The South by Southwest Film Festival has rolled out its full programming line up, with high-profile new documentaries bolstering previously announced features.
For many in Hollywood, the last-minute cancellation of the Austin-based 2020 SXSW conference was a reality check about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic. Global lockdowns followed, and a year later, the film portion of the cultural event is soldiering on.
“We feel privileged to have been able to pivot to SXSW Online and present a fantastic treasure trove of programming, including a pared down and wonderful selection of films that we know will delight, entertain and move our attendees,” said Janet Pierson, SXSW’s director of film.
Among the selection is “Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free,” featuring a 16mm footage archive of the late singer at work on his 1994 album “Wildflowers,” largely considered his best. The film is directed by Mary Wharton, and leans into SXSW’s reputation for top-tier music programming.
Also on deck is “Introducing, Selma Blair,” from director Rachel Fleit. It explores the actor’s life as she navigates her career and treatment for MS. Joining the previously announced opening night film, “Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil,” is a doc about singer Charli XCX and her quest to make an album around the globe in 40 days. That title, “Alone Together” from directors Bradley Bell and Pablo Jones-Soler, will close the festival.
Like the recently-wrapped virtual Sundance, SXSW Film will have a digital library available for pass holders. Seven films will launch at a time in two-hour increments from 10:00am – 8:00pm CT, with most of the movies premiering during the first three days of the conference. The lineup features 75 features, the majority of them world premieres. Filmmaker conversations and special programs will also rollout daily. Some titles will have capped attendance.
Selected titles from competition films:
Narrative Feature: “Here Before” directed by Stacey Gregg; “I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking)” directed by Kelley Kali and Angelique Molina; “Islands” directed by Martin Edralin; “Our Father” directed by Bradley Grant Smith; “Potato Dreams of America” directed by Wes Hurley; “The End Of Us” directed by Henry Loevner and Steven Kanter; “The Fallout” directed by Megan Park; and “Women is Losers” directed by Lissette Feliciano.
Documentary Feature Competition: “Kid Candidate” directed by Jasmine Stodel; “Lily Topples The World” directed by Jeremy Workman; “Not Going Quietly” directed by Nicholas Bruckman; “The Oxy Kingpins” directed by Brendan FitzGerald; “The Return: Life After ISIS” directed by Alba Sotorra Clua; “Subjects of Desire” directed by Jennifer Holness; and “United States vs. Reality Winner” directed by Sonia Kennebeck.
Variety's Matt Donnelly contributed to this post.