Originally Published: March 3, 2005
The SXSW Film Festival, which includes films, music and interactive displays and screenings, is gaining a reputation for cutting edge media from around the world. The festival also highlights genre films, as few other festivals do… with respect and admiration.
This year’s film highlights include the sci-fi indie cl.one, about a chancellor of the future who must find the one person whose genetic structure can bring life to human clones. Also, as we previously reported, Unleashed, starring Jet Li, Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman and Bob Hoskins, will have it’s U.S. premiere at the fest.
Other screenings include the indie horror The Roost, and The Devil and Daniel Johnston, an intimate portrait of the incredibly strange but true life of underground songwriter, illustrator, and cult hero Daniel Johnston, and Scratch: All the Way Live, a documentary from the makers of the hip hop deejay chronicle Scratch.
One of the great features of the web site (and something you don’t often see) is that many of the films have streaming trailers, so you can preview many of your favorites. Take a look at the trailers from HERE »
Here is the full list of films and brief synopses of each:
Dir: Jason Tomaric; Cast: Jeff St. Clair, Gary Skiba, James Kisicki, Bill Caco
Mourning the death of his daughter, a chancellor of the future must find the one person whose genetic structure can bring life to thousands of dormant human clones.
FOUR EYED MONSTERS
Dir:Arin Crumley and Susan Buice
“I want a relationship but I don’t want a relationship.” “I want someone but I don’t want a struggle.” “I want to be okay if I’m alone.” “I want to not have to want.” “I’m looking for someone who is looking for the same.”
Dir: Mystelle Brabbee
What happens when an independent-minded young girl is born into a centuries-old tradition of prostitution? Against the rich backdrop of rural India, this documentary follows Guddi Chauhan from the age of 17 through 23 as she struggles against tradition.
KISSING ON THE MOUTH
Dir: Joe Swanberg; Cast: Kate Winterich, Joe Swanberg, Kevin Pittman, Kris Williams
Ellen is sleeping with her ex-boyfriend while trying to ignore the fact that he’s looking for more than just sex. Her roommate, Patrick, isn’t helping matters with his secretive and jealous behavior.
Dir: Svetozar Ristovski; Cast: Marko Kovacevic
Amidst Macedonia’s tumultuous transition, a boy escapes into his world of hopes and dreams. Circumstances worsen and the boy takes matters into his own hands.
Dir: Garrett Scott and Ian Olds
A documentary profile of a unit in the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division while deployed in Falluja, Iraq in early 2004. During daylight patrols, home raids and downtime in their bungalows, the soldiers reveal conflicted and complex feelings about their duty and purpose.
THE PUFFY CHAIR
Dir: Jay Duplass; Cast: Mark Duplass, Kathryn Aselton, Rhett Wilkins
One man, his girlfriend, and his eccentric brother embark on a comical road trip to deliver one giant purple puffy chair.
Dir: Sean Ackerman; Cast: Sean Ackerman, Shannon Shultz, Monika Franzen, Sam Baker
When Sophie leaves Bobby to follow her dream of going to Panama, Bobby decides to follow her in his old Buick, driving from Montana to Panama. Along the way, the search for Sophie becomes a search to find himself and come to terms with his mother’s death.
A HOLE IN MY HEART
Dir: Lukas Moodysson; Cast: Bj˘rn Almroth, Sanna BrŒding, Horsten Flinc, Goran Marjanovic
In a run-down apartment, a teenager watches his father and friend shoot an amateur porn film as they explore issues of morality, reality TV, and friendship.
THE BALLAD OF JACK AND ROSE
Dir: Rebecca Miller; Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Camilla Belle, Catherine Keener, Paul Dano, Jena Malone, Beau Bridges
Jack has sheltered his teenage daughter Rose from the influences of the outside world, but now his fatal illness and Rose’s emerging womanhood pose troubling questions about the days ahead.
Dir: Michael Galinsky, Suki Hawley, David Beilinson, Zachary Werner
Cameras follow two detectives as they lead a manhunt to find Miami’s notorious serial rapist.
CULTURE CLASH IN AMERICCA
Dir: Emilio Estevez
A performance film from the live tour of acting troupe Culture Clash. Through various characters and monologues, the trio explores American culture and stereotypes.
THE DREAMS OF SPARROWS
Dir: Hayder Mousa Daffar
A team of Iraqi filmmakers document a perspective of their country, after the capture of Saddam Hussein and before the reconstruction.
DROP DEAD SEXY
Dir: Michael Philip; Cast: Crispin Glover, Jason Lee, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Melissa Keller, Xander Berkeley
When their money scam goes awry, a group of would-be thieves turn to kidnapping in an attempt to blackmail their target.
DUST TO GLORY
Dir: Dana Brown
Every fall since 1967 a hearty and eclectic band of adventurers have gathered in Ensenada, Mexico in Baja California for one of the roughest, toughest and most exhilarating rides ever concocted.
Dir: Hans Weingartner; Cast: Daniel BrŸhl, Julia Jentsch, Stipe Erceg
Three activists hatch a kidnapping plot after they encounter a businessman in his home.
Dir: Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern
Of the 20 million people in Ghana, two million are disabled. This is the story of one disabled man whose mission – and purpose – is to change all that forever.
ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM
Dir: Alex Gibney
This is the inside story of one of history’s greatest business scandals, in which top executives of America’s 7th largest company walked away with over one billion dollars while investors and employees lost everything.
THE GRACE LEE PROJECT
Dir: Grace Lee
A humorous documentary essay that contrasts the world of stereotypes with the real-life experiences of several women named Grace Lee, a very common Asian American name.
THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS
Dir: Asia Argento; Cast: Asia Argento, Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse, Peter Fonda, Marilyn Manson, Kip Pardue
A young boy is pulled from his foster home and finds himself on the road with his teenage mother as they encounter disturbing characters.
HIGH SCHOOL RECORD
Dir: Ben Wolfinsohn; Cast: Jenna Thornhill, Dean Allen Spunt, Bobby Sandoval, Jennifer Clavin
Like most high school students, these four ride a continual wave of embarrassment: crappy after-school jobs, attempted sex in the science room, tinfoil shorts, guitar-strumming hippie teachers, and brushes with the law.
Dir: Nimrod Antal; Cast: S‡ndor Bad‡r, Eszter Balla, S‡ndor Cs‡nyi, Lajos Kov‡cs
A humorous and suspenseful tale of rival ticket inspectors in Hungary’s underground transit system.
KUNG FU HUSTLE
Dir: Stephen Chow; Cast: Stephen Chow, Xiaogang Feng, Feng Xiao Gang, Dong Zhi Hua, Chi Chung Lam
1940s China is transformed into a world of action-packed hysteria as gangsters use superhuman strength to battle over their turf.
THE LAST MOGUL
Dir: Barry Avrich
A biography of the fascinating life of legendary Hollywood player Lew Wasserman as he built an empire still thriving today.
Dir: Matthew Vaughn; Cast: Daniel Craig, Colm Meaney, Kenneth Cranham, George Harris, Jamie Foreman, Sienna Miller
A successful cocaine dealer planning an early retirement is lured back into business by a love interest and an international drug ring.
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF GUY TERRIFICO
Dir: Michael Mabbott; Cast: Kris Kristofferson, Ronnie Hawkins, Levon Helm
A faux documentary about the rise and fall of fictional country/western singer Guy Terrifico, featuring some legendary real-life balladeers.
Dir: Ziad Doueiri; Cast: Vahina Giocante, Mohammed Khouas, Karim Ben Haddou, Lotfi Chakri
The sexual awakening of two teenagers in France is only heightened by the forward advances of a girl named Lila.
MANA: BEYOND BELIEF
Dir: Peter Friedman and Roger Manley
What do the American flag, a cherry blossom tree, a frozen tuna, and a Rembrandt painting have in common? They are all “power objects.”
Dir: Harry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro
Murderball, now called “quad rugby,” is a highly competitive, physically violent game played in armored wheelchairs worthy of Mad Max. Following the quadriplegic players, this is a film that will shatter every stereotype you have ever had about what it means to have a disability.
Dir: Chan-wook Park; Cast: Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Gang Hye-jung
A man is mysteriously kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years before his release. Once out in the real world, he enacts his revenge on those who seek to punish him.
Dir: Todd Solondz; Cast: Ellen Barkin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Richard Masur
Aviva is an awkward young girl, navigating through a bizarre set of characters and a disturbing trail of events.
Dir: Nicolas Lopez
Roberto is a freak addicted to comics. He uses them to escape his sad reality. He finds that love, besides being blind, is also hard of hearing.
Dir: Steve James
A portrait of the Pierson family, as they leave their film industry lives in New York to run a remote movie theater in Fiji.
Dir: Michael McGowan; Cast: Campbell Scott, Jennifer Tilly, Adam Butcher
The beautifully bittersweet story of a boy who has the temerity to believe he can make a miracle happen.
SARAH SILVERMAN: JESUS IS MAGIC
Dir: Liam Lynch
The controversial and acclaimed comedian riffs on everything from religion, sex, 9/11, and more.
THE SELF-MADE MAN
Dir: Susan Stern
77-year-old Bob Stern finds out he’s seriously ill – possibly terminal, and decides to take his own life. His family tries to stop him. But first, they set up a video camera.
Dir: Jim Butterworth, Aaron Lubarsky, Lisa Sleeth
With its riveting footage of a secretive underground railroad, this gripping documentary exposes the life and death of North Koreans as they try to escape their homeland and China.
STEPHEN TOBOLOWSKY’S BIRTHDAY PARTY
Dir: Robert Brinkmann
Normally out of the limelight, character actor Stephen Tobolowsky is front and center in a performance at his birthday party recounting stories of his experiences behind the scenes of Hollywood movies.
TELL THEM WHO YOU ARE
Dir: Mark Wexler
The son of acclaimed cinematographer Haskell Wexler confronts his complex father by turning the camera on him.
THE THING ABOUT MY FOLKS
Dir: Raymond DeFelitta; Cast: Peter Falk, Paul Reiser, Olympia Dukakis, Elizabeth Perkins
The story of a father and son who, over the course of several stressful yet meaningful days, rediscover their love for each other while coping with a family crisis.
THE WENDELL BAKER STORY
Dir: Luke and Andrew Wilson; Cast: Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Eva Mendes, Eddie Griffin
Wendell Baker is a good-natured ex-con who tries to win back his ex-girlfriend while fighting corruption at a retirement community.
24 BEATS PER SECOND
ALL WE ARE SAYING
Dir: Rosanna Arquette
A compilation of thousands of hours of footage from in-depth personal interviews with the greatest icons in musical history.
BE HERE TO LOVE ME: A FILM ABOUT TOWNES VAN ZANDT
Dir: Margaret Brown
The bittersweet, tragic and destructive life of one of the most respected songwriters in the history of country music.
Dir: Josh Rubin
A shocking and sensitive journey through the Manic Depressive and Paranoid Schizophrenic mind of outsider music icon and Frank Zappa protege’ Larry “Wild Man” Fischer.
THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON
Dir: Jeff Feuerzeig
An intimate portrait of the incredibly strange but true life of underground songwriter, illustrator, and cult hero Daniel Johnston.
THE FEARLESS FREAKS
Dir: Bradley Beesley
From college radio staples to international rock stars, here’s the story of how some Oklahoma boys called The Flaming Lips changed the face of indie rock.
Dir: Gillian Grisman
An entertaining look at how one church and an obscure instrument turned Robert Randolph & the Family Band into celebrities.
Dir: Don Argott
Everyone at some point in their life dreams of being a rock star – to feel the roar of the crowd, the adoration of the fans, and the trials of life on the road. One can only imagine fulfilling this fantasy as a kid.
SCRATCH: ALL THE WAY LIVE
Dir: Doug Pray
From the creators of the doumentary film, “Scratch,” comes an explosive live concert film which documents the Los Angeles stop of the Scratch Tour.
YOU’RE GONNA MISS ME
Dir: Keven McAlester
The story of rock legend Roky Erickson: A manic singer who was Janis Joplin’s primary influence, fronting a band called the 13th Floor Elevators, considered by many to be the creators of psychedelic music.
LONE STAR STATES
Dir: Jonathan Walls; Cast: Jamie Anne Brown, Jennifer Ferguson, Brandy Howard, Sean O’Bryan
Six people at different stages of life and love, driven by various motives, desires and emotions such as half-sisters and brothers, dreams; shattered and unshattered, and second chances.
Dir: Yen Tan, James M. Johnston, Nick Prendergast, David Lowery
In this tragic tale, a man helps a young woman remember her past. A husband and wife confront each other about their infidelities. A journalist interviews a famous author about the mysteries hidden in his novel. A girl visits her former colleague to tell him how much she’s always loved him.
THE EDUCATION OF SHELBY KNOX
Dir: Marion Lipschutz, Rose Rosenblatt
This documentary follows a high school student as she battles the line between her conservative community and her liberal beliefs in Lubbock, Texas.
FALL TO GRACE
Dir: Mari Marchbanks; Cast: Kira Pozehl, Jessica Roque, Gabriel Luna, Bhagirit Crow
This intricate narrative subtly plots its way through the lives of three teens and their families, showing the connections that turn disparate households into a neighborhood.
Dir: Scott Dalton
An intimate, unflinching portrait of three lives defined by violence, and a community wracked by conflict. Over the course of a year, in a Columbian barrio where thousands are killed each year, these lives each undergo profound changes ranging from victory, to death, to hope.
LIGHT FROM THE EAST
Dir: Amy Grappell
August 1991: A troupe of American actors travels to Ukraine to participate in the first cultural exchange theatre project in Soviet history and find themselves trapped at the epicenter of a political revolution.
Dir: Ellen Spiro
The story of a unique girl scout troop whose mothers are in prison in Gatesville, Texas.
DISCOVERIES FROM DOWN UNDER
GIVING IT ALL AWAY
Dir: Paul Davidson
The remarkable story of philanthropist Sir Roy McKenzie and his father JR. A beautifully crafted film telling a story of wealth, achievement, generosity and caring about others.
Dir: Pip Mushin
Josh Jarman is a struggling playwright desperate to make it big. One day, out of the blue, Josh’s luck changes.
Dir: Cate Shortland; Cast: Abbie Cornish, Sam Worthington, Lynette Curran, Erik Thomson
New experiences help a young girl learn the differences between sex and love.
Dir: Darren Ashton
Five boys, all devoted AC/DC fans, make a pact to bury their best friend next to the grave of Bon Scott.
Dir: Paul Provenza
Dozens of famous comedians tell different variations of the same, legendary joke in filthy and graphic detail.
Dir: Alex Turner; Cast: Henry Thomas, Isaiah Washington, Patrick Fugit, Nicki Lynn Aycox
After robbing a bank, a group of Confederate soldiers seek refuge in an abandoned plantation haunted by supernatural forces.
Dir: David Payne; Cast: Eric Mabius, Scott Whyte, Tina Illman, Derek Richardson, Devon Gummersall
When a lonely highway is inexplicably closed, five students find themselves trapped at a recently deserted travel oasis. Led by a blind grad student with heightened senses, they must survive the night and confront what appears to be a terrifying abyss between the living and the dead.
Dir: Ti West
Four friends on their way to a wedding find themselves marooned on a mysterious farm. Creatures of the night awaken and the undead rise, as a night of relentless horror begins.
Dir: Louis Leterrier; Cast: Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, Bob Hoskins, Kerry Condon
Danny, is raised by a gangster to be a violent killing machine. When he has a chance encounter with a blind piano tuner, he experiences true kindness and compassion for the first time – and breaks from the underworld to go live with the piano tuner and his family.
Dir: Ian Gamazon and Neill Dela Llana; Cast: Ian Gamazon, Dominique Gonzalez
An American citizen visiting his home country arrives at the Philippines Airport and receives a phone call letting him know that his mother and sister have been kidnapped and will be killed if he doesn’t comply with the caller’s demands.
Dir: Don McKellar; Cast: Don McKellar, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mark Rendall, Kristin Adams, Brendan Fehr, Dave Foley
A spoiled and conflicted 12-year-old American TV star runs away from the set of his latest film production, only to be pursued by his reluctant limo driver.
Dir: Lexi Alexander; Cast: Elijah Wood, Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani
An expelled Harvard student moves to London and finds himself embraced and disturbed by the dominant violence of English soccer culture.
MAX & GRACE
Dir: Michael Parness; Cast: David Krumholtz, Natasha Lyonne, Tim Blake Nelson, Lorraine Bracco, David Paymer
A suicidal comedy about two young lovers who get married and escape from a mental institution in order to live.
Dir: Andrew Bujalski; Cast: Justin Rice, Rachel Clift, Andrew Bujalski, Seung-Min Lee
Alan is a musician who leaves a busted-up band for New York, and a new musical voyage. He tries to stay focused and fends off all manner of distractions, including the attraction to his good friend’s girlfriend.
Dir: Rebecca Cook; Cast: Jason Behr, Sarah Wynter, Dominic Monaghan, Joshua Leonard, Ally Sheedy
A dark psychological drama that explores the inner psyche of John Livien, a disillusioned New York musician who deals with a childhood trauma by claiming an alter ego.
Dir: Paul S. Myers and Brennan Shroff; Cast: Anna Faris, Laura Breckenridge, Justin Chambers, Fred Weller, Judah Friedlander
Best friends Bell and Belle try to get out of their trailer park lives and into the “big city” of Atlanta. Matters become complicated when Bell falls for a police officer and Belle struggles to keep a job.
Dir: Ben Rekhi; Cast: Christopher Masterson, Jake Muxworthy, Ajay Naidu, Magiena Tovah, Shabana Azmi, Jon Gries
Three sets of L.A. residents unexpectedly throw their lives and destinies together after a terrorist attack against the city’s water supply.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE COMPETITION
A LIFE WITHOUT PAIN
Dir: Melody Gilbert
An exploration of three families, each suffering with children that can feel no pain.
THE BOYS OF BARAKA
Dir: Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady
Twenty 12-year-old boys from the roughest ghettos of inner-city Baltimore leave home for Kenya, East Africa to attend the 7th and 8th grade at the Baraka School, an experimental boarding academy.
THE COMEDIANS OF COMEDY
Dir: Michael Blieden
Life on the road as four stand-up comics struggle to bring cutting-edge comedy to venues across America.
COWBOY DEL AMOR
Dir: Michele Ohayon
Professional Cupid and former cowboy Ivan Thompson finds Mexican wives for disillusioned American men. Claiming love has no borders, the men are in for a few surprises.
OUR BRAND IS CRISIS
Dir: Rachel Boynton
A verite story following the adventures of James Carville and a crew of American political consultants as they travel to South America to help Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada run for President of Bolivia. The race has an outcome no one expects.
Dir: Kate Davis and David Heilbroner
A wild crew of passionate whistlers – including a turkey hauler, an investment banker and a Dutch social worker – keep this lost art alive as they descend on Louisburg, NC for the 31st annual Whistling Competition.
Dir: Alexandra Shiva
250 kids, ages 8 to 18, put on 12 shows in three weeks at Stagedoor Manor, a theater camp in the Catskills where they come to bask in the glow of their personal spotlight – or escape from it.
Dir: Regis Trigano
In May of 2003, a young African-American man was found hanging in a tree in the rural Florida town of Belle Glade. While the family claimed their son was lynched, the police ruled the suspicious death a suicide.