SXSW recruits Sam Raimi, Jonathan Demme

Directors will screen films at upcoming festival

South by Southwest is committed to a strong 2009 lineup -- come Hell or Neil Young.

The annual Austin, Texas, film conference and festival has recruited filmmaking heavyweights Sam Raimi and Jonathan Demme to preview their new films during the fest's March 13-21 run.

Raimi will screen his work-in-progress, "Drag Me to Hell," a horror flick that represents a return of sorts to his early "Evil Dead" days, long before he took "Spider-Man" to billion-dollar heights. And Demme, who broke rockumentary ground 25 years ago with "Stop Making Sense," will screen the intimate "Neil Young Trunk Show."

"Both Sam Raimi and Jonathan Demme add tremendous weight to our program," film conference and festival producer Janet Pierson said. "And we are beyond privileged to screen films that are not only highly anticipated by fans and industry alike but are truly in line with SXSW sensibilities."

Raimi wrote "Hell," which stars Alison Lohman and Justin Long, with his brother Ivan, and he will introduce the screening at midnight, March 15, at the Paramount Theatre. Demme, who recently made a film called "Neil Young: Heart of Gold," will screen his film at the Paramount as well.

SXSW opens March 13 with a screening of John Hamburg's comedy "I Love You, Man."