This is exciting.
SXSW has announced their opening night film for this year, and it's a doozy. I'm allowed to say that I've seen it already, and that anyone who is in the audience for the Joss Whedon/Drew Goddard horror experiment "Cabin In The Woods" that night is in for a treat.
And I mean it when I call it an experiment. This is one of the year's wildest rides, and I can't wait to be able to talk about it when the festival finally arrives.
Add to that the idea that Judd Apatow's coming with Lena Dunham, and that seems like the perfect combination to describe the identity that SXSW has carved out for itself, as a place where Hollywood and indie co-mingle quite comfortably.
Here's the information that SXSW sent over this morning:
The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival is pleased to announce the world premiere of Lionsgate’s The Cabin in the Woods as the 2012 Opening Night Film. In addition to premiering the film, Whedon will participate in a key Conversation panel at the SXSW Film Conference on Saturday, March 10.
Produced and co-written by iconic genre storyteller Joss Whedon, The Cabin in the Woods marks Emmy®-nominated writer Drew Goddard’s (Cloverfield, Lost, Alias) first foray into directing. This mind-blowing horror film starts typically enough, as we join five young adults embarking on a weekend of debauchery at an abandoned cabin in the woods. But as layer after layer of the film’s truly kaleidoscopic world is revealed, everything we know about horror is deconstructed, and everything we love is reconstructed before our eyes. The film stars Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz, Anna Hutchison, Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford, and will be in theaters everywhere on April 13, 2012.
SXSW also revealed a handful of exciting titles that will premiere at the 2012 event, comprised of diverse perspectives that exemplify the unique range of the SXSW program. This includes Lena Dunham’s return to SXSW with her HBO series GIRLS, which will premiere the initial three episodes publicly for the first time. Dunham, Executive Producer Judd Apatow and other key members of the GIRLS production team will also appear at the SXSW Film Conference to discuss GIRLS before it kicks off its ten-episode season in April, exclusively on HBO. Moderated by actor Alex Karpovsky (Tiny Furniture), the panel will take place on Tuesday, March 13.
Additional films announced include Academy Award-winner Kevin Macdonald’s Bob Marley documentary, MARLEY, Small Apartments, a black comedy from acclaimed music video director Jonas Åkerlund, Neil Berkeley’s doc Beauty is Embarrassing about multi-faceted artist Wayne White, special event The Oyster Princess (1919) with original live score by Bee vs. Moth and CITADEL, the psychological horror debut from writer/director Ciarán Foy. The complete festival lineup will be announced in early February 2012. The 19th annual South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival runs March 9 – 17, 2012 in Austin, Texas.
“Announcing the first films of our program is always energizing, but we're especially thrilled to have such a smart, unpredictable and highly entertaining headliner like The Cabin in the Woods as our Opening Night film,” said SXSW Film Conference and Festival Producer Janet Pierson. “We're also happy to offer a peek at a handful of wonderful films that demonstrate the breadth and range of terrific work we plan to show at SXSW Film 2012.”
The 2012 SXSW Film Festival will feature:
Beauty is Embarrassing (World Premiere)
Director: Neil Berkeley
A funny, irreverent and insightful look into the life and times of one of America's most important artists, Wayne White.
The Cabin in the Woods (World Premiere)
Director: Drew Goddard, Writers: Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard
Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen. If you think you know this story, think again. From fan favorites Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard comes The Cabin in the Woods, a mind-blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out. Cast: Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz, Anna Hutchison, Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford
CITADEL (World Premiere)
Director & Writer: Ciarán Foy
An agoraphobic father teams up with a renegade priest to save his daughter from the clutches of a gang of twisted feral children. Cast: Anuerin Barnard, James Cosmo, and Wumni Mosaku, Jake Wilson, Amy Shiels
GIRLS (World Premiere)
Director & Writer: Lena Dunham
Created by and starring Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture), the HBO show is a comic look at the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of a group of girls in their early 20s. Cast: Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver
MARLEY (North American Premiere)
Director: Kevin Macdonald
The definitive documentary on the life, music, and legacy of Bob Marley.
The Oyster Princess (1919) with original live score by Bee vs. Moth (World Premiere)
Director: Ernst Lubitsch, Writers: Hanns Kraly & Ernst Lubitsch
The Oyster Princess is Ernst Lubitsch’s tart 1919 silent comedy that parodies the rich and the spoiled. Austin jazz/rock band Bee vs. Moth performs their original score live with the film for the first time.
Small Apartments (World Premiere)
Director: Jonas Åkerlund, Writer: Chris Millis
When Franklin Franklin accidentally kills his landlord, he must hide the body; but, the wisdom of his beloved brother and the quirks of his neighbors, force him on a journey where a fortune awaits him. Cast: Matt Lucas, Billy Crystal, James Caan, Johnny Knoxville, Juno Temple, James Marsden, Dolph Lundgren, Saffron Burrows, Rosie Perez, DJ Qualls
Register for a Film, Gold or Platinum Badge today at http://www.sxsw.com/attend and join us March 9-17, 2012 for unparalleled access to these energetic panels, exceptional films, exciting parties, the SXSW Trade Show and, of course, the inspirational experience that only SXSW can deliver. Register by January 13 and save up to 20% off the walk-up rate.
They're just getting warmed up, too. I have a feeling when we see the full line-up for SXSW, it'll be a stunner. Each year, it feels like the festival's setting more and more of the film conversation for the year, and I suspect this year will be no different.
We'll have more on SXSW's line-up as the information breaks, and look forward to covering the event from stem to stern in March.
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