February 1, 2023

‘Dungeons and Dragons’ to kick off SXSW Film and TV

Annual festival announces lots of features and premieres


The South by Southwest Film Festival had a banner year in 2022, with an opening-night film that still figures prominently in awards shows as the best: “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

So it’s not unreasonable to wonder whether the festival can repeat its stellar opening. The festival has announced its opening-night film of 2023 to be “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.”

Before you dismiss this announcement, it should be noted that “Everything Everywhere” was not expected to be an awards contender, especially since it blended sci-fi craziness with pop culture. But that’s what happened.

“Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is directed and co-written by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, and it brings the legendary role-playing game to the big screen. It stars Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Rege-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Willis and Chloe Gilio.

Here’s the plot: A charming thief and a band of adventurers try to stage an epic heist to retrieve a lots relic, but bad stuff happens.

The festival announced a lot of other features and shorts in its initial lineup, and several are notable:

  • Director/screenwriter Lee Cronin gives us “Evil Dead Rise,” about two estranged sisters who engage in a primal battle for survival. The cast includes Lily Sullivan, Alyssa Sutherland and Morgan Davies.
  •  “Problemista” looks quite interesting. It deals with a toy designer from El Salvador who moves to New York and assists an art-world outcast, played by the inimitable Tilda Swinton. Julio Torres stars and directs.
  •  “Flamin’ Hot” is directed by Eva Longoria and focuses on a Frito Lay janitor who came up with the recipe for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. It stars Jesse Garcia, Annie Gonzalez, Dennis Haysbert and Tony Shalhoub.
  • “Down Low” stars Zachary Quinto as a deeply repressed man and a twink. Enough said. Lukas Gage, Simon Rex, Audra McDonald and Judith Light co-star.
  •  “The Lady Bird Diaries” is directed by Dawn Porter and looks at Lady Bird Johnson’s audio diaries to tell a story of a misunderstood first lady.

Many more movies are detailed at The festival kicks off March 10.

Charles Ealy
Charles Ealy
Charles Ealy is a former movies editor for The Dallas Morning News and Austin American-Statesman.

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