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SXSW announces midnight, shorts programs

Matthew Odam
'V/H/S,' which screened at the Sundance Festival, has drawn praise from SXSW programmer Jarod Neece.

South by Southwest announced its full slate of midnight and short films this week. The Midnighters program features genre films described by festival organizers as "scary, funny, sexy and controversial."

Highlighting the 11-film Midnighters program are "Intruders," the latest from "28 Days Later" director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, and Ti West's "V/H/S."

West returns to SXSW after thrilling audiences with his character-driven horror "The Innkeepers" last year. West's latest movie stars SXSW veterans Joe Swanberg ("Alexander the Last"), Kate Lyn Sheil ("Silver Bullets") and Sophia Takal ("Green").

"'V/H/S' is a terrifying film with so many layers and is the best use of the anthology filmmaking I have seen in some time," SXSW Midnighters programmer Jarod Neece said. "It brought the house down at Sundance, and I'm so thrilled we get to show it to our SXSW audience."

The shorts program features 135 films, including many with Texas ties. University of Texas lecturer and "Winnebago Man" director Ben Steinbauer will screen his documentary short "Brute Force," which tells the story of the obscure Apple Records artist. Fellow UT lecturer Kat Candler, fresh off of her world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, will show her narrative short film "Hellion." Galveston resident Kelly Sears also made the trip to Sundance and brings her imaginative and scary animated short "Once It Started It Could Not End Otherwise." Austinite Don Hertzfeldt, who received an Oscar nomination in 2001 for his animated short "Rejected," will screen his latest, "it's such a beautiful day." A 2009 graduate of UT's Radio, Television and Film program, Randall Hopkins will screen his animated short "Giraffe Danger."

"Merman," which screens in the midnight shorts program, is the work of current UT film student Jono Foley.

Other short film highlights include "J.P.B.F.," a raunchy short from former Austinite Steve Collins, whose dark comedy "You Hurt My Feelings" made quite a bit of noise on the festival circuit last year. The short stars Austinite John Merriman, who played the lead in "You Hurt My Feelings."

In addition to the animated, live-action narrative, documentary and midnight shorts, SXSW shines a light on local talent with the Texas Shorts and Texas High School Shorts categories.

"The Texas High School Competition started as a way to support the community and the next generation of filmmakers in Texas, and this was the most obvious (and fun!) way," shorts programmer Claudette Godfrey said. "We get an increase in both the quality and number of submissions every year — this year we received about 160 submissions. These students have talent and we love that we can help them cultivate it. I know that SXSW can be a life-changing experience, and that's what we hear from the students, teachers and parents."; 912-5986