SAN ANTONIO — For the first time since 2019, movie lovers will convene in Austin this month for the film festival portion of South By Southwest.
A lineup of 101 feature films is on tap, from upcoming studio fare like A24's trippy Michelle Yeoh vehicle "Everything Everywhere All At Once," the opening-night selection, to global selections from Ghana, Brazil, Puerto Rico and elsewhere.
The Lone Star State will have some representation in the SXSW Film Festival, too. Here are just a few of the movies with Texas connections set to screen between March 11 and March 19, as well as when you can expect some of them.
"Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood"
There's always been a touch of the personal to "Boyhood" and "Dazed and Confused" director Richard Linklater's films. But that aspect of the Houston native's stories has never been foregrounded as strongly as in the forthcoming "Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood."
The Oscar-nominated director's latest sees him returning to the rotoscope-animation style he's used previously, and assembles a who's-who of voice actors including Jack Black, Zachary Levi and Glen Powell. It's being billed as "a snapshot of American life in the 1960s that is part-coming of age, part-societal commentary and part out-of-this-world adventure" structured around the 1969 moon landing as viewed through the eyes of a kid growing up in Houston.
Like we said: a touch of the personal.
"Apollo 10 1/2" premieres March 13 at the Paramount Theatre, and releases April 1 on Netflix.
"Bodies Bodies Bodies"
It isn't South By Southwest without some nasty genre fare, and Halina Reijn's "Bodies Bodies Bodies" is shaping up to be one of the biggest thrillers of the fest.
"A fresh and funny look at backstabbing, fake friends, and one party gone very, very wrong" is how the slasher is being touted. Translation: It should play like gangbusters to a crowd.
Amandla Stenberg ("The Hunger Games"), Maria Bakalova ("Borat Subsequent Moviefilm") and Rachel Sennott ("Shiva Baby") anchor an ensemble that also includes Lee Pace, who attended high school near Houston and discovered his acting chops as part of the city's Alley Theatre company.
"Bodies Bodies Bodies" premieres March 14 at the Paramount Theatre. It's being distributed by A24, but no release date has been announced yet.
"The Lost City"
An adventure-comedy bringing together some A-list talent – including Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Brad Pitt and adopted Austinite Sandra Bullock – "The Lost City" will debut at SXSW in an attempt to generate early buzz before it arrives in theaters later this month.
The "Romancing the Stone"-meets-"21 Jump Street" vibes are strong with the movie, which sees an author getting a taste of what she puts down on the page before Tatum's dashing (and perhaps slightly out-of-his-depth) cover model sets out to rescue her. Trailers tease a big set-piece movie fit for the return of crowds in movie theaters.
"The Lost City" premieres March 12 at the Paramount Theatre before opening in theaters March 25.
"Cha Cha Real Smooth"
In an alternate, COVID-19-less world, Dallas-born director Cooper Raiff would have seen how crowds received his memorable 2020 feature debut "Sh*thouse" in person. The festival was instead cancelled, but the movie still won the jury prize for Best Narrative Feature.
Two years later, the young writer-director-actor triple-threat is making good on his promise. His follow-up, "Cha Cha Real Smooth," another drama about adolescent discovery, will screen at the tail-end of the festival for its Texas premiere after receiving rave reviews out of Sundance in January.
"Cha Cha Real Smooth" screens March 18 at the Paramount Theatre, as well as online on March 19 for badge-holders who RSVP. It's been acquired by Apple TV+, and is expected to release on the streamer sometime later this year.
"What We Leave Behind"
Filmmaker Iliana Sosa, raised in El Paso and currently based in Austin, made several trips between Texas and the northwest-Mexico state of Durango for her intimate and lightly profound documentary "What We Leave Behind."
The movie finds Sosa observing her grandfather, Julián, as he navigates a late stage in his life while patiently constructing a home on an empty lot in his hometown. The result is a film which presents a lifetime worth of reflections and memories in just 71 minutes, built with patient rhythms and an empathetic touch.
"What We Leave Behind" premieres March 11 at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar Boulevard, and will also be available online on March 12 for badge-holders who RSVP.
A relationship drama/thriller takes on ghostly, existential dimensions in Pete Ohs's "Jethica," part of this year's Visions lineup at SXSW.
Starring Ashley Denise Robinson and Callie Hernandez, who was raised in Austin, "Jethica" is sure to be one of the more original and subversive offerings at the festival, blurring the line between prickly comedy and anxious horror in unnerving fashion.
"Jethica" premieres March 12 at downtown Austin's Violet Crown Cinema, and will also be available to screen online on March 13 for badge-holders who RSVP.
Two short-film showcases – bite-size movies representing a kaleidoscope of genres – are bringing the Texas spirit in earnest, either centering on Lone Star State stories, told by Lone Star State-based filmmakers or both.
This year's short-film programs are screening in blocks. The Texas Shorts Program screens at SXSW Film Theater on March 11, March 12 (online)and March 15; the Texas High School Shorts Program screens on March 12, March 13 (online) and March 19.
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