Daily | Previewing SXSW 2014

Austin Chronicle

This week’s cover

The film grid is here. The color-coded schedule of films screening in eleven theaters scattered across Austin, starting tomorrow, when Jon Favreau’s Chef officially opens SXSW 2014, and running on through March 15, is now available as a downloadable PDF. Of course, if you’re already in Austin, you can pick the Chronicle, where you’ll find not only the grid but also a multi-feature preview of this year’s festival.

Richard Whittaker opens the package with a guide to the new Episodic track, a sampler of upcoming television programming that’ll probably benefit most by being projected onto the big screen. He also talks with Robert Rodriguez and the team behind From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series—and with Elijah Wood and Nacho Vigalondo about their Rear Window update, Open Windows; and with Australian director Hugh Sullivan about his “time-travel rom-com” The Infinite Man.

Joe O’Connell meets director, screenwriter and Austinite Kat Candler, whose Hellion premiered at Sundance, where Josh Jackson caught it and, writing for Paste, called it “an intimate look at a difficult childhood offering no easy answers, but one that leads you to care deeply about its flawed but sympathetic characters.” With Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis and newcomer Josh Wiggins. More from Bryan Adams (Credits), Peter Debruge (Variety), Brandon Harris (Filmmaker), Guy Lodge (In Contention), Rodrigo Perez (Playlist, C), David Rooney (Hollywood Reporter) and Kim Voynar (Movie City News).

Marc Savlov talks with Brian Knappenberger about his new documentary, The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, which “provides a chilling example of how federal judicial overreach could and did end up with one young Internet idealist driven to the ultimate extreme while being hounded and pursued by the U.S. government. That would be Aaron Swartz, the Web-savvy genius behind Reddit, Infogami, Jottit, and dozens of other Internet-centric projects, who committed suicide Jan. 11, 2013, at the age of 26, after being charged with multiple counts of wire fraud and 11 violations of the archaic Computer Fraud and Abuse Act after he downloaded hundreds of digitized academic journals, via MIT’s servers, that had been posted by JSTOR, a digital library containing countless journal articles that, by all rights, should probably have been freely available to the public in the first place.” Reviews from Sundance: Geoff Berkshire (Variety), Ty Burr (Boston Globe), Manohla Dargis (New York Times), John DeFore (Hollywood Reporter), Daniel Fienberg (HitFix), Katherine Kilkenny (Indiewire, B), Andrew O’Hehir (Salon), Nathan Rabin (Dissolve) and Tim Wu (New Yorker).

Jessi Cape: “In Animals, a pair of lovers fights the devastation of self-destructive burdens, their pain eased only by an unwavering, if tested, commitment to each other. The Special Need sees two friends attempting to help their third musketeer as he struggles with a primal and all-encompassing desire for physical love; they road trip through Europe on a mission, only to tap into a discovery rich in the quandaries of love. The Desert scales back common genre tropes of horror to explore animal behavior in its most rudimentary, sinister forms while a love triangle is destroyed.”

“Ashley Spillers may have left Austin behind for L.A., but she’s still doing plenty to rep her former hometown in this year’s feature slate at South by Southwest,” writes Ashley Moreno. “She appears in two SXSW premieres—Arlo & Julie, by writer/director Steve Mims, and Two Step, by writer/director Alex R. Johnson—and together with iconic sets and a prevalence of Texas’ favorite pastime (drinkin’ beer, of course), she brings an Austin feel to both films.”

“The best music documentaries show their subjects as more than just the sum of their discographies,” writes Dan Gentile. “In Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton (This Is Stones Throw Records), director Jeff Broadway (Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story) chronicles the highs and lows of Stones Throw Records, an L.A.-based label that has evolved from an all-vinyl outlet for underground hip-hop producers like Madlib and the late J Dilla into a cross-genre family of artists whose compelling personalities define them as much as their albums.” And Gentile interviews Stones Throw founder Chris Manak, aka Peanut Butter Wolf.

Doug Freeman: “Before local filmmaker Matt Muir even knew that James Hand was either able or willing to act in his debut feature, Thank You a Lot, he had written the enigmatic, somewhat reclusive country songwriter into a lead role in his script by name.”

Kate X Messer talks with Margaret Brown about The Great Invisible, her doc on the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosions on the Gulf Coast. And Melanie Haupt previews Beginning With the End, “David Marshall’s documentary focusing on high school students enrolled in an elective class that trains them as hospice volunteers.”

At Indiewire, Nigel M. Smith and Eric Kohn preview “the 10 Most Buzzed About Films Premiering at SXSW 2014.” Among them is Print the Legend: “A documentary that tracks the rise of the 3D printer might sound like a snooze to some, but for any tech geek, this is the film to see at the fest.” Also: Paula Bernstein lists “5 Essential Events Film/Tech Geeks Won’t Want to Miss at SXSW.”

Among the Playlist‘s “15 Most Anticipated Films” is Zachary Wigon’s The Heart Machine. “A man begins to suspect that his long-distance girlfriend, whom he met online but has never met in person, has been living in the same city the whole time and sets out to find her. OK, yes, potentially precious indie-quirky premise alert. We certainly get that. But the lead cast has two of our favorite up and coming actors,” John Gallagher Jr. and Kate Lyn Sheil.

Twitch Picks 22 Can’t Miss Films.” Here’s Peter Martin on one of them, Starry Eyes: “A desperate actress willing to do anything, a mysterious film that may transform her in ways she can’t imagine … yes, please. Those are good ingredients that could be baked up into a variety of shapes and forms, and I hope to be pleasantly surprised. Producer Travis Stevens has a good track record with genre film, so I’m on board for this vehicle into the occult.”

At HitFix, you’ll find “13 new reasons this year’s fest will be the best.” One of them will be all the hoopla surrounding the premiere of PULP, a doc on the band’s final concert by Florian Habicht. Katie Hasty: “As if the mere prospect of the Pulp frontman performing live doesn’t get your blood pumping, Cocker’s promise of a lecture and an intimate look at the British band in concert surely is worth the price of a badge and a new pair of trousers, maybe a vest, and spectacles.”

EW‘s Clark Collis talks with Tobe Hooper about the new restoration of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which sees its 40th anniversary screening on Monday.

Updates: One of Beth Hanna‘s “Ten Most Anticipated” at Thompson on Hollywood is Wild Canaries: “Mumblecore apparently meets noir (Mumblenoir?) in this in-competition comedy following a newly engaged Brooklyn couple who suspect foul play when an elderly lady in their building winds up dead. Familiar indie faces pepper the cast like Sophia Takal, Jason Ritter, Alia Shawkat and Kevin Corrigan. Lawrence Levine (Gaby on the Roof in July) directs.”

Peter Hall introduces the dozen or so is most looking forward to.

Updates, 3/7: At Indiewire, Taylor Lindsay spotlights “10 Actors to Watch Out for.”

From Flavorwire: “10 SXSW 2014 Movies People Will Be Talking About.”

The Credits has a preview as well.

At The Wire, Esther Zuckerman wonders, “Who’s This Year’s Short Term 12?”

From Filmmaker‘s Scott Macaulay: “25 Picks for the 2014 SXSW Film and Interactive Festivals.”

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