The 2011 South by Southwest Film Festival will showcase films featuring Mel Gibson, Ewan McGregor, Ellen Page and Jake Gyllenhaal, narratives dealing with everything from vampires to autism, and documentaries whose subjects range from terrorism to haute cuisine, from the horrors of war to unfathomable reconciliation in its aftermath.
Filmmakers include Werner Herzog, Susanne Bier, Morgan Spurlock, Mike Mills, Joe Swanberg, James Gunn, Tom McCarthy and Catherine Hardwicke.
SXSW announced its lineup of 130 feature films on Wednesday, with additional selections still to come. It had previously announced its opening-night selection, Duncan Jones' "Source Code," along with a handful of other films.
Among the films, which were chosen from nearly 5,000 overall submissions, are 60 world premieres, 12 North American premieres and 16 U.S. premieres.
“SXSW prides itself on taking chances, sifting for films that are the seedlings of the next generation of must-see artists," said festival producer Janet Pierson in a press release announcing the selections. " his year’s lineup is full of emerging voices and filmmakers who transcended the resources they had on hand, often with an alchemist’s touch.”
The full lineup is available at SXSW.com. Some highlights:
The Narrative Feature Competition consists of eight films, selected from nearly 1,000 submissions. All will have their world premieres at SXSW. Films include "A Year in Mooring," with James Cromwell and Josh Lucas in his first leading dramatic role; "96 Minutes," with Brittany Snow and Evan Ross; "American Animal," in which director-writer-star Matt D'Elia plays a dying man slipping into madness; and "Fly Away," with Beth Broderick as the single mother of an autistic teenager.
The Documentary Feature Competition, also with eight films, includes films about a pair of Texas friends accused of domestic terrorism ("Better This World"), the singer in a heavy metal rock band Pentagram ("Last Days Here"), and the effect of darkness being lost in the glare of city lights ("The City Dark").
The Headliners section, designed to bring star power to the festival, includes Jodie Foster's previously announced "The Beaver," with Mel Gibson; the documentary "Conan O'Brien Can't Stop"; Tom McCarthy's "Win Win," with Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan (pictured above); and a surprise screening in honor of the 15th anniversary of the Austin-based Ain't It Cool News website.
The Spotlight Premieres lineup consists of 19 films making their world, North American or U.S. premieres. Films include Mike Mills' "Beginners," with Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer; "Bob and the Monster," a documentary about alternative-rock singer Bob Forrest, who conquered his drug addiction and became a widely-known drug counselor; "Girl Walks into a Bar," a comedy set in L.A. bars and starring Carla Gugino, Zachary Quinto, Danny DeVito and Josh Hartnett; and "Fambul Tok," Sara Terry's documentary about a grassroots reconciliation and forgiveness program that sprang up in the aftermath of brutal conflict in Sierra Leone.
The Emerging Visions section is made up of another 19 films from fresh filmmakers around the world, with directors including Joe Swanberg ("Silver Bullets," about the making of a werewolf movie), Romain Gavras (the redheads-on-a-rampage revenge drama "Our Day Will Come") and Marie Losier ("The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye," a doc about performance artist and musician Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle).
The Lone Star States section consists of films with special ties to Texas, including "Five Time Champion," with Betty Buckley; "Inside America," a documentary about six teens in their final year of high school in Brownsville; "My Sucky Teen Romance," about high schoolers and vampires; and "blacktino," whose synopsis reads, "Sad, fat, black, latino, nerd. It doesn't get any worse than that."
The 24 Beats Per Second lineup is made up of films about music, with subjects ranging from the Foo Fighters ("Foo Fighters") to Michael Nyman ("Nyman in Progress"), from Britain's Creation Records label ("Upside Down: The Creation Records Story") to a collaboration between New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the rock band My Morning Jacket ("Live at Preservation Hall: Louisiana Fairytale").
SX Global consists of a dozen films from around the world, including Denmark's acclaimed documentary "Armadillo," a Polish film about the birth of rock music in that country, "Beats of Freedom," and the Democratic Republic of Congo's first major film, "Viva Riva!"
Festival Favorites compiles 10 films that have been well-received at previous festivals, including two Oscar nominees for Best Foreign-Language Film, Denis Villeneuve's "Incendies" and Susanne Bier's "In a Better World"; Morgan Spurlock's product-placement documentary "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold"; "Being Elmo: a Puppeteer's Journey," about the man who operates one of the iconic Sesame Street characters (photo above); and Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams."
The festival will also present several special events, including a screening of Buster Keaton's "The Cameraman" with live music by the Austin band Bee vs. Moth; a screening of Catherine Hardwicke's new "Red Riding Hood" followed by a Q&A with the director; and "The National Parks Project," a collection of short films exploring the artistry and landscape of Canada.
The SXSW Film Conference and Festival is a nine-day festival that will take place from March 11 to March 19 in Austin, Texas.