Soderbergh Pic Preems At Southwest Arts Confab

Premieres of Steven Soderbergh’s “The Underneath,” a neo-film noir pic starring Peter Gallagher, and Ken Henkel’s “The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre” will highlight the second annual South By Southwest Film & Media Conference that runs through March 18 in Austin, Texas.

The nine-day event, an offshoot of the long-running South by Southwest Music & Media Conference, also will feature an opening weekend of panels and workshops on various aspects of independent filmmaking. Among the filmmakers slated to attend are John Sayles, Richard Linklater, Les Blank, Eagle Pennell and Gregg Araki.

After last year’s inaugural event, “A lot of people who took part… went back home and spread the good word,” SXSW film coordinator Nancy Schafer said. “They told all their friends in Los Angeles or New York or wherever that Austin’s the place to be. You can do anything you want to within a 10-day period. You can see movies, you can attend panels and workshops – and you can party.”

The 1995 conference will present regional premieres of James Gray’s “Little Odessa,” Hal Hartley’s “Amateur,” Maria Maggenti’s “The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love” Sara Driver’s “When Pigs Fly,” Lodge Kerrigan’s “Clean, Shaven” and Scott Kalvert’s “The Basketball Diaries.”

Documentaries on the program include Don Was’ “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times,” a biographical sketch of Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson; George Ratliff s “Plutonium Circus,” a seriocomic study of an Arizona plant where nuclear weapons are dismantled; and Morgan Neville’s “Shotgun Freeway,” an examination of the highways and byways of L.A.

Several pix by Texas filmmakers also will be screened during the conference. Stephen and Ari Sheinkin’s “A More Perfect Union,” the opening night film, is a small-budget comedy-drama about four Austin college students who plot to secede from the U.S. and form their own nation.

Other Texas movies in the lineup include Michael Hovis’ “The Man With the Perfect Swing” and Kyle Henry’s “Pop Love.”

As a special sidebar event, the conference will present a retrospective of films directed by the late Luis Bunuel on location in Mexico.

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