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SXSW 2012: 'Cabin in the Woods' to Open Festival

The long-delayed Joss Whedon horror film premieres March 9; Lena Dunham's Judd Apatow-produced series "Girls" will also bow at the Texas event.

Cabin in the Woods Poster - P 2011

Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon's long-delayed horror film The Cabin in the Woods will finally get its chance to spook audiences courtesy of the South by Southwest Film Festival, which has chosen the twisty creeper for its opening-night film. Cabin will have its world premiere March 9 at the annual Austin fest. As an extra bonus, Whedon will be on hand to participate in a panel at the SXSW Film Conference Saturday, March 10.

The 19th annual festival will also premiere the first three episodes of Lena Dunham's upcoming HBO series Girls, on which Judd Apatow is an executive producer. Dunham's career was jumpstarted when her film Tiny Furniture had its premiere at SXSW in 2010 and won several awards, including the narrative feature prize. Dunham and Apatow will participate in a panel during the film conference March 13, as well.

PHOTOS: 17 New Shows Premiering in 2012

The full SXSW film program will not be announced until early February, but the fest let slip a few additional titles. Kevin Macdonald’s Bob Marley documentary MarleyJonas Åkerlund's black comedy Small ApartmentsNeil Berkeley’s documentary Beauty is Embarrassing and Ciarán Foy's psychological horror film Citadel will all screen during the fest, which runs March 9-17.

“Announcing the first films of our program is always energizing, but we're especially thrilled to have such a smart, unpredictable and highly entertaining headliner like The Cabin in the Woods as our Opening Night film,” said SXSW Film Conference and festival producer Janet Pierson. “We're also happy to offer a peek at a handful of wonderful films that demonstrate the breadth and range of terrific work we plan to show at SXSW Film 2012.”

Cabin is the directorial debut of Goddard, who wrote the film Cloverfield and worked on the series Lost and Alias. Goddard also co-wrote the screenplay with Whedon, who produced the film, which was originally in production at the financially hamstrung MGM before Lionsgate took over distribution duties. The film will get an April 13 theatrical release.

Previous opening-night screenings have included Source CodeKick-Ass and I Love You, Man.

Here is the list of films announced so far for the 2012 SXSW Film Festival:

Beauty is Embarrassing (World Premiere)

Director: Neil Berkeley

A funny, irreverent and insightful look into the life and times of one of America's most important artists, Wayne White.

The Cabin in the Woods (World Premiere)

Director: Drew Goddard, Writers: Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard

Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen. If you think you know this story, think again.  From fan favorites Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard comes The Cabin in the Woods, a mind-blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out. Cast: Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz, Anna Hutchison, Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford

Citadel (World Premiere)

Director & Writer: Ciarán Foy

An agoraphobic father teams up with a renegade priest to save his daughter from the clutches of a gang of twisted feral children.  Cast: Anuerin Barnard, James Cosmo, and Wumni Mosaku, Jake Wilson, Amy Shiels

Girls (World Premiere)

Director & Writer: Lena Dunham

Created by and starring Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture), the HBO show is a comic look at the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of a group of girls in their early 20s. Cast: Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver

Marley (North American Premiere)

Director: Kevin Macdonald

The definitive documentary on the life, music, and legacy of Bob Marley.

The Oyster Princess (1919) with original live score by Bee vs. Moth (World Premiere)

Director: Ernst Lubitsch, Writers: Hanns Kraly & Ernst Lubitsch

The Oyster Princess is Ernst Lubitsch’s tart 1919 silent comedy that parodies the rich and the spoiled.  Austin jazz/rock band Bee vs. Moth performs their original score live with the film for the first time.

Small Apartments (World Premiere)

Director: Jonas Åkerlund, Writer: Chris Millis

When Franklin Franklin accidentally kills his landlord, he must hide the body; but, the wisdom of his beloved brother and the quirks of his neighbors, force him on a journey where a fortune awaits him. Cast: Matt Lucas, Billy Crystal, James Caan, Johnny Knoxville, Juno Temple, James Marsden, Dolph Lundgren, Saffron Burrows, Rosie Perez, DJ Qualls