The South by Southwest Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary – and this year is going to be big. The Austin-based festival continues to build on its brand as the year’s must-attend convergence of music, film, and emerging technologies. This year, the event will host a considerable number of films that range from indie genre projects like the Nick Kroll comedy My Blind Brother and the thriller The Waiting, starring James Caan, to bigger budget studio projects like Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some and Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday – their presence justified by a loyal cult following of the filmmakers’ work. The festival will also see an expansion of its programming to episodic projects, including the upcoming AMC series Preacher from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, Vice Principals with Danny McBride, and television’s first polyromantic comedy You Me Her. And this year, The Tracking Board is headed to Austin to bring you live coverage of all things SXSW.
Films in SXSW’s Visions and Midnighters are experimental, conceptual and, in a word, weird. If you think the genre-driven content of the festival is fascinating, then these films will definitely quench your thirst for the bizarre, the funny, the neurotic and the twisted. Some of the best films of the festival live under the Visions and Midnighters banner. Here are some that made our “must watch” list.
Director: Kim Sang Chan
Synopsis: Welcome to ADDICTION KARAOKE and let’s sing till the end!
Why do we want to see it? We want to see exactly how crazy these karaoke addicts are.
Director/Screenwriter: Zach Clark
Story by: Zach Clark, Melodie Sisk
Cast: Addison Timlin, Ally Sheedy, Keith Poulson, Peter Hedges, Kristin Slaysman, Molly Plunk, Barbara Crampton
Synopsis: A young nun returns home to visit her estranged family.
Why do we want to see it? Any movie where a nun gets put in a situation where she is out of her element is always a hoot. Haven’t you seen Sister Act?
Director/Screenwriter: Alex Taylor
Cast: Antti Reini, Alexa Davies, Lara Peake, Lucian Charles Collier, Tallulah Haddon, Steven Elder, Jack Winthrop, Kristof Gerega, Harry Jarvis
Synopsis: A girl fakes her own alien abduction and disappears, leaving her father to search for her in a strange teenage world of unicorns and black holes.
Why do we want to see it? Unicorns, alien abduction and black holes? This sounds like glorious insanity and we are 100 percent on board.
Director: Caito Ortiz
Screenwriters: Lusa Silvestre, Caito Ortiz
Cast: Paulo Tiefenthaler, Taís Araujo, Danilo Grangheia, Milhem Cortaz, Fabio Marcoff, Pedro Wagner, Álvaro Diniz, Thelmo Fernandes, Otto Jr.
Synopsis: Jules and Dolores is a pop comedy about the theft of the World Cup Trophy that occurred in Brazil in 1983. Curiously enough, nobody truly knows the details surrounding this unbelievable event, until now.
Why do we want to see it? It sounds like a heist movie that we can really get into… and the fact that its based on a true story makes it even better.
Director: Mike Flanagan
Screenwriters: Mike Flanagan, Kate Siegel
Cast: Kate Siegel, John Gallagher Jr., Michael Trucco, Samantha Sloyan
Synopsis: A deaf woman is stalked by a psychotic killer in her secluded home.
Why do we want to see it? Sounds like a twisted mashup of Helen Keller and The Strangers.
Director/Screenwriter: Thomas Dekker
Cast: Rory Culkin, Lin Shaye, Daveigh Chase, Natasha Lyonne, Louis Hunter, Nikki Reed, Britt Robertson
Synopsis: After his father is killed in a car crash, Jack travels home to Colorado to help nurse his mother (who was injured in the crash) back to health. There, he uncovers long buried secrets and lies within his family, his friends, and his very identity.
Why do we want to see it? We’ve been wondering what the youngest Culkin has been up to.
Director/Screenwriter: Sean Brosnan
Cast: Joe Anderson, Gary Stretch, Candance Smith, Kevin Gage, John Schneider, Gabe White, Ross Britz, Michael Francis Murphy, William Mark McCullough, Frances Reagan James
Synopsis: A young deaf boy avenges the death of his brother, and the killer happens to be his father.
Why do we want to see it? A story of vengeance is always good. Also, this is the second movie on the list that involves a deaf person in a dangerous situation. We’re sensing a trend.
Director: Carles Torrens
Screenwriter: Jeremy Slater
Cast: Dominic Monaghan, Ksenia Solo, Jennette McCurdy, Nathan Parsons, John Ross Bowie, Da’Vone McDonald, Janet Song
Synopsis: A lonely man fatefully reunites with a former high school classmate. When she spurns his advances, he takes her prisoner, only to find that she is not what she seems.
Why do we want to see it? Sounds messed up. Really messed up. That means it’s going to be good.
Director/Screenwriter: Don Coscarelli
Cast: Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, Kathy Lester
Synopsis: Filmmaker J.J. Abrams and his company Bad Robot have undertaken a meticulous 4K restoration of writer/director Don Coscarelli’s beloved horror fan favorite about a young boy confronting the embodiment of death in the form of the sinister “Tall Man.”
Why do we want to see it? The restoration will make the scares scarier and the death death-ier. A horror classic with a brand new sheen is always a treat.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer