If you've never been to one, it'd be understandable to think that all film festivals are a stuffy, pretentious experience that take themselves way too seriously. And in some cases, you'd be right. When it comes to South by Southwest, though, you couldn't be more wrong. Just look at the last few years of SXSW opening-night films to get a sampling of its taste: Kick-Ass, Source Code and The Cabin in the Woods. They couldn't be further from stuffy, pretentious films, and, presumably, this year's newly announced opening-night film is in the same league: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.
Being honest, the trailer for the film, a comedy about aging magicians starring Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi and Jim Carrey, is pretty underwhelming, but given SXSW's track record for opening-night films these past few years, we're going to trust its taste and chalk it up to just a bit of bad marketing. And that's not the only film the festival announced today. The Austin, Texas-based festival will also be hosting the world premieres of Evil Dead, Drinking Buddies, Everyone's Going to Die, Good Ol' Freda and Downloaded, as well as the U.S. premiere of Spring Breakers.
Of course, the festival still has many, many more films to announce, but it won't be unveiling its full slate until the end of the month. In the meantime, here's today's press release and a little more info about the films.
Austin, Texas – January 15, 2013 – The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival is thrilled to announce the world premiere of the comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, from Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema, as the 2013 Opening Night Film.
The story follows superstar magicians Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi), who have ruled the Las Vegas strip for years, raking in millions with illusions as big as Burt’s growing ego. But lately the duo’s greatest deception is their public friendship, while secretly they’ve grown to loathe each other. Facing cutthroat competition from guerilla street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), whose cult following surges with each outrageous stunt, even their show looks stale. But there’s still a chance Burt and Anton can save the act—both onstage and off—if Burt can get back in touch with what made him love magic in the first place. Directed by Don Scardino, from a screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley, and story by Chad Kultgen & Tyler Mitchell and Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley, the film also stars Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin and James Gandolfini. Produced by Chris Bender, Steve Carell, Jake Weiner and Tyler Mitchell, and executive produced by Diana Pokorny, Vance DeGeneres, Charlie Hartsock, J.C. Spink, Richard Brener, Walter Hamada and Dave Neustadter, the film will be in theaters on March 15, 2013.
SXSW also revealed a handful of lively titles that will premiere at the 2013 event, comprised of a range of styles that embody the unique spirit of the SXSW culture. Additional films announced include Joe Swanberg’s welcome return to SXSW with Drinking Buddies, a comedy exploring the blurry line between “friends” and “more than friends,” Downloaded, Alex Winter’s definitive documentary on the rise and fall of Napster, Harmony Korine’s provocative ride Spring Breakers, Evil Dead, the much anticipated remake of the 1981 cult-hit, directed by Fede Alvarez, Ryan White’s doc Good Ol’ Freda, chronicling the never-before-told story of The Beatles’ secretary Freda Kelly, and Everyone’s Going to Die, the first feature from UK directing collective Jones. The complete festival lineup will be announced January 31, excluding Midnighter features, which will be announced with the Shorts lineup on February 6. This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival, March 8 – 16, 2013 in Austin, Texas.
“Everyone knows that we like have a good time at SXSW, and our 20th year is already well on track with smart, stylish and highly entertaining work,” said SXSW Film Conference and Festival Producer Janet Pierson. “Though this is just a taste of what SXSW 2013 will have to offer, what better way to get the party started than with The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, which had us laughing our heads off, despite an 8am Monday viewing.”
The 2013 SXSW Film Festival will feature:
Downloaded (World Premiere)
Director: Alex Winter
Downloaded is a documentary that explores the rise and fall of Napster and the birth of the digital revolution. It's about the teens that helped start this revolution, and the artists and industries who continue to be impacted by it.
Drinking Buddies (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Joe Swanberg
Weekend trips, office parties, late night conversations, drinking on the job, marriage pressure, biological clocks, holding eye contact a second too long… you know what makes the line between "friends" and "more than friends" really blurry? Beer.
Cast: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston
Everyone's Going to Die (World Premiere)
A modern British story about coming home, getting by and the redemptive power of feeling you're not alone. A story where porn hotlines rub shoulders with sexy beavers on rollerskates; where the past is laid to rest, two lives are changed and nobody, finally, is going to die.
Cast: Nora Tschirner, Rob Knighton, Kellie Shirley, Madeline Duggan (United Kingdom)
Evil Dead (World Premiere)
Director: Fede Alvarez, Screenwriter: Fede Alvarez & Rodo Sayagues
Five friends, holed up in a remote cabin, discover a Book of the Dead that unwittingly summons up dormant demons, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left to fight for survival.
Cast: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore
Good Ol' Freda (World Premiere)
Director: Ryan White
Good Ol’ Freda tells the story of Freda Kelly, a shy Liverpudlian teenager asked to work for a young local band hoping to make it big: The Beatles. Their loyal secretary from beginning to end, Freda tells her tales for the first time in 50 years.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (World Premiere)
Director: Don Scardino, Story by Chad Kultgen & Tyler Mitchell and Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley. Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley
When superstar Vegas magicians Burt and Anton let their act grow as stale as their friendship, an ambitious rival with a cutting-edge delivery swoops in for the kill. Cast: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, with Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini and Jim Carrey
Spring Breakers (U.S. Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Harmony Korine
Four college girls who land in jail after robbing a restaurant in order to fund their spring break vacation find themselves bailed out by a drug and arms dealer who wants them to do some dirty work. Cast: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine
In addition to nine full days of film screenings, SXSW Film will ultimately feature over 150 informative and entertaining featured Conversations, panels, workshops and mentor sessions. Major additions to the 2013 Conference include:
A Conversation with Matthew McConaughey - An in-depth discussion with the incredibly fascinating actor, whose career continues to evolve in exciting and unexpected ways, including his bold choices with recent projects like Magic Mike, Killer Joe, Bernie and Mud.
Humanizing Heroes: Storytelling Beyond Sports - The leading authorities behind some of today's most notable sports films, Connor Schell (ESPN Films), Ken Rodgers (NFL Films) and Ross Greenburg (Ross Greenburg Productions), discuss the evolution of storytelling in sports filmmaking, its influence on pop culture and its continued resonance across all cultures and backgrounds.
Bates Motel: Story to Screen with Carlton Cuse – In a Special Event combining the SXSW Film Festival and Conference in one, attendees will get an exclusive first look at the pilot of Bates Motel, the thrilling new series from A&E. Following the screening, Executive Producer Carlton Cuse (Lost) will sit down with A&E Marketing EVP Guy Slattery for an inside look and Q&A on the process for bringing this contemporary prequel to life.
Jeffrey Tambor’s Acting Workshop - Jeffrey Tambor continues the tradition of his much loved acting and life workshop by returning to SXSW Film 2013. Part one-man show, part seminar, part question and answer and endlessly entertaining, Jeffrey’s hilarious and empowering presentation inspires the viewer to discover the artist within.
Additionally, we are pleased to announce Jacob Soboroff, the host of AMC News as well as a host and producer of HuffPost Live, as emcee of the first Fastball Speed Pitches event at the new SXSW Film Startup Alley. This fast-paced event, designed for bootstrapping startups and geared towards SXSW attendees with short attention spans, will offer registrants the opportunity to get their entertainment company in front of the tastemakers and investors at SXSW.
Also confirmed for Startup Alley is Franklin Leonard, Founder and CEO of The Black List, who will speak on a panel focusing on entrepreneurs shaping the entertainment industry, and discuss the addition of paid subscription components to his well-known script discovery site. For more confirmed Conference sessions, including details on programming in the Digital Domain, Film Startup Alley, and the new Come & Capture Film Factory at the InterContinental Hotel, visit www.sxsw.com/film/sessions/about. The final Conference lineup will be released February 13.