Wrapping up the top movies and panels
A look at 35 South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival offerings
The eight-day stretch of the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival will be packed with screenings 132 feature films, including 74 world premieres, at 10 venues around town as well as dozens of panels and parties.
The Violet Crown, which opened last April, will serve as a venue for the first time, as will the new Alamo Slaughter, which will join the Alamo Village as satellite venues, giving locals a chance to catch some great titles like "Sleepwalk with Me," "Safety Not Guaranteed" and "Marley" without having to enter the maelstrom downtown.
Downtown venues will once again feature color-coded boards letting festivalgoers know what kind of crowds to expect at screenings. The SXSW Film Fest Flyer runs until 2 a.m. each day and offers free rides for badgeholders to film venues in the downtown area, including the Alamo South and Carver Center.
Below we take a look at 35 films, panels and conversations that have piqued our interest leading up to the festival. All times and venues are subject to change, so please check sxsw.com/film for up-to-the-minute details.
A revealed secret threatens to ruin a night of testing limits and carefree debauchery for a group of tough Irish teens. The film from Dubliner Kirsten Sheridan is the first from the filmmaking collective known as the Factory. (4:15 p.m. Saturday at Alamo South; 7:15 p.m. Monday at Violet Crown; 8:45 p.m. Tuesday at Alamo Ritz; 5 p.m. March 17 at Stateside.)
The latest from "The Catechism Cataclysm" director Todd Rohal stars Patton Oswalt and Johnny Knoxville as warring brothers. Oswalt plays assistant Scoutmaster Randy Stevens, who absconds with his nephew's Boy Scout trip in hopes of one last epic scouting adventure. (4 p.m. Saturday, Paramount; 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Alamo Slaughter; 2 p.m. March 16, Stateside.)
"Gimme the Loot"
Malcolm and Sofia have dreams of becoming the greatest graffiti artists in New York City. But to reach such heights, the two Bronx teens must endure a chaotic two days in the city, as they hustle and scheme their way to the top. (8 p.m. Saturday, Stateside; 11:15 a.m. Sunday, Alamo South; 7:30 p.m. March 15, Stateside.)
"Safety Not Guaranteed"
Director Colin Trevorrow's feature debut stars Mark Duplass as an eccentric loner fascinated with time travel and Aubrey Plaza of "Parks and Recreation" fame as his unlikely object of affection. (7 p.m. Saturday, Paramount; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Alamo Slaughter.)
"Sleepwalk With Me"
Comedian Mike Birbiglia's touching and hilarious tale of his sleepwalking problem began as a one-man off-Broadway show before inspiring a book and now this feature film that garnered raves at the Sundance Film Festival. Birbiglia wrote and directed the film, in which he stars opposite Lauren Ambrose ("Six Feet Under"). (9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Alamo Ritz; 4 p.m. Wednesday, Stateside; 4:30 p.m. March 15, Alamo Ritz; 10 p.m. March 16, Alamo Village.)
Spiritual guru Deepak Chopra has a devoted following, and we don't mean his more than 700,000 Twitter followers. Chopra's son, Gotham, a journalist and founder of Liquid Comics, follows his father around for a year in an attempt to reveal the man behind the plaintive voice and sage advice. (11 a.m. Sunday, Paramount; 10 p.m. Monday, Alamo Village; 11 a.m. March 15, Vimeo.)
"Indie Game: The Movie"
Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky's film takes an intimate look at the grueling creative process of indie video game production and the passionate human minds behind the computer codes. HBO has purchased the rights to adapt the film into a half-hour TV series. (6:30 p.m. Friday, Canon.)
"Seeking Asian Female"
Steven wants to get married to an Asian woman. He's written to more than 100 and will not give up until he finds his bride. Sandy may be just the woman he's looking for. But will the Chinese national be as excited for the arranged marriage as the American man? Chinese American filmmaker Debbie Lum follows this relationship and gets caught in the middle. (11 a.m. Monday, Vimeo; 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, Alamo South; 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Alamo South.)
Behind every great commune is a great restaurateur. I think that's how the old saying goes. Father Yod was a charismatic business owner and wannabe rock star who became the head of a Hollywood Hills commune known as the Source. Eventually, the spiritualists who preached clean living and utopian ideals gained some unwanted attention from authorities and fled for Hawaii, where things for Yod took a dramatic turn for the worse. (1:15 p.m. Sunday, Vimeo; 11 a.m. Tuesday, Alamo South; 6:45 p.m. March 16, Alamo South)
"We are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists"
Anonymous, the collective of skilled hackers, has put fear into the hearts of businesses and governments across the globe. Documentary filmmaker Brian Knappenberger delves into the history of other "hacktivists" and draws a line to the loose-knit community of folks fomenting civil disobedience through technological resources. The film includes interviews with current members of Anonymous, writers and academics. (6:30 p.m. Sunday, Vimeo; 2 p.m. Tuesday, Vimeo; 5 p.m. Wednesday, Alamo Slaughter; 4:15 p.m. March 15, Alamo South.)
"America's Parking Lot"
A rabid group of fans made Lot 6 at old Texas Stadium in Irving its home away from home for decades. But after the 2008 Dallas Cowboys season, the landmark was demolished, and with it the birthplace of a meaningful ritual for a makeshift family. Austin filmmaker Jonny Mars details the group's effort to find that old magic in a new, sterile environment — Jerry Jones' $1 billion Cowboys Stadium complex. (2 p.m. Sunday, Canon; 5 p.m. Monday, Alamo Slaughter; 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, Alamo South; 11 a.m. March 17, Alamo South)
"School of Rock" duo Richard Linklater and Jack Black team up again for a comedy with a decidedly darker tone. Based on a Texas Monthly article written by Skip Hollandsworth, "Bernie" recounts the bizarre mystery involving Bernhardt "Bernie" Tiede (Black), an assistant funeral home director in Carthage who admitted to murdering eccentric widow Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine). Matthew McConaughey co-stars at the town's district attorney. (6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Paramount.)
"The Do-Deca Pentathlon"
Brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, both University of Texas graduates, may be making movies with bigger budgets these days ("Cyrus," "Jeff Who Lives at Home") but they are indie filmmakers at heart, as seen in this comedy about two competitive brothers who create their own 25-event Olympics.
A French con man pretends to be the long-lost son of a San Antonio family. And it gets weirder from there in this compelling documentary from director Bart Layton. (11:30 a.m. Saturday, Alamo South; 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Paramount; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Alamo Slaughter; 7:15 p.m. March 15, Alamo South)
Young Annie is a tomboy with a chip on her shoulder and time to kill. Her guardians (played hilariously by Austin filmmakers David and Nathan Zellner) pay her little mind, so Annie constantly tests boundaries, fearless of consequences. But a chance encounter with a mysterious woman causes the child to rethink her relationship with others and her own sense of fear in this darkly comedic parable. (4:45 p.m. Saturday, Canon; 7 p.m. Sunday, Alamo Village; 1:30 p.m. March 16, Paramount; 5 p.m. March 17, Alamo Slaughter.)
Solid Waste Services. The words don't immediately conjure ideas of art and dance, but Austin choreographer Allison Orr does not see the world the way the rest of us do. Her vision and creativity, combined with open-minded and adventurous sanitation workers, led to the production of Trash Dance. Director Andrew Garrison follows Orr from inception of the idea to critically acclaimed sold-out performances. (1:30 p.m. Saturday, Paramount; 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, Paramount; 7:30 p.m. March 17, Stateside.)
"Somebody Up There Likes Me"
Austin director Bob Byington is back with several familiar faces. His latest film stars Kevin Corrigan, Nick Offerman and Keith Poulson, all of whom have appeared in multiple Byington movies, in a touching and humorous tale about life, love and the unrelenting passage of time. (9:45 p.m. Sunday, Stateside; 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, Alamo South; 11 a.m. March 16, Paramount.)
"Blue Like Jazz"
Austin High School grad Marshall Allman stars as Donald Miller in the screen adaptation of Miller's best-selling "Blue Like Jazz," one man's postmodern journey through the world of religion and spirituality. (6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Paramount; 2 p.m. Wednesday, Canon; 7:30 p.m. March 15, Alamo Village.)
"21 Jump Street"
Hipster bands won't be the only ones referencing the '80s at SXSW. The centerpiece film of the festival reboots Stephen J. Cannell's popular TV show and aims for laughs, with Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as two cops who go undercover to discover that being a teenager is still dirty work. (7:30 p.m. Monday, Paramount.)
"The Cabin in the Woods"
The Joss Whedon-penned horror flick, a cunning love letter to (and send-up of) terror clichés, has been in limbo ever since MGM folded in 2010. Lionsgate is releasing the wry, sharp movie just in time for Whedon's "Avengers" later in the year.
"Casa de mi Padre"
Will Ferrell knows he can make you laugh in English, so now he's out to prove that he can do it in Spanish. (Hint: He can.) The brisk spoof of telenovelas features strong performances from Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna and will introduce brunette bombshell Genesis Rodriguez to her biggest U.S. audience to date. If you're trying to get into this one without a badge, all I can say is "buena suerte." (5 p.m. Tuesday, Alamo South.)
Lena Dunham has been one of the greatest success stories of SXSW Film. After premiering her first two films — "Creative Nonfiction" and "Tiny Furniture" — here in 2009 and 2011, Dunham returns with the world premiere of the first three episodes of her HBO show "Girls."
Matthew McConaughey gets to dig into some dark material as a hit-man in William Friedkin's thriller that The A.V. Club dubbed "hicksploitation" following the Toronto International Film Festival. Will be nice to see co-star Emile Hirsch work with good material again after his quiet few years following the successes of "Milk" and "Into the Wild." (9:30 p.m. Saturday, Paramount.)
"Big Easy Express"
Filmmaker Emmett Malloy and his cameras followed Mumford and Sons on the British band's train tour that passed through Austin in April. His documentary about the tour that included Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show will close the festival. After the world premiere, members of Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show will perform an acoustic set.
"Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (Work-in-Progress)"
Never-before-seen footage, in-depth interviews and musical performances by bands they inspired help round out director Drew DeNicola's portrait of power pop pioneers Big Star. An all-star cast — including Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, Mike Mills and Peter Buck of R.E.M., Chris Stamey of the dBs — will perform Big Star's legendary, enigmatic album "Third" (aka "Sister Lovers") after the screening. Austin's Tosca String Quartet will also participate. (7 p.m. March 15, Paramount.)
"Charles Bradley: Soul of America"
The late-blooming soul star came to the world's attention at last year's SXSW. Director Poull Brien's film proves that it is never too late to make your dreams come true. (9 p.m. Friday, Alamo Ritz; 1:45 p.m. Saturday, Violet Crown; 2:15 March 16, Alamo Ritz; 7 p.m. March 17, Alamo South.)
"The Last King of Scotland" director Kevin MacDonald's documentary features interviews from family, friends and musicians, along with concert footage and rare recordings. "Marley" is the first film authorized by late reggae legend Bob Marley's family. Marley's son Ziggy will attend the festival. (5:30 p.m. Sunday, Paramount; 9:30 p.m. Monday, Alamo Slaughter; 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Alamo Village; 10 p.m. Friday, Paramount.)
"Searching for Sugar Man"
Obscure American 1970s folk rocker Rodriguez isn't so obscure in South Africa — thanks to a heavily bootlegged album, he's a genuine pop star. But he is also thought to have died decades ago, so imagine the surprise of two filmmakers when they find him alive, well and doing manual labor in Detroit. "Sugar Man" chronicles his cult following and his genuinely bizarre comeback. (9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Paramount.)
"Under African Skies"
Paul Simon's 1987 album "Graceland" helped change the sound and possibilities of pop music. This documentary follows Simon back to South Africa on the album's 25th anniversary and looks at how the groundbreaking album came to be. (6 p.m. Tuesday, Alamo South; 6:45 p.m. March 15, Vimeo; 8 p.m. March 16, Alamo Ritz)
Brothers Gonna Talk It Out
"Love each other like brothers" and "fight like brothers" are two figures of speech that likely resonate with this panel's crew of brother filmmakers. The Duplass brothers, Zellner brothers and more discuss the beauty and difficulty of collaborating with kin. (11 a.m. Saturday, Austin Convention Center, Room 16AB.)
Funny or Die: Future of Comedy & Everything Else
How did Funny or Die go from a small website to one of the most influential avenues for comedy videos? The site's creative director and "Case de mi Padre" director, Andrew Steele, joins key members of his team to discuss the triumph of Funny or Die. The panel description promises a "special guest moderator," so let the guessing begin. (3:30 p.m. Sunday, Convention Center, Room 18ABCD.)
Changing the Channel: The New Golden Age of TV
"Breaking Bad." "The Wire." "Boardwalk Empire." Some of the best storytelling of the past decade has appeared on the small screen. And with Netflix and Hulu on the verge of becoming players in original content, the opportunities for writers, directors and producers are expanding. Andy Forssell, senior vice president of content for Hulu, Richard Linklater and Morgan Spurlock talk about the changing landscape of TV programming. (3:30 p.m. Monday, Convention Center Room 18ABCD.)
A Conversation with Joss Whedon
Whedon may not be the official King of the Nerds, but his position of power and esteem in that powerful subculture is undeniable. The multi-hyphenate and creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel" and "Firefly" sits down to talk about "Cabin in the Woods," the SXSW opening film he co-wrote, and the highly anticipated 2012 summer smash, "The Avengers." (11 a.m. Saturday, Convention Center, Room 18ABCD.)
A Conversation with Seth MacFarlane
The irreverent writer and producer of "Family Guy" will participate in a conversation that will include updates on his directorial debut, "Ted," the upcoming live-action/CG-animated comedy that stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis. (11 a.m. Sunday, Vimeo.)
Richard Linklater and Randall Poster in Conversation
The Austin director is joined by music supervisor Randall Poster, with whom Linklater worked on "Bad News Bears" and "Before Sunset," to talk about using music in film. (2 p.m. Tuesday, Convention Center, Room 16AB.)
Contact Matthew Odam at 912-5986
The South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival
Dates: Friday through March 17
Venues: Alamo Ritz, 320 E. Sixth St.; Alamo Slaughter, 5701 W. Slaughter Lane; Alamo South, 1120 S. Lamar Blvd.; Alamo Village, 2700 W. Anderson Lane; Carver Museum & Cultural Center, 1155 Angelina St.; Canon Screening Room at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Drive; Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave.; Stateside, 719 Congress Ave.; Vimeo, Austin Convention Center, 201 Trinity St.; Violet Crown, 434 W. Second St.
Tickets: Badges, $595; film passes, which offer access to screenings after badge-holders enter, $80 at Waterloo Records, Alamo South, Alamo Village and Alamo Ritz.