SXSW Premieres Include Judd Apatow's 'Trainwreck,' Melissa McCarthy in 'Spy'
'Get Hard,' 'Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine' also bow at a supersized fest with 145 titles.
A "work in progress" cut of Judd Apatow's Trainwreck, starring and written by Amy Schumer, plus the premiere of director Paul Feig's upcoming Melissa McCarthy action-comedy, Spy, are among the blockbuster titles set to bow at this year's South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival.
Organizers of the 22nd edition of the annual Austin meet-up, which runs from March 15 to 21, unveiled a diverse slate of 145 films — the most in SXSW history — including 60 from first-time filmmakers and 100 world premieres. The number of films eligible for prizes in juried competition is up to 20 — four more than in previous years.
"We were trying to do the opposite and pare things down," says SXSW film head Janet Pierson. "But we kept seeing stuff that was interesting to us."
Trainwreck marks a homecoming of sorts for Apatow, who premiered an unfinished cut of Knocked Up at the festival in 2007. The plot of the Universal comedy, which also stars Brie Larson, Bill Hader and Colin Quinn, has been kept firmly under wraps — but with this hot screening, a full four months ahead of its July 17 release date, the cat will be out of the bag.
Feig and McCarthy, meanwhile, arrive in Austin at the peak of their artistic powers, as McCarthy prepares to strap on a proton pack for the director's all-female Ghostbusters reboot, currently in pre-production. Also receiving world premieres in the star-studded Headliners category is Warner Bros.' Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart prison comedy, Get Hard (opening March 27) and Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, a new documentary from Alex Gibney about the Apple founder.
Vying for a grand jury prize in the narrative feature competition are 6 Years, directed by Hannah Fidell; The Boy, directed by Craig Macneill; Creative Control, directed by Benjamin Dickinson; Funny Bunny, directed by Alison Bagnall; The Grief of Others, directed by Patrick Wang; Krisha, directed by Trey Edward Shults; Manson Family Vacation, directed by J. Davis; Quitters, directed by Noah Pritzker; Sweaty Betty, directed by Joseph Frank and Zachary Reed; and Uncle John, directed by Steven Piet.
The documentary feature competition includes Breaking a Monster, directed by Luke Meyer; Deep Time, directed by Noah Hutton; Frame by Frame, directed by Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli; Madina's Dream, directed by Andrew Berends; Peace Officer, directed by Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber; Poached, directed by Timothy Wheeler; The Sandwich Nazi, directed by Lewis Bennett; She's the Best Thing In It, directed by Ron Nyswaner; Twinsters, directed by Samantha Futerman and Ryan Miyamoto; and A Woman Like Me, directed by Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti.
SXSW music badge-holders this year will be offered access to films programmed in the 24 Beats Per Second category, which features world premieres for All Things Must Pass, a documentary about the rise and fall of Tower Records directed by Colin Hanks; Mavis!, a doc about Mavis Staples; and Made in Japan, which tells "the remarkable story of Tomi Fujiyama, the world’s first Japanese country music superstar," among others. Nine sports-themed films will screen in conjunction with SXsports, the sports-related arm of the fest currently in its second year.
And George Miller will host a special screening of his 1981 classic, The Road Warrior, in anticipation of his Mad Max: Fury Road, due in theaters May 15. (Could a surprise screening of the Tom Hardy-starring sequel sneak its way onto the lineup? A similar rumor about last year's Godzilla reboot never came to fruition — but one can always hope.)
Things kick off with the previously announced opener, Brand: A Second Coming, an Ondi Timoner-directed doc about rabble-rousing comic Russell Brand. Also scheduled to appear are a trio of keynote speakers — Ava DuVernay, RZA and Mark Duplass.
A full list of the lineup is available here.