Veronica Mars

Film festival runs March 7-16 in Austin, TX

The world premiere of Jon Favreau’s comedy “Chef” has been selected as the opening night film for the 21st South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival on March 7 in Austin, Texas.

The festival also announced Thursday it will screen Rob Thomas’ “Veronica Mars,” the Kickstarter-funded film that stars Kristen Bell as the TV show’s heroine being pulled back to her hometown to unravel a murder mystery. SXSW, which runs from March 7 to 16, has not set a date for screening “Veronica Mars,” which Warner Bros. has set for a March 14 launch in theaters.

The selection of a comedy like “Chef” — which will be released by Open Road on May 9 — is typical for SXSW, which tapped “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” as its opening night film last year.

“Jon Favreau’s wonderfully entertaining return to independent filmmaking works beautifully as our 2014 opening night film, with his sharp and funny take on the world of food, artistry, and family in the age of social media,“ said Janet Pierson, head of SXSW film.

Favreau directed “Chef” from his own screenplay and will star along with Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo and Robert Downey, Jr. Favreau portrays a chef who loses his job and goes into the food truck business in hopes of reestablishing his artistic promise while trying to reconnect with his estranged family.

The “Veronica Mars” TV series ran for three seasons from 2004 to 2007 and the Kickstarter campaign to fund production of the film raised $5.7 million from 91,585 fans — the third largest amount ever raised through the crowdfunding platform.

SXSW also revealed five other screenings in its Thursday announcement: Fox’s “Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey,” a relaunch of the 1980 television miniseries from Carl Sagan, with a Q&A with host Neil deGrasse Tyson; Christian Larson’s “Leave the World Behind,” a documentary on Swedish House Mafia; “Creep,” a thriller starring Mark Duplass; first-time feature director Jay Karas’ “Break Point,” a tennis comedy; and “Doc of the Dead,” a look at zombie culture, directed by Alexandre O. Philippe.

The complete festival lineup will be announced Jan. 30 except the Midnighter features, which will be announced with the short film lineup on Feb. 5.

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