The annual South by Southwest Conference and Festival is known for having a lineup of programming that makes Austin bust at the seams — and its slate for the 27th edition of the film festival isn’t any different. After already unveiling its initial roster of films, SXSW has now announced its lineup of Midnighters, Festival Favorites, Shorts, Episodic Pilots, Special Events and more.
SXSW Midnighters section is a favorite among festival-goers as it includes weird, electric, and sometimes terrifying selection of titles. Featuring 10 genre films, the Midnighters slate includes an array of dark comedies, thrillers, sci-fi, mystery and slasher pics with a mix of established and first-time filmmakers. With Midnighters and addition of Festival Favorites as well as 10 additional film, the SXSW Film Festival now has a robust 135 total features on its slate.
SXSW runs March 13-22. Below you can read additions to the 2020 SXSW Film Festival lineup. You can also read the entire lineup of Music Video and Title Design Competitions, Virtual Cinema and the SXSW Art Program here.
Scary, funny, sexy, controversial – ten provocative after-dark features for night owls and the terminally curious.
Director: John Berardo, Screenwriters: John Berardo, Lindsay LaVanchy, Brian Frager
Ellery Scott’s world unravels when her star athlete brother is murdered on campus amidst a brewing scandal, kicking off a spree of social-media-linked slayings that leave her racing alongside the police to uncover the university’s hidden secrets. Cast: Jon Huertas, Isabella Gomez, Lindsay LaVanchy, Froy Gutierrez, Gattlin Griffith, Patrick Walker, Bart Johnson, Shireen Lai, with Yancy Butler, and Lochlyn Munro (World Premiere)
Director: Natasha Kermani, Screenwriter: Brea Grant
Lucky follows May, a self-help book author with all the answers, who suddenly finds herself stalked by a threatening but elusive masked man, and caught in a struggle to get help from the people around her and maintain control over her own life. Cast: Brea Grant, Hunter C Smith, Kristina Klebe, Leith M. Burke, Dhruv Uday Singh, Yasmine Al-Bustami, Kausar Mohammed (World Premiere)
PG (Psycho Goreman) (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Steven Kostanski
Siblings Mimi and Luke unwittingly resurrect an ancient alien overlord. Using a magical amulet, they force the monster to obey their childish whims and accidentally attract a rogues’ gallery of intergalactic assassins to small-town suburbia. Cast: Nita-Josée Hanna, Owen Myre, Adam Brooks, Alexis Hancey, Matthew Ninaber, Steven Vlahos, Kristen MacCulloch, Anna Tierney, Kenneth Welsh (World Premiere)
Director: Natalie Erika James, Screenwriters: Natalie Erika James, Christian White
When Edna, the elderly and widowed matriarch of the family, goes missing, her daughter Kay and granddaughter Sam travel to their remote family home to find her. Soon after her return, they start to discover a sinister presence haunting the house and taking control of Edna. Cast: Emily Mortimer, Robyn Nevin, Bella Heathcote
Run Sweetheart Run
Director/Screenwriter: Shana Feste
In Run Sweetheart Run, a blind date turns violent and the woman has to get home on foot through Los Angeles as she’s pursued by her date. Cast: Ella Balinska, Pilou Asbaek, Clark Gregg, Aml Ameen, Dayo Okeniyi, Betsy Brandt, Shohreh Aghdashloo
Director: Robin Pront, Screenwriter: Micah Ranum
A reformed hunter living in isolation on a wildlife sanctuary becomes involved in a deadly game of cat and mouse when he and the local Sheriff set out to track a vicious killer who may have kidnapped his daughter years ago. Cast: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Annabelle Wallis, Hero FIennes Tiffin, Melanie Scrofano, Shaun Smyth, Zahn McClarnon (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Michael Nader
When a young woman and her rideshare driver break down on a dark forest road, each sees the other as a threat. But as strange phenomena begin occurring around them, they gradually realize they’ve become trapped in the world of a terrifying supernatural being: The Toll Man. Cast: Jordan Hayes, Max Topplin, James McGowan, Rosemary Dunsmore (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Keith Thomas
A man providing overnight watch to a deceased member of his former Orthodox Jewish community finds himself opposite a malevolent entity, in writer-director Keith Thomas’ electrifying feature debut. Cast: Dave Davis, Menashe Lustig, Malky Goldman, Lynn Cohen, Fred Melamed (U.S. Premiere)
Director: Elle Callahan
A woman in the United States helps two young witches seek asylum in Mexico to avoid persecution by American authorities. Cast: Gideon Adlon, Elizabeth Mitchell, Abigail Cowen, The Crovetti Twins, Christian Camargo (World Premiere)
Director: Lars Damoiseaux, Screenwriters: Eveline Hagenbeek, Lars Damoiseaux
Yummy is an orgy of blood, violence and fun in which a young couple travels to a shabby Eastern European hospital for cheap plastic surgery, but they get stuck in the middle of a zombie outbreak. Cast: Maaike Neuville, Bart Hollanders, Clara Cleymans, Benjamin Ramon, Tom Audenaert (North American Premiere)
Acclaimed standouts and selected premieres from festivals around the world.
Director: Bao Nguyen
Be Water is a layered and intimate portrait of an underdog who was able to transcend racism, colonialism, and xenophobia to become one of the most influential cultural figures of our time. Cast: Linda Lee Cadwell, Shannon Lee, Robert Lee, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dan Inosanto, Andre Morgan
Director/Screenwriter: Danny Madden
Set in a southern town, three youth deal with new and old issues of growing up, swirling with trauma, petty crimes, new love and gun violence. Cast: Shirley Chen, Will Madden, Jose Angeles, Courtney Dietz, Daniel Rashid, Kron Moore
Directors: Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss
A political coming-of-age story, Boys State examines the health of American democracy through an unusual experiment in which a thousand 17-year-old boys from across Texas join together to build a representative government from the ground up. Cast: Steven Garza, Rene Otero, Ben Feinstein, Robert Macdougall
Director: Annie Silverstein, Screenwriters: Annie Silverstein, Johnny McAllister
On the outskirts of Houston, a teen reeling from her mom’s incarceration and an aging bullfighter struggling to keep a foothold in the rodeo circuit, form an unlikely bond and attempt to right their own paths. Cast: Rob Morgan, Amber Havard, Yolonda Ross, Keeli Wheeler, Keira Bennett, Sara Allbright, Troy Hogan, Steven Boyd, Reece McClure, Tadarius Billy Miles
Charm City Kings
Director: Angel Manuel Soto, Screenwriters: Sherman Payne, Chris Boyd, Kirk Sullivan, and Barry Jenkins
A young boy joins a dirt bike gang in Baltimore. Feature film adaptation of the documentary 12 O’Clock Boys. Cast: Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Meek Mill, Will Catlett, Donielle Tremaine Hansley, Kezii Curtis, Chino, Lakeyria “Wheelie Queen” Doughty, Chandler DuPont, Tyquan Ford, Teyonah Parris
Director: Michael Angelo Covino, Screenwriter: Michael Angelo Covino, Kyle Marvin
Kyle and Mike are best friends who share a close bond — until Mike sleeps with Kyle’s fiancée. The Climb is about a tumultuous but enduring relationship between two men across many years of laughter, heartbreak and rage. Cast: Kyle Marvin, Michael Angelo Covino, Gayle Rankin, Talia Balsam, George Wendt, Judith Godrèche
Director: Shalini Kantayya
Coded Bias follows MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s startling discovery that most facial recognition does not accurately see dark-skinned faces and her transformation from scientist to tireless advocate to push for first-ever legislation. Cast: Joy Buolamwini, Cathy O’Neil, Zeynep Tufecki
Feels Good Man
Director: Arthur Jones
When indie comic character Pepe the Frog becomes an unwitting icon of hate, his creator fights to bring Pepe back from the darkness.
I’m Gonna Make You Love Me
Director: Karen Bernstein
Fellini meets Motown in I’m Gonna Make You Love Me, one man’s search for self-acceptance, a journey that included tabloid celebrity, Tupperware parties, and two coming outs – first as a straight woman, then as the gay man he was meant to be.
Director/Screenwriter: Channing Godfrey Peoples
A former beauty queen turned hardworking single mom prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the Miss Juneteenth pageant, hoping to keep her from repeating the same mistakes in life that she made. Cast: Nicole Beharie, Kendrick Sampson, Alexis Chikaeze, Akron Watson, Lori Hayes, Marcus M. Mauldin
Mucho Mucho Amor
Directors: Cristina Costantini, Kareem Tabsch
Mucho Mucho Amor follows the iconic, gender non-conforming astrologer Walter Mercado, who mesmerized Latino viewers with his extravagance and positivity for decades. Then, one day, he vanished from the public eye.
Director/Screenwriter: Edson Oda
In a house distant from the reality we know, a reclusive man interviews prospective candidates — personifications of human souls — for the privilege that he once had: to be born. Cast: Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Bill Skarsgard, Benedict Wong, Tony Hale, David Rysdahl, Arianna Ortiz
The Reason I Jump (United Kingdom)
Director: Jerry Rothwell
Based on the book by Naoki Higashida this immersive film explores the experiences of nonspeaking autistic people around the world.
Directors/Screenwriters: Alex Fischer, Eleanor Wilson
A young Brooklyn couple head upstate to disconnect from their phones and reconnect with themselves. Cut off from their devices, they miss the news that the planet is under attack. Cast: John Reynolds, Sunita Mani, Ben Sinclair, John Early, Johanna Day, Gary Clark, Jo Firestone, Zenobia Shroff, Amy Sedaris
A Thousand Cuts
Director: Ramona S. Diaz
A film about the role of journalism and disinformation’s accelerating effect in the erosion of democracy under the authoritarian regime of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as told through the story of embattled journalist Maria Ressa.
Director: Kim A. Snyder
Determined to turn unfathomable tragedy into action, the teenage survivors of Parkland, Florida catalyze a powerful, unprecedented youth movement that spreads with lightning speed across the country, as a generation of youth take back democracy.
Live soundtracks, cult re-issues and much more. Our Special Events section offers unusual, unexpected and unique one-off film events.
Bait (United Kingdom)
Director: Mark Jenkin
Bait (2019) is a brilliantly original and visually daring feature film, written, directed and hand-crafted by Cornish filmmaker Mark Jenkin. For this special presentation, Gwenno Saunders’ new score, performed live with Georgia Ellery (who also plays Kate in the film), blends synth loops, long-forgotten Cornish folk records, violin drone and live vocals. Expect the unexpected with this new take on the atmospheric world of Bait! Cast: Edward Rowe, Simon Shepherd, Mary Woodvine, Giles King, Chloe Endean, Georgia Ellery, Isaac Woodvine, Jowan Jacobs (North American Premiere)
Doug Benson and Master Pancake vs Leprechaun Returns
Director: Steven Kostanski
Doug Benson (Super High Me, Doug Loves Movies) and Master Pancake (Film-Talkers at Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse) continue their St. Patrick’s Day tradition of interrupting every film in the Leprechaun franchise. This year they tackle Leprechaun Returns.
Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics
Director/Screenwriter: Donick Cary
Have A Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics tells the epic story of psychedelics through the surprising and often hilarious drug trips of celebrity storytellers. (World Premiere)
Out of the Blue (1980) 4K Restoration (2019) (Canada, U.S.)
Director: Dennis Hopper, Screenwriters: Leonard Yakir, Brenda Nielson
New 4K digital restoration of Dennis Hopper’s 1980 critically acclaimed (but seldom seen) return to the director’s chair after his disastrously received The Last Movie (1971), his follow-up to the world-shaking success of Easy Rider (1969). Cast: Linda Manz, Dennis Hopper, Sharon Farrell, Don Gordon, Raymond Burr
RAD! (1986) 4K Restoration (2019)
Director: Hal Needham, Screenwriters: Sam Bernard, Geoffrey Edwards
A bicycle-motocrosser tries to enter a corrupt promoter’s nationally televised cash-prize race.
Cast: Bill Allen, Lori Loughlin, Talia Shire, Ray Walston
Additional Features added to the lineup in previously announced sections:
High profile narrative features receiving their World, North American or U.S. premieres at SXSW.
Director/Screenwriter: Boaz Yakin
Aviva is a unique exploration of gender within the self, told through the lens of a modern romantic relationship. Cast: Zina Zinchenko, Bobbi Jene Smith, Tyler Phillips, Or Schraiber (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Robert F. Kennedy III
The true story of outlaw journalist/counter-culture icon Hunter S. Thompson’s unlikely campaign for Sheriff of Aspen, CO, in 1970. Cast: Jay Bulger, Cheryl Hines, Amaryllis Fox, Laird Mackintosh, Maxwell Loeb (WorldPremiere)
One of These Days (Germany)
Director/Screenwriter: Bastian Günther
In a small U.S. southern town, the annual ‘Hands On’ endurance contest offers the chance of a lifetime to win a brand new pickup truck. Each contestant has their own reasons for entering, but the true cost of the competition is higher than it appears. Cast: Carrie Preston, Joe Cole, Callie Hernandez, Bill Callahan (World Premiere)
Shining a light on new documentary features receiving their World, North American or U.S. premieres at SXSW.
After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News
Director: Andrew Rossi
After Truth captures the human toll of false news and conspiracies with unprecedented access to figures in the Pizzagate, Seth Rich, Jade Helm and Alabama special election cases. (World Premiere)
Good ol Girl
Director: Sarah Brennan Kolb
Good ol Girl is a documentary western following three modern-day cowgirls as they hustle for land, cattle, and respect across Texas. Cast: Sara Lemoine Knox, Mandy Dauses, Martha Santos, Joyce Gibson Roach (World Premiere)
A Most Beautiful Thing
Director/Screenwriter: Mary Mazzio
A Most Beautiful Thing chronicles the first African American high school rowing team in this country, made up of young men in rival gangs from the West Side of Chicago, all literally coming together to row in the same boat. (World Premiere)
Director: Kevin Ford
Two women of color run for public office and fight against decades of institutional racism, redefining what it means to be a Texan. (World Premiere)
Director: Pat Kondelis
The true story of basketball insider Christian Dawkins, who hustled the FBI in a scandal that threatened to take down the NCAA. (World Premiere)
Visions filmmakers are audacious, risk-taking artists in the new cinema landscape who demonstrate raw innovation and creativity in documentary and narrative filmmaking.
Director/Screenwriter: Caleb Michael Johnson
Alice has been blacking out and craving things she dare not name. When her girlfriends’ dog goes missing, Alice wonders if it could be inside her. Cast: Lindsay Burdge, Tallie Medel, Frank Mosley (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Jeremy Hersh
Jess is thrilled to be the surrogate for her best friend and his husband, but when a prenatal test comes back, it creates a moral dilemma that threatens their friendship. Cast: Jasmine Batchelor, Chris Perfetti, Sullivan Jones, Brooke Bloom, Tonya Pinkins, Eboni Booth, Brandon Micheal Hall, Leon Lewis, Tiffany Villarin (World Premiere)
Presenting world premieres of prestige serials slated for release and accompanied by show-runners, directors and cast members featuring extended Q&As.
Director: Peter LoGreco
From creators Stephen Warren and Johnnie Ingram, this six-part unscripted series recruits small-town residents across America to participate in a one-night-only drag show. Renowned drag queens Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka O’Hara and Shangela Laquifa Wadley will inspire and teach their own “drag daughters” to step outside their comfort zone for a night of no-holds-barred, full-on drag. Cast: Caldwell Tidicue (Bob the Drag Queen), David Huggard (Eureka O’Hara), D.J. Pierce (Shangela) (World Premiere)
24 BEATS PER SECOND
Showcasing the sounds, culture and influence of music and musicians, with an emphasis on documentary.
Dark City Beneath The Beat
Director: TT The Artist
Dark City Beneath the Beat is a musical documentary reimagining the narrative of Baltimore, a city rising above social and economic turmoil to develop a vibrant and close-knit community for the arts through its homegrown sound, Baltimore club music. (World Premiere)
Jose Feliciano: Behind This Guitar
Directors/Screenwriters: Frank Licari, Helen Murphy
The Official Biographical Documentary of the eight-time Grammy Winner and international music icon, Jose Feliciano. From being blind at birth in the slums of Puerto Rico to Grammy winner, Jose Feliciano carved a path that few achieved before or since. (U.S. Premiere)
Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time
Director: Alison Ellwood
Laurel Canyon pulls back the curtain on a mythical world and provides an up-close look at the lives of the musicians who inhabited it. It paints an intimate portrait of the artists who created a music revolution that would change popular culture. (World Premiere)
Sisters with Transistors (United Kingdom)
Director: Lisa Rovner
Sisters with Transistors is the remarkable untold story of electronic music’s female pioneers, composers who embraced machines and their liberating technologies to utterly transform how we produce and listen to music today. (World Premiere)
A diverse selection of international filmmaking talent, featuring innovative narratives, artful documentaries, premieres, festival favorites and more.
The Mystery of the Pink Flamingo (Spain, U.S.)
Director: Javier Polo, Screenwriters: Javier Polo, Sixto Xavier García
A square sound engineer employs unusual research efforts to reveal the secrets behind the quintessential icon of kitsch, the Pink Flamingo. His bizarre adventure will unexpectedly turn into a creative journey to self-discovery. Cast: Rigo Pex, John Waters, Eduardo Casanova, Allee Willis, Kero Kero Bonito, Antonyo Marest, Kitten Kay Sera (World Premiere)
NARRATIVE SHORTS COMPETITION
A selection of original, well-crafted films that take advantage of the short form and exemplify distinctive and genuine storytelling.
Director/Screenwriter: Chelsea Devantez
Basic is a very short film exploring the insecure lil’ ho in all of us.
Director/Screenwriter: Bridget Moloney
An existential comedy about the mother of two young children who begins to spontaneously vomit toy blocks.
Director/Screenwriter: Rachel Harrison Gordon
A biracial girl caught between two worlds prepares for her Bat Mitzvah and adulthood. (North American Premiere)
Director: Casey Wilson, Screenwriters: Casey Wilson, Laura Kindred
A father, played by Michael McKean (Spinal Tap, Better Call Saul) and daughter, played by Casey Wilson (SNL, Happy Endings) spiral as they grapple with life after loss in this comedic short film. Based on real death events.
Darling (Pakistan, U.S.)
Director: Saim Sadiq, Screenwriters: Saim Sadiq, Rodney Llaverias
An erotic dance theater in Lahore prepares for a new show just as a sacrificial goat disappears, an attractive trans girl aspires to grab the limelight and a naive young man falls in love.
Director/Screenwriter: Matthew Puccini
Marco cuts class to spend the afternoon with his boyfriend. Things do not go as planned.
Face to FaceTime
Director/Screenwriter: Izzy Shill
In this ridiculous, sometimes gag-inducing sex comedy, Claire takes the bold step of initiating a FaceTime call, only to discover Danny’s flaccid enthusiasm for her. (World Premiere)
Father of the Bride (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Rhys Marc Jones
The best man attempts to keep face and deliver his speech at his brother’s wedding, following an encounter in the hotel bathroom with the father of the bride. (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Jan Vejnar
A man follows a group of workers coming for a shift in an industrial area. He’s stripped from clothes and identity, dressed in a military uniform and armed. His determination not to fall behind the others is tested by a series of unsettling events. (U.S. Premiere)
I’m Happy, I Promise
Director: Mimi Cave, Screenwriter: Parker Seaman
A series of phone calls between Parker and his friends narrate Parker’s mission to find true happiness through superficial obsessions.
Director/Screenwriter: Emily Tremaine
A woman records erotica fantasy audiobooks from her bedroom closet while her own life is far from perfect. (World Premiere)
Mthunzi (South Africa)
Director/Screenwriter: Tebogo Malebogo
Mthunzi’s return from the supermarket is interrupted when he passes a white woman seizing in her driveway.
A Period Piece (France)
Director/Screenwriter: Shuchi Talati
Geetha, a control and order loving Indian-American woman, finally has sex with Vehd one afternoon but things quickly turn messy when period blood stains her pristine couch and a fight erupts mid-coitus, causing her pent-up feelings spill over. (World Premiere)
Reminiscences of the Green Revolution (Philippines, U.S.)
Director/Screenwriter: Dean Colin Marcial
A ghost story about love and eco-terrorism in the Philippines. (U.S. Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Daniel Newell Kaufman
All Luke and his mom have are two garbage bags full of clothes, and two tickets out of town on the midnight Greyhound. Like he’s assembling a puzzle, Luke has to figure out the why of it–all before the person they’re running from puts together the pieces. (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Ashley Eakin
A girl born with one arm gets set-up to go on a blind date with a guy who has one hand, and she is pissed! (World Premiere)
Soft (Mexico, U.S.)
Director/Screenwriter: Daniel Antebi
Sam – 16, queer, and falling in love – struggles to untangle himself from his abusive martial arts coach. (World Premiere)
Still Wylde (Canada, U.S.)
Director/Screenwriter: Ingrid Haas
Gertie and her on-and-off boyfriend, Sam, face a major life decision only to realize that even when they know what they want, life has other plans.(World Premiere)
Summer Hit (Germany)
Director/Screenwriter: Berthold Wahjudi
Laia from Spain and Emil from Iceland are enjoying their semester abroad in Munich. While Laia feels perfectly fine just having sex with Emil, his profession of deeper feelings puts her on the defensive.
Vert (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Kate Cox
When Jeff and Emelia are gifted a virtual reality set that shows one’s “ideal self” for their twentieth wedding anniversary, they discover a secret that could shift their relationship indelibly. (North American Premiere)
The Voice in Your Head
Director/Screenwriter: Graham Parkes
Dan spends his every waking hour tortured by the negative voice in his head, until he learns something shocking that allows him to break free. (World Premiere)
Director: Carlyn Hudson, Screenwriters: Katie Marovitch, Kerry Barker
Kerry is at a sleepover with the socially awkward, mysteriously orphaned heiress Katie. Friendship–in a society that grows ever isolating–is explored as Kerry learns the hard way that Katie always gets what she wants. (World Premiere)
White Eye (Israel)
Director/Screenwriter: Tomer Shushan
A man finds his stolen bicycle, now they belong to a stranger. While attempting to retrieve them, he struggles to remain human. (North American Premiere)
DOCUMENTARY SHORTS COMPETITION
Slices of life from across the documentary spectrum.
Director/Screenwriter: Travis Wood
An exploration of workplace diversity through “meet the team” pages.
Betye Saar Taking Care of Business
Director: Christine Turner
At 93, there’s no stopping when it comes to the legendary artist Betye Saar.
Director: Charlie Tyrell, Screenwriters: Charlie Tyrell, Josef Beeby
A documentary short about the Symphony for a Broken Orchestra which collected hundreds of broken instruments from the Philadelphia public school system, fixed them and then returned them into the hands of students.
Call Center Blues
Director: Geeta Gandbhir
Call Center Blues is a lyrical portrait of an unlikely community of U.S. deportees and their loved ones struggling to rebuild their lives in Tijuana, Mexico. (World Premiere)
The Claudia Kishi Club
Director: Sue Ding
A love letter to Claudia Kishi, the iconic character from the Baby-Sitters Club books. One of the few Asian Americans in 80s and 90s pop culture, Claudia inspired a generation of young readers of color. (World Premiere)
Día de la Madre
Directors: Ashley Brandon, Dennis Höhne
A band of juveniles embark on a 24-hour spree of breaking into houses and causing a ruckus.
Director: Kevin Staake
By day, she visits morgues, observes autopsies, and studies pictures of crime scenes. By night, she turns nightmarish imaginings into precise, red-splattered miniatures.
Hiplet: Because We Can
Director: Addison Wright
The combination of Classical Ballet and Hip Hop, We call it Hiplet.
Directors: Jamie Meltzer, Chris Filippone
Every weekday, dozens of inmates are released from Huntsville State Penitentiary, taking in their first moments of freedom with phone calls, cigarettes, and quiet reflection at the Greyhound station up the block. (North American Premiere)
A Hysterical Girl
Director/Screenwriter: Kate Novack
Sigmund Freud published only one major case history of a female patient. “Hysterical Girl” revisits his landmark treatment of the 17-year-old girl he called “Dora,” and reflects on how Freud’s theory of hysteria continues to shape popular culture. (World Premiere)
Lions in the Corner
Director: Paul Hairston
In the rural mountains of Virginia, “Scarface” started a fight club called Streetbeefs in his backyard to combat gun and knife violence in the area. Soon it turned into something much more.
Directors: Katelyn Rebelo, Kira Dane, Screenwriter: Kira Dane
In Japan there is a special way to grieve after having an abortion. Inspired by these Buddhist rituals, Mizuko is an intimate look of how a half-Japanese American woman reevaluates drawing ‘the line’ in abortion ethics when she becomes pregnant. (North American Premiere)
Modern Whore (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Nicole Bazuin
Former escort Andrea Werhun shares the ins and outs of escort review board culture to expose deeper complexities of sexual power and social stigma in a post #metoo world. (World Premiere)
No Crying at the Dinner Table (Canada)
Director: Carol Nguyen
Filmmaker Carol Nguyen interviews her family to craft a portrait of love, grief and intergenerational trauma. (U.S. Premiere)
Director: Olivia Loomis Merrion
Every Spring 30,000 quilters descend upon a small town in Kentucky for “the Academy Awards of Quilting.” Doubling the town’s population, this film is a front row seat to quilters as you’ve never seen before.
Director/Screenwriter: William A. Kirkley
Prolific radical chic legal husband and wife team Michael and Eleanora Kennedy defend The Weather Underground, The Black Panthers, and countless other revolutionaries against the U.S. Government, become targets of the FBI and go on the run. (World Premiere)
ANIMATED SHORTS COMPETITION
An assortment of stories told using traditional animation, computer-generated effects, stop-motion, and everything in
Director/Screenwriter: Emily Ann Hoffman
A woman copes with bad therapy, heartbreak, and blackheads. (World Premiere)
Chicken of the Dead (France)
Director: Julien David, Screenwriters: Yacine Badday, Florent Guimberteau
Bernard Lepique is the CEO of “Quasi”, a company specializing in the production of half-bio, half-antibiotics chickens. Today Bernard is launching its new kind of chicken, but everything does not go as planned. (North American Premiere)
Coldsore (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Caitlin McCarthy
A naive but determined internet dweller goes to some seedy lengths to fit in at school, but it still doesn’t go quite to plan. (U.S. Premiere)
Frank’s Joke (United Kingdom)
Director: Ed Bulmer, Screenwriters: Edward Bulmer, Andrew Eu
Frank told a bad joke at his new place of work. Nobody laughed. (North American Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Matisse Gonzalez
Some days are light and some days are heavy. (U.S. Premiere)
Hot Flash (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Thea Hollatz
Ace Naismith is having a hot flash, and she is about to go live on local television. An animated comedy about a woman trying to keep her cool when one type of flash leads to another.
Director/Screenwriter: Bernardo Britto
A goose remembers his last migration.
Inside Blue (Taiwan)
Director/Screenwriter: Yi-Chien Chen
The story describes a man who needs to carry a roll of tape with him, just in case. (North American Premiere)
No, I Don’t Want to Dance! (United Kingdom)
Director: Andrea Vinciguerra
In these dark times, you may think that every hazard has been identiﬁed, but nobody has taken into consideration how dangerous dance can be.
Director: Sara Kiener
After years of long distance, a pair of big and beautiful boyfriends celebrate their reunion at a Stevie Nicks concert, where they share a brush with magic.
The Slug Finger (United Kingdom)
Director: Lily Shaul
The unusual story of a girl whose finger transforms into a slug forcing her to learn to love and care for it. (North American Premiere)
Solipsism (France, U.S.)
Directors: Tuna Bora, Jonathan Djob Nkondo, Screenwriter: Tuna Bora
If a girl crosses the border between her internal and external reality and no one is around to see it, does this animated short really exist?
Something to Remember (Sweden)
Director/Screenwriter: Niki Lindroth von Bahr
A lullaby before the great disaster.
Symbiosis (France, Hungary)
Director: Nadja Andrasev, Screenwriters: Nadja Andrasev, Rita Domonyl
A betrayed wife starts to investigate her husband’s mistresses. Her jealousy is gradually replaced by curiosity.
Undiable dans la poche (France)
Directors/Screenwriters: Antoine Bonnet, Mathilde Loubes
A group of children witnesses a crime and is forced to remain silent. Auguste, the youngest, finds the burden too heavy and decides to reveal this secret. (North American Premiere)
Bite-sized bits for all of your sex, gore, and hilarity cravings.
Director/Screenwriter: Emily Wilson
Danny meets his online girlfriend for the first time, but accidentally discovers an unspeakable possession of hers, which throws their first night together into a dizzying tailspin.
Deep Clean (United Kingdom)
Director: David Wilson, Screenwriters: Harry Clayton-Wright, David Wilson
Cleanliness is next to godliness. A celebration of objectophilia (the love of objects) and self-pleasure.
The Doe (France)
Director/Screenwriter: Jennifer Lumbroso
After an accident in the French countryside, Helene, a city dweller, is facing events that are beyond understanding. She becomes “the doe” in order to survive. (World Premiere)
Double Tap (United Kingdom)
Director: Eros Vlahos, Screenwriters: Eros Vlahos, Tron Vlahos
A screen-obsessed teen ignores a chain-mail instagram post. Big mistake. (World Premiere)
Hand in Hand (Switzerland)
Director/Screenwriter: Ennio Ruschetti
Two Politicians shake hands. The situation escalates.
Director/Screenwriter: Thessa Meijer
During an extreme heat wave, a shy girl seeks refuge in an ice cream shop. But when she looks into the eyes of the charming vendor, she is on thin ice. (North American Premiere)
Laura Hasn’t Slept
Director/Screenwriter: Parker Finn
Desperate to rid herself of a recurring nightmare, a young woman seeks help from her therapist. (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Santiago Menghini
Following the death of his father, a man must survive the manifestations of his inner demons over the course of a dreary night.
Director: Aaron Morgan, Screenwriters: Aaron Morgan, Eric Vespe
After driving all night, two sisters come across a dilapidated roadside bathroom. Horrific events follow when a strange message is found and a mischievous resident wants to play a sinister game.(World Premiere)
Director: John Poliquin, Screenwriters: Colin Minihan, John Poliquin
An insecure teenager deletes her social media accounts and learns that what she put online will come back to haunt her. (World Premiere)
Directors: Janina Gavankar, Russo Schelling, Screenwriters: Janina Gavankar, Russo Schelling
While hanging a piece of art in her new home, a woman knocks a hole in her wall, revealing what might be another room. Her mind races and unravels as she wonders what could be on the other side.
An offshoot of our regular shorts program, composed of work shot in, about, or somehow relating to the Lone Star state.
Director: Matt Sherwood, Screenwriters: Davey Morrison Dillard
Biters is a surf horror story set in the aftermath of a hurricane along the Gulf coast.
A Bold Experiment
Directors: Alexander Milan, Andrew Miller
In 1997, J David Bamberger attempted to build the world’s first man-made bat cave. The idea was far-fetched and expensive, making headlines around the world. It stood empty for 4 years, but his “batty” idea would eventually house half a million bats.
Coup d’etat Math
Director/Screenwriter: Sai Selvarajan
In times of duress, nothing adds up. Coup d’etat Math is an animated short film that depicts four immigrant stories narrated by four different voices. (World Premiere)
Just Hold On
Directors: Sam Davis, Rayka Zehtabchi
A portrait of a girl holdin’ on to stuff (especially sheep). (World Premiere)
The Paint Wizzard
Directors: Jessica Wolfson, Jessie Auritt
Millie “The Paint Wizzard” is a transgender housepainter who lives in a bright yellow motorhome in Austin, Texas. A few years ago, at the age of 58, she gained the courage to leave “Michael” behind and embrace her authentic self, cat ears and all. (World Premiere)
Rules For Werewolves (Canada, U.S.)
Director: Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux, Screenwriter: Kirk Lynn
As teens ransack a suburban home for food and clothing, one recounts how he got there and how desperation has changed him. (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Austin Davison
When two tough guys leave a bar to fight, their search for the right spot becomes an adventure. (World Premiere)
Ter (Costa Rica, U.S.)
Director/Screenwriter: Maria Luisa Santos
A live-in housemaid struggles with making a difficult decision while trying to hide her distress from the girl she loves and cares for. (World Premiere)
Zoe and Hanh
Director/Screenwriter: Kim Tran
A young woman is caught in a lie by her suspicious mom. With tensions already high from recently losing a loved one, their relationship unhinges. (World Premiere)
TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHORTS
A preview of the next filmmaking generation, as Texas High Schoolers present shorts of five minutes or less.
Director/Screenwriter: Barbara Lou
:) explores the theme of happiness from an abstract point of view that reflects a teenager’s world. (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Melanie Ulloa
This is an 80’s psychological thriller that dives deep into the mysterious and sometimes frightening world of multiple personality disorder.
Director/Screenwriter: Andre Garcia
A lonely girl struggles with the prospect of renewing her membership for her virtual companion, who may be her only friend in a world of commercialism. (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Wilson Jones
A teenager speaks their truth and struggles for understanding from their father and their peers. (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Kati Gibson
A surgical team is waiting for a special delivery and time is of the essence. (World Premiere)
The Contemporary Complex
Director/Screenwriter: Alex Martinez
Two teenagers argue over the legitimacy of one artist’s modern works.
Director/Screenwriter: McKenna Sanchez
A sad and lonely rat goes on a chaotic journey in order to discover it’s okay to love yourself.
Fish Fish Bish
Directors/Screenwriters: Katherine Li, Christine Yan
Bish the fish is saved by Bummy the dummy and ends up in his tummy. (World Premiere)
Directors: Jack McIntyre, Matthew Gabaldon, Screenwriters: Vivian De La Mora, Matthew Gabaldon, Jack McIntyre, Hunter Reeves
A kid who only finds entertainment in laughing at others meets a girl who brings joy to his drab life. (World Premiere)
Directors: Jerzy Carranza, Lindsay Bochat, Screenwriters: Savannah Baca, Lindsay Bochat
Chrysanthemum, a young girl with an extraordinary gift, life changes when she meets Karmen. (World Premiere)
Director: Ellie Bodeman
Lucky Girl is an experimental music video about gender. (World Premiere)
Niyayesh (Greece, Iran, Islamic Republic of)
Director/Screenwriter: Elli Dassopoulos
The turbulence of spiritual veneration, illustrated through travels between time and space. (World Premiere)
Director: Zeke French
A grizzled apple breaks free from the city to search for his birthplace.
Persiguiendo El Sueño Americano
Directors: Jose Gamez, Heidee Andres
This documentary is a look into a very important issue that I am passionate about because of the lives it affects. It is about the struggle of the Hispanic immigrants and the legal issues they face because of our President’s current stance.
Quest for Jasmine
Directors: Amanda Hawkes, Jackie MacLean
Amara, a lonely witch in a cabin in the woods, goes out to find the missing ingredient to her love potion. Adventure ensues, and Amara finds the missing ingredient and something else along the way. (World Premiere)
Rated B for Black
Director/Screenwriter: Samantha Porter
A film that embraces the beauties of black people as a whole: their strength, their unity, their determination, their gracefulness, and much more.
Director: Ricky Rodriguez
This documentary follows young skateboarders as they try to find a place where they are accepted.
Director/Screenwriter: William Tran
A teenager experiences a terrifying phenomenon as he deals with the harrowing events of his day. (World Premiere)
Tattwo (China, Taiwan, U.S.)
Director: Emma Nebeker
The story discusses Zhua Zhou, a traditional precursor for future careers. A mother intervenes with the ceremony to prevent her child from pursuing dance, and her child now has two tattoos: one symbolizing dance and one symbolizing writing.
Director: Kai Hashimoto, Screenwriter: Daniella Pantoliano
Three girls are locked in a basement. They have been down there for a long time. One must die in order for the rest to leave.
Director: Sofia Bajwa
Two teenage girls have unique experiences wearing a Hijab in today’s society.
A Walk Along The Stars
Director/Screenwriter: Lani McHenry
A personal and poetic expression of grief and love in tribute to a little girl’s grandmother. (World Premiere)
Wish Upon a Snowman
Director/Screenwriter: Miu Nakata
On Christmas Eve, a girl builds a snowman. She goes to bed excited on Christmas Eve wishing for a present but receives an unexpected surprise!
EPISODIC PILOT COMPETITION
A pilot showcase introducing fresh work from bright new talent, many with an eye towards finding production, completion funds, or a release platform. Presented in two curated programs.
Directors: Vasilisa Kuzmina, Ivan Petukhov, Screenwriters: Yuliya Gulyan, Ivan Petukhov, Vasilisa Kuzmina
Alisa is an advanced voice assistant for taxi drivers. In each episode of this screenlife show, where everything is perceived from the AI’s POV, Alisa encounters freaky, frightening or funny passengers that question her sense of humour and humanity. (World Premiere)
Director: Rachel Anderson, Screenwriters: Rachel Anderson, Mary Duong
A curious and playful look at growing up between two cultures in Queensland – the Sunshine State – with particular focus on food and family, presented by two Australian-born Asian friends who are awkward, honest, and warm in equal parts. (North American Premiere)
Director: Nic Collins, Screenwriters: Nic Collins, Sean Godsey
Beached follows The Wail, a creature from the deep who has come to Earth to take away humanity’s pain. (World Premiere)
Bored (United Kingdom)
Director: Georgia Oakley, Screenwriters: Coral Amiga, Nicole Hartley
Jamie and Eve are best friends who’ve always shared everything… and after drowning their post-Brexit, January sorrows at a party, they really do end up sharing everything. In the sober light of day will things ever be the same again? (North American Premiere)
Chemo Brain (Denmark)
Director: Kristian Håskjold, Screenwriters: Johan Wang, Kristian Håskjold
When Oliver is diagnosed with testicular cancer his life is turned upside down. This drama series depicts the derailment of a young man that is doing everything he can to not lose his friends, his girlfriend, himself and ultimately his life.
Director: Alfredo De Villa, Screenwriters: Nick Morton, David Conolly
When Cooper Marino’s career falls apart, he takes refuge in the backyard tiki bar he has painstakingly constructed over 15 years and there finds an unlikely path to his own resurgence. (World Premiere)
Director: Ron Najor, Screenwriters: Trevor Fernando, Ron Najor
The Dream follows Daryl, a broke aspiring film director who’s just moved to Los Angeles, taking his first job as a Production Assistant, and the ragtag gang of PAs that school him on how to survive in this insane and unpredictable work environment. (World Premiere)
Director: Jessica Sanders, Screenwriters: Kathreen Khavari, Chuck Neal
Against the backdrop of Oakland California, Iranian-American medical student Kat tries to save her family by taking on the surprising side hustle of professional cuddling.
Director: Lauren Ludwig, Screenwriter: Kelsey Ledgin
Everyone Together is a comedy series that follows two dysfunctional families from different cultural backgrounds as they clash and bond over a new major family milestone each season. (World Premiere)
Heart To Heart (United Kingdom)
Director: Lilah Vandenburgh, Screenwriter: Islay Bell-Webb
A surreal buddy-comedy about the relationship between a terminally ill 21- year-old, Liddy, and her failing heart, Lump, who’s determined to get her a girlfriend – before they both die. (World Premiere)
Homecoming: The Journey of Cardboard (Japan)
Directors: Yuko Shiomaki, Anna Thorson Mayer
Fuyuki Shimazu is an artist and cardboard lover who travels around the world to pick up cardboard he likes. His charming up-cycling art activities are depicted in the feature film From All Corners in 2018 and now his new chapter of journey starts. (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Kati Skelton
A love and fantasy-obsessed maid named Kasha begins working at Lusty Crest, a love hotel perched on top of a treacherous mountain. She soon learns that the hotel is plagued by not only human lechers, but supernatural ones as well. (World Premiere)
Directors: Sara Newens, Mina T. Son
Racial tensions are reignited as a historically Black neighborhood in Palm Springs continues the decades-long fight for the removal of a wall of trees that many believe were originally planted as a totem of segregation. (World Premiere)
This Isn’t Me
Director: Adrian Rojas Elliot, Screenwriter: Ben Kawaller
An earnest West Hollywood homosexual with a skewed sense of decorum chases meaning and intimacy, routinely humiliating himself and occasionally stumbling into moments of grace.
COMPETITION AWARDS AND CEREMONY
The films in the Short Film Program are eligible for Jury Awards within their respective screening categories, announced during the SXSW Film Awards on Tuesday, March 17 at 6:00 pm at the Paramount Theatre. Other awards announced will include the Narrative Feature Competition, the Documentary Feature Competition, Design Awards, and Special Awards. All feature film categories, except Special Events, will be eligible for category-specific Audience Awards, announced via sxsw.com on Saturday, March 21. SXSW is proud to be an official qualifying festival for the Academy Awards® Short Film competition. Winners of our Best Animated, Best Narrative and Best Documentary Short Film categories become eligible for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards (Oscars). Any British Short Film or British Short Animation that screens at SXSW is eligible for BAFTA nomination. Films are also eligible for the Independent Spirit Awards, more information on eligibility here.
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