“Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil,” a docuseries exploring the singer’s near fatal overdose, will open the 2021 SXSW Film Festival in March, the festival announced Thursday.
Michael D. Ratner directed the YouTube Originals docuseries, which will look at Lovato’s awakenings following her 2018 overdose and her return to music. Ratner was granted unprecedented access to the pop star’s personal and musical journey.
“It’s impressive and rare to see a pop superstar tell their story so authentically and without pretense,” said Janet Pierson, director of film at SXSW. “We’re privileged to present this intimate journey told with such vulnerability. Demi Lovato’s profound interest in mental health awareness is helping change the landscape of a crucial issue in this year of national and international trauma and loss.”
Pierson added: “We are excited to share a handful of films from various sections of the festival (Headliners, Episodic Premieres, Doc and Narrative Spotlight, Midnighters, Global, 24 Beats Per Second, 2020 Spotlight) to give you a taste of the talent, risk-taking, passion and achievements that we will be announcing in early February and share together online in March.”
“Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil” is produced by Ratner’s OBB Pictures and SB Projects. Scott Ratner, Kfir Goldberg and Miranda Sherman also serve as executive producers for OBB Pictures. Scooter Braun, Allison Kaye and Scott Manson executive produce for SB Projects. Co-executive producers on the project are Andy Mininger and Arlen Konopaki for OBB Pictures, Jen McDaniels, Scott Marcus and James Shin for SB Projects and Hannah Lux Davis. Marc Ambrose also serves as producer.
The 2021 SXSW Film Festival will run online from March 16 to March 20. The complete festival lineup will be announced on Feb. 10, but see below for additional announcements from Thursday.
Confronting A Serial Killer
Director: Joe Berlinger, Showrunner: Po Kutchins
Joe Berlinger’s newest docuseries “Confronting a Serial Killer” follows reporter Jillian Lauren who lures the most prolific serial killer in American history — Sam Little. The series will follow their unsettling and unlikely relationship. (World Premiere) (Episodic Premiere)
Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil
Director/Screenwriter: Michael D. Ratner
“Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil” is a powerful YouTube Originals documentary event, exploring every aspect that led to Lovato’s nearly fatal overdose in 2018, and her awakenings in the aftermath. (World Premiere) (Headliners)
The Hunt for Planet B
Director: Nathaniel Kahn
“The Hunt for Planet B” follows a diverse group of scientists on a quest to find another Earth among the stars. From the hi-bays of NASA to the edge of the universe and the bottom of the sea, the film offers a way to see our own planet with new eyes. (World Premiere) (Documentary Spotlight)
Director: Andrea Nevins
“Hysterical” is an honest and hilarious backstage pass into the lives of some of stand-up comedy’s most boundary-breaking women, exploring the hard-fought journey to become the voices of their generation and their gender. Featuring Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster, Rachel Feinstein, Marina Franklin, Nikki Glaser, Judy Gold, Kathy Griffin, Jessica Kirson, Sherri Shepherd, Iliza Shlesinger and more. (World Premiere) (Documentary Spotlight)
Director: Travis Stevens, Screenwriters: Travis Stevens, Kathy Charles, Mark Steenland
The disappearance of a young woman threatens to change the beige and banal lives of Anne Fedder (Barbara Crampton) and her pastor husband Jakob Fedder (Larry Fessenden) forever. Cast List: Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Bonnie Aarons, Mark Kelly, Sarah Lind, Robert Rusler, Nyisha Bell, Phil Brooks (World Premiere) (Midnighters)
Directors: Paola Calvo, Patrick Jasim, Screenwriters: Patrick Jasim, Paola Calvo, Phillip Kaminiak
“Luchadoras” portrays the courageous female wrestlers of Ciudad Juárez, a city known for its high murder rate against women — who fight in the ring and in their daily lives to redefine the image of what it means to be a woman in Mexico. (World Premiere) (Global)
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Director: Paul Sng, Celeste Bell, Screenwriters: Celeste Bell, Zoë Howe
The death of punk icon and X-Ray Spex frontwoman Poly Styrene sends her daughter on a journey across the world and through her mother’s archives to reconcile their fraught relationship. (North American Premiere) (24 Beats Per Minute)
Director: Mallory Everton, Stephen Meek, Screenwriters: Whitney Call, Mallory Everton
Two directionless sisters brave a cross-country road trip to rescue their grandmother from a COVID outbreak at her nursing home. Cast: Whitney Call, Mallory Everton, Anne Sward Hansen, Julia Jolley, Baylee Thornock, Jessica Drolet, Stephen Meek, Tyler Andrew Jones, Tori Pence, Dora McDonald (World Premiere) (Narrative Spotlight)
Director/Screenwriter: Justine Bateman
A film development executive realizes that the “guiding voice” inside her head has been lying to her about everything. Cast List: Olivia Munn, Luke Bracey, Justin Theroux (World Premiere) (2020 Spotlight)