Neighbors Zac Efron Seth Rogan

New episodic section features shows from Robert Rodriguez, Mike Judge

The South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival has announced its full features lineup, including a new episodic section highlighting the influence of smallscreen programming.

Five films will headline SXSW, including Universal’s work-in-progress comedy “Neighbors” with Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, David Gordon Green’s Nicolas Cage starrer “Joe” and previously announced pics “Chef,” directed by and starring Jon Favreau and the crowd-funded “Veronica Mars.”

The episodic section will debut six shows destined for the smallscreen, both for television and online, including Robert Rodriguez’s “From Dusk Till Dawn” series. Last year, the festival premiered the pilot of A&E’s “Bates Motel,” while the year before it debuted the first three episodes of Lena Dunham’s “Girls.”

The smallscreen programming sidebar joins a hefty selection competition entries, higher-profile Spotlight titles, experimental-flavored entries in the Visions section and Global titles.

The fest’s juried competition includes eight titles each in docu and narrative sections, with narrative titles including “Before I Disappear,” based on the Oscar-winning short “Curfew,” “10,000KM,” “Animals,” “Fort Tilden,” “The Heart Machine,” “I Believe in Unicorns,” “The Mend” and “Wild Canaries.”

“We had to pull back on the number of films this year,” said Janet Pierson, who is responsible for the vision, programming, and execution of SXSW, seeing as one of the screening venues is under construction. That forced the SXSW programming team to be pickier, despite the fact that the submission numbers are up 14% over last year.

Some themes emerged early on, according to Pierson. Just as last year featured a number of LGBT-focused films, this year there are five time travel centric sci-fi films, “Predestination,” an Australian submission starring Ethan Hawke, “The Infinite Man,” “Space Station 76,” starring Matt Bomer and Liv Tyler, “Premature,” and the post-apocalyptic “The Desert.” Likewise, a number of environmentally focused films emerged from the submissions. Those include, “The Great Invisible,” “DamNation,” “Above All Else,” “Seeds of Time,” “Song from the Forest.”

“Our job is to embrace both the convergence and the madness,” Pierson said, referring to the expanding nature of the festival. She admits that with greater numbers comes less intimacy, something she and her team worked to carve out with filmmaker happy hours and a greater range of panels. “Every year we also wonder, is this the year we are going to implode?,” she added.

Below, the complete list of headlining films, narrative spotlight features and the newly introduced episodic section. The complete program is on SXSW’s website.

HEADLINERS

“Chef”

Director/Screenwriter: Jon Favreau; Cast: Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman,Oliver Platt, Robert Downey, Jr., Emjay Anthony (World Premiere)

“Joe”

Director: David Gordon Green, Screenwriters: Larry Brown, Gary Hawkins; Cast: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan (U.S. Premiere)

“Neighbors”

Director: Nicholas Stoller, Screenwriters: Andrew J. Cohen, Brendan O’Brien; Cast: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz, Lisa Kudrow (Worldwide Debut – work-in-progress)

“Predestination” (Australia)

Directors/Screenwriters: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig; Cast: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor (World Premiere)

“Veronica Mars”

Director/Screenwriter: Rob Thomas, Screenwriter: Diane Ruggiero; Cast: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Krysten Ritter, Ryan Hansen, Enrico Colantoni (World Premiere)

Episodic: premieres of new work for non-theatrical platforms, including serialized TV, webisodes and beyond.

“Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey”

Directors: Brannon Braga, Bill Pope, Screenwriters: Ann Druyan, Steven Soter, Narrator: Neil deGrasse Tyson

“Deadbeat”

Director: Troy Miller, Written And Co-Created By: Cody Heller, Brett Konner; Cast: Tyler Labine, Cat Deeley, Brandon T. Jackson, Lucy DeVito (World Premiere)

“From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series” 

Director/Screenwriter: Robert Rodriguez; Cast: D.J. Cotrona, Zane Holtz, Eiza González, Jesse Garcia, Lane Garrison, and Wilmer Valderrama and Don Johnson (World Premiere)

“Halt and Catch Fire”

Director: Juan Jose Campanella, Screenwriters: Christopher Cantwell, Christopher C. Rogers

Penny Dreadful” (USA / UK)

Directors: John Logan, Juan Antonio Bayona, Screenwriter: John Logan; Cast: Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Reeve Carney, Rory Kinnear, Billie Piper, Danny Sapani, Harry Treadaway (World Premiere)

“Silicon Valley”

Director: Mike Judge, Created By: Mike Judge & John Altschuler & Dave Krinsky; Cast: Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Zach Woods, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr, Josh Brener, Christopher Evan Welch, Amanda Crew, Matt Ross (World Premiere)

NARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT:  World, North American or U.S. Premieres

“Break Point”

Director: Jay Karas, Screenwriters: Gene Hong, Jeremy Sisto; Cast: Jeremy Sisto, David Walton, Joshua Rush, J.K. Simmons, Amy Smart (World Premiere)

“Cesar Chavez”

Director: Diego Luna; Cast: Rosario Dawson, John Malkovich, Michael Pena, America Ferrera, Gabriel
Mann (North American Premiere)

“Faults”

Director/Screenwriter: Riley Stearns; Cast: Leland Orser, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Chris Ellis, Lance Reddick, Jon Gries (World Premiere)

“The Frontier”

Director/Screenwriter: Matt Rabinowitz, Screenwriter: Carlos Colungu; Cast: Max Gail, Coleman Kelly, Anastassia Sendyk, Katherine Cortez, Oliver Seitz (World Premiere)

“Kelly & Cal”

Director: Jen McGowan, Screenwriter: Amy Lowe Starbin; Cast: Juliette Lewis, Jonny Weston, Josh Hopkins, Cybil Shepherd (World Premiere)

“The Mule” (Australia)

Directors: Angus Sampson, Tony Mahony, Screenwriters: Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson; Cast: Hugo Weaving, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Ewen Leslie, Geoff Morrell, Georgina Haig, Noni
Hazlehurst, John Noble (World Premiere)

“A Night In Old Mexico” (USA / Spain)

Director: Emilio Aragón, Screenwriter: William D. Wittliff; Cast: Robert Duvall, Jeremy Irvine, Angie Cepeda, Luis Tosar, Joaquín Cosio (World Premiere)

“Patrick’s Day” (Ireland)

Director/Screenwriter: Terry McMahon; Cast: Kerry Fox, Moe Dunford, Catherine Walker, Philip Jackson (World Premiere)

“Sequoia”

Director: Andy Landen, Screenwriter: Andrew Rothschild; Cast: Aly Michalka, Dustin Milligan, Todd Lowe, Demetri Martin, Sophi Bairley (World Premiere)

“She’s Lost Control”

Director/Screenwriter: Anja Marquardt; Cast: Brooke Bloom, Marc Menchaca, Dennis Boutsikaris, Laila (North American Premiere)

“Take Care”

Director/Screenwriter: Liz Tuccillo; Cast: Leslie Bibb, Thomas Sadoski, Betty Gilpin, Michael Stahl David, Nadia Dajani (World Premiere)

“Thank You a Lot”

Director/Screenwriter: Matt Muir; Cast: Blake DeLong, James Hand, Robyn Rikoon, Sonny Carl Davis, Jeffery Da’Shade Johnson (World Premiere)

“Things People Do”

Director: Saar Klein, Screenwriters: Joe Conway, Saar Klein; Cast: Wes Bentley, Jason Isaacs, Vinessa Shaw, Haley Bennett (North American Premiere)

“Two Step”

Director/Screenwriter: Alex R. Johnson; Cast: Beth Broderick, James Landry Hébert, Skyy Moore, Jason Douglas, Ashley Rae Spillers (World Premiere)

“We’ll Never Have Paris”

Directors: Jocelyn Towne, Simon Helberg, Screenwriter: Simon Helberg; Cast: Simon Helberg, Maggie Grace, Melanie Lynskey, Alfred Molina, Zachary Quinto, Jason Ritter (World Premiere)

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