This year's South by Southwest Film Festival lineup will include some of the biggest names in Hollywood: Melissa McCarthy, Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Judd Apatow, Ryan Gosling, Paul Feig, Oscar Isaac, Russell Brand, Al Pacino, Lena Dunham, Steve Carell and Amy Schumer. But that robust lineup of stars fits with the huge festival itself: 145 total features, 60 titles from first-time filmmakers, 100 world premieres, 13 North American premieres and 11 U.S. premieres. South by Southwest saw a record number of submissions for 2015, with 7,335 in total.
"The final number is more than ever," Head of SXSW Film Janet Pierson said in an interview with HuffPost Entertainment. "It's kind of a mixed blessing for us. We were actually trying to cut back. We've been at around 133 features the last couple of years, and we were trying to cut it down to 125, but instead we went in the other direction. It's just because we saw too much that we liked. We saw too much that we felt like we had to show and that our audience will love. We programmed films with different things in mind: films that are so entertaining right off the bat, films that are so provocative, films that are the mark of a new filmmaker, films that are just a fascinating subject. There are all these different ways that we look at the work. Even at this increased number, we turned away a fair amount of high quality stuff."
Which is saying something based on the "stuff" actually screening at the Austin, Texas-based festival in March. In addition to previously announced films like "Ex Machina" (with the aforementioned Isaac), "Brand: The Second Coming" (a Russell Brand documentary) and "Hello, My Name Is Doris" (with Sally Field and Max Greenfield), SXSW 2015 will include premieres of high-profile studio comedies like "Get Hard" (with Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart) and "Spy" (with Melissa McCarthy). A work-in-progress cut of the Judd Apatow and Amy Schumer comedy "Trainwreck" will also screen. Other comedies include Sundance faves "The Overnight," "Results" and "Unexpected" and SXSW debuts like "Fresno" (with Natasha Lyonne) and "Night Owls" (with Adam Pally).
"I don't know that it feels different to us than normal," Pierson said when asked about the major comedy lineup. "There are plenty of films that are really serious here. I wouldn't say there has been an increase in comedies this year -- that's not true. But we certainly like them!"
Other major features screening at SXSW include Ryan Gosling's directorial debut, "Lost River," documentaries on misogyny in video games ("GTFO: Get The F% Out"), Steve Jobs ("Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine") and Kurt Cobain ("Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck"), and television series debuts such as "Angie Tribeca" (co-written and directed by Steve Carell) and "iZombie" (from "Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas). SXSW Keynotes will feature presentations from Ava DuVernay, Mark Duplass and RZA.
"We intentionally think about who's current, who has something to say about the industry or creativity that would work well for us now. We figured with someone like Ava, we so admire everything she's doing," Pierson said about the keynote speeches. "We knew she'd have something to say no matter how the last six months played out."
As a complement to having a bigger lineup than ever, SXSW also expanded its narrative and documentary competition sections from eight to 10 films. Highlights there include "6 Years" (with Taissa Farmiga), "Manson Family Vacation" (with Jay Duplass) and the documentary "She's The Best Thing In It," about Broadway legend Mary Louise Wilson.
The 2015 South by Southwest Film Festival runs from March 13 through March 21. Check out the feature and documentary lineup below, via a press release from SXSW. (The Midnighters feature section and the Short Film program will be announced on Feb. 10; the complete conference lineup and schedule is out Feb. 17.)
The 2015 SXSW Film Festival will feature:
NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION Ten world premieres, ten unique ways to celebrate the art of storytelling. Selected from 1,372 films submitted to SXSW 2015.
6 Years Director/Screenwriter: Hannah Fidell A young couple bound by a seemingly ideal love begins to unravel as unexpected opportunities spin them down a volatile and violent path and threaten the future they had always imagined. Cast: Taissa Farmiga, Ben Rosenfield, Lindsay Burdge, Joshua Leonard, Jennifer Lafleur, Peter Vack, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Molly McMichael, Jason Newman (World Premiere)
THE BOY Director: Craig Macneill, Screenwriters: Craig Macneill, Clay McLeod Chapman THE BOY is an intimate portrait of a 9-year-old sociopath's growing fascination with death. Cast: David Morse, Rainn Wilson, Jared Breeze, Bill Sage, Mike Vogel, Zuleikha Robinson, Aiden Lovekamp (World Premiere)
Creative Control Director: Benjamin Dickinson, Screenwriters: Benjamin Dickinson, Micah Bloomberg In near future Brooklyn, an ad executive uses a new Augmented Reality technology to conduct an affair with his best friend’s girlfriend...sort of. Cast: Benjamin Dickinson, Nora Zehetner, Dan Gill, Alexia Rasmussen, Reggie Watts, Gavin McInnes, Paul Manza, Himanshu Suri (World Premiere)
Funny Bunny Director/Screenwriter: Alison Bagnall Funny Bunny is a serious comedy about a friendless anti-obesity crusader and a trust fund manchild who vie for the heart of a reclusive animal activist and incest survivor, releasing her demons and forming an unlikely 'family' in the process. Cast: Kentucker Audley, Joslyn Jensen, Olly Alexander, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Josephine Decker, Louis Cancelmi, Grace Gonglewski, Nicholas Webber, Caridad de la Luz (World Premiere)
The Grief of Others Director/Screenwriter: Patrick Wang Based on Leah Hager Cohen’s critically-acclaimed novel, a family struggles with a tragic loss when an unexpected visitor arrives. She stirs the pain of past betrayals but might also offer an unforeseen gift: a way out of their isolating grief. Cast: Wendy Moniz, Trevor St. John, Oona Laurence, Jeremy Shinder, Sonya Harum, Mike Faist, Rachel Dratch, Chris Conroy (World Premiere)
KRISHA Director/Screenwriter: Trey Edward Shults When Krisha returns for a holiday gathering, the only things standing in her way are family, dogs, and turkey. Cast: Krisha Fairchild, Robyn Fairchild, Bill Wise, Chris Doubek, Olivia Grace Applegate, Chase Joliet, Alex Dobrenko, Bryan Casserly, Augustine Frizzell, Trey Edward Shults (World Premiere)
Manson Family Vacation Director/Screenwriter: J. Davis The story of two brothers: one who’s devoted to his family, the other who’s obsessed with the Manson Family. Cast: Jay Duplass, Linas Phillips, Leonora Pitts, Tobin Bell, Adam Chernick, Davie-Blue (World Premiere)
Quitters Director: Noah Pritzker, Screenwriters: Noah Pritzker, Ben Tarnoff A teenager's family falls apart, so he goes in search of a better one. Cast: Benjamin Konigsberg, Mira Sorivno, Greg Germann, Kara Hayward, Kieran Culkin, Morgan Turner, Saffron Burrows, Scott Lawrence (World Premiere)
Sweaty Betty Directors/Screenwriters: Joseph Frank, Zachary Reed On the border of Washington DC, two stories of big dreams take place – a family is determined to turn their 1000 pound pig into the Redskins’ football team mascot, and two teenage fathers scheme a better life for themselves and their children. Cast: Rico Mitchell, Seth Dubose, Floyd Rich III, Chris Rich, Tarich Rich, Floyd Rich V, Chrissy Rich, Charlotte the Pig, Cassy the Dog (World Premiere)
Uncle John Director: Steven Piet, Screenwriters: Erik Crary, Steven Piet Uncle John is an intimately told story that revolves around the struggle to keep a mysterious disappearance unsolved. Cast: John Ashton, Alex Moffat, Jenna Lyng, Ronnie Gene Blevins (World Premiere)
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION Selected from 1,018 submissions, ten world premieres, ten real world stories that demonstrate innovation, energy and bold voices. Breaking a Monster Director: Luke Meyer Breaking a Monster chronicles the break-out year of the band Unlocking The Truth, as the 12 and 13-year-old members first encounter stardom and the music industry, transcending childhood to become the rock stars they always dreamed of being. (World Premiere)
Deep Time Director: Noah Hutton Ancient oceans teeming with life, Norwegian settlers, Native Americans and multinational oil corporations find intimacy in deep time. (World Premiere)
FRAME BY FRAME Directors: Alexandria Bombach, Mo Scarpelli After decades of war and an oppressive Taliban regime, four Afghan photojournalists face the realities of building a free press in a country left to stand on its own – reframing Afghanistan for the world and for themselves. (World Premiere)
Madina's Dream Director: Andrew Berends An unflinching and poetic glimpse into a forgotten war, Madina’s Dream tells the story of rebels and refugees fighting to survive in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains. (World Premiere)
Peace Officer Directors: Scott Christopherson, Brad Barber A former sheriff will stop at nothing to confront the SWAT team he founded. (World Premiere)
Poached Director: Timothy Wheeler Obsessive egg thieves rob the nests of rare birds while a UK national police force tries to stop them. Poached delves into the psychology of these criminals, showing that when passion turns it can destroy the very object of one's desire. (World Premiere)
The Sandwich Nazi (Canada) Director: Lewis Bennett Deli owner Salam Kahil is an art collector, a former male escort, an amateur musician, and a sandwich maker to the homeless in Vancouver's poorest neighbourhood but his true passion is talking about blowjobs. (World Premiere)
She's The Best Thing In It Director: Ron Nyswaner Broadway legend Mary Louise Wilson teaches her first acting class, smashing her students’ red carpet illusions. An examination of acting and the sacrifices required, featuring Frances McDormand, Melissa Leo, Tyne Daly, Valerie Harper and others. (World Premiere)
Twinsters Directors: Samantha Futerman, Ryan Miyamoto Imagine there was someone out there who you'd never met, looked exactly like you and was born on your birthday. Twinsters is the story of two strangers who discovered they were potentially twin sisters separated at birth. (World Premiere)
A Woman Like Me Directors: Alex Sichel, Elizabeth Giamatti By creating a fictional character based on herself, filmmaker Alex Sichel learns how to navigate a terminal disease with grace and humor. (World Premiere)
HEADLINERS Big names, big talent: Headliners bring star power to SXSW, featuring red carpet premieres and gala film events with major & rising names in cinema.
BRAND: A Second Coming (UK) Director: Ondi Timoner BRAND: A Second Coming follows comedian/author Russell Brand’s evolution from addict & Hollywood star to unexpected political disruptor & newfound hero to the underserved. Brand is criticized for egomaniacal self-interest as he calls for revolution. (World Premiere)
Ex Machina Director/Screenwriter: Alex Garland Alex Garland, writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine, makes his directorial debut with the stylish and cerebral thriller Ex Machina, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander. Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander (North American Premiere)
Get Hard Director: Etan Cohen, Screenwriters: Story By Adam McKay And Jay Martel & Ian Roberts, Screenplay By Jay Martel & Ian Roberts And Etan Cohen With a ten-year stint in San Quentin hanging over his head, yuppie Brad hires city Darnell to toughen him up for prison life. Cast: Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart, Tip "T.I." Harris, Alison Brie, Craig T. Nelson. (World Premiere)
Hello, My Name is Doris Director: Michael Showalter, Screenwriters: Laura Terruso, Michael Showalter An isolated 60-year-old woman is motivated by a self-help seminar to romantically pursue a younger coworker, causing her to stumble into the spotlight of the local hipster social scene. Cast: Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Beth Behrs, Wendi Mclendon-Covey, Stephen Root, Elizabeth Reaser, Jack Antonoff, Natasha Lyonne, Tyne Daly. (World Premiere)
Love & Mercy Director: Bill Pohlad, Screenwriters: Oren Moverman, Michael Alan Lerner Love & Mercy presents an unconventional portrait of Brian Wilson, iconic leader of the Beach Boys. Cast: John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti (U.S. Premiere)
Manglehorn Director: David Gordon Green, Screenwriter: Paul Logan Reclusive small town locksmith, A.J. Manglehorn, who has never recovered from his losing his true love embarks on a new tenuous relationship with a local woman he meets at the bank. Cast: Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Harmony Korine, Chris Messina (U.S. Premiere)
Spy Director/Screenwriter: Paul Feig Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is an unassuming, deskbound CIA analyst, and the unsung hero behind the Agency’s most dangerous missions. But when her partner (Jude Law) falls off the grid and another top agent (Jason Statham) is compromised, she volunteers to go deep undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent a global disaster. Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, Peter Serafinowicz, Morena Baccarin and Jude Law (Premiere)
Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine Director: Alex Gibney An evocative portrait of the life and work of Steve Jobs that re-examines his legacy and our relationship with the computer. (World Premiere)
NARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT High profile narrative features receiving their World, North American or U.S. premieres at SXSW.
7 Chinese Brothers Director/Screenwriter: Bob Byington A man unaccustomed to telling the truth learns to at least describe it. Cast: Jason Schwartzman, Tunde Adebimpe, Eleanore Pienta, Olympia Dukakis, Stephen Root (World Premiere)
The Automatic Hate Director: Justin Lerner, Screenwriters: Justin Lerner, Katharine O'Brien When Davis Green's alluring young cousin Alexis shows up on his doorstep, he discovers a side of his family that had been kept secret his entire life. As the two get closer, they set out to uncover the shocking secret that tore their families apart. Cast: Joseph Cross, Adelaide Clemens, Richard Schiff, Yvonne Zima, Vanessa Zima, Catherine Carlen, Caitlin O'Connell, Ricky Jay, Deborah Ann Woll (World Premiere)
Bone in the Throat (UK) Director: Graham Henman, Screenwriters: Graham Henman, Mark Townend Bone in the Throat based on celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain's novel of the same, is a gritty fast paced story about a young ambitious chef who is mixed up with the East End London mob. While showing off his culinary skills, he finds himself trapped. Cast: Ed Westwick, Tom Wilkinson, Rupert Graves, Vanessa Kirby, John Hannah, Steve Mackintosh, Andy Nyman (World Premiere)
The Final Girls Director: Todd Strauss-Schulson, Screenwriters: M. A. Fortin, Joshua John Miller Max and her friends are mysteriously transported into a famous 1980s horror movie that starred Max's mother, a celebrated scream queen. Reunited, they team up to fight the film's maniacal killer and find their way back home. Cast: Taissa Farmiga, Malin Akerman, Adam DeVine, Thomas Middleditch, Alia Shawkat, Alexander Ludwig, Nina Dobrev (World Premiere)
Fresno Director: Jamie Babbit, Screenwriter: Karey Dornetto Fresno is a comedy that follows lonely but stoic lesbian Martha (Natasha Lyonne), whose sister Shannon (Judy Greer), a sex addict with no impulse control and a long history of poor decisions, winds up back in Fresno cleaning hotel rooms with her. Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Judy Greer, Aubrey Plaza, Fred Armisen, Jessica St. Clair, Molly Shannon, Michael Hitchcock, Ron Livingston (World Premiere)
The Frontier Director: Oren Shai, Screenwriters: Webb Wilcoxen, Oren Shai A desperate young woman, on the run from the law, discovers a violent gang of thieves at a desert motel and hatches a plan to steal their loot. Cast: Jocelin Donahue, Kelly Lynch, Jim Beaver, Izabella Miko, Jamie Harris, AJ Bowen, Liam Aiken (World Premiere)
The Goob (UK) Director/Screenwriter: Guy Myhill The Goob combines the dirty roar of stock car thunder with the visceral vision of a teenage boy’s first love. Cast: Liam Walpole, Sean Harris, Sienna Guillory (North American Premiere)
I Dream Too Much Director/Screenwriter: Katie Cokinos Dora Welles is an imaginative college grad ready to experience all the excitement of life. Instead she finds herself in snowy upstate New York caring for her reclusive great aunt (who has lived a much more exciting life than anyone realizes). Cast: Eden Brolin, Diane Ladd, Danielle Brooks, James McCaffrey, Christina Rouner (World Premiere)
Ktown Cowboys Director: Daniel (DPD) Park, Screenwriters: Danny Cho, Brian Chung Against the alluring backdrop of LA’s Koreatown, 5 legendary partiers go out for one more night of “Ktown” debauchery, eventually growing up by throwing down like they did in their glory days. Cast: Danny Cho, Bobby Choy, Peter Jae, Sunn Wee, Shane Yoon, Eric Roberts, Steve Byrne, Kim Young Chul, Simon Rhee, Daniel Dae Kim (World Premiere)
Lamb Director/Screenwriter: Ross Partridge When a man meets a young girl in a parking lot he attempts to help her avoid a bleak destiny by initiating her into the beauty of the outside world. The journey shakes them in ways neither expects. Cast: Oona Laurence, Ross Partridge, Scoot McNairy, Jess Weixler, Lindsay Pulsipher, Joel Murray, Tom Bower, Jennifer Lafleur (World Premiere)
Life in Color Director/Screenwriter: Katharine Emmer With no place to live, two strangers are stuck house sitting together. To get back on their feet, this odd couple reluctantly help each other overcome the very personal obstacles that are holding them back in life and from each other. Cast: Josh McDermitt, Katharine Emmer, Adam Lustick, Fortune Feimster, Jim O'Heir (World Premiere)
The Little Death (Australia) Director/Screenwriter: Josh Lawson An outrageous romantic comedy about sex; secrets; fate; fetish; told through the lives and desires of five ordinary couples. Cast: Bojana Novakovic, Josh Lawson, Damon Herriman, Kate Mulvany, Patrick Brammall, Kate Box, Alan Dukes, Lisa McCune, Erin James, TJ Power (U.S. Premiere)
Mania Days Director/Screenwriter: Paul Dalio Two manic-depressive poets meet in a psychiatric hospital and begin a romance which brings out all the beauty and horror of their condition until they have to choose between sanity and love. Cast: Katie Holmes, Luke Kirby, Christine Lahti, Griffin Dunne, Bruce Altman (World Premiere)
Night Owls Director: Charles Hood, Screenwriters: Seth Goldsmith, Charles Hood After Kevin has a one night stand with Madeline, he discovers she’s actually his boss’ jilted mistress. When she takes a bottle of sleeping pills, Kevin has to keep her awake... and over the course of the night they begin to fall for each other. Cast: Adam Pally, Rosa Salazar, Rob Huebel, Peter Krause, Tony Hale (World Premiere)
Wild Horses Director/Screenwriter: Robert Duvall A Texas ranch family's idyllic life unravels as the Texas Rangers reopen and investigate a 15 year-old missing person case. Cast: Robert Duvall, James Franco, Josh Hartnett, Luciana Duvall, Adriana Barraza, Jim Parrack, Angie Cepeda, Devon Abner (World Premiere)
DOCUMENTARY SPOTLIGHT Shining a light on new documentary features receiving their World, North American or U.S. premieres at SXSW.
Bikes vs Cars (Sweden) Director/Screenwriter: Fredrik Gertten The bicycle, an amazing tool for change. Activists and cities all over the world are moving towards a new system. But will the economic powers allow it? (World Premiere)
Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play Director: Jerome Thélia, Screenwriters: John Fox, Jerome Thélia Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play takes us to the far reaches of the globe and the deep recesses of our ancient past to answer the question: Why do we play ball? (World Premiere) * SXsports screening
A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story Director: Sara Hirsh Bordo From the producers of the most viewed TEDWomen event of 2013 comes A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, a documentary following the inspiring journey of 25-year-old, 58-pound Lizzie from cyber-bullying victim to anti-bullying activist. (World Premiere)
Deep Web Director/Screenwriter: Alex Winter Deep Web gives the inside story of one of the the most important and riveting digital crime sagas of the century -- the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht, the entrepreneur alleged to be “Dread Pirate Roberts,” leader of online black market Silk Road. (World Premiere)
For Grace Directors: Kevin Pang, Mark Helenowski A documentary about food, family and sacrifice: The kitchen became Curtis Duffy's refuge after an unimaginable tragedy. Now as one of the country's most renowned chefs, he's building his dream restaurant - but at another point of personal crisis. (World Premiere)
For the Record Director: Marc Greenberg For the Record explores the “steno culture,” tracking several court reporters and captioners as they strive to attain the Guinness title of World's Fastest Court Reporter. (World Premiere) * SXsports screening
GTFO: Get The F% Out Director: Shannon Sun-Higginson Almost half of all gamers are women; yet, female gamers are disproportionately subject to harassment and abuse. GTFO seeks to investigate misogyny in video game culture and questions the future of this 20 billion dollar industry. (World Premiere)
Kingdom of Shadows Director: Bernardo Ruiz The drug war casts a dark shadow on the lives of a Mexican nun, a U.S. Federal agent and a former drug smuggler who wrestle with the far-reaching repercussions on both sides of the border. (World Premiere)
Knock Knock, It's Tig Notaro Directors: Michael LaHaie, Christopher Wilcha In Knock Knock, It's Tig Notaro, comedian Tig Notaro travels across the country in order to put on a series of performances in the homes, back yards, barns, and basements of her most loyal fans. (World Premiere)
Out To Win (USA/Canada) Director: Malcolm Ingram Out to Win is a documentary film that serves as an overview and examination of lives and careers of aspiring and professional gay and lesbian athletes who have fought and struggled to represent the LGBT community and their true selves. (World Premiere) * SXsports screening
Raiders! Directors: Jeremy Coon, Tim Skousen In 1982, two 11 year-olds in Mississippi set out to remake Raiders of the Lost Ark. After seven turbulent years, they finished every scene except one. 30 years later, they attempt to finally finish their fan film and realize their childhood dream. (World Premiere)
Rolling Papers Director: Mitch Dickman In 2014, recreational marijuana sales began in Colorado. With all eyes on ground zero of the green rush, The Denver Post appointed the world’s first marijuana editor. Pot is legal, journalism is ignited and The Cannabist is covering it as it unfolds. (World Premiere)
Sneakerheadz Directors: David T. Friendly, Mick Partridge, Screenwriter: David T. Friendly An in-depth look into the exploding subculture of sneaker collecting and the widespread influence it has had on popular culture around the world. (World Premiere) * SXsports screening
Son of the Congo Director/Screenwriter: Adam Hootnick Serge Ibaka’s improbable journey has taken him from the violence of Congo to the top of the NBA. In Son of the Congo, Ibaka returns home, hoping his basketball success can help rebuild a country and inspire a new generation to dream of a better life. (World Premiere) * SXsports screening
Stone Barn Castle Director: Kevin Ford, Adrien Brody Stone Barn Castle is a documentary portrayal of the pursuit of dreams and the distance one must travel to achieve them. (World Premiere)
Tab Hunter Confidential Director: Jeffrey Schwarz In the 1950s, Tab Hunter was number one at the box office and on the music charts. Nothing, it seems, can damage his skyrocketing career. Nothing, that is, except for the fact that Tab Hunter is secretly gay. (World Premiere)
T-Rex Directors: Drea Cooper, Zackary Canepari 17-year-old Claressa 'T-Rex' Shields from Flint, Mich. dreams of being the first woman in history to win the gold medal in Olympic boxing. But in order for her to succeed, she'll need to stand her ground both inside and outside the ring. (World Premiere) * SXsports screening
VISIONS Visions filmmakers are audacious, risk-taking artists in the new cinema landscape who demonstrate raw innovation and creativity in documentary and narrative filmmaking.
Ava's Possessions Director/Screenwriter: Jordan Galland Ava is recovering from demonic possession. With no memory of the past month, she must attend a Spirit Possessions Anonymous support group to figure out what happened. Ava's life was hijacked by a demon, now it's time to get it back. Cast: Louisa Krause, Whitney Able, Deborah Rush, William Sadler, Zachary Booth, Wass Stevens, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, John Ventimiglia, Jemima Kirke, Stella Schnabel (World Premiere)
Babysitter Director/Screenwriter: Morgan Krantz A dysfunctional L.A. family hires a mysterious babysitter who changes their lives in this modern twist on the Mary Poppins narrative. Cast: Max Burkholder, Daniele Watts, Valerie Azlynn, Lesley Ann Warren, Amy Landecker, Kitty Patterson (World Premiere)
Barge (USA/New Zealand) Director: Ben Powell Dry land’s misfits find purpose and direction twenty-eight days at a time as the steady hands of a towboat due for the port of New Orleans. (World Premiere)
Disaster Playground (UK) Director: Nelly Ben Hayoun Hollywood relies on Bruce Willis to save the world in Armageddon, but who are the real-life heroes seeking to save our civilization from the next major asteroid impact? (World Premiere)
God Bless the Child Directors: Robert Machoian, Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, Screenwriter: Robert Machoian After their mother leaves at dawn, Harper, 13, spends the day looking after her four younger brothers, uncertain whether or not her mother will return. Cast: Harper Graham, Elias Graham, Arri Graham, Ezra Graham, Jonah Graham (World Premiere)
Honeytrap (UK) Director/Screenwriter: Rebecca Johnson Honeytrap is a tragic teen romance, set in London and inspired by true events. It tells the story of 15 year old Layla, who sets up the boy in love with her to be killed. Cast: Jessica Sula, Lucien Laviscount, Ntonga Mwanza, Naomi Ryan, Danielle Vitalis, Lauren Johns, Savannah Gordon-Liburd, Tosin Cole (North American Premiere)
Just Jim (UK) Director/Screenwriter: Craig Roberts In a small town where people talk to themselves we meet Jim. Sixteen,mediocre looking and frankly quite boring. Things change dramatically when Dean moves in next door. They quickly become friends and set on a journey together to help Jim come of age. Cast: Emile Hirsch, Craig Roberts (World Premiere)
Naz & Maalik Director/Screenwriter: Jay Dockendorf Two closeted Muslim teens have their Friday afternoon ruined by FBI surveillance when their secretive behavior and small-time scheming start to look like fledgling steps toward violent radicalism. Cast: Curtiss Cook Jr., Kerwin Johnson Jr., Annie Grier, Anderson Footman, Bradley Custer, Ashleigh Awusie (World Premiere)
Nina Forever (UK) Directors/Screenwriters: Chris Blaine, Ben Blaine A fucked up fairy tale. Holly loves Rob and tries to help him through his grief - even if it means contending with his dead girlfriend Nina, who comes back, bloody and broken, every time they make love. Cast: Abigail Hardingham, Cian Barry, Fiona O'Shaughnessy, Elizabeth Elvin, David Troughton (World Premiere)
The Nymphets Director/Screenwriter: Gary Gardner A well-to-do 30-something man invites two rowdy young girls to party in his loft, leading to a night of provocation and cruelty, all in the name of getting laid. Cast: Kip Pardue, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Jordan Lane Price, Paulina Singer (World Premiere)
One & Two Director: Andrew Droz Palermo, Screenwriters: Andrew Droz Palermo, Neima Shahdadi Two siblings discover a supernatural escape from a troubled home, but find their bond tested when reality threatens to tear their family apart. Cast: Kiernan Shipka, Timothee Chalamet, Elizabeth Reaser, Grant Bowler (World Premiere)
Petting Zoo (Germany/USA/Greece) Director/Screenwriter: Micah Magee A story of love, sex and teen pregnancy in San Antonio, Texas. Petting Zoo is the portrait of a young woman coming into her own, in an environment that does not always present ideal circumstances. Cast: Devon Keller, Austin Reed, Deztiny Gonzales, Kiowa Tucker (North American Premiere)
Planetary (UK/USA) Director: Guy Reid, Screenwriter: Steve Watts Kennedy A contemplative exploration into what it means to live on Earth, the roots of our current crises, and the change in perspective that could transform our shared future. (World Premiere)
Sailing A Sinking Sea Director: Olivia Wyatt Sailing a Sinking Sea is a feature-length experimental documentary exploring the culture of one of the smallest ethnic minority groups in Asia, the Moken of Thailand and Burma. (World Premiere)
Uncle Kent 2 Director: Todd Rohal, Screenwriter: Kent Osborne In a desperate search to create a follow-up to Joe Swanberg's 2011 film Uncle Kent, Kent Osborne travels to a comic convention where he confronts the end of the world. Cast: Kent Osborne, Kate Herman, Lyndsay Hailey, Jennifer Prediger, Steve Little, Joe Swanberg (World Premiere)
Unfriended Director: Leo Gabriadze, Screenwriter: Nelson Greaves Ushering in a new era of horror, Universal Pictures’ Unfriended unfolds over a teenager’s computer screen as she and her friends are stalked by an unseen figure who seeks vengeance. Cast: Shelley Hennig, Moses Jacob Storm, Renee Olstead, Will Peltz, Jacob Wysocki, Courtney Halverson, Heather Sossaman (U.S. Premiere)
A Wonderful Cloud Director/Screenwriter: Eugene Kotlyarenko When Eugene’s ex-GF Katelyn lands in LA to disband their business, the two of them must negotiate between past tensions and future possibilities, in this raw bittersweet rom-com that walks the line between fiction and reality. Cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Eugene Kotlyarenko, John Ennis, Vishwam Velandy, Rachel Lord, Lauren Avery, Elisha Drons, Niko Karamyan, Tierney Finster, Mikki Olson (World Premiere)
EPISODICS Featuring innovative new work aimed squarely at the small screen, Episodic tunes in to the explosion of exciting material on non-theatrical platforms, including serialized TV, webisodes and beyond.
Angie Tribeca Director: Steve Carell, Screenwriters: Steve Carell, Nancy Carell From the minds of Steve & Nancy Carell comes the new TBS comedy Angie Tribeca, a wildly satirical take on police procedurals starring Rashida Jones, Hayes MacArthur, Jere Burns, Deon Cole and Andree Vermeulen. Cast: Rashida Jones, Hayes MacArthur, Deon Cole, Andree Vermeulen, Jere Burns (World Premiere)
The Comedians Director: Larry Charles Pilot Written by Ben Wexler, Matt Nix, Larry Charles, Billy Crystal Episode Two Written By: Ben Wexler In FX’s The Comedians, Billy Crystal plays a comedy legend who is reluctantly paired with Josh Gad, an edgier up-and-coming star, in an unfiltered, behind-the-scenes look at a fictional late night sketch comedy show where egos and generations collide. Cast: Billy Crystal, Josh Gad (World Premiere)
iZOMBIE Director: Rob Thomas, Screenwriters: Rob Thomas, Diane Ruggiero-Wright From Rob Thomas and based on the comic book, the CW Network’s iZOMBIE centers on Olivia “Liv” Moore, a bright young woman who’s also a newly turned zombie. She clings to her humanity by working in the city morgue and helping the police investigate unsolved murders. Cast: Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley, David Anders (World Premiere)
Mr. Robot Director: Sam Esmail Mr. Robot is a psychological thriller about a young programmer who works as a cyber-security engineer by day and a vigilante hacker by night. The USA Network series stars Rami Malek (24) and Christian Slater (Adderall Diaries). Cast: Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday, Carly Chaikin (World Premiere)
UnREAL Director: Peter O’Fallon, Screenwriters: Marti Noxon, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro From Co-Creators Marti Noxon (Mad Men) and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro (Sequin Raze), Lifetime’s highly-anticipated scripted series UnREAL is a provocative drama that gives a fictitious behind-the-scenes glimpse into the chaos surrounding the production of a dating competition program. Cast: Shiri Appleby, Constance Zimmer, Craig Bierko, Freddie Stroma (World Premiere)
24 BEATS PER SECOND Showcasing the sounds, culture & influence of music & musicians, with an emphasis on documentary. New for 2015: Open to Music badgeholders.
808 (UK) Director: Alexander Dunn, Screenwriters: Alexander Dunn, Luke Bainbridge The heart of the beat that changed music. (World Premiere)
All Things Must Pass Director: Colin Hanks, Screenwriter: Steven Leckart All Things Must Pass is a feature documentary that explores the rise and fall of Tower Records, and the legacy forged by its rebellious founder, Russ Solomon. (World Premiere)
THE DAMNED: Don't You Wish That We Were Dead Director: Wes Orshoski From Lemmy filmmaker Wes Orshoski comes the story of the long-ignored pioneers of punk, The Damned. (World Premiere)
Danny Says Director: Brendan Toller Danny Says is a documentary unveiling the amazing journey of Danny Fields. Fields has played a pivotal role in music and culture with seminal acts including: the Doors, the Velvet Underground, the Stooges, MC5, Nico, the Ramones and beyond. (World Premiere)
Dominguinhos (Brazil) Directors: Joaquim Castro, Eduardo Nazarian, Screenwriter: Di Moretti Dominguinhos reveals this genius of Brazilian music, creator of a deeply authentic, universal and contemporary work. The film values the sensory cinematic experience, a journey driven by Dominguinhos himself. (U.S. Premiere)
The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson (UK) Director/Screenwriter: Julien Temple The most extraordinary rock 'n' roll story of recent times. A legendary musician diagnosed with incurable cancer who managed to defy his death sentence. (World Premiere)
Gloria (Mexico) Director: Christian Keller, Screenwriter: Sabina Berman A bold and compelling tale of ambition, betrayal and redemption, Gloria, based on a true story, chronicles the life of international pop star Gloria Trevi, the “Mexican Madonna.” Cast: Sofía Espinosa, Marco Pérez, Tatiana Del Real, Ximena Romo (U.S. Premiere)
Hot Sugar's Cold World Director: Adam Bhala Lough After a very public break-up with his internet-famous girlfriend, Nick Koenig (aka Hot Sugar) - a brilliant young musician - takes a magical journey around the world to find new sounds for his album, and find himself. (World Premiere)
JACO Directors: Paul Marchand, Stephen Kijak, Screenwriters: Paul Marchand, Robert Trujillo JACO tells the story of Jaco Pastorius, a self-taught, larger-than-life musician who changed the course of modern music. Never-before-seen archive unveils the story of Jaco’s life, his music, his demise, and the lasting victory of artistic genius. (World Premiere)
The Jones Family Will Make a Way Director/Screenwriter: Alan Berg A rural, Pentecostal preacher and a jaded rock critic form an unlikely alliance that pushes them both in unexpected ways. (World Premiere)
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck Director/Screenwriter: Brett Morgen Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck is a raw and visceral journey through Kurt Cobain’s life and his career with Nirvana through the lens of his home movies, recordings, artwork, photography, and journals.
Landfill Harmonic Directors: Brad Allgood, Graham Townsley Landfill Harmonic follows the Recycled Orchestra, a youth group that plays instruments made entirely from trash. When their story goes viral, they are catapulted into the world spotlight. However, a recent event could present their biggest challenge. (World Premiere)
Made in Japan (USA, Japan) Director/Screenwriter: Josh Bishop Made in Japan is the remarkable story of Tomi Fujiyama, the world’s ﬁrst Japanese country music superstar. It is a funny yet poignant multi-cultural journey through music, marriage, and the impact of the corporate world on the dreams of one woman. (World Premiere)
Mavis! Director: Jessica Edwards Her family group, the Staple Singers, inspired millions and helped propel the civil rights movement with their music. After 60 years of performing, legendary singer Mavis Staples’ message of love and equality is needed now more than ever. (World Premiere)
A Poem Is A Naked Person Director: Les Blank A time capsule of Les Blank's take on Oklahoma in 1974 about Leon Russell and his band, with Willie Nelson, George Jones, and some amazing eccentric characters. At least two major critics have declared it the best film ever made on Rock and Roll. (World Premiere)
Sir Doug and the Honkey Texas Cosmic Groove Director: Joe Nick Patoski, Screenwriters: Joe Nick Patoski, Jason Wehling Wild hippie cowboy musician with too much music inside, takes his talent from San Antonio to San Francisco to Austin and the world. (World Premiere)
Theory of Obscurity: a film about The Residents Director/Screenwriter: Don Hardy Theory of Obscurity tells the story of the renegade sound and video collective The Residents. A story that spans over 40 years and is clouded in mystery. Many details surrounding the group are secret, including the identities of its members.(World Premiere)
They Will Have To Kill Us First (UK) Director: Johanna Schwartz, Screenwriters: Johanna Schwartz, Andy Morgan Islamic extremists have banned music in Mali, but its world-class musicians won’t give up without a fight. From conflict, to exile, to homecoming, this film follows the story of Mali’s musicians as they fight for their right to sing. (World Premiere)
We Like It Like That Director: Mathew Ramirez Warren We Like It Like That tells the story of Latin boogaloo, a colorful expression of 1960s New York City Latino soul. From its origins to its recent resurgence, it’s the story of a sound that redefined a generation and was too funky to keep down. (World Premiere)
Y/OUR MUSIC (Thailand/UK) Directors: David Reeve, Waraluck Hiransrettawat Every The sounds of Thailand from ricefield to leftfield. (North American Premiere)
SXGLOBAL A diverse selection of International filmmaking talent, featuring innovative narratives, artful documentaries, premieres, festival favorites and more.
15 Corners of the World (Poland) Director/Screenwriter: Zuzanna Solakiewicz Imagine the sound that can be touched and seen by each of us. You can see unknown corners of the world. Just let your eyes follow your ears. (U.S. Premiere)
The Avian Kind (South Korea) Director/Screenwriter: Shin Yeon-Shick A novelist's search for his wife, who disappeared from view 15 years ago. Cast: KIM Jeong-Suk, Soy KIM, JUNG Han-Bi (North American Premiere)
The Ceremony (Sweden) Director/Screenwriter: Lina Mannheimer France's most famous dominatrix, two close friends and two lovers share their innermost thoughts about love, friendship, dominance and submission - as we meet the unusual and fascinating author Catherine Robbe-Grillet and her inner circle. (North American Premiere)
Free Entry (Hungary) Director/Screenwriter: Yvonne Kerékgyártó Free Entry is an adventurous journey to adulthood as two 16-year-old girls risk their first steps towards independence, in different ways at the biggest international summer festival of Hungary. Cast: Luca Pusztai, Ágnes Barta, Péter Sándor, Róbert Kardos, Ádám Kovács, Barnabás Janka, Tibor Szolár, Anna Nemes, Katica Nagy (North American Premiere)
Good Things Await (Denmark) Director: Phie Ambo, Screenwriters: Phie Ambo, Maggie Olkuska Niels is one of the last idealistic farmers in the agricultural country of Denmark. But Niels’ ways of farming in accordance with the planets and the primal instincts of the animals are not too popular with the authorities. (U.S. Premiere)
Invasion Director: Abner Benaim Invasion documents the US military siege of Panama that ousted dictator Noriega 25 years ago while wreaking untold collateral damage. It sets out to shatter the willful amnesia of a country all too eager to bury its troubled past.
Limbo (Germany) Director/Screenwriter: Anna Sofie Hartmann A small town on the outskirts of Denmark. Two women - a teenage girl and her schoolteacher - build a strange connection that transforms both of them. A subtle, beautiful, personal film on the state of youth and the uncertainty of being. Cast: Annika Nuka Mathiassen, Sofía Nolsøe (North American Premiere)
Monte Adentro (Colombia/Argentina) Director/Screenwriter: Nicolás Macario Alonso Monte Adentro explores the universe of one of the last muleteer families in Colombia and follows the lives and mule train of two brothers as they get together for an epic mule driving journey to the highest peaks of the Andes. (North American Premiere)
FESTIVAL FAVORITES Acclaimed standouts & selected previous premieres from festivals around the world.
Adult Beginners (US Premiere) Director: Ross Katz, Screenplay: Jeff Cox, Elizabeth Flahive Cast: Rose Byrne, Nick Kroll, Bobby Cannavale Out of a job after a disastrous product launch, a big-city yuppie retreats to his suburban childhood home, in this heart-warming and hilarious film about crashing hard, coming home and waking up. Cast: Nick Kroll, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Joel McHale (U.S. Premiere)
Being Evel Director: Daniel Junge, Screenwriters: Daniel Junge, Davis Coombe Millions know the man; few know his story. Academy Award-winning director Daniel Junge and producer Johnny Knoxville take a candid look at American daredevil Evel Knievel, while reflecting on our voracious public appetite for heroes and spectacle. * SXsports screening
Best of Enemies Directors: Morgan Neville, Robert Gordon Best of Enemies is a behind-the-scenes account of the explosive 1968 televised debates between the liberal Gore Vidal and the conservative William F. Buckley Jr., and their rancorous disagreements about politics, God, and sex.
City of Gold Director: Laura Gabbert City of Gold is a documentary portrait that takes us into Jonathan Gold’s universe to tell the improbable story of a revolution inspired by the pen, but driven by the palate.
Entertainment Director: Rick Alverson, Screenwriters: Rick Alverson, Gregg Turkington En route to meet his estranged daughter and attempt to revive his dwindling career, a broken, aging comedian plays a string of dead-end shows in the Mojave desert. Cast: Gregg Turkington, John C. Reilly, Tye Sheridan
Finders Keepers Directors: Bryan Carberry, Clay Tweel Finders Keepers follows recovering addict and amputee John Wood in his stranger-than-fiction battle to reclaim his mummified leg from Southern entrepreneur Shannon Whisnant, who found it in a grill he bought at an auction.
Heaven Knows What Directors: Joshua Safdie, Benny Safdie, Screenwriters: Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie Cast: Arielle Holmes, Caleb Landry Jones, Buddy Duress, Necro The latest from acclaimed sibling directors Josh and Benny Safdie (Daddy Longlegs) blends fiction, formalism and raw documentary as it follows a young heroin addict who finds mad love in the streets of New York.
The Last Man on the Moon (UK) Director: Mark Craig One man's part in mankind's greatest adventure... (North American Premiere)
The Look of Silence (Denmark/Indonesia/Norway/Finland/UK) Director: Joshua Oppenheimer Director Joshua Oppenheimer's follow-up to the earth-shattering, Academy Award® nominated The Act of Killing.
Lost River Director/Screenwriter: Ryan Gosling A family tries to hold on to their home in the ruins of a disappearing city. Cast: Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker, Saoirse Ronan, Matt Smith, Reda Kateb, Barbara Stele, Eva Mendes, Ben Mendelsohn (US Premiere)
Ned Rifle Director/Screenwriter: Hal Hartley Ned Rifle is the third and final chapter of Hal Hartley's tragicomic epic begun with Henry Fool (1998) and continued with Fay Grim (2007). In this swiftly paced and expansive conclusion, Henry and Fay's son, Ned, sets out to find and kill his father. Cast: Liam Aiken, Martin Donovan, Aubrey Plaza, Parker Posey, Thomas Jay Ryan, James Urbaniak, Robert John Burke, Bill Sage, Karen Sillas (US Premiere)
The Overnight Director/Screenwriter: Patrick Brice Two families meet at the park and set up a playdate that has unexpected outcomes for all. Cast: Adam Scott, Jason Schwartzman, Taylor Schilling, Judith Godrèche
Results Director/Screenwriter: Andrew Bujalski A take on self improvement culture in America - with all it's promise and absurdity - stuffed into a peculiar romantic comedy. Cast: Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Kevin Corrigan, Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Michael Hall, Brooklyn Decker, Constance Zimmer * SXsports screening
Salt of the Earth (France) Director: Wim Wenders, Juliano Riberio Salgado, Screenwriters: Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, Wim Wenders For the last 40 years, photographer Sebastião Salgado has been travelling through the continents, in the footsteps of an ever-changing humanity. He is now embarking on the discovery of pristine territories, which is a tribute to the planet’s beauty.
Unexpected Director: Kris Swanberg, Screenwriters: Kris Swanberg, Megan Mercier An inner-city high school teacher discovers she is pregnant at the same time as one of her most promising students and the two develop an unlikely friendship while struggling to navigate their unexpected pregnancies. Cast: Cobie Smulders, Anders Holm, Gail Bean, Elizabeth McGovern
The Visit (Denmark/Austria/Ireland/Finland/Norway) Director/Screenwriter: Michael Madsen This film documents an event that has never taken place – man’s first encounter with intelligent life from space.
Welcome to Leith Directors: Michael Beach Nichols, Christopher K. Walker A white supremacist attempts to take over a small town in North Dakota.
Western Directors: Bill Ross, Turner Ross For generations, all that distinguished Eagle Pass, Texas, from Piedras Negras, Mexico, was the Rio Grande. But when darkness descends upon these harmonious border towns, a cowboy and lawman face a new reality that threatens their way of life.
SPECIAL EVENTS Experiential cinema, cult re-issues & much more. Our Special Events section offers unusual, unexpected & unique one-off film events.
7 Days In Hell Director: Jake Szymanski, Screenwriter: Murray Miller A fictional documentary-style expose on the rivalry between two tennis stars who battled it out in a 1999 match that lasted seven days. Cast: Andy Samberg, Kit Harrington, Michael Sheen, Will Forte, Lena Dunham, Fred Armisen, Mary Steenburgen, Karen Gillan, John McEnroe, Serena Williams (World Premiere) * SXsports screening
Doug Benson & Master Pancake interrupt Leprechaun 3 (1995) Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith “The directness with which this movie went to video is apparent in nearly every single element.” Tim Brayton, Antagony and Ecstasy. Cast: Warwick Davis, John Gatins, Lee Armstrong
Jonathan Demme Presents Made In Texas Directors: Louis Black, Mark Rance The restoration of six films made in Austin in the early 1980s including David Boone's Invasion of the Aluminum People. The program was originally curated by Jonathan Demme and presented at the Collective for Living Cinema in NYC. (World Premiere)
The Road Warrior (Australia) Director: George Miller, Screenwriters: Terry Hayes, George Miller In the post-apocalypse future, where humans fight over the few remaining stores of gasoline, Mad Max offers to drive a tanker through a gauntlet of psychos to safety on the coast. Special Q&A to follow with George Miller. Cast: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Virginia Hey, Emil Minty, Kjell Nilsson, Max Phipps, Vernon Wells, David Slingsby, Steve J. Spears
A Space Program Director: Van Neistat, Screenwriters: Van Neistat, Tom Sachs The artist Tom Sachs and his team of bricoleurs build a handmade space program and send two female astronauts to Mars. Cast: Sam Ratanarat, Mary Eannarino, Tom Sachs, Evan Murphy, Chris Beeston, Pat McCarthy, Nick Doyle, Kevin Hand, Jeff Lurie, Jared Vandeusen (World Premiere)
Trainwreck Director: Judd Apatow, Screenwriter: Amy Schumer Blockbuster filmmaker Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, This Is 40) directs Universal Pictures’ Trainwreck, starring breakout comedic actress Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer). Cast: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, Vanessa Bayer, Tilda Swinton, Lebron James, John Cena (Debut of a Work in Progress)
Vertical Cinema Director: Sonic Acts Vertical Cinema is a series of ten newly commissioned large-scale works by experimental filmmakers and audiovisual artists, which are presented on 35mm celluloid and projected vertically with a custom-built projector. (North American Premiere)
An earlier version of this piece stated that "GTFO" was solely about Gamergate.