Russell Brand Documentary to Open SXSW Film Festival

Event will also screen new films starring Oscar Isaac and Sally Field

Russell Brand in BRAND: A Second Coming
"BRAND: A Second Coming"

The 2015 South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival will open with the world premiere of a documentary about comedian, actor and author Russell Brand, organizers announced Thursday.

“BRAND: A Second Coming,” directed by Ondi Timoner (“We Live in Public,” “Dig!”), will open the festival on Friday, March 13 in Austin, Texas.

Organizers also announced six other films that will screen at this year’s festival, including documentaries about singer Mavis Staples, NBA star Serge Ibaka and anti-bullying activist Lizzie Velasquez.

Films will also include “Ex Machina,” a drama from “28 Days Later” writer Alex Garland starring Oscar Isaac; “Hello, My Name Is Doris,” a Michael Showalter film with Sally Field as a woman pursuing a younger co-worker; and “An Invitation,” a thriller directed by Karyn Kusama, starring Logan Marshall-Green and Tammy Blanchard.

The complete lineup will be announced on Feb. 3. The festival runs from March 13-21.

The announced films, with descriptions from the SXSW press release:

“BRAND: A Second Coming” (World Premiere)
Director: Ondi Timoner
“BRAND: A Second Coming” follows comedian/author Russell Brand’s evolution from addict & Hollywood star to unexpected political disruptor & newfound hero to the underserved. Brand is criticized for egomaniacal self-interest as he calls for revolution.

“A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story” (World Premiere)
Director: Sara Hirsh Bordo
From the producers of the most viewed TEDWomen event of 2013 comes “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story,” a documentary following the inspiring journey of 25-year-old, 58-pound Lizzie from cyber-bullying victim to anti-bullying activist.

Ex Machina” (North American Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Alex Garland
Alex Garland, writer of “28 Days Later” and “Sunshine,” makes his directorial debut with the stylish and cerebral thriller “Ex Machina,” starring Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander.
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander

“Hello, My Name is Doris “(World Premiere)
Director: Michael Showalter, Screenwriters: Michael Showalter, Laura Terruso
An isolated 60-year-old woman is motivated by a self-help seminar to romantically pursue a younger coworker, causing her to stumble into the spotlight of the Brooklyn hipster social scene.
Cast: Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Beth Behrs

“The Invitation” (World Premiere)
Director: Karyn Kusama, Screenwriters: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
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.
Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Lindsay Burdge

“Mavis!” (World Premiere)
Director: Jessica Edwards
Her family group, the Staple Singers, inspired millions and helped propel the civil rights movement with their music. After 60 years of performing, legendary singer Mavis Staples’ message of love and equality is needed now more than ever.

“Son of the Congo” (World Premiere / SXsports screening)
Director/Screenwriter: Adam Hootnick
Serge Ibaka’s improbable journey has taken him from the violence of Congo to the top of the NBA. In “Son of the Congo,” Ibaka returns home, hoping his basketball success can help rebuild a country and inspire a new generation to dream of a better life.