldwin, Frances Bodomo, Daniel Patrick Carbone, Mariama Diallo, Lauren Wolkstein, Concept by: Dan Schoenbrun
Five of independent film’s most adventurous filmmakers adapt each other’s dreams for the screen. This is going to get strange… Cast: Frank Mosley, Will Blomker, Lily Baldwin, Tonya Pinkins, Daniel Ryan, Ryan Cassata, Sanda Weigl, MJ Frank, Samuel John Damon, Jamal Batts (World Premiere)
Returning home to working class Warwick, Rhode Island, Peter Latang encounters childhood friend Donald Treebeck for what starts as a simple favor and turns into a long van ride into two friends past. Cast: Kris Avedisian, Jesse Wakeman, Louisa Krause (World Premiere)
After a three-year stint in prison, an unreasonably optimistic middle-aged man returns to his stagnant neighborhood to win back his girlfriend only to find that she and his family have done what they always wanted to do — forget he exists. Cast: Andre Royo, George Sample III, Kellee Stewart, Ashley Wilkerson, Kevin Jackson, Antonio D. Charity, Celestial, Alexis DeLaRosa, Jeanetta Arnette (World Premiere)
“Miss Stevens” Director: Julia Hart, Screenwriters: Julia Hart, Jordan Horowitz
Stuck at a crossroads in her personal life, it falls on Miss Stevens to chaperone three of her students — Billy, Margot and Sam — on a weekend trip to a drama competition. Cast: Lily Rabe, Timotheé Chalamet, Lili Reinhart, Anthony Quintal, Rob Huebel, Oscar Nuñez (World Premiere)
“The Other Half” (Canada) Director/Screenwriter: Joey Klein
A grief-stricken man and a bipolar woman fall in love and try to forge a simple life together. Cast: Tom Cullen, Tatiana Maslany, Suzanne Clement, Henry Czerny, Mark Rendall, Deragh Campbell, Nancy Palk (World Premiere)
“A Stray” Director/Screenwriter: Musa Syeed
Trying to outrun his bad luck, a young Muslim refugee in Minneapolis seems like he just might make it — until he crosses paths with a stray dog. Cast: Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed , Christina Baldwin, Ayla, Fathia Absie, Jamaal “Happy Khalif” Farah, Abdullahi Haji-Mohamed, Ifrah Mansour, Rhiana Yazzie, George McCauley (World Premiere)
For three US Border Patrol agents, the contents of one car reveal an insidious plot within their own ranks. The next 24 hours may cost them their lives. Cast: Johnny Simmons, Gabriel Luna, Clifton Collins, Jr. (World Premiere)
Narrative Feature Jury: Lindsay Bahr, Associated Press; Richard Brody, The New Yorker; and Alonso Duralde, The Wrap
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
Ten world premieres: ten real world stories that demonstrate innovation, energy and bold voices. Selected from 1,013 feature documentary submissions in 2016.
“Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America” Director: Matt Ornstein
Daryl Davis has an unusual hobby. As a musician he has played with legends like Chuck Berry and Little Richard, but in his spare time he likes to meet and befriend members of the Ku Klux Klan. Join Daryl on his personal quest to understand racism. (World Premiere)
“Alive and Kicking” Director/Screenwriter: Susan Glatzer
Alive and Kicking gives the audience an intimate, insider’s view into the culture of the current swing dance world while shedding light on issues facing modern American society. (World Premiere) * SXsports screening
“Best and Most Beautiful Things” Director: Garrett Zevgetis
In a celebration of outcasts everywhere, a precocious young blind woman disappears into quirky obsessions and isolation. With humor and bold curiosity, she chases love and freedom in the most unexpected of places: a provocative fringe community. (World Premiere)
“Goodnight Brooklyn – The Story of Death By Audio” Director: Matthew Conboy
Death By Audio, an underground art and music venue, is forced to close in 2014. The film focuses on the struggles of maintaining a community in the face of Brooklyn property development, hostile construction workers and a one billion-dollar company. (World Premiere)
“The Liberators” Director: Cassie Hay
A tiny Texas town. $350 million worth of medieval treasure. The discovery is just the beginning. (World Premiere)
“Orange Sunshine” Director/Screenwriter: William A. Kirkley
The never-before-told story of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love – a spiritual group of surfers and hippies in California who became the largest suppliers of LSD and Hash in the world during the 60s and 70s. (World Premiere)
“Ovarian Psycos” Directors: Joanna Sokolowski, Kate Trumbull-LaValle
In East Los Angeles, three young misfit women find solace in an unapologetic, feminist bicycle crew. They call themselves the Ovarian Psycos Bicycle Brigade. (World Premiere)
“The Seer” Director: Laura Dunn
The Seer is a cinematic portrait of farmer and writer Wendell Berry. Through his eyes, we see both the changing landscapes of rural America in the era of industrial agriculture and the redemptive beauty in taking the unworn path. (World Premiere) * SouthBites screening
“The Space in Between – Marina Abramovic and Brazil” (Brazil) Director: Marco Del Fiol, Screenwriters: Marco Del Fiol, Marina Abramovic, Fabiana Werneck Barcinski
In search of personal healing and artistic inspiration, Marina Abramovic travels through Brazil experiencing sacred rituals and exploring the limits between art and spirituality. How far will she go to create another work of art? (World Premiere)
“TOWER” Director: Keith Maitland
An animated and action-packed look at America’s first mass school shooting, when the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others. (World Premiere)
Documentary Feature Jury: David Edelstein, New York Magazine; Jen Yamato,The Daily Beast; and Stephanie Zacharek, Time Magazine
Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal), a successful investment banker, struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper, Judah Lewis (U.S. Premiere)
“Don’t Think Twice” Director/Screenwriter: Mike Birbiglia
An improv group loses the lease on their home theater at the same time that one of their cast members gets chosen for the biggest sketch comedy show on TV. Cast: Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Tami Sagher, Chris Gethard (World Premiere)
“Everybody Wants Some” Director/Screenwriter: Richard Linklater
In Richard Linklater’s anticipated “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused, a group of college friends navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of the wild final weekend of the summer of 1980. Cast: Will Brittain, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Blake Jenner, J. Quinton Johnson, Glen Powell, Wyatt Russell (World Premiere) * SXsports screening
An unflinchingly original, first-person action film where YOU are the main character, Henry. Resurrected from death with no memory by your wife, your mission is find her, solve the mystery of your existence and discover the truth behind your identity. Cast: Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett, Andrey Dementyev, Dasha Charusha, Sveta Ustinova (U.S. Premiere)
“In A Valley of Violence” Director/Screenwriter: Ti West
From Blumhouse, the film tells the story of a drifter named Paul who arrives in a small town, seeking revenge on the thugs who murdered his friend. Sisters Mary Anne and Ellen who run the town’s hotel, help Paul in his quest for vengeance. Cast: Ethan Hawke, Taissa Farmiga, James Ransone, Karen Gillan, John Travolta (World Premiere)
“Midnight Special” Director/Screenwriter: Jeff Nichols
A father goes on the run to protect his young son and uncover the truth behind the boy’s special powers in writer/director Jeff Nichols’ sci-fi thriller Midnight Special, a film as supernatural as it is intimately human. Cast: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher, Sam Shepard (North American Premiere)
“Pee-wee’s Big Holiday” Director: John Lee, Screenwriters: Paul Reubens, Paul Rust
In Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, a fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger inspires Pee-wee Herman to take his first-ever holiday in this epic story of friendship and destiny. Cast: Paul Reubens, Joe Manganiello, Jessica Pohly, Alia Shawkat, Stephanie Beatriz (World Premiere)
“Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru” Director: Joe Berlinger
Granted unprecedented access, Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru captures renowned life and business strategist Tony Robbins behind the scenes of his mega seminar Date with Destiny, pulling back the curtain on this life-altering and controversial event. (World Premiere)
High profile narrative features receiving their World, North American or U.S. premieres at SXSW.
“9 Rides” Director/Screenwriter: Matthew A. Cherry
An Uber driver gets life changing news on the busiest night of the year. Cast: Dorian Missick, Omar Dorsey, Robinne Lee, Xosha Roquemore, Amin Joseph, Skye P. Marshall, Thomas Q. Jones, Tracie Thoms, Aasha Davis, Sujata Day (World Premiere)
“Another Evil” Director/Screenwriter: Carson D. Mell
After encountering a ghost in his family’s vacation home, Dan and his wife Mary hire an “industrial-grade exorcist” named Os to get rid of the beings. Cast: Steve Zissis, Mark Proksch, Jennifer Irwin, Dax Flame, Steve Little, Dan Bakkedahl (World Premiere)
“BLACK” (Belgium) Directors: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah, Screenwriters: Nele Meirhaeghe, Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah, Hans Herbots
Mavela, 15, is a Black Bronx. She falls madly in love with Marwan, a charismatic member of a rival gang, the 1080s. The young couple is forced to make a brutal choice between gang loyalty and the love they have for one another. An impossible dilemma. Cast: Martha Canga Antonio, Aboubakr Bensaihi (U.S. Premiere)
Two professional con artist sisters go on the run and assume the identities of The Wilding Sisters, guest stars of the a poetry retreat in the depths of the Black Mountains. A romantic comedy drama about love, crime, spirituality and soul. Cast: Alice Lowe, Dolly Wells, Tom Cullen, Rosa Robson, Richard Elis, Laura Patch, Roger Evans, Hannah Daniel, Ben McGregor, Claire Cage (North American Premiere)
“From Nowhere” Director: Matthew Newton, Screenwriters: Matthew Newton, Kate Ballen
Three undocumented Bronx teenagers are graduating from high school while navigating the treacherous waters of trying to get their papers to stay in the US. Cast: Julianne Nicholson, Denis O’Hare, J. Mallory McCree, Octavia Chavez-Richmond, Chinasa Oghuagu, Raquel Castro, Tashiana Washington, Sydni Boudin, Jim Norton, Portia Johnson (World Premiere)
“I Am Not A Serial Killer” (Ireland/UK) Director: Billy O’Brien, Screenwriters: Billy O’Brien, Chris Hyde
In a small Midwestern town, a troubled teen with homicidal tendencies must hunt down and destroy a supernatural killer whilst keeping his own inner demons at bay. Cast: Max Records, Christopher Lloyd, Laura Fraser, Karl Geary (World Premiere)
“Jean of the Joneses” (Canada/USA) Director/Screenwriter: Stella Meghie
Chaos ensues after the estranged patriarch of the Jones family dies on their doorstep. When the paramedic who answers their 911 call tries to win over acerbic Jean Jones, his attempts are disrupted by old conflicts that come to a boil at the funeral. Cast: Taylour Paige, Sherri Shepherd, Gloria Reuben, Michelle Hurst, Erica Ash, Mamoudou Athie, Francois Arnaud, Demore Barnes, Anna Hopkins (World Premiere)
“Long Nights Short Mornings” Director/Screenwriter: Chadd Harbold
An examination of the romantic life of a young man in New York City and his sometimes fleeting, sometimes profound experiences with the women he encounters. Cast: Shiloh Fernandez, Ella Rae Peck, Paten Hughes, Layla Koshnoudi, Christine Evangelista, Cassandra Freeman, Helen Rogers, Stella Maeve, Natalia Dyer, Ebonee Noel, Addison Timlin (World Premiere)
“The Master Cleanse” Director/Screenwriter: Bobby Miller
Down, out and heartbroken, Paul attends a spiritual retreat to cleanse himself and fix his broken life but soon discovers that the cleanse releases more than everyday toxins… a lot more. Cast: Johnny Galecki, Anna Friel, Kyle Gallner, Diana Bang, Kevin J. O’Conner, Oliver Platt, Anjelica Huston (World Premiere)
“My Blind Brother” Director/Screenwriter: Sophie Goodhart
Love for the same woman causes conflict between an over-achieving blind athlete and the brother who made him that way. Cast: Adam Scott, Nick Kroll, Jenny Slate, Zoe Kazan, Charlie Hewson, Maryann Nagel, Greg Violand (World Premiere) * SXsports screening
A developmentally delayed 40-year-old man named Shonzi is sent to live with his brother Todd. But when Shonzi developes a crush on Todd’s new girlfriend Lindsay, he threatens to reveal past secrets that could ultimately tear the couple apart. Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Linas Phillips, Timm Sharp, Tobin Bell, Lauren Weedman, Artemis Pebdani, Jay Duplass, Reagan Yates, Austin Fryberger (World Premiere)
“Shovel Buddies” Director: Si&Ad, Screenwriter: Jason Mark Hellerman
After the death of their best friend, Jimmy (Alex Neustaedter) enlists childhood friend Dan (Kian Lawley), little brother Lump, and crush Kate (Bella Thorne) to fulfill his last request. Cast: Bella Thorne, Kian Lawley, Alex Neustaedter, Anton Starkman, Philip Labes, James C. Burns, Jenny Cooper (World Premiere)
“Slash” Director/Screenwriter: Clay Liford
Neil is a questioning teen who secretly writes erotic fan fiction about popular sci-fi characters. When his classmate Julia discovers his writing, she leads him down a rabbit hole deep into the world of ‘slash’ fiction. Cast: Michael Johnston, Hannah Marks, Michael Ian Black, Missi Pyle, Jessie Ennis, Peter Vack, Sarah Ramos, Robert Longstreet, Tishuan Scott, Lucas Neff (World Premiere)
On a hedonistic Greek island, a local doctor becomes obsessed with a young female tourist when she lets him tag along with her group of hard-partying friends. Cast: Efthymis Papadimitriou, Elli Triggou, Dimi Hart, Hara Kotsali (North American Premiere)
“The Trust” Directors: Ben Brewer, Alex Brewer, Screenwriters: Ben Brewer, Adam Hirsch
Two corrupt Las Vegas police officers plan to rob a large stash that they find in connection to a local drug operation. Cast: Nicolas Cage, Elijah Wood, Sky Ferreira, Jerry Lewis (World Premiere)
“The Waiting” Director: Kasra Farahani, Screenwriters: Mark Bianculi, Jeff Richard
Two high school filmmakers decide to create the illusion of a haunting on an unsuspecting neighbor. Cast: James Caan, Logan Miller, Keir Gilchrist, Laura Innes, Edwin Hodge, Bailey Boble, Lili Reinhart, Anne Dudek, Mindy Sterling, Tamlyn Tomita (World Premiere)
“War On Everyone” (UK) Director/Screenwriter: John Michael McDonagh
Two corrupt cops in New Mexico set out to blackmail and frame every criminal unfortunate enough to cross their path in this volatile jet-black action comedy. Cast: Michael Peña, Alexander Skarsgård, Theo James, Tessa Thompson (North American Premiere)
“Asperger’s Are Us” Director: Alex Lehmann
In this coming of age documentary, four friends on the autism spectrum whom have bonded through humor and performed as the comedy troupe Asperger’s Are Us will prepare for one final, ambitious show before going their separate ways. (World Premiere)
“The Bandit” Director: Jesse Moss
The Bandit is a film about 70s superstar Burt Reynolds, his best friend, roommate and stunt-double Hal Needham, and the making of their unlikely smash-hit “Smokey & The Bandit.” (World Premiere)
“Beware the Slenderman” Director: Irene Taylor Brodsky
Beware the Slenderman tells the story of a Boogeyman lurking on the internet and two 12-year-old girls who would kill for him. A horrifyingly modern tragedy, this film explores children’s accountability in the online age. (World Premiere)
“Chicken People” Director: Nicole Lucas Haimes
In a high stakes world where a single broken feather can mean a shattered dream, Chicken People follows the trials and tribulations of those who breed exotic birds in the world of competitive poultry. (World Premiere) * SXsports screening
“The Dwarvenaut” Director: Josh Bishop
The Dwarvenaut is a dreamlike documentary chronicling Brooklyn-based artist Stefan Pokorny’s lifelong quest to inspire humanity through the one medium he knows best: Dungeons & Dragons. (World Premiere)
“Fantastic Lies” Director: Marina Zenovich
Ten years after the Duke Lacrosse case exploded into the national media, we revisit the case which divided America and explore how it affected the lives of those involved. (World Premiere) * SXsports screening
“Hit it Hard” Directors: Gabe Spitzer, David Terry Fine
Hitting it hard is the only way John Daly knows. It’s how he plays golf. It’s how he lives life. After 25 years of extreme highs and devastating lows, this film explores why Daly has remained one of America’s most beloved athletes. (World Premiere) * SXsports screening
“The Hollywood Shorties” Director/Screenwriter: Ryan Steven Green
In 1980s Los Angeles, a professional dwarf basketball team composed of recognizable-but-typecast actors finds itself the unwitting vanguard of a revolution to represent little people as something other than objects of curiosity. (World Premiere) * SXsports screening
“The Incomparable Rose Hartman” Director: Otis Mass
With a career spanning decades photographer Rose Hartman is known for her iconic photos from Studio 54 and the fashion world, her boisterous personality and ever presence capturing the New York social scene. (World Premiere) * SXstyle screening
“Insatiable: The Homaro Cantu Story” Director: Brett A. Schwartz
Chef and inventor Homaro Cantu helped put Chicago on the culinary map and wanted to change the world. Insatiable takes you on a dizzying and thrilling ride with Cantu, in a story that moves from redemption and inspiration to tragedy and back again. (World Premiere) * SouthBites screening
“Learning To See” Director: Jake Oelman
One man’s transformational journey to find the Amazon’s strangest creatures. (World Premiere)
Mr. Gaga tells the story of Ohad Naharin, renowned choreographer and artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company, an artistic genius who redefined the language of modern dance. (North American Premiere)
“Seven Songs for a Long Life” (UK) Director: Amy Hardie
The intimate story behind our changing relationship with death – with great songs! (North American Premiere)
“Silicon Cowboys” Director: Jason Cohen, Screenwriters: Steven Leckart, Jason Cohen
Three friends dream up a portable computer at a Texas diner in 1981, and soon battle IBM, the world’s most powerful tech company, for PC supremacy. Compaq Computer’s improbable journey altered the future of computing and shaped the world we now know. (World Premiere)
“The Slippers” (Canada) Director: Morgan White, Screenwriters: Derek Lageunesse, Morgan White
The Slippers pulls back the Wizards curtain the unbelievable story of Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz, and their impact on popular culture, and the now multi-million dollar a year industry of Hollywood memorabilia collecting. (World Premiere)
“Starving The Beast: The Battle to Disrupt and Reform America’s Public Universities” Director/Screenwriter: Steve Mims
The story of money, power and politics and the well organized, yet little noticed, efforts to radically disrupt and reform America’s public universities. (World Premiere)
“Thank You Del: The Story of the Del Close Marathon” Director: Todd Bieber
Fifteen years after Del Close’s death, thousands of comedians (both famous and unknown) gather to celebrate modern comedy’s most important person that no one knows. (World Premiere)
“The Alchemist Cookbook” Director: Joel Potrykus
Self-made chemist Sean, a recluse living in an old trailer in the woods, suffers from pill-popping delusions of fortune. When his manic attempts at cracking the ancient secret of alchemy go awry he unleashes something far more sinister and dangerous. Cast: Ty Hickson, Amari Cheatom (World Premiere)
“American Fable” Director/Screenwriter: Anne Hamilton
When an 11-year-old girl named Gitty discovers that her father is holding hostage a wealthy man on their family’s remote farm, she chooses to dive into a dark and magical world in this Midwestern-set, fairytale thriller. Cast: Kip Pardue, Peyton Kennedy, Gavin MacIntosh, Rusty Schwimmer, Zuleikha Robinson, Marci Miller, Richard Schiff (World Premiere)
“Baby Bump” (Poland) Director/Screenwriter: Kuba Czekaj
Growing up is not for kids. Cast: Kacper Olszewski, Agnieszka Podsiadlik (U.S. Premiere)
“I Am Belfast” (UK) Director/Screenwriter: Mark Cousins
A visual, poetic depiction of Belfast and its citizens, told with love and passion by someone who has left the city many years ago but is still fascinated by it. (North American Premiere)
“In Pursuit of Silence” Director: Patrick Shen
In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative film that explores our relationship with silence, sound, and the impact of noise on our lives. (North American Premiere)
Jules and Dolores is a pop comedy about the theft of the World Cup Trophy that occurred in Brazil in 1983. Curiously enough, nobody truly knows the details surrounding this unbelievable event, until now. Cast: Paulo Tiefenthaler, Taís Araujo, Danilo Grangheia, Milhem Cortaz, Fabio Marcoff, Pedro Wagner, Álvaro Diniz, Thelmo Fernandes, Otto Jr. (World Premiere) * SXsports screening
“Karaoke Crazies” (Republic of Korea) Director: Kim Sang Chan
Welcome to ADDICTION KARAOKE and let’s sing till the end! (World Premiere)
“Little Sister” Director/Screenwriter: Zach Clark, Story by Zach Clark, Melodie Sisk
A young nun returns home to visit her estranged family. Cast: Addison Timlin, Ally Sheedy, Keith Poulson, Peter Hedges, Kristin Slaysman, Molly Plunk, Barbara Crampton (World Premiere)
“Loev” (India) Director/Screenwriter: Sudhanshu Saria
A weekend trip between friends takes a sudden turn, making them each examine what love is and what it means to them. Cast: Shiv Pandit, Dhruv Ganesh, Siddharth Menon (North American Premiere)
“My Beautiful Broken Brain” (UK) Directors: Sophie Robinson, Lotje Sodderland
Her brain is broken. Her mind is limitless. A film about a young woman’s cerebral hemorrhage with outcomes no one could have predicted. (North American Premiere)
Joe, a programmer and obsessive self-quantifier, and Emily, a budding comedy performer, are happily married until they decide to use one another in their work. Operator is a dark comedy about love, technology, and what can’t be programmed. Cast: Martin Starr, Mae Whitman, Nat Faxon, Cameron Esposito, Retta, Christine Lahti, Kate Cobb, Kristopher Lofton, Tim Hopper, Trevor Dawkins (World Premiere)
“Spaceship” (UK) Director/Screenwriter: Alex Taylor
A girl fakes her own alien abduction and disappears, leaving her father to search for her in a strange teenage world of unicorns and black holes. Cast: Antti Reini, Alexa Davies, Lara Peake, Lucian Charles Collier, Tallulah Haddon, Steven Elder, Jack Winthrop, Kristof Gerega, Harry Jarvis (World Premiere)
“Teenage Cocktail” Director: John Carchietta, Screenwriters: John Carchietta, Sage Bannick, Chris Sivertson, Story by: Amelia Yokel
Teenage Cocktail is the story of how Annie and Jules fell in love and how it all got weird. Cast: Nichole Bloom, Fabianne Therese, Pat Healy, Michelle Borth, Joshua Leonard, AJ Bowen (World Premiere)
“Under the Sun” (Czech Republic/Germany/Korea/Democratic People’s Republic of Latvia, Russian Federation) Director: Vitaly Mansky
“My father says that Korea is the most beautiful country,” says schoolgirl Zin-mi. Despite continuous interference by government handlers, Under The Sun reveals a never-before-seen glimpse of one family’s life in North Korea. (North American Premiere)
EPISODIC (aka TV show)
“Outcast” Director: Adam Wingard, Screenwriter: Robert Kirkman, Showrunner: Chris Black
Outcast, based on the Skybound/Image comic title by creator Robert Kirkman and artist Paul Azaceta, follows Kyle Barnes, a young man who has been plagued by demonic possession all his life. Cast: Patrick Fugit, Philip Glenister, Wrenn Schmidt, Reg E. Cathey, David Denman (World Premiere)
“Preacher” Directors: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Screenwriter: Sam Catlin
Preacher is a supernatural, twisted and darkly comedic drama that follows a West Texas preacher named Jesse Custer, who – along with his ex-girlfriend Tulip and an Irish vagabond named Cassidy – is thrust into a crazy world, much bigger than he is. Cast: Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joseph Gilgun, Ian Colletti, W. Earl Brown, Lucy Griffiths (World Premiere)
“Search Party” Directors/Screenwriters: Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers
Search Party is a dark comedy about four self-absorbed twenty-somethings who become entangled in an ominous mystery when a former college acquaintance suddenly disappears. Cast: Alia Shawkat, John Early, John Reynolds, Meredith Hagner (World Premiere)
“Vice Principals” Directors: Jody Hill, David Gordon Green, Screenwriters: Danny McBride, Jody Hill
A dark comedy series that tells the story of a high school and the two people who almost run it, the vice principals, who are engaged in an epic power struggle for the top spot. Cast: Danny McBride, Walton Goggins, Kimberly Herbert Gregory, Georgia King, Busy Philipps, Shea Whigham, Sheaun McKinney (World Premiere)
“You Me Her” Director/Screenwriter: John Scott Shepherd
An impulsive “date” between suburbanite Jack and escort Izzy spins into a three-way affair including Jack’s wife Emma, posing the question: What if your truest, happiest life looked nothing like you imagined? Would you be brave enough to live it? Cast: Greg Poehler, Rachel Blanchard, Priscilla Faia, Jarod Joseph, Melanie Papaila (World Premiere)
24 BEATS PER SECOND
Showcasing the sounds, culture and influence of music & musicians, with an emphasis on documentary. (Open to Music badgeholders)
“The American Epic Sessions”
Director: Bernard MacMahon, Screenwriters: Bernard MacMahon, Allison McGourty, Duke Erikson
On the 90th anniversary of the first electrical sound recordings, twenty of today’s greatest artists test their skills against the lost recording machine that first gave America her voice.
“And Punching the Clown”
Director: Gregori Viens, Screenwriters: Henry Phillips, Gregori Viens
Comedian Henry Phillips is lured to LA by a renowned TV producer who wants to bring his story of failure to the screen. But when a major network gets involved, Henry must decide whether he wants to make jokes for a living, or be the butt of them. Cast: Henry Phillips, Sarah Silverman, Tig Notaro, J.K. Simmons, Jim Jefferies, Ellen Ratner, Mike Judge, Mark Cohan, Clifton Collins (World Premiere)
“The Art of Organized Noize” Director: Quincy ‘QD3’ Jones, III, Screenwriter: Joshua A. Krause
Organized Noize shaped the landscape of Hip Hop music with a distinct sound created in the confines of a dungeon. They’re responsible for the careers of Outkast, CeeLo, Goodie Mob and the Dungeon Family. This is the story of the Art of Organized. (World Premiere)
“Artist & Repertoire” (UK) Director: Matthew Jones
A pulsating documentary charting the extraordinary life and career of underground DJ icon, music producer and global trip hop mogul, James Lavelle. Starring DJ Shadow, 3D of Massive Attack, Futura, Ian Brown, Grandmaster Flash and Josh Homme. (World Premiere)
“BANG! The Bert Berns Story” Directors: Brett Berns, Bob Sarles
Music meets the Mob in this biographical documentary about the meteoric career and tragic life of Bert Berns, the most important ’60s songwriter that you never heard of. His hits include Twist & Shout, Hang On Sloopy, and Piece Of My Heart. (World Premiere)
“Born To Be Blue “(Canada/UK) Director/Screenwriter: Robert Budreau
Ethan Hawke lights up the screen as jazz legend and icon of cool, Chet Baker, whose comeback from heroin addiction is thrillingly told with wit, verve, and style to burn. Cast: Ethan Hawke, Carmen Ejogo, Callum Keith Rennie, Tony Nappo, Stephen McHattie, Janet-Laine Green, Dan Lett, Kedar Brown, Kevin Hanchard, Tony Nardi (U.S. Premiere)
“Gary Numan: Android In La La Land” (UK) Directors: Steve Read, Rob Alexander
The Godfather of electronic music is on a one-way trip to crack America, returning to the studio for the first time in nearly a decade. Android is a celebration of a music-making pioneer and the love story that helped him turn his life around. (World Premiere)
“Honky Tonk Heaven: Legend of the Broken Spoke” Directors: Sam Wainwright Douglas, Brenda Greene Mitchell
The Broken Spoke has hosted country greats like George Strait, Willie Nelson, Ernest Tubb, Bob Wills, George Jones and Roy Acuff. A profile of “the last of the true Texas dance halls” and the tenacious family keeping it alive amid rapid urban growth. (World Premiere)
“I Go Back Home – Jimmy Scott” (Germany/USA) Director: Yoon-ha Chang
In I Go back home – Jimmy Scott we meet 54 year old Ralf Kemper, a successful German music producer. He takes on the journey to produce a record with the almost forgotten jazz icon Jimmy Scott. (World Premiere)
“Miles Ahead” Director: Don Cheadle, Screenwriters: Don Cheadle, Steven Baigelman
Inspired by events in his life, Miles Ahead is a wildly entertaining, impressionistic, no-holds barred portrait of one of 20th century music’s creative geniuses, Miles Davis. Cast: Don Cheadle, Ewan McGregor, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Lakeith Lee Stanfield, Michael Stuhlbarg
“Miss Sharon Jones!” Director: Barbara Kopple
Dreams never expire, but sometimes they are deferred. Miss Sharon Jones! tracks the talented and gregarious soul singer of the Grammy-nominated R&B band Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings during the most challenging year of her life.
“A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story” Director: Keith Maitland
From Willie Nelson to Wilco, Ray Charles to Radiohead, A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story offers the ultimate backstage pass to 40 years of incredible music from the longest running music show in television history. (World Premiere)
“Soundbreaking – Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music” Directors: Jeff Dupre, Maro Chermayeff
An eight-part series that explores the nexus of cutting-edge technology and human artistry that has created the soundtrack of our lives. (World Premiere)
“The Smart Studios Story” Director: Wendy Schneider
From the outside Smart Studios looked like just another Midwestern warehouse left behind by the economic decline of the 1980s. No one could have guessed what was going on inside – and how it would soon change the sound of music forever. (World Premiere)
“We Are X” (UK/USA) Director: Stephen Kijak
X Japan led a hard rock cultural revolution in Japan during the late 80’s. Twenty years after their tragedy-fueled collapse, We Are X tells the story of the most influential band in the world that you’ve never heard of…yet.
The people in Forres don’t work. Between 9 and 5 they dissolve into the pubs, where the light shines as a warm glow in their midst. Then the stranger Bodkin arrives into town. He has come to this remote corner of Europe to hide and lay low. Cast: Sohrab Bayat, Lily Szramko, Eddie Paton, James Macmillan (North American Premiere)
A freighter crosses the ocean. The hypnotic rhythm of its gears reveals the continuous movement of machinery devouring its workers: the last gestures of the old sailors’ trade disappearing under the mechanic pace of 21st century. (U.S. Premiere)
“Ghostland” – The View of The Ju/’Hoansi (Denmark/Germany/Italy/Namibia/Switzerland) Director: Simon Stadler
For the first time the Ju/Hoansi Bushmen travel through the Kalahari and then right into the heart of Europe. What starts as a look at their fascinating culture becomes an even more fascinating look on our Western lifestyle. (North American Premiere)
“Kill Me Please” (Brazil) Director: Anita Rocha Da Silveira
After an encounter with death, she will do anything to make sure she’s alive. (U.S. Premiere)
“Papagajka” (Australia/UK) Director/Screenwriter: Emma Rozanski
A stranger arrives in Sarajevo and barges into Damir’s reclusive world. Little by little she takes over his life. She absorbs his dreams, until finally she threaten his very existence. Cast: Adnan Omerovic, Susanna Cappellaro, Tina Kerserovic, Sabina Mrgan, Don Guido (World Premiere)
“UIO: Take me for a Ride” (Colombia/Ecuador/Mexico) Director/Screenwriter: Micaela Rueda
How do you deal with being ‘different‘? Cast: Samanta Caicedo, María Juliana Rángel, Diego Naranjo, Paty Loor, Monserrat Astudillo, Miranda Zepeda, Anne Dominque Correa, Domenica Blanco, Ana Belén Bermeo (World Premiere)
“Yarn” (Iceland) Directors: Una Lorenzen, Thordur Jonsson, Heather Millard, Screenwriters: Krishan Arora, Barbara Kingsolver
International artists and knitters take a simple skein of yarn to create their extraordinary ideas and stories. (World Premiere) * SXstyle screening
Other Worlds Austin, the city’s only science fiction film festival, starts tonight at the Galaxy Highland. It continues Friday and Saturday.
The U.S. première of Özgür Yildirim’s “Boy 7,” the German-language adaptation of a popular Dutch young adult dystopian novel, takes place tonight.
Most of the slate — including a mess of short films — screens only once. There are two screenings each for two centerpiece films, “No Men Beyond This Point” (twice on Friday) and “Embers” (twice on Saturday).
“No Men Beyond This Point,” an alternate history written and directed by Mark Sawers and making its Texas première, stars Patrick Gilmore, Kristine Cofsky and Tara Pratt. Andrew Myers is a 37-year-old who happens to be the youngest man still alive, as this is a world where women have been able to reproduce without men since 1953 and eventually stopped giving birth to male babies entirely. Myers becomes involved in a push to keep men from going extinct.
“Embers,” directed by Claire Carré and written by Carré and Charles Spano, stars Jason Ritter, Iva Gocheva and Greta Fernández in a post-apocalyptic flick that follows five stories in world in which memory no longer exists, because of a global neurological epidemic.
The festival will close by announcing the winner of the inaugural Mary Shelley Award for Sci-Fi Filmmaking, a $500 grant that will be given to the best film that “furthers the involvement and representation of women in sci-fi.”
To qualify, the films must either be written and/or directed by a woman, or feature complex female protagonists driving the narrative and leading the action. This year’s jury will be Austin Chronicle’s Marjorie Baumgarten, Atlanta Film Festival creative director Kristy Breneman and Gamechanger Films president Mynette Louie.