The SXSW Film Festival is adding a series of daily keynote sessions to its 2014 lineup, led by a trio of forward-thinkers who “embody the DIY spirit, ingenuity and entrepreneurial drive” of the annual Austin fest. Lena Dunham, who launched her career out of SXSW with Tiny Furniture and came full circle last year with a panel on her HBO show Girls, is scheduled to deliver a keynote along with micro-budget horror whiz Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge) and Spirit Award-winning indie filmmaker Casey Neistat (HBO’s The Neistat Brothers, Daddy Long Legs). Each keynote session will be held at 11 AM from Saturday, March 8 through Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Here’s the first wave of SXSW panel announcements, including talks from the fest’s first-ever SXSports conference: READ MORE »
ESPN‘s Bill Simmons, FiveThirtyEight statistician Nate Silver, and Mandalay Sports Media’s Peter Guber are among the panelists scheduled for South By Southwest‘s inaugural SXSports program, which will launch during the annual film, interactive, and music festival’s 2014 edition. Last year at the forward-thinking Austin fest Shaquille O’Neal gave a talk on social media and start-ups. The new track highlighting the overlap of film, media, pop culture, innovation, and tech in sports is part of the SXSW Film and Interactive conferences and runs from Friday, March 7 to Sunday, March 9. SXSports kicks off with an opening session with Golden State Warriors and Dodgers co-owner Guber, ex-Sony head and current CEO of Mandalay Entertainment. SXSports-branded features will screen in the main SXSW Film program which the fest announces in February. Here’s the first batch of confirmed SXSports sessions:
Sundance Selects has acquired North American rights to The Punk Singer, the Sini Anderson-directed punk rock docu. The film covers the 20-year journey of outspoken feminist icon Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of punk band Bikini Kill and dance-punk trio Le Tigre. She rose to national attention as the voice of the riot grrrl movement, but when she stopped shouting, many wondered why. Tamra Davis, Gwen Bialic, Rachel Dengiz and Erin Owens are the producers. The film made its world premiere at the 2013 SXSW, and Sundance Selects plans a fall release.
EXCLUSIVE: ICM Partners has signed Jacob Vaughan, whose directorial debut Milo played at SXSW. The agency repped the flm and brokered a distribution deal with Magnolia genre division Magnet, and now the agency has brought …
The British comedy written and directed by Borat and Bruno scribe Dan Mazer already has premiered in the UK, France and Germany via Studiocanal and had its North American premiere last month at SXSW. Rose Byrne, Anna Farris, Simon …
Oscilloscope Laboratories acquired North American rights to Lotfy Nathan’s debut feature 12 O’Clock Boys, which premiered at SXSW. It is next slated to screen at the Hot Docs and Full Frame documentary festivals, among others. O-Scope will continue to roll the film out to more festivals before its theatrical, DVD, and digital releases.
The 12 O’Clock Boys are a notorious urban dirt bike pack in Baltimore. Converging in groups and invading the streets, they dangerously — yet magnificently — make their presence known as they pop wheelies and weave in and out of traffic at excessive speeds, all the while taunting the police who must obey a self-imposed “no chase” rule for fear of endangering the public. Nathan frames the three-years-in-the-making narrative through the eyes of the adolescent Pug — a kid from the Westside eager to join the 12 O’Clock Boys’ ranks. Pug reveres the Boys’ every move, and Nathan follows this young man through some of the most pivotal years of his life, providing a compelling and intimate personal story within the broader depiction of the wild, dynamic world of the 12 O’Clock Boys.
Director Joe Swanberg brought his most accessible film yet to SXSW this year, with name actors Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston starring in the relationship comedy about a pair of Chicago craft brewery co-workers whose platonic friendship veers toward flirtation. Magnolia Pictures has taken notice, acquiring North American distribution rights today. Drinking Buddies has a more traditional look than Swanberg’s previous mumblecore releases, with Beasts Of The Southern Wild DP Ben Richardson doing the lensing. The pic was entirely improvised as the cast worked from Swanberg’s outline. Here’s today’s release announcing the deal, which will see the pic hit theaters sometime this year:
New York, NY (March 19, 2013) – The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnolia Pictures announced today that they have acquired North American distribution rights to writer-director Joe Swanberg’s DRINKING BUDDIES, starring Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston. Produced by Dark Arts’ Alicia Van Couvering and Andrea Roa; Burn Later’s Paul M. Bernon and Sam Slater; and Swanberg, the film premiered this month at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival. The film was executive produced by Mike Witherill, Ashley Bernon, Jessica Klapman, David Kaplan, Anish Savjani, and Wilde. Magnolia Pictures is planning a theatrical release for later this year.
On the closing day of SXSW 2013, Destin Daniel Cretton’s Short Term 12 added an Audience Award to its Narrative Grand Jury Prize. Kid golfing docu The Short Game nabbed the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature (watch Deadline’s exclusive trailer premiere for the pic here), while the first pick-up of the fest, Cheap Thrills, scored the Midnighters audience prize. Full Audience Award winners list below.
Every studio with something to push books pricey space a year or more in advance at Comic-Con, which last year packed 130,000 fans into a downtown San Diego papered with promotional branding. But this year’s SXSW saw a sign of things to come as film and television brands took that strategy to Austin, targeting the festival’s estimated 64,000 registered attendees. Universal, Warner Bros Television, A&E Network, Showtime, and Syfy jumped ahead of the pack with marketing blitzes sure to multiply by next year as other entertainment brands set their sights on the plugged-in, social media-active demographic of influencers that pour into the annual multimedia festival. This year’s edition wraps this weekend.
Growth here has accelerated rapidly in the past three years in terms of attendance and prestige, thanks to distribution deals and buzz-building debuts in the film festival portion and the hot tech conference on the Interactive side. But thanks to its unique overlap of Film and Interactive components, SXSW this year attracted the attention of studio marketers with no films in the program. All of the major companies I spoke with made their first-ever trips to SXSW in 2013 and reps tell me they’d return next year if they had the right property to promote.
Listen to (and share) the SXSW edition of our occasional audio podcast series Deadline Festivals & Markets Watch. Just back from Austin, reporter Jen Yamato talks with host David Bloom about the evolving nature of the festival’s film and interactive segments, Hollywood’s growing awareness of the festival as a place to build brand awareness for its big movies and TV series (a la Comic-Con), and online video service Vimeo’s announcement of a new DIY service that allows filmmakers to sell their movies on-demand.
Director Destin Daniel Cretton’s Short Term 12, featuring a breakout turn by Brie Larson, nabbed top narrative honors at the 2013 SXSW Film Awards held tonight at Austin’s Paramount Theatre. Cretton’s script won the Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship and was based on his own Sundance-winning short. In the docu competition, Ben Nabors’ Kickstarter-backed William And The Windmill won the Grand Jury Prize for its profile of William Kamkwamba, the teenage Malawian inventor who took TEDGlobal by storm in 2007. The fest unveiled juried award honors in narrative and documentary feature, short film, design, and special categories. SXSW is an Oscar- and BAFTA-qualifying shorts festival and the winning narrative, documentary, and animated shorts will be eligible for the Academy Awards and Orange British Academy Film Awards. The 2013 SXSW Film Festival hosted 133 feature films and 110 shorts and continues through Saturday, March 16; Audience Award winners will be announced that day. Scroll down for full list of winners.
BREAKING: Magnolia Pictures has acquired U.S. rights to Muscle Shoals, the documentary about the iconic Alabama recording studio that hatched some of music’s great tunes. Directed by Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier, the film features interviews with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman, Clarence Carter, Alicia Keys, Bono and many others.
The docu first played at Sundance in January, and the deal comes as the film makes its debut at SXSW. Pic is about how Rick Hall overcame crushing personal hardship to put together a recording studio and house band (the Swampers) that became legendary for its electrifying musical chemistry. Luring some of the biggest figures in 20th century pop music, like Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Staples Singers, the Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Simon and Garfunkel, the studio produced all-time classic songs like “Mustang Sally,” “I Never Loved A Man,” “Wild Horses” and many more, uniting black and white musicians in the deep South during an incendiary period of racial hostility.