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SXSW Film Festival Announces 2017 Lineup

The world premieres of Ansel Elgort’s “Baby Driver” and Bill Pullman’s “The Ballad of Lefty Brown” highlight the features lineup at the upcoming South by Southwest Film Festival.

Edgar Wright directed Sony’s “Baby Driver,” which stars Elgort as a getaway driver. Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx also star. Pullman plays a sidekick who must deal with the death of Peter Fonda’s character in the Western “Lefty Brown.”

Brie Larson’s “Free Fire,” Melissa Leo’s “Most Hated Woman in America,” Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s “Small Crimes,” Jake Johnson’s “Win It All,” Josh Duhamel’s “This Is Your Death” and Lena Olin’s “A Critically Endangered Species” are among the other most high-profile titles unveiled Tuesday.

The festival, now in its 24th year, opens March 10 in Austin, Texas, with the previously announced world premiere of Terence Malick’s “Song to Song,” starring Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, and Natalie Portman. The film is a modern love story set against the Austin music scene.

Richard Linklater’s “Everyboy Wants Some!!” was the opening night film last year. Russell Brand documentary “Brand: A Second Coming” was the 2015 opener.

The nine-day festival will include 125 features, with the Midnighters section and a few other additional titles yet to be announced on Feb. 7. The full lineup will include 51 films from first-time filmmakers and 85 world premieres. Films were selected from 2,432 feature-length film submissions, with a total of 7,651 films submitted this year.

 “It’s exciting for us to unveil the talent reflected in this year’s line up,” said Director of Film Janet Pierson. “We intentionally curate a wide-ranging program reflecting unique and new voices that examine, explore, and celebrate the creative process, the cultural zeitgeist, and glimpses of the universal through deeply personal stories. Whether genre, big crowd pleasers, quiet meditations, hard hitting docs, or microbudget indies, we can’t wait to share these films with our smart, passionate audiences.”

Pierson noted that seven of the 10 films in the narrative feature competition are either directed or co-directed by women.

“That was not by design,” she added. “That’s just how it worked out. We’re always looking for new voices and high-quality filmmaking.”

The 2017 SXSW Film Festival will include:

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

“A Bad Idea Gone Wrong”

Director/Screenwriter: Jason Headley

Two would-be thieves forge a surprising relationship with with an unexpected housesitter when they accidentally trap themselves in a house they just broke into. Cast: Matt Jones, Eleanore Pienta, Will Rogers, Jonny Mars, Sam Eidson, Jennymarie Jemison (World Premiere)

“A Critically Endangered Species” (Poland, United States)

Directors/Screenwriters: Zachary Cotler, Magdalena Zyzak

An internationally respected poet announces she is going to kill herself and needs an heir and executor. Young writers drive up the mountain to compete for the position and are challenged intellectually, emotionally, and erotically. Cast: Lena Olin, Rosanna Arquette, Jordan Gavaris, Alexander Koch, Nathan Keyes, Chris Voss (World Premiere)

“Dara Ju”

Director/Screenwriter: Anthony Onah

A young Nigerian-American financier struggles with love, family, and a prescription drug dependency as his ambitions steer him down a criminal path. Cast: Aml Ameen, Lucy Griffiths, Michael Hyatt, Peter Vack, Hope Olaidé Wilson, Souléymane Sy Savané, Craig muMs Grant, Bill Sage (World Premiere)

“Fits and Starts”

Director/Screenwriter: Laura Terruso

A struggling writer can’t seem to escape his wife’s literary success. When a road trip to a publisher’s salon takes an unexpected turn, he has to face his own creative shortcomings and find a way to regain control of his life and work. Cast: Wyatt Cenac, Greta Lee, Maria Dizzia, Alex Karpovsky, Ben Sinclair, Onur Turkel, John Rothman, Louis Cancelmi, Larry Murphy, Sam Seder (World Premiere)

“La Barracuda”

Directors: Julia Halperin, Jason Cortlund, Screenwriter: Jason Cortlund

A strange woman comes to Texas to meet her half-sister and stake a claim to the family music legacy—one way or another. Cast: Allison Tolman, Sophie Reid, JoBeth Williams, Luis Bordonada, Larry Jack Dotson, Butch Hancock, Bob Livingston, The Mastersons (World Premiere)

“The Light of the Moon”

Director/Screenwriter: Jessica M. Thompson

After her world is irrevocably changed, a successful New York City architect struggles to regain intimacy and control in her life. Cast: Stephanie Beatriz, Michael Stahl-David, Conrad Ricamora, Catherine Curtin, Olga Merediz, Cindy Cheung, Susan Hayward, Craig Walker, Cara Loften, Michael Cuomo (World Premiere)

“Like Me”

Director/Screenwriter: Rob Mockler

A reckless loner, desperate for human connection, sets out on a crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. Her reality quickly splinters into a surreal nightmare as her exploits spiral out of control. Cast: Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson, Larry Fessenden, Jeremy Gardner, Stuart Rudin, Nicolette Pierini (World Premiere)

“MFA”

Director: Natalia Leite, Screenwriter: Leah Mckendrick

The accidental death of her rapist sets an art student on a course for justice, fueling the inspiration for her thesis exhibition. Cast: Francesca Eastwood, Clifton Collins Jr, Peter Vack, Leah Mckendrick, Marlon Young, David Sullivan, Michael Welch (World Premiere)

“Most Beautiful Island” (Spain, United States)

Director/Screenwriter: Ana Asensio

An undocumented young woman struggling to begin a new life in New York City is offered an opportunity she can’t pass up. But as day turns to night she discovers she’s been lured to the center of a dangerous game. Cast: Ana Asensio, Natasha Romanova, David Little, Nicholas Tucci, Larry Fessenden, Caprice Benedetti (World Premiere)

“The Strange Ones”

Directors: Lauren Wolkstein, Christopher Radcliff, Screenwriter: Christopher Radcliff Mysterious events surround the travels of two brothers as they make their way across a remote American landscape. On the surface all seems normal, but what appears to be a simple vacation soon gives way to dark and complex truths. Cast: Alex Pettyfer, James Freedson-Jackson, Emily Althaus, Gene Jones (World Premiere)

 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION

Ten world premieres: ten real world stories that demonstrate innovation, energy and bold voices. Selected from 973 feature documentary submissions in 2017.

“Bill Frisell, A Portrait” (Australia)

Director/Screenwriter: Emma Franz

An intimate, behind-the-music portrait of one of the most unassuming yet influential creative artists of our time, guitarist Bill Frisell. Frisell said of the film, “It’s like the inside of my brain!” (World Premiere)

“The Blood is at the Doorstep”

Director: Erik Ljung   After Dontre Hamilton, a black, unarmed man diagnosed with schizophrenia, was shot 14 times and killed by police in Milwaukee, his family embarks on a quest for answers, justice and reform as the investigation unfolds. (World Premiere)

“Dealt”

Director: Luke Korem, Screenwriters:  Bradley Jackson, Luke Korem

Sixty-two year old Richard Turner is renowned as one of the world’s greatest card magicians, yet he is completely blind.  This is an in-depth look at a complex character who is one of magic’s greatest hidden treasures. (World Premiere)

“I Am Another You”

Director/Screenwriter: Nanfu Wang

Through the eyes of a young drifter who rejects society’s rules and intentionally chooses to live on the streets, Chinese filmmaker Nanfu Wang explores the meaning of personal freedom – and its limits. (World Premiere)

“Maineland” (China, United States)

Director: Miao Wang

Chinese teenagers from the wealthy elite, with big American dreams, settle into a boarding school in small-town Maine. As their fuzzy visions of the American dream slowly gain more clarity, their relationship to home takes on a poignant new aspect. (World Premiere)

“Mommy Dead and Dearest”

Director: Erin Lee Carr

Child abuse, mental illness, and forbidden love converge in this mystery involving a mother and daughter who were thought to be living a fairy tale life that turned out to be a living nightmare. (World Premiere)

“Served Like A Girl”

Director: Lysa Heslov

Five women veterans who have endured unimaginable trauma in service create a shared sisterhood to help the rising number of stranded homeless women veterans by entering a competition that unexpectedly catalyzes moving events in their own lives. (World Premiere)

“The Secret Life of Lance Letscher”

Director: Sandra Adair

Witness the collision of memory, color, and chaos in this unprecedented journey through the visionary mind of collage artist Lance Letscher. (World Premiere)

“The Work”

Directors: Jairus McLeary, Gethin Aldous

Set entirely inside Folsom Prison, The Work follows three men during four days of intensive group therapy with convicts, revealing an intimate and powerful portrait of authentic human transformation that transcends what we think of as rehabilitation. (World Premiere)

 

HEADLINERS

Big names, big talent: Headliners bring star power to SXSW, featuring red carpet premieres and gala film events with major and rising names in cinema.

“Baby Driver”

Director/Screenwriter: Edgar Wright

A talented, young getaway driver relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. But after being coerced into working for a crime boss, he must face the music when a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom. Cast: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx (World Premiere)

Free Fire” (UK)

Director: Ben Wheatley, Screenwriters: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump

Bold, breathless and wickedly fun, Free Fire is an electrifying action comedy about an arms deal that goes spectacularly and explosively wrong. Directed by Ben Wheatley. Starring Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley, Jack Reynor. Cast: Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor, Babou Ceesay, Enzo Cilenti, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley, Noah Taylor (U.S. Premiere)

“On The Road” (UK)

Director/Screenwriter: Michael Winterbottom

Michael Winterbottom follows acclaimed British rock band and Grammy nominees Wolf Alice on their tour, recording their gigs as well as the romance and routine of their daily life backstage. (North American Premiere)

“Song to Song”

Director: Terrence Malick

In this modern love story set against the Austin, Texas music scene, two entangled couples — struggling songwriters Faye and BV, and music mogul Cook and the waitress whom he ensnares — chase success through a rock ‘n’ roll landscape of seduction and betrayal. Cast: Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett (World Premiere)

 

NARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT

High profile narrative features receiving their World, North American or U.S. premieres at SXSW.

“The Archer”

Director: Valerie Weiss, Screenwriter: Casey Schroen

Archer champion Lauren Pierce escapes a corrupt juvenile correctional facility with Rebecca, a fierce but alluring inmate and together they must survive a desperate warden who is bow-hunting his prey to make sure his secret stays buried. Cast: Bailey Noble, Bill Sage, Jeanine Mason, Michael Grant Terry, Kurt Fuller, Dendrie Taylor, Grace Victoria Cox, Andrew Caldwell (World Premiere)

“The Ballad of Lefty Brown”

Director/Screenwriter: Jared Moshé

Aging sidekick Lefty Brown (Bill Pullman) has ridden with Eddie Johnson (Peter Fonda) his entire life. But when a rustler kills Eddie, Lefty is forced from his partner’s shadow and must confront the ugly realities of frontier justice. Cast: Bill Pullman, Kathy Baker, Jim Caviezel, Tommy Flanagan, Peter Fonda, Joe Anderson, Diego Josef, Michael Speers, Lewis Pullman, Joseph Anderson (World Premiere)

“Daphne” (UK)

Director: Peter Mackie Burns, Screenwriter: Nico Mensinga

Daphne is London. Daphne is the crowd of faceless strangers we brush past everyday. Daphne is being young and always searching for more. Daphne is life, an unpredictable mixture of comedy and tragedy. Cast: Emily Beecham, Geraldine James, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Nathaniel Martello-White (World Premiere)

“Easy Living”

Director/Screenwriter: Adam Keleman

Sherry Graham, a self-destructive makeup saleswoman, hopes a new man and business venture will provide her a fresh start. After her plans are foiled, she takes control of her life in a dramatic turn of events. Cast: Caroline Dhavernas, McCaleb Burnett, Elizabeth Marvel, Charlie Hofheimer, Jen Richards, Daniel Eric Gold, C.J. Wilson, Taylor Richardson, Mary Catherine Garrison (World Premiere)

“Gemini”

Director/Screenwriter: Aaron Katz

A heinous crime tests the complex relationship between a tenacious personal assistant and her Hollywood starlet boss. As the assistant unravels the mystery, she must confront her own understanding of friendship, truth, and celebrity. Cast: Lola Kirke, Zoë Kravitz, John Cho, Greta Lee, Michelle Forbes, Nelson Franklin, Reeve Carney, Ricki Lake, Jessica Parker Kennedy, James Ransone (World Premiere)

“Going to Brazil” (France)

Director: Patrick Mille, Screenwriters: Julien Lambroschini, Sabrina Amara, Patrick Mille Four childhood friends are reunited at a wedding in Rio. But when they accidentally kill a young man during a party that gets out of hand, they are forced to flee the city in a crazy adventure. Cast: Alison Wheeler, Vanessa Guide, Margot Bancilhon, Philippine Stindel, Patrick Mille (International Premiere)

“Hot Summer Nights”

Director: Elijah Bynum

A lonely teenage boy is sent away to Cape Cod where he befriends the town rebel, falls in love and becomes entangled in a drug ring all over the course of one summer in 1991. Cast: Timothee Chalamet, Maika Monroe, Alex Roe, Maia Mitchell, William Fichtner, Thomas Jane, Emory Cohen (World Premiere)

“Hounds of Love” (Australia)

Director/Screenwriter: Ben Young

In the mid 1980’s seventeen-year-old Vicki Maloney is randomly abducted from a suburban street by a disturbed couple. As she observes the dynamic between her captors she quickly realizes she must drive a wedge between them if she is to survive. Cast: Ashleigh Cummings, Emma Booth, Stephen Curry, Susie Porter, Damian de Montemas, Harrison Gilbertson, Fletcher Humphrys (North American Premiere)

“Lane 1974”

Director: SJ Chiro, Screenwriters:  SJ Chiro, Clane Hayward

At 13 years old and the eldest of three kids, Lane struggles to keep her family together as her iconoclast mother moves without warning through the communes and dusty back woods of Northern California. Cast: Sophia Mitri Schloss, Katherine Moennig, Sara Coats, Linas Phillips, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Sarah-Eve Gazitt, Annette Toutonghi, Harry Curtis, Ronin West, Shayla Timbermoon (World Premiere)

“Madre” (Chile)

Director/Screenwriter: Aaron Burns

A pregnant woman, who is taking care of her son with development problems, is at her breaking point when a caregiver from the Philippines steps into her life. Diana suspects that she’s using voodoo against her after the quick improvements of her son. Cast: Daniela Ramirez, Cristobal Tapia Montt, Aida Jabolin, Matias Bassi, Ignacia Allamand, Nicolás Durán (North American Premiere)

“Most Hated Woman In America”

Director: Tommy O’Haver, Screenwriters: Tommy O’Haver, Irene Turner

Darkly funny, true story of the rise and untimely demise of Madeline Murray O’Hair—crank, swindler, iconoclast, and America’s most outspoken atheist. Cast: Melissa Leo, Adam Scott, Juno Temple, Vincent Kartheiser, Josh Lucas, Peter Fonda (World Premiere)

“Mr. Roosevelt”

Director/Screenwriter: Noël Wells

After a death in her family, struggling LA-based comedian Emily Martin returns to Austin. There she finds herself in the awkward position of staying with her ex and his new girlfriend until the funeral, while trying to close old doors from her past. Cast: Noël Wells, Nick Thune, Britt Lower, Daniella Pineda, Andre Hyland, Doug Benson, Armen Weitzman, Sergio Cilli (World Premiere)

“Small Crimes”

Director: Evan Katz, Screenwriters: Evan Katz, Macon Blair

Small Crimes is a delightfully suspenseful, blackly comic tale that follows a disgraced former cop, fresh off a six-year prison sentence for attempted murder, who returns home looking for redemption but winds up trapped in the mess he left behind. Cast: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jacki Weaver, Robert Forster, Gary Cole, Molly Parker, Macon Blair, Pat Healy (World Premiere)

“Small Town Crime”

Directors/Screenwriters: Ian Nelms, Eshom Nelms

Ex-cop, Mike Kendall, finds the body of a young woman and, in an act of self-redemption, becomes hellbent on finding the killer.  While his uncouth, quirky detective style helps break the case, his dogged determination puts his family in danger. Cast: John Hawkes, Anthony Anderson, Octavia Spencer, Robert Forster, Clifton Collins, Jr., Michael Vartan, James Lafferty, Daniel Sunjata, Caity Lotz, Jeremy Ratchford (World Premiere)

“This Is Your Death”

Director: Giancarlo Esposito, Screenwriters: Kenny Yakkel, Noah Pink

This Is Your Death is an unsettling look at reality T.V. where a disturbing hit game show has its contestants ending their lives for the public’s enjoyment. It captures the sad truths about the world’s desire to be famous. Cast: Josh Duhamel, Famke Janssen, Giancarlo Esposito, Sarah Wayne Callies, Caitlin Fitzgerald, James Franco (World Premiere)

“Us and Them” (UK)

Director/Screenwriter: Joe Martin

Working class Danny aims to kick start a revolution by turning the tables on the establishment with a deadly game of chance. Cast: Jack Roth, Tim Bentinck, Andrew Tiernan, Daniel Kendrick, Sophie Colquhoun, Paul Westwood, Carolyn Backhouse, Louis Dempsey (World Premiere)

“Win It All”

Director: Joe Swanberg, Screenwriters: Joe Swanberg, Jake Johnson

Small time Chicago gambler, Eddie Garrett, agrees to watch a duffel bag for an acquaintance who is heading to prison. When he discovers cash in the bag, he hatches a plan to win big, against the advice of his gambling sponsor and his brother. Cast: Jake Johnson, Aislinn Derbez, Joe Lo Truglio, Keegan-Michael Key (World Premiere)

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