SXSW is very well known for their music festival. They also get tons of praise for their interactive festival, but many people don't know that their film festival is just as awesome (if not better in certain aspects) than their festival brethren like Sundance, Cannes, or the Toronto Film Festival.
The one thing that makes the SXSW Film Festival pretty darn cool is that they showcase risky films that you won't see anywhere else. They take chances on young film directors who aren't scared experiment. The films they screen run the gamut of high brow to commercial to downright bizarre. In other words, it's a film festival for weirdos, Hollywood misfits, cult movie fanatics, and those who genuinely have fun watching film. That said, here are eight movies playing at the fest that make it cool:
Synopsis: 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.
Why does it seem cool? Everyone needs a drink once in a while. They also need buddies. Put them together and what do you get? The best of both worlds.
I Give it a Year
Synopsis: A brand new comedy from the writer of Borat and Bruno that lifts the veil on the realities of the first year of marriage. Cast: Rose Byrne, Anna Faris, Rafe Spall, Simon Baker, Minnie Driver, Jason Flemyng, Stephen Merchant.
Why does it seem cool? Besides starring Anna Faris, the comedy could serve as a helpful learning tool for what to expect during the first year of marriage...or it could just dissuade us from getting married at all.
I Am Divine
Synopsis: The story of Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, and how he became John Waters’ cinematic muse and an international drag icon.
Why does it seem cool? After watching this documentary, you'll find Ru Paul's Drag Race and anything and everything done by Lady Gaga and/r Ke$ha extremely boring. You'll also become a lifelong fan of Divine and John Waters.
The Other Shore
Synopsis: The film tracks legendary swimmer Diana Nyad’s lifetime vision and four harrowing attempts to swim non-stop from Cuba to Florida. An abusive past collides with an obsessive present over a dangerous 60-hour feat never before accomplished.
Why does it seem cool? This woman has attempted to swim between Cuba and Florida. Four times. What have you done today?
Short Term 12
Synopsis: The film follows Grace, a young supervisor at a foster-care facility, as she looks after the teens in her charge and reckons with her own troubled past. An unsparingly authentic film, full of both heart and surprising humor. Cast: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, Keith Stanfield.
Why does it seem cool? Not only does it sound like an intense movie that can possibly bring about some tears, but it stars Brie Larson. We are so used to seeing her in comedic roles like 21 Jump Street and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. To see her in a more dramatic role will be refereshing.
Synopsis: Lisa Johnson is one day shy of her 16th birthday and will be forever. She and her family are doomed to repeat the fateful day before they were all killed in 1985. Cast: Abigail Breslin, Stephen McHattie, Peter Outerbridge, Michelle Nolden, David Hewlett.
Why does it seem cool? The one thing I love about horrors and thrillers at SXSW is that they are 100 percent sure of what kind of movie they are. If they are campy, they go all out. If they are supposed to make you piss in your pants, then they make sure you wet yourself. There is no gray area. Haunter seems to go into the latter.
Synopsis: On the eve of his wedding, a successful writer travels around the country to meet up with ex-lovers in an attempt to make amends for his wrongdoings. Cast: Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Zoe Kazan, Mía Maestro, Jennifer Morrison, Emily Watson.
Why does it seem cool? It's sounds like a cool mash-up of High Fidelity and — dare I say — Ghosts of Girlfriends Past for the hipster generation.
Synopsis: We meet Celine and Jesse nine years after their last rendezvous. Almost two decades have passed since their first encounter on a train bound for Vienna, and we now find them in their early forties in Greece. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story. Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Prior, Charlotte Prior.
Why does it seem cool? If you have been keeping up with Richard Linklater's (who is a Texas native) romantic saga, then you know EXACTLY why this movie is worth your time. If you have no Earthly idea of the importance of this movie, then you MUST watch Before Sunrise and Before Sunset before this one opens in theaters nationwide.
For a complete list of films playing at the festival visit SXSW.com.