South by Southwest 2015 will open with BRAND: A Second Coming, a feature documentary about comedian Russell Brand directed by Ondi Timoner (Dig!, We Live In Public). The doc chronicles Brand’s evolution from addict to movie star to political disruptor and will kick off a line-up that will also include Michael Showalter’s Sally Field comedy Hello, My Name is Doris, Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation, Mavis Staples doc Mavis!, Grantland Features’ Son of the Congo about NBA star Serge Ibaka, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, and Alex Garland’s Ex Machina starring Oscar Isaac.
Of course, that’s not all; SXSW’s typically sprawling line-up is still being finalized and won’t be revealed until February 3, with Midnighter titles revealed alongside the shorts program on February 10.
If you’re Austin-bound, get ready for a double dose of Russell Brand. SXSW already announced that the irreverent Brit will serve as a 2015 guest speaker, along with Brian Grazer and Morgan Spurlock, while keynote talks at the annual film, music, and interactive conference will include Selma director Ava DuVernay, Mark Duplass, and RZA. SXSW kicks off on March 13 in Austin, Texas.
Elsewhere in film festival news: James Franco has made another indie feature, and it will world-premiere this month in Park City. Yosemite, produced by Franco through his Rabbit Bandini Productions, tracks three 5th graders in 1985 Palo Alto, CA whose lives intertwine as the threat of a mountain lion looms over the community. Gabrielle Demeestere directed the film which will premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival on Jan. 25. Franco will appear for a coffee talk ahead of the world premiere screening, which should be enough to draw folks across town away from their Sundance festivities.