SXSW Exclusive: Watch a Scene From Screwball Murder Mystery 'Wild Canaries'
After collaborating on several heavier projects, including 2011 SXSW entry Green, filmmaker Lawrence Levine and his actress wife Sophia Takal were in the mood for something lighter.
"We'd had a busy couple of years, making films then traveling and supporting them, moving a few times, planning our wedding. We didn't really have the mental energy to engage with the Bela Tarr's of the world," says Levine, referencing the severe Hungarian director.
Drawing inspiration from Woody Allen's madcap Manhattan Murder Mystery and The Thin Man series, they decided instead to try their hands at a his-and-hers detective story. The result is Wild Canaries, a frothy whodunit that stars Takal and Levine and Barri and Noah, a Brooklyn couple that smells a rat when their neighbor turns up dead.
(Not surprisingly, Brooklyn serves as the setting for multiple movies debuting in Austin this year, including long-distance love story The Heart Machine, buddy comedy Fort Tilden and an intriguing short called Tzniut about "a Hasidic woman who discovers she has an STD.")
Barri joins forces with her roommate -- played by Arrested Development's Alia Shawkat -- and the trio's investigation unearths a dark web of conspiracy that goes all the way to the top (floor of their apartment building). Also appearing in the film are Jason Ritter and Kevin Corrigan.
Levine says he looks forward to SXSW for its "unpretentious and relaxed" atmosphere, adding that audiences are nevertheless "very serious about film."