This is the last round of announcements for this year's SXSW festival, and they've managed to pack at least one great surprise into every single press release they've sent out this year.

The main part of today's announcement deals with the panels that they're running as part of the Film Conference this year.  There's a "Conversation with Seth McFarlane" which sounds like it's going to include some talk about his upcoming film "Ted," a dark comedy about Mark Wahlberg having a relationship with a CGI teddy bear with a foul mouth.  There's also a major "Funny or Die" panel, and a piece about Universal's 100 Years celebration restorations, which both could be very informative.

And on Sunday the 11th, you might take special note of this one:

Screaming with Laughter: FEARnet TV's Holliston
FEARnet debuts its first original series "Holliston," a new type of horror sitcom. The panel will explore the path taken to make a show about two friends chasing the dream of becoming successful horror movie filmmakers.

Why?  Because Joe Lynch and Adam Green are wildly entertaining, because "Holliston" is going to be bizarre and worth your time, and because the moderator for the panel is some dude named Drew McWeeny.

Todd Rohal, whose last film was the aggressively strange "The Catechism Cataclysm," snuck in under the wire with "Nature Calls," a new film starring Johnny Knoxville and Patton Oswalt, which sounds like a must-see.  I'll also be able to catch up with a few titles I missed at Sundance like Mike Birbiglia's "Sleepwalk With Me" and "Searching For Sugarman."

Here's a breakdown of everything they announced today:


A Conversation with Seth MacFarlane
As the creator of Family Guy and one of the co-creators of American Dad!, Seth MacFarlane has brought his boundary-pushing brand of humor to millions each week. Join Seth for a no-holds-barred discussion about his groundbreaking work in TV, his recent foray into the music world with his debut album and his transition to Hollywood with his upcoming directorial debut Ted, a live-action/CG-animated comedy starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis.
(Sunday, March 11, 11:00am, Vimeo Theater, Austin Convention Center)

Funny or Die: Future of Comedy & Everything Else
An intimate look into the corruption, lies and deceit that transformed a website into the most powerful media company in the world! How FOD transformed into a new model media company and how comedy pretty much rules the world…and everything else.
(Sunday, March 11, 3:30pm – Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center)

Meat is Might: Epic Meal Time Rules the Web
Join the Epic Meal Time team in a discussion of the key factors to their initial success and continued expansion throughout the digital and entertainment sphere.
(Saturday, March 10, 3:30pm – Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center)

Restoring History: 100 Years of Universal Films
Experience the process of restoring, archiving and curating a centennial of movie magic with Universal's Centennial titles.
(Monday, March 12, 11:00am – Paramount Theatre)

We Are Legion: Digital (R)Evolution
Armed with colleagues from the filmmaking and digital communities, writer/director Brian Knappenberger weighs in on the challenges of making the film WE ARE LEGION: The Story of the Hacktivists (official selection SXSW 2012), the roots of the "hactivist" collective Anonymous, and their current battles with Hollywood.
(Tuesday, March 13, 11:00am – Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center)

The panels released today join over 40 previously announced sessions for the 2012 SXSW Film Conference, including A Conversation with Joss Whedon, the return of Jeffrey Tambor’s Acting Workshop, a dialogue with Lena Dunham, Judd Apatow and more on the HBO series Girls, A Conversation with Cliff Martinez, and The Business of Kevin Smith among others. For full panel descriptions and participants, browse the schedule.


Saturday, March 10
Fact Checkers Unit: Making a Web Series
The creators of award winning web series Fact Checkers Unit talk partnering with NBC, MTV, Samsung and a whole host of celebrities to produce an unusual production. Learn how this project went from Sundance short film to hit online series.

Fleshlife: The Making of a Webseries
A behind-the-scenes look at the challenges of creating "safe-for-work" web content for the Adult Sex Toy Industry.

Condition ONE - The Future of Mobile Video
In this session, the producers of the film, Hell and Back Again, will demo Condition ONE, a new immersive video application built for the iPad.

SU2C: Reinventing the PSA
In this panel, SU2C will discuss how entertainment brands, celebrities, technology & cancer research can intersect to drive non-profit campaigns into mainstream culture.

Sunday, March 11
Prototyping The Future
Lance Weiler and FUTURESTATES unveil participatory storytelling project WISH FOR THE FUTURE and lead a rapid prototyping lab with audiences.

Screaming with Laughter: FEARnet TV's Holliston
FEARnet debuts its first original series "Holliston," a new type of horror sitcom. The panel will explore the path taken to make a show about two friends chasing the dream of becoming successful horror movie filmmakers.

Screw the Big Screen, We Have the Web!
The battle between web and TV is vicious. Hear from three heavy hitters in the interactive video business and find out what works and what doesn’t.

The Rise of Co-Created Storyworld Communities
Learn what co-created storyworlds are, discuss the benefits/risks of a shared storyworld model, explore ways to leverage the community to help grow the story universe contextually and commercially, and examine the legal implications of co-creation.

Monday, March 12
The Best of DocLab
Caspar Sonnen, Curator and New Media coordinator at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, showcases the best examples of interactive documentary storytelling and other digital non-fiction projects that defy definition.

Dreams of Your Life: A Darkly Playful Experience
Commissioned in parallel with feature doc DREAMS OF A LIFE,, was developed by agency Hide & Seek, as a thought-provoking & immersive experience to engage users in the themes explored by the film. This panel will explore the creative process between the commissioner, digital agency, novelist and photographer, from idea to execution, right through to audience.

Monday, March 12 (cont’d)
Next Gen Content: A Conversation w/ Maker Studios
Join Maker Studios as they discuss the studio’s history, strategic growth, talent and their thoughts on the future of online video content.

Times Are a'Changin: Digital Storytelling Today
Technology has created a new breed of storytellers. Find out how the storytelling paradigm has shifted in this new digital age.

Tuesday, March 13
1,000 Voices: Redefining Creative Collaboration
Girl Walk // All Day creators talk about the changing definition of creative collaboration and preserving your voice on big group projects.

Funny Or Die's How To Succeed In Videos By Trying
Sit down with writers, directors and producers from Funny Or Die to find out how they make the videos that make you laugh.

Let's Big Happy: Fox Digital Music & Comedy Series
Join us for a screening of Fox Digital's hilarious new comedy, Let's Big Happy, along with a Q&A with the creators and stars.

Make a BTS Web Series and Survive
Forget using the web to promote your film and start focusing on creating content that supports your film. 

Your Web Series: From Concept to Distribution
Learn how to make your own web series. Discussion to include concept, target audience, budget, distribution and contracts.



Blue Like Jazz
Director: Steve Taylor, Screenwriters: Donald Miller, Steve Taylor, Ben Pearson
A Texas college student flees the hypocrisy of his religious upbringing for life in the Pacific Northwest at ‘the most godless campus in America.’ Based on the New York Times bestseller by Donald Miller.
Cast: Marshall Allman, Claire Holt, Tania Raymonde, Justin Welborn, Eric Lange (World Premiere)

Nature Calls
Director/Screenwriter: Todd Rohal
Polar-opposite brothers Randy (Oswalt) and Kirk (Knoxville) never saw eye-to-eye, but their rivalry is taken to a new level when Randy hijacks Kirk’s son’s sleepover, taking the boys on a Scout Trip to remember. Cast: Patton Oswalt, Johnny Knoxville, Rob Riggle, Maura Tierney, Patrice O’Neal, Darrell Hammond (World Premiere)

King Kelly
Director: Andrew Neel, Screenwriter: Mike Roberts
Made entirely from camera-phone footage, King Kelly is a sensational journey into hedonistic American youth culture and the YouTube generation.
Cast: Louisa Krause, Libby Woodbridge, Roderick Hill, Will Brill, Patrick Murney (World Premiere)

Directors: Kahlil Hudson, Tyler Hughen
Two formerly close friends reunite for a fly-fishing trip and struggle to understand how much they’ve each changed – and how these changes now threaten the friendship. (World Premiere)


Lost and Sound (UK)
Director: Lindsey Dryden
Music may be an essential part of being human – but what if you lost the ability to hear it? A dancer, a pianist and a music critic attempt to re-discover music after deafness, with astonishing results.
(World Premiere)

Searching for Sugar Man (Sweden/UK)
Director: Malik Bendjelloul
The true story of the greatest ‘70s US rock icon who never was, how he was rediscovered and finally became the legend he deserved to be. A story of hope, inspiration and the power of music.


Director: Eva Stotz
Director Eva Stotz visited interesting people all over the world whom she found through online-host-networks and emerged for a limited time in their every-day-life.
(World Premiere)

The Will
Director: Christian Sønderby Jepsen (Denmark)
Henrik dreams of a new beginning. But when Henrik's grandfather dies, leaving behind a fortune of millions, old skeletons come to light. (North American Premiere)


Chasing Ice
Director: Jeff Orlowski
Photographer James Balog was once a skeptic about climate change, but he discovers undeniable evidence. Balog reveals hauntingly beautiful, time-lapse videos of vanishing glaciers, while delivering hope to our carbon-powered planet.

Monsieur Lazhar
Director/Screenwriter: Philippe Falardeau, Based on the Stage Play by: Evelyne de la Chenelière
The story of an Algerian immigrant substitute teacher who brings emotional stability to a Montreal middle school class shaken by the tragic death of their well-liked teacher. Cast: Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, Emilien Néron, Danielle Proulx, Brigitte Poupart

Safety Not Guaranteed
Director: Colin Trevorrow, Screenwriter: Derek Connolly
A trio of magazine employees investigate a classified ad seeking a partner for time travel.
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni

Shut Up and Play the Hits (UK)
Directors: Will Lovelace, Dylan Southern
The final days of LCD Soundsystem.

Sleepwalk With Me
Director/Screenwriter: Mike Birbiglia, Screenwriter: Ira Glass, Joe Birbiglia, Seth Barrish
An aspiring comedian reluctant to confront his fears of love, honesty, and growing up; a budding standup comedian has both a hilarious and intense struggle with sleepwalking.
Cast: Mike Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose, James Rebhorn, Carol Kane, Cristin Milioti


Coffin Joe’s “This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse” with live score by Gary Lucas (Brazil)
Director/Screenwriter: Jose Mojica Marins, Screenwriter: Aldenora De Sa Porto
Gary Lucas’ live original solo guitar soundtrack accompanying the legendary 1967 Brazilian cult horror film classic directed by and starring Jose Mojica Marins a/k/a Coffin Joe.
Cast: Jose Mojica Marins a/k/a Coffin Joe, Tina Wohlers, Nadia Freitas, Antonio Fracari, Jose Lobo

Yellow Submarine (1968) Newly Restored (UK)
Director: George Dunning
Once upon a time in an unearthly paradise called Pepperland, the Blue Meanies threaten to destroy all that is good.  Enter John, Paul, George and Ringo to save the day! Armed with their humour, songs, and yellow submarine, the Fab Four tackle the rough seas in an effort to bring down evil. 
Cast: The Beatles, Paul Angelis, John Clive

As always, SXSW represents an overload of exciting ideas and filmmakers and voices all colliding for ten days in my favorite city in America, and I can't wait for it to get started.  I'll be arriving in Austin on March 8th, and we'll have bell-to-bell coverage of the entire Film Conference.

And as a special bonus, here's your first look at "Holliston": 

Like I said... it's gonna be a weird one, and we'll have a great time at that panel.  Hope to see you there.

A respected critic and commentator for fifteen years, Drew McWeeny helped create the online film community as "Moriarty" at Ain't It Cool News, and now proudly leads two budding Film Nerds in their ongoing movie education.