SXSW 2011 Announces Shorts, Midnighters and 'Fantastic' Titles



SXSW Film Festival has just announced the last round of features included in the 2011 festival, in the Midnighters and SXFantastic categories. "SXFantastic" is a joint venture between SXSW and Fantastic Fest, and the films generally screen at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, often with wacky hijinks from the Alamo gang. In addition, SXSW has also announced its substantial short film lineup, including narratives, documentaries, animation and music videos. One category is dedicated to Texas shorts, which is great to see.

You can see the full lineup here. Although none of the new features are Austin movies as far as I can tell -- in fact, few are American -- we'll post an article soon with details on the Austin-connected shorts. In the meantime, here are a few highlights and notes on Austin connections, no matter how tenuous. The actual schedule for SXSW Film should be announced within another week or so, along with info on film passes and other details.

  • Hobo with a Shotgun is about as close to being an Austin film as a movie shot in Nova Scotia by a Canadian can possibly be -- I explained why when the film officially premiered at Sundance. I hope to see this but it's a midnight movie and you all know how wussy I am about seeing movies at that hour (the last SXSW film I stayed up that late to see was Drag Me to Hell).
  • British filmmaker Simon Rumley was at SXSW 2010 with his Austin-shot horror film, Red White & Blue. This year, he's back as one of the writer/directors of a horror anthology from the UK, Little Deaths. Rumley's segment is called "Bitch" and is about a couple in a destructive sadomasochistic relationship. (Horror Asylum has a poster and longer synopsis of Rumley's segment.)
  • In the Narrative Shorts category, The Good Neighbor is written by always-funny local filmmaker John E. Bryant (The Overbrook Brothers), and directed by former Austinite Jacob Vaughan. It stars Chris Doubek, so it's nice to see he'll be in at least one SXSW film this year (three last year). 
  • Spike Jonze's Austin-shot short Scenes from the Suburbs, a project with the band Arcade Fire, is another Narrative Shorts selection.
  • Elizabeth Mims, a sometimes Austinite who was at SXSW 2009 as producer of the short Thompson (which won a special jury award), returns to the fest with Howling at the Moon, which she co-directed with Thompson filmmaker Jason Tippet. Her dad is Steve Mims, who will be at SXSW with his documentary Incendiary: The Willingham Case.
  • Dallas filmmaker David Lowery brings his short Pioneer to SXSW after its Sundance premiere this year. I can't wait to see it. Lowery did many of the SXSW Film Fest bumpers in 2010 and also directed SXSW 2009 feature St. Nick. In addition, he's credited as an editor on Joe Swanberg's film Silver Bullets, which is playing the fest this year.
  • Local filmmaker Craig Elrod has directed Roosevelt's Big Deal. The film is produced by Pepper Island Films, a local production company that's been shooting The Man from Orlando around town recently.
  • It was weird not to see any Duplasses in the SXSW lineup this year. The former Austinites seemed like a fixture at the fest. Fortunately, Jay Duplass has directed a short documentary in the lineup, Kevin, about Austin musician Kevin Gant. 
  • Cinematographer and filmmaker PJ Raval is part of the Midnight Shorts category with Christeene, "Bustin' Brown," the fourth in a series of Christeene films. This one is about anal sex, which explains why it's being screened at midnight.
  • I haven't even gotten to the Texas Shorts category yet! Spencer Parsons, whose AFF 2008 feature I'll Come Running was partly shot in Austin, brings Chainsaw Found Jesus to the fest.
  • Austin animator Eric Power uses paper animation to accompany a Star Wars-inspired song in Jeremy Messersmith, "Tatooine" (pictured at top). You can actually watch this short online now; I've embedded it the end of this list. (Thanks to Death Star PR for more info on this film.)
  • Not Austin-related, but I've enjoyed Bill Plympton's animated shorts since college. His latest project, Guard Dog Global Jam, is a re-creation of his 2004 short Guard Dog, in which various artists animate different scenes. It will screen before a feature film -- which one, we don't know yet.

Jeremy Messersmith - Tatooine from Eric Power on Vimeo.