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SXSW Opening With Russell Brand Documentary

South by Southwest has set the world premiere of Ondi Timoner’s Russell Brand documentary “Brand: A Second Coming” as its opening-night film on March 13.

SXSW also announced half a dozen titles for its lineup — Michael Showalter’s comedy “Hello, My Name Is Doris,” starring Sally Field; Karyn Kusama’s thriller “The Invitation”; Jessica Edwards’ Mavis Staples documentary “Mavis!”; Grantland Features’ first film “Son of the Congo,” following NBA star Serge Ibaka’s return to his homeland; Sara Hirsh Bordo’s documentary “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story”; and the North American premiere of Alex Garland’s directorial debut “Ex Machina,” starring Oscar Isaac.

“Firebrand Ondi Timoner’s bold and lively documentary on Russell Brand knocked us out with its humor, insight and raw energy, pulling back the curtain on a truly passionate figure as he grapples with fame, influence and where we are as a 21st century society,” said SXSW head of film Janet Pierson. “We are thrilled for the film to kick off our event and excited to see our audiences embrace it with the same enthusiasm that shines out of Brand himself.”

In recent years, Brand has shifted his focus from entertainment to serious issues and called for “revolution.” He launched the YouTube series “The Trews: True News with Russell Brand” last February.

The complete SXSW festival lineup will be announced Feb. 3 with the exception of Midnighter features, which will be revealed with the Short Film Program on Feb. 10.

Last year’s festival opened with the world premiere of Jon Favreau’s comedy “Chef.”

SXSW, which is in its 22nd year, will run March 13-21 in Austin, Texas.

Garland’s “Ex Machina” also stars Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander. A24 is releasing the film in the U.S. on April 10.

“Hello, My Name is Doris” will receive its world premiere at SXSW. Showalter directed from a script he wrote with Laura Terruso about an isolated 60-year-old woman motivated by a self-help seminar to romantically pursue a younger coworker. Max Greenfield and Beth Behrs star with Field.

“The Invitation” is also making its world premiere. Kusama directed from a script by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi in which a reunion of old friends turns into a nightmare when one guest, a haunted man whose ex-wife is among the hosts, begins to fear that the night is part of a terrifying agenda. The cast includes Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman, Emayatzy Corinealdi and Lindsay Burdge.

 

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