With the SXSW Film and Comedy Showcases only a week away and more events and speakers being added to the festival this week it can be overwhelming. So we took a deep breath to digest the schedule and pick out 10 things we were most excited to check out at this years festival.
‘Us’ World Premiere
Screening: Fri March 8 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Jordan Peele is on fire right now! Fresh off the success of his social thriller ‘Get Out’ last year he is keeping that momentum going in 2019 with a plethora of new projects that are sure to make genre fans hungry for more. Not only is ‘Us’ one of the most anticipated films ‘Us’ at SXSW but ‘The Twilight Zone’ trailer just dropped last week to much fan fare. Peele said ‘Us’ will be a much more traditional horror film than the social thriller ‘Get Out.’ And if it is Sci-Fi you are craving he has you covered with the ‘Twilight Zone’ re-imagining. Proving he can tackle multiple sub-genres within the category.
SXSW Comedy Showcase
SXSW Comedy always has a fantastic and diverse lineup to choose from each year. From stand-up and improv shows to live podcasts from some of the biggest names in the business there is something for every comedy fan. Comedy Bang Bang is a staple of the showcase and often times has many up and coming comedians featured on the panel with a few surprise guests mixed in.
Some highlights for me this year include the following shows and acts;
Abbi Jacobson & ilana Glazer (Broad City) Beth Sterlining Busy Phillips Eugene Mirman Horatio Sanz Jessica McKenna James Adomian Jon Gabrus Kurt Braunohler Matt Besser Nike Thune Paul F. Tompkins Roy Woods Jr Tim Heidecker Todd Glass.
Live Podcasts: (more to be announced)
improv4humans, Comedy Bang Bang
Improv: (more to be announced)
Stand-up: (more to be announced)
The Daily Show News Team Live
James Adomian’s Elon Musk Keynote: The Frightening and Awful Future of Humanity
‘What We Do in the Shadows’ TV Series Premiere
Screening: Fri March 8 10:00 PM – 11:00 PM
The cult classic ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ film debuted in 2014 from the comedy team Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi! Since then it has spawned 2 spinoffs (Wellington Paranormal, and this FX show) along with the forthcoming ‘What We Do in the Shadows 2’ that is coming sometime in the near future.
Based on the feature film of the same name from Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ is a documentary-style look into the daily (or rather, nightly) lives of four vampires who’ve “lived” together for hundreds of years. In Staten Island. The cast of characters are new, but the concept remains the same, and just as funny. Five years later we get more vampire (and werewolf) goodness from Waititi this time on the small screen with FX Networks.
Clement created the 10-episode series while Clement, Waititi and Paul Simms are Executive Producers with Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, and Garrett Basch. This isn’t the only ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ spinoff. ‘Wellington Paranormal’ debuted this passed July in New Zealand.
On March 29th, THEY AWAKEN on FX – but before then you can catch it at SXSW on opening night.
‘The Highwaymen’ 1930’s Speakeasy Pop-up
Starring: Kevin Costner, Woddy Harrelson, Kathy Bates, John Lynch Carrol
Screening: Sun March 10 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Paramount Theater
Netflix dropped the official trailer for their Bonnie & Clyde film ‘The Highwaymen’ just last week and later announced it would be debuting at SXSW. It boast an all-star cast that includes Kevin Costner, Woddy Harrelson, Kathy Bates and John Lynch Carrol. In addition to the debut screening Netflix will also host a 1930’s inspired speakeasy filled with interactive experiences taking place during the opening weekend of the film festival.
The Highwaymen House, a pop-up experience transforming Austin’s Banger’s Basement at 81.5 Rainey Street into an interactive space that takes guests back in time to the 1930s when infamous bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde were at large.
Upon arrival at The Highwaymen House, guests will receive a period-appropriate name and RFID bracelet that unlocks experiences within the space. Highlights include personalized ‘wanted sign’ photo ops, interactive narrative with actors in character, and gambling and games that earn points for redemption at the General Store, where premium, custom swag – including denim jackets, hats, watches, flasks, patches, pins, and bandanas – will be up for grabs. The more attendees interact with the activation, the more rewards they will earn.
In SXSW fashion, each night will offer surprise musical guests, providing rare intimate performances from top acts.
Harmony Korine’s ‘The Beach Bum’
Starring: Matthew McConnehy & Snoop Dog
Harmony Korine’s made waves as a writer on the 1997 film ‘Kids’ and hit some mainstream fame with his film ‘Spring Breakers’ that put him on the map as a wild and creative filmmaker. He returns to SXSW with his new project ‘Beach Bum’ that appropriately castMatthew McConaugheyas a stoner that lives by his own rules named Moondog. The films also stars Snoop Dogg as a character named Lingerie that appears to be Moondog’s right hand man. The trailer kind of feels like a mixture of ‘Spring Breakers’ meets The Big Lebowski’s character “The Dude.” If that is the case we are here for ‘Beach Bum’ and can’t wait to see what is in store.
Screening: Sat March 9 9:30 PM – 11:30 PM
Starring: Charlize Theron & Seth Rogen
The very backbone of any solid (to great) romantic comedy, is the pairing of unlikely love interests. So important is this to the fabric of these movies, that even spoofs of the genre work from this element outward. It’s gotten to the point where the idea of Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron getting together isn’t an outlandish concept, but the sign of potentially entertaining movie.
‘Long Shot’ appears to be a lot of fun. Theron is running for president. Rogen is his normal flustered self, but now an intrepid reporter with an affinity for hats! Truth be told, the most unexpected inclusion above, is O’Shea Jackson Jr. as the advice giving best friend. Yet he’s been solid in everything he’s been in, so that too is more than fine. The selling point seems to be combining the political with the romantic, so we’ll see how it all shakes out – we like the concept and actors involved!
Screening: Mon March 11 8:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Featured Sesssion: Elizabeth Banks with Aidy Bryant
From Executive Producers Lorne Michaels and Elizabeth Banks comes ‘Shrill’, a comedy series starring Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live) as Annie, a fat young woman who wants to change her life — but not her body. Annie is trying to start her career while juggling bad boyfriends, a sick parent, and a perfectionist boss.
Shrill, a six-episode Hulu Original comedy series is executive produced by Lorne Michaels, Elizabeth Banks, showrunner Ali Rushfield, Lindy West, Andrew Singer of Broadway Video and Max Handelman of Brownstone Productions.
Ali Rushfield, Lindy West, and Aidy Bryant serve as co-writers. The series is produced by Warner Bros., Broadway Video, and Brownstone Productions.
Warner Bros. will serve as the international distributor.
The screening which takes place at the Stateside Theater Mar 11 8:30pm —10:00pm will be followed by an extended Q&A with select cast and crew. The series comes to Hulu March 15th.
‘Body at Brighton Rock’
Director: Roxanne Benjamin
Premiere Screening: Fri March 8 11:30 PM – 12:57 AM
‘Body at Brighton Rock’ is the latest effort from director Roxanne Benjamin. If this is anything like her previous work on ‘XX’, ‘Southbound’ or ‘V/H/S 2’ we are in for a treat. She has established herself as a solid filmmaker in the horror industry and looks to continue that streak with the world premiere of ‘Body at Brighton Rock’ at SXSW as part of The Midnighters lineup. The story surrounds an inexperienced park employee discovers a body on a remote mountain trail and must stay with it overnight in the wilderness, facing her darkest fears in the process.
The cast includes; Karina Fontes, Casey Adams, Emily Althaus, Brodie Reed, Martin Spanjers, John Getz, Miranda Bailey, Susan Burke, Matt Peters.
Starring: Bill Skarsgard, Maika Monroe, Kyra Sedwich, Jeffery Donovan
Premiere Screening: Sat March 9 3:00 PM – 4:28 PM
When a pair of amateur criminals break into a suburban home, they stumble upon a dark secret and two sadistic homeowners who will do anything to keep it from getting out.
Political Speakers & Documentaries
With the 2020 election year already in full swing in 2019 the last couple of years of politics has been contentious to say the least. As in years past there will be several political speakers on hand at SXSW during the film and interactive sessions. Including rising political star Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez, Presidential hopefuls, Julian Castro, Elizabeth Warren and a rumored appearance by Beto O’Rourke. In addition former Presidential candidate John Kasich will also be on hand. Not only will many of these politicians be speaking but some will be featured in films that are debuting at the festival including ‘Running with Beto’ (HBO), ‘The River and the Wall’ and ‘Knock Down the House’ (Netflix.) In these important political times it is great to see so many politicians willing to gather together in a public forum to share their views and opinions.
Speakers: Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez, Amy Klobuchar, Bill Weld, Elizabeth Warren, John Hickenlooper, John Kasich, Julian Castro, Kevin McCarthy, Stacey Abrams, Will Hurd, Mazie Hirono and rumored Beto O’Rourke
For more information about the SXSW Film, Comedy or Keynote Speakers check out the SXSW website. The Boom Howdy team will be on the ground bringing you news, reviews and interviews from the fest March 9 – 11, 2019.