SXSW Film

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Hurricane Katrina changed more than just the landscape of New Orleans. After the disaster, thousands of people moved away from the city, most of them black and poor. In the years since, the city has slowly been rebuilt. But what has become of its culture?

KUT News reports on a new film premiering today at the South by Southwest film festival, “Getting Back to Abnormal,” that tries to answer that question.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The 20th year of South by Southwest Film kicked off Friday night with "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone"

It was the world premiere of Don Scardino's movie, starring Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi and Jim Carrey in a tale about a world-famous duo of magicians in Las Vegas. The event also brought to Austin some well-known Hollywood actors and filled the Paramount with laughter.

SXSW

In little over a months the city will swell as South by Southwest takes over downtown Austin. And the over 200,000 expected festival attendees have no shortage of events to attend: Today, SXSW released its film lineup, totaling 109 features.  

Film Conference and Festival Producer Janet Pierson writes that this year’s lineup “embraces love and the need/search/desire for connection.”

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

It's SXSW season, folks.

The South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival has announced part of the line up of films to premiere at the 20th edition of the festival.

The film festival will open with the world premiere of the Steve Carell comedy, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. Carell, as Burt Wonderstone, partners with Steve Buscemi, to play superstar Las Vegas magicians whose careers face jeopardy when rival street-magician, Jim Carrey, begins outperforming the duo. Festival goers can catch the film one week before the theatrical release, March 15.

KUT News

Here's a wakeup call: the South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive festivals are just about two months away.

If you want to be part of the action – but don't want to shell out the money for a badge – you can volunteer.

Photo courtesy flickr.com/gato-gato-gato

How did a group of Internet enthusiasts evolve from online trolling to altering the course of world politics?

That was the focus of a South by Southwest Film and Interactive panel today delving into Anonymous, the loosely-organized collective of “hacktivists” that have brought attention to the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and claimed credit for compromising the servers of Austin-based global intelligence firm Stratfor, releasing the company’s emails to Wikileaks.

In contrast to many of the sensational stories Anonymous generates, “I don’t think anything had been done where you’re trying to figure out where it came from and what it is,” said Brian Knappenberger. He’s at SXSW with his documentary, “WE ARE LEGION: The Story of the Hacktivists.” Although this today's panel was ostensibly about the film, it ended up being largely about Anonymous in general, which continues to generate headlines.

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

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KUT has a Tumblr account documenting SXSW on the fly, with photos, videos and more. KUT’s Terrence Henry, covering SXSW Film, has posted a review of "Electrick Children":

They shot the film on the burnt orange landscapes of Southern Utah and the urban desolation of Las Vegas over four weeks, filming six days a week. One of the bigger obstacles they faced during filming, despite the fact they were in the desert, was rain. “The rain follows us wherever we go, even here to Austin,” the director said during the Q&A afterwards. 

The film stars Rory Culkin (yes, of that family) and the delicate Julia Garner (playing the lead, Rachel), who’s only eighteen years old. You may remember her from a smaller role in Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

SXSW Attendees Are Interacting With Rain

South by Southwest Film and Interactive are well underway, but it's hard to find a bigger trending topic than the wet weather. KUT News' Nathan Bernier reported yesterday that the rain may be dampening festival goers' clothes, but not their spirits:  

When Joss Whedon introduced The Cabin in the Woods to a rowdy, friendly, huge crowd at the Paramount Theater on the opening night of the South by Southwest Film Festival, he explained that one of the challenges of marketing the film is that you really can't say anything about what happens in it. And he begged everyone in the audience not to say anything about what happens in it, either.

Image courtesy sxsw.com

Attending South by Southwest is a little like entering IKEA for the first time. The sheer size of it is enough to make anyone sweat, and ask themselves nervously: "So, where do I go first?"


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Get ready Austin: the South by Southwest Interactive and Film festivals are starting Friday, March 9. 

The City of Austin has announced the first of several street closures and lane reductions beginning Friday.

  • Northbound Congress Avenue will be reduced to two lanes between Seventh and Eighth streets from 10 a. m. to 11 p. m.
  • The Rainey St. district will be closed to traffic between Driskill and River streets from 3 p. m. to 11 p.m.
  • Trinity St. will be closed between Cesar Chavez.
  • Fourth streets and East Second and Third streets will be closed between Trinity and San Jacinto streets from 7 a. m. to  6 a. m.

Photo courtesy flickr.com/benzies

Whether you’re ready or not, South by Southwest kicks off in just over three weeks. Here’s a compilation of recent festival announcements and reports:

SXSW Music: The music showcase grid is live on the SX Schedule website, showing who is playing where at what time. Let the tough decisions begin. In other music news, influential indie-music website Pitchfork  is trumpeting its booking of Fiona Apple at its Central Presbyterian Church showcase. "The beloved singer-songwriter hasn't played more than a handful of shows since 2007,” the site writes.

SXSW Film: A string of film conference panels and late additions to the festival has just been announced. Panels include A Conversation with Seth MacFarlane, wherein the “Family Guy” creator sounds off; Funny or Die: Future of Comedy & Everything Else, a talk with the minds behind the popular comedy website; and Screaming with Laughter: FEARnet TV's Holliston, featuring players from the horror channel and filmmaker Adam Green, who’s developed a program for the company.

A triptych of chilly flicks blows into Austin theaters this weekend. Among the new releases: Indie-horror auteur Ti West’s “The Innkeepers;” “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” an austere drama anchored by Tilda Swinton; and “The Woman in Black,” released under the storied Hammer Films franchise with an up-and-coming young actor named Daniel Radcliffe. (Maybe you’ve heard of him?)

Austin audiences have had a few chances to catch “The Innkeepers” previously, having screened at South by Southwest and the Alamo Drafthouse’s Fantastic Fest. The follow-up to director West’s well-received “The House of the Devil,” “The Innkeepers” shares a similar retro-horror sensibility to his breakout film. Two slacker clerks at a storied northwestern inn investigate reports of workplace hauntings on the weekend the inn is slated to close. Suffice to say, mysterious visitors check in, nerves slowly fray, and plenty of things begin to go bump in the night. Light on gore and long on tension, “The Innkeepers” is certain to keep audiences unnerved.

South by Southwest will be here before you know it, and here’s another sign of the impending takeover: Today, the festival released its lineup for SXSW Film, including 65 world premieres and ten U.S. premieres.

High profile picks include the reboot of “21 Jump Street,” starring Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, and Ice Cube. The comedy has been named a “Centerpiece” film; SXSW Film producer Janet Pierson tells The Austin Chronicle she went into the screening “with total skepticism,” but came away impressed, calling the film “a real social commentary.”

Also receiving special designation as closing night film was “Big Easy Express,” a documentary on a train powered concert tour spearheaded by indie revivalists Mumford & Sons (which included an Austin stop.)

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