June 20, 2021

SXSW announces early film festival lineup

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South by Southwest today announced the first of its film lineup, including the world premiere of YouTube Originals docuseries “Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil,” directed by Michael D. Ratner.

It will be the opening night headliner on March 16 that kicks off this year’s online event. “Demi Lovato” explores the singer’s near fatal overdose in 2018. The docuseries is described as “an intimate portrait of addiction, the the process of healing and empowerment.”

The complete film festival lineup with be announced Feb. 10. The 2021 online platform with the schedule will launch Feb. 15.

Other highlights announced by the film festival are:

  • “Confronting a Serial Killer,” director Joe Berlinger follows reporter Jillian Lauren, who is tracking the most prolific serial killer in American history — Sam Little.
  • “The Hunt for Planet B,” directed by Nathaniel Kahn, follows a diverse group of scientists who are trying to find another Earth among the stars.
  • “Hysterical,” directed by Andrea Nevins, deals with stand-up comedy’s boundary-breaking women, focusing on Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster, Rachel Feinstein and others.
  • “Jakob’s Wife,” directed by Travis Steven, will be a world premiere in the Midnighters section of the festival. It deals with the disappearance of a young woman and how it transforms the lives around her.
  • “Luchadoras,” directed by Paola Calvo and Patrick Jasmin, focuses on female wrestlers in Ciudad Juarez.
  • “Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché,” directed by Paul Sng and Celeste Bell, deals with the death of punk icon and X-Ray Spex frontwoman Poly Styrene and how it sent her daughter on a journey.
  • “Recovery,” directed by Mallory Everton and Stephen Meek, is a narrative feature about two sisters who travel cross-country to rescue their grandmother at a nursing home.
  • “Violet,” directed by Justine Bateman, focuses on a film development executive who realizes that the “guiding voice” insider her head has been lying to her. It stars Olivia Munn, Luke Bracey and Justin Theroux.

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

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