This is going to be my first SXSW, and it seems like I picked a good year. Not only is Duncan Jones’ Source Code going to be premiering, but a whole slew of exciting movies will be playing the fest. SXSW just announced a bunch of movies, and among them is Jodie Foster’s The Beaver - featuring Mel Gibson! - Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s Paul and Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, a documentary about O’Brien’s ‘Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour’ after NBC fucked him out of The Tonight Show.
There are more announcements - Ti West will be on hand to beat up naysayers about his new film, The Innkeepers, and there’s a doc about John Cougar Mellencamp - and they’re all in the press release below. My thoughts afterwards:
Austin, Texas—January 13, 2011 – Earlier today, the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference
and Festival announced a handful of titles that will premiere at the 2011 event. Films announced include
Jodie Foster’s drama The Beaver, Greg Mottola’s comedy-adventure Paul and Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, a
documentary by Rodman Flender that follows behind-the-scenes of O’Brien’s summer tour, among others. The
Beaver will screen in this year’s Centerpiece slot on Wednesday, March 16. The complete festival lineup will be
announced in early February 2011. The South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival runs March 11 – 19,
2011 in Austin, Texas.
“As we continue to solidify the lineup for 2011, it’s truly exciting to be able to announce this little taste of the
program,” said Film Conference and Festival Producer Janet Pierson. “Each of these films really showcases an
artist stretching their wings in some way, whether it be a late-night talk show host taking his act on the road, an
actress/filmmaker carefully and beautifully tackling a heartbreaking subject in her finest work yet, or a successful
photographer trying out a new medium in a new landscape.”
The 2011 SXSW Film Festival will feature:
The Beaver (World Premiere)
Director: Jodie Foster, Writer: Kyle Killen
Summit Entertainment and Participant Media Present in Association with Imagenation Abu Dhabi and Anonymous
Content - Two-time Academy Award® winner Jodie Foster directs and co-stars with two-time Academy Award®
winner Mel Gibson in an emotional story about a man on a journey to re-discover his family and re-start his
life. Plagued by his own demons, Walter Black was once a successful toy executive and family man who now
suffers from depression. No matter what he tries, Walter can’t seem to get himself back on track…until a beaver
hand puppet enters his life. Cast: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin & Jennifer Lawrence
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop (World Premiere)
Director: Rodman Flender
After a much-publicized separation with his former employers, did Conan O’Brien hit the road on a 32-City tour
to connect with his fans or fill a void within himself? Filmmaker Rodman Flender followed O’Brien on his “Legally
Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour” and returned with an intimate portrait of an artist trained in
improvisation, captured at the most improvisational time of his career.
The Innkeepers (World Premiere)
Director and Writer: Ti West
Hotel clerks by day, amateur ghost hunters by night, the last two employees of the historic Yankee Pedlar Inn
set out to prove that their place of business is as haunted as its reputation. Cast: Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly
It’s About You (World Premiere)
Directors: Kurt & Ian Markus
First-time filmmakers, photographer Kurt Markus and his son, Ian, document John Mellencamp’s summer 2009
tour across America, and the recording of his new album, No Better Than This. This is a raw and personal film,
celebrating the visual beauty and power of Super8 film and the human voice.
Paul (North American Premiere)
Director: Greg Mottola, Writers: Simon Pegg & Nick Frost
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) reunite for Universal Pictures’ comedy-adventure Paul
as two sci-fi geeks whose pilgrimage takes them to America’s UFO heartland. While there, they accidentally meet
an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) who brings them on an insane road trip that alters their universe
forever. Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Blythe Danner, John Carroll
Lynch, with Sigourney Weaver and Seth Rogen as Paul.
Square Grouper (World Premiere)
Director: Billy Corben
A colorful portrait of Miami’s pot smuggling scene of the 1970s, populated with redneck pirates, a ganja-smoking
church, and the longest serving marijuana prisoner in American history.
These films join the previously announced 2011 Opening Night Film Source Code, directed by Duncan Jones and
starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Vera Farmiga and Michelle Monaghan. The complete festival lineup will be announced
in early February 2011. In addition to nine full days of film screenings, SXSW Film will ultimately feature over
80 sessions of panels and workshops in the Conference. For details on the confirmed sessions, selected from
proposals submitted via the SXSW PanelPicker™ interface, visit www.sxsw.com/film/talks. For more information
on the SXSW PanelPicker™, visit http://panelpicker.sxsw.com. The complete list of panels will be announced
closer to the event.
Register now for unparalleled access to films, panels, the SXSW Trade Show and more, and gain access to the
most conveniently located hotels. Register by January 14 and save up to 20% off the walk-up rate. Badges are
available at www.sxsw.com/attend.
I am EXCITED for the Conan O’Brien movie, and I hope Coco himself comes down to Austin. I just finished reading The War For Late Night, and I think Conan really got screwed but was incredibly inspirational in how he handled it. I saw him when his tour came to Los Angeles and it was a GREAT show; I’m excited to see some behind the scenes stuff from that.
I’ve heard from people in the know that The Beaver is actually pretty darn good. I have a friend who saw Paul and insists it’s a modern classic. And then there’s a new Ti West film for when I need a nap (Don’t hit me, Ti, I don’t have medical insurance!).
It’s shaping up to be a good SXSW, and I’m looking forward to reporting on it. And if you’re going to be attending, definitely come to the panel I’m doing, moderated by Film School Rejects’ Neil Miller. Click here for more info.