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Films from Joss Whedon, John Sayles and Nick Cassavetes as well as documentaries focusing on Stephen Hawking and John Milius are part of the off-kilter fabric that makes up the 2013 lineup of the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival.
This year’s edition will see 109 features unspool during the festival, which runs March 8-16 in Austin. Of those, 69 will be world premieres, 14 will be North American premieres, and five will be U.S. premieres.
New Line’s Steve Carell–Jim Carrey magician comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone already had been announced as the fest’s opening, along with the much-anticipated remake of Evil Dead and Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers being part of the headlining lineup.
Whedon’s contemporary redo of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing will have its U.S. premiere, as will Sayles’ drama Go for Sisters. Cassavetes will unveil his fantasy drama Yellow for American audiences.
Having its world premiere is Hours, the directorial debut of horror screenwriter Eric Heisserer that stars Paul Walker. Borat and Bruno co-writer Dan Mazer also is making is directorial debut with I Give It a Year, a comedy staring Rose Byrne and Anna Faris making its North American premiere.
Milo might be one of the more high-profile “out there” projects. With a cast that includes Ken Marino and Gillian Jacobs, festivalgoers will discover if they are ready for a horror comedy about a man who discovers that his chronic stomach problems are due to the fact that he has a demon baby living in his colon.
Among the slew of documentaries, Hollywood outcasts and oddballs get their spotlight. I Am Devine tells the story of Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, and how he became John Waters’ cinematic muse and an international drag icon, while Mr. Angel focuses on trans male porn pioneer Buck Angel. Milius, meanwhile, focuses on the colorful Milius, who directed the 1980s films Conan the Barbarian and Red Dawn and wrote the first two Dirty Harry films. All three docs are world premieres.
Also premiering is Hawking, a look at the life of the famed physicist and author.
While the edge is still in the lineup, festival producer Janet Pierson said she notices more joy and more laughs in this year’s crop of movies.
“I wouldn’t say the films were optimistic, but there were more smiles on our faces and more of this feeling of satisfaction with these films than in previous years,” she said.
The Narrative Feature Competition includes Awful Nice, directed by Todd Sklar; Burma, by Carlos Puga; Improvement Club, by Dayna Hanson; LICKS, by Jonathan Singer-Vine; The Retrieval, by Chris Eska; Short Term 12, by Destin Daniel Cretton; Swim Little Fish Swim, by Ruben Amar & Lola Bessis; and This Is Where We Live, by Josh Barrett & Marc Menchaca.
The Documentary Feature Competition includes 12 O’Clock Boys, directed by Lotfy Nathan; Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton, by Stephen Silha & Eric Slade; Hey Bartender, by Douglas Tirola; Los Wild Ones, by Elise Salomon; The Short Game, by Josh Greenbaum; Touba, by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi; We Always Lie to Strangers, by AJ Schnack & David Wilson; and William and the Windmill, by Ben Nabors.
The South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival is an outgrowth of the SXSW music festival that initially sprouted from a spring break void in the college town. Now in its 20th year, the film festival, combined with the music and media facets, have the eyes and ears of early trend setters and early adopters.
“This is huge for who’s looking for what’s next,” said Pierson.
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