2008 SXSW Film Festival Lineup Announced

64 films kicking off with 21.

by | February 6, 2008 | Comments

Starting to feel the post-Sundance blues? Not to worry — Austin’s SXSW Film Festival is a little over a month away, and the full lineup has just been announced.

The festivities will kick off with 21, Robert Luketic‘s Kevin Spacey-led take on the early ’90s exploits of the MIT Blackjack Team, and close with Stephen Walker‘s documentary about senior citizen chorus line dancers, Young@Heart. Other big names on the schedule include Martin Scorsese‘s Rolling Stones documentary, Shine a Light; the Iraq war-themed drama Stop-Loss; and Michael Almereyda‘s New Orleans Mon Amour. Festival producer Matt Dentler tells Variety:

“We’re aiming for quality over quantity. I think this year’s program is an example of that. There may be a lot of films and a lot of premieres, but we were lucky enough to discover so many new gems.”

Read on for the full lineup!

Bulletproof Salesman
Director: Michael Tucker & Petra Epperlein
Fidelis Cloer is a self-confessed war profiteer who found The Perfect War when the US invaded Iraq. It wasn’t about selling a dozen cars, or even a hundred, it was a thousand-car war where security would become the ultimate product. (World Premiere)

Director: Caroline Suh
The campaign for student body president at Stuyvesant, perhaps the most prestigious public high school in the country, is almost as sophisticated as any presidential election. But unlike presidential candidates, they also have to do their homework, take their SATs and write their college applications. (World Premiere)

Full Battle Rattle
Directors: Jesse Moss & Tony Gerber
A feature documentary about life inside the US Army’s Iraq Simulation in California’s Mojave Desert. The film follows one Army Battalion’s efforts to pacify the town of Medina Wasl, one of thirteen villages in the simulation, as it tips precariously on the brink of civil war. (North American Premiere)

The Matador
Directors: Stephen Higgins & Nina Gilden Seavey The epic tale of David Fandila’s quest to become the world’s top-ranked bullfighter. Heart-wrenching setbacks and thrilling successes dramatize his three-year journey across Spain and Latin America and into the pages of bullfighting history. (World Premiere)

Sex Positive
Director: Daryl Wein
A look at the life of Richard Berkowitz, a revolutionary gay S&M hustler turned AIDS activist in the 1980s, whose incomparable contribution to the invention of safe sex has long since been forgotten. (World Premiere)

Some Assembly Required
Director: Dori Berinstein
Over 2000 kids. 400 teams nationwide. Eight months of brainstorming, designing and building. One goal: to create the next great toy. (World Premiere)

They Killed Sister Dorothy
Director: Daniel Junge
On February 12th, 2005, a 73 year-old Catholic nun from Ohio, was shot six times at point blank range and left to die on a muddy Amazon road. Who was this woman, and why was she killed? What will become of her murderers, and who else was involved? What are the implications of her murder and these trials on the future? (World Premiere)

We Are Wizards
Director: Josh Koury
An entertaining and comprehensive portrait of the passionate culture of Harry Potter fans. (World Premiere)

Explicit Ills
Director/writer: Mark Webber
Young love, drugs and poverty collide in the city of Philadelphia creating a beautiful tale of hope and the power of coming together. (World Premiere)

The Lost Coast

Director/writer: Gabriel Fleming
As a group of old high school friends wander through San Francisco on Halloween night, two of them are forced to confront their unspoken sexual history. (World Premiere)

My Effortless Brilliance
Director: Lynn Shelton
Successful and self-involved novelist Eric Lambert Jones has been unceremoniously dumped by his life long buddy, Dylan. In an attempt to piece together the fractured friendship, Eric takes a side trip from his latest book tour to drop in on Dylan, newly settled in the picturesque backwoods of Washington state. (World Premiere)

Older Than America
Director: Georgina Lightning
A woman’s haunting visions reveal a Catholic priest’s sinister plot to silence her mother from speaking the truth about atrocities that occurred at a Native Indian boarding school. (World Premiere)

Paper Covers Rock
Director/writer: Joe Maggio
The story of Sam, a troubled young woman who loses custody of her six year-old daughter in the wake of an unsuccessful suicide attempt. (World Premiere)

Up With Me
Director: Greg Takoudes
When Francisco, a teenager from Harlem, is admitted to an upstate boarding school on scholarship, he is torn between his life at home (his loyal girlfriend and his jealous best friend) and the new environment. (World Premiere)

Director/writer: Jake Mahaffy
The chaotic journey of one man trying to succeed in a business that doesn’t exist. (North American Premiere)

Director/writer: Mary Bronstein
A maddeningly oblivious, tyrannical and emotionally stunted young woman tries her best to negotiate two toxic friendships. (World Premiere)

A Necessary Death
Director: Daniel Stamm
“Documentary Filmmaker looking for suicidal individual to follow from first preparation to final act.” Cut from 142 video tapes, this project sheds light on the tragedy following the infamous internet ad. (World Premiere)

The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela
Director/writer: Olaf de Fleur
Raquela is looking for a way out of her tireless job as a “ladyboy” prostitute, which brings her to Iceland with some unexpected outcomes. (North American Premiere)

Año Una
Director/writer: Jonas Cuaron
An impossible romance between Molly, a 21 year-old American, and Diego, a Mexican in the throes of puberty. (Regional Premiere)

‘Bama Girl
Director: Rachel Goslins
A charismatic black woman at the University of Alabama runs for Homecoming Queen, going up against a century of ingrained racial segregation, internal black politics, and a secret association of all-white fraternities. (World Premiere)

Bootleg Wisconsin
Director: Brandon Linden
A married Chicago Public School Teacher spends part of her summer vacation visiting outlet malls across the Midwest. At her penultimate stop, in Pleasant Prairie Wisconsin, she meets a young man who works at the mall. A relationship develops that makes them both question their lives and their futures. (World Premiere)

Flying On One Engine
Director: Joshua Z Weinstein
The documentary story of an Indian-American surgeon who, despite being critically ill himself and living in a one-room Brooklyn apartment, travels back to India every year to perform marathon surgery “camps” where he repairs the cleft lips of 700 children in a week. (World Premiere)

Director/writer: Jennifer Phang
As troubling signs of global cataclysms accelerate, a brother and sister react to their father’s desertion and the powerful presence of their mother’s new boyfriend. (Regional Premiere)

Humboldt County
Director/writer: Danny Jacobs & Darren Grodsky
When Peter Hadley, a promising yet disillusioned medical student, stumbles upon an eccentric community of marijuana farmers, his life will never be the same. (World Premiere)

I’ll Come Running
Director: Spencer Parsons
A young American woman finds herself drawn to a last-minute trip to Denmark, so that she can learn more about the man she loves. (World Premiere)

Director/writer: Russell Friedenberg
Recently escaped from Trinity Psychiatric Center, a pair of patients hit the road on a mission to inscribe an addendum to the Ten Commandments in order to save the world. (World Premiere)

In A Dream
Director: Jeremiah Zagar
The chaotic story of Julia Zagar and her husband Isaiah Zagar, a renowned mosaic artist, who for the past 30 years has covered more than 40,000 square feet of Philadelphia top to bottom with tile, mirror, paint, and concrete. (World Premiere)

The Marconi Bros.
Director/writers: Marco Ricci, Michael Canzoniero
Anthony and Carmine Marconi have been dutifully serving out life sentences in the family carpet business. Their opportunity to escape occurs when they meet the undisputed king of the Long Island wedding video business. (World Premiere)

Medicine For Melancholy
Director/writer: Barry Jenkins
A love story of bikes and one-night stands told through two African-American twenty-somethings dealing with issues of class, identity, and the evolving conundrum of being a minority living in a rapidly gentrifying San Francisco. (World Premiere)

Natural Causes
Director: Alex Cannon, Michael Lerman

In the wake of a brief, but intense relationship with Shaina, David struggles to find the same connection with Cara, his new flame and Shaina’s former best friend. (World Premiere)

The New Year Parade
Director/writer: Tom Quinn
When Mike and Lisa separate, their children suffer quietly in the middle of the annual Mummer’s Parade. (Regional Premiere)

One Minute to Nine
Director: Tommy Davis
A haunting and touching documentary look at one family, thrown into the disturbing reality that follows a history of domestic abuse, as one member prepares to serve a jail sentence. (North American Premiere)

The Ostrich Testimonies
Director: Jonathan VanBallenberghe
The dramatic story of the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch near Tucson, Arizona, where in 2002, two hot-air balloons triggered a stampede of 1,600 ostriches. (World Premiere)

The Pleasure of Being Robbed
Director: Josh Safdie
A curious and lost Eléonore looks for something everywhere, even in the bags of strangers who find themselves sadly smiling only well after she’s left their lives. They owe her their thanks. (World Premiere)

Present Company
Director/writer: Frank V. Ross
Leading very separate lives, Christy and her boyfriend Buddy live together in her parent’s basement with their baby Mikey. As they struggle with the realities of their lives, questions are formed about obligations, consequences, and all the identities we employ to get through the day. (World Premiere)

Director: Alex Karpovsky
Fanatical birdwatchers have descended upon a small town in the Arkansas bayou in hopes of finding the celebrated Ivory Billed Woodpecker. Declared extinct in the 1940s, the bird has apparently been spotted by numerous experts over the past few months. The news is miraculous, yet concrete proof remains elusive. (World Premiere)

Director: Robert Luketic
Based on the true story of a group of MIT students who, under the guidance of a cryptic professor, take Vegas casinos for millions through the mathematical art of counting cards. (Opening Night Film)

American Teen
Director: Nanette Burstein
A documentary on seniors at a high school in a small Indiana town, and their various cliques. (Regional Premiere)

Assassination of a High School President
Director: Brett Simon
A rookie journalist for the school paper unravels a mysterious plot involving the class president, drugs, and a ring of stolen test scores in this noir caper set at a quirky Catholic High School. (Regional Premiere)

At the Death House Door
Director: Steve James & Peter Gilbert
An investigation of the wrongful death of Carlos DeLuna, who was executed in Texas on December 7, 1989, after prosecutors ignored evidence inculpating a man, who bragged to friends about committing the crimes of which DeLuna was convicted. (World Premiere)

Director/writers: Jay Duplass & Mark Duplass
An in-depth study of the relationship dynamics for a group of desperate actor friends. And a bag. And a head. (Regional Premiere)

Director: Ceri Levy
An in-depth and revealing glimpse at the cryptic cartoon band, Gorillaz. (North American Premiere)

Battle in Seattle
Director/writer: Stuart Townsend
An all-star, edge-of-your-seat glimpse at the 1999 WTO demonstrations in Seattle, told from the perspective of protesters, police, and city officials. (U.S. Premiere)

Beautiful Losers
Directors: Aaron Rose & Joshua Leonard
A feature documentary film celebrating the independent and D.I.Y. spirit that unified a loose-knit group of American artists who emerged from the underground youth subcultures of skateboarding, graffiti, punk rock and hip-hop. (World Premiere)

Director/writer: Clark Gregg
An adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, this is the sardonic story about mother and son relationship, fear of aging, sexual addiction, and the dark side of historical theme parks. (Regional Premiere)

Director: David Modigliani
Just a short time before George W. Bush announced his intentions to run for the Presidency, the New Haven-born hopeful bought a ranch in tiny Crawford, Texas. This is what happened next. (World Premiere)

Dreams With Sharp Teeth
Director: Erik Nelson
A documentary portrait of acclaimed author Harlan Ellison, as he looks back on his fabled and influential career as one of the world’s top genre writers for television and print. (World Premiere)

Director: Michael Radford
In 1960s London, a talented but overlooked diamond executive is convinced to participate in a jewelry heist when a veteran janitor hatches a plan. (Regional Premiere)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Director: Nicholas Stoller
A comic look at one guy’s arduous quest to grow up and get over the heartbreak of getting dumped. If only his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend weren’t staying at the same hotel.

Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay
Director/writers: Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg
The triumphant return of the two hilarious, slacker anti-heroes. This time, the boys get themselves in trouble trying to sneak a bong onboard a flight to Amsterdam. Now, being suspected of terrorism, they are forced to run from the law and try to find a way to prove their innocence. What follows is an irreverent and epic journey of deep thoughts, deeper inhaling and a wild trip around the world that is as “un-PC” as it gets.

Living with the Tudors
Directors: Karen Guthrie & Nina Pope
After four years of participation as costumed historical re-enactors, Karen Guthrie & Nina Pope were given unprecedented access with their cameras to the UK’s oldest and largest historical re-enactment at Kentwell Hall in rural Suffolk. (North American Premiere)

Lou Reed’s Berlin
Director: Julian Schnabel
An artful document of musical legend Lou Reed, performing his influential record, “Berlin,” to audiences in New York City. (U.S. Premiere)

Love Songs
Director/writer: Christophe Honore
Ismael and Julie are the ideal young Parisian couple. They both have good jobs, a great apartment and are considered part of each other’s families. After several years together, they decide to add a spark to their relationship and take on a third lover, Alice. (Regional Premiere)

Mister Foe
Director: David Mackenzie
Driven to expose the true cause of his mother’s death, young Hallam Foe instead finds himself searching the rooftops of the city of Edinburgh for love. (U.S. Premiere)

Mister Lonely
Director: Harmony Korine
A Michael Jackson impersonator lives alone in Paris and performs on the streets to make ends meet. At a performance in a retirement home, Michael falls for a beautiful Marilyn Monroe look-alike who suggests he move to a commune of impersonators in the Scottish Highlands. (U.S. Premiere)

New Orleans Mon Amour
Director: Michael Almereyda
A year after Hurricane Katrina, an affluent surgeon in New Orleans is attempting to get his life back on track. He is remarrying his ex-wife, renovating her house and restarting his medical practice. His plan begins to unravel when he runs into an old flame. (World Premiere)

Nights and Weekends
Director/writers: Joe Swanberg & Greta Gerwig
A man and woman must face the tension that builds between them during a long-distance relationship. (World Premiere)

Directors: Daniel O’Connor, Neil Ortenberg
Under Barney Rosset, Grove Press and Evergreen Review fought decisive battles to defeat legal censorship, and opened American life to new and dangerous currents of freedom. This is Rosset’s story. (U.S. Premiere)

The Order of Myths
Director: Margaret Brown
A probing and artful portrait of the divided Mardi Gras communities that still exist today in Alabama. (Regional Premiere)

The Promotion
Director/writer: Steven Conrad
The story of two mid-level supermarket employees who compete ruthlessly for a coveted post at a new store location. (World Premiere)

Run, Fat Boy, Run
Director: David Schwimmer
An out-of-shape divorced father makes one last attempt to win back the respect of his son, his ex-wife, and the community around him. All he has to do is finish his first marathon. (Regional Premiere)

Second Skin
Director: Juan Carlos Pineiro
An intimate look at people whose lives have become transformed by the virtual worlds in online games such as World of Warcraft, Everquest and Second Life. (World Premiere)

Shine A Light
Director: Martin Scorsese
A career-spanning documentary on the Rolling Stones, with concert footage from their “A Bigger Bang” tour. (North American Premiere)

Shot In Bombay
Director: Liz Mermin
Yes, Bollywood makes gangster films. This fast paced documentary, populated by a charismatic and often surreal cast of characters, goes beyond the tinselly glamour of “Bollywood” to explore some of the industry’s darker sides. (North American Premiere)

Director: Kimberly Peirce
Back home in Texas after fighting in Iraq, a soldier refuses to return to battle despite the government mandate requiring him to do so

Super High Me
Director: Michael Blieden
Comedian Doug Benson, a famous marijuana advocate, decides to test the limits of his body during two, 30-day stretches. (Regional Premiere)

Then She Found Me
Director: Helen Hunt
Adapted from Elinor Lipman’s novel of the same name, Helen Hunt makes her feature directing debut with this touching story of schoolteacher April Epner and her very unlikely path towards personal fulfillment. (Regional Premiere)

The Toe Tactic
Director/writer: Emily Hubley
In this hybrid of live-action and animation, a young woman grieves for her father while unaware of the magical world around her. (World Premiere)

Where In The World is Osama Bin Laden?
Director: Morgan Spurlock
Acclaimed filmmaker Morgan Spurlock heads to the Middle East for two reasons: to understand cultures overseas and to find Osama Bin Laden. (Regional Premiere)

Wild Blue Yonder
Director: Celia Maysles
Celia Maysles had no idea her father and his brother Albert were pioneers of verite documentary filmmaking. Determined to uncover the secrets surrounding her background, Celia sets out on a quest to rediscover her father by using his own artistic process. (North American Premiere)

Director: Stephen Walker
The touching and heartfelt portrait of a New England senior citizens chorus that has delighted audiences worldwide with their covers of songs by everyone from The Clash to Coldplay. (Closing Night Film)

Blip Festival: Reformat the Planet
Director: Paul Owens
A documentary look at the movement known as ChipTunes, a vibrant underground scene based around creating new, original music using old video game hardware. (World Premiere)

Heavy Load
Director: Jerry Rothwell
Heavy Load are a punk outfit subject to the combustible flux of ego, ambition, fantasy, expectation and desire that fuels any emerging band. But they’re also, uniquely, made up of musicians with and without learning disabilities. (World Premiere)

Heavy Metal in Baghdad
Director: Suroosh Alvi
Playing heavy metal in a Muslim country has always been a difficult proposition, but after Saddam’s regime was toppled, there was a brief moment for the band in which real freedom seemed possible. (U.S. Premiere)

Nerdcore Rising
Director: Negin Farsad
“Nerdcore” is the newest, dorkiest wave of hip-hop, born out of the internet and made possible by computer-obsessed geeks. (World Premiere)

Of All The Things
Director: Jody Lambert
A Filipino concert promoter has been begging Dennis Lambert (one of the most successful and gifted songwriter/producers of the ’70s and ’80s) to come tour for decades. Thirty-five years after the release of his solo album, he finally agreed. (World Premiere)

Rainbow Around the Sun
Director/writer: Kevin Ely
A rock musical about the healing power of creativity. Matthew Alvin Brown stars as Zachary Blasto, a hard-drinking, talented songwriter and performer who envisions madcap musical fantasies in order to avoid dealing with the downward spiral of his personal life. (World Premiere)

Throw Down Your Heart
Director: Sascha Paladino
Cameras follow American banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck on his journey to Africa to explore the little known African roots of the banjo, and record an album. (World Premiere)

The Upsetter: The Life & Music of Lee “Scratch” Perry
Directors: Ethan Higbee and Adam Bhala Lough
The fascinating story of Lee “Scratch” Perry, a visionary musician and artist from poor rural Jamaica who soon became of the most influential artists in reggae and dub. (World Premiere)

Wesley Willis’s Joyrides
Director: Chris Bagley
A portrait of the self-proclaimed rock ‘n’ roll star and Chicago city artist, Wesley Willis. (Regional Premiere)

The Wrecking Crew
Director: Denny Tedesco
You heard them playing on the Beach Boys hits, on the Mamas and the Papas’ recordings, on Frank Sinatra records, on Monkees’ singles, and they were Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. Most likely, you never heard their name. If you knew who they were, you called them “the Wrecking Crew.” (World Premiere)

Cook County
Director/writer: David Pomes
Set in the deep woods of East Texas, an abused and alienated teenage boy and his absentee father struggle to reconnect and beat their respective addictions to crystal meth amidst a family of meth addicts and a community crumbling under the meth epidemic. (World Premiere)

Directors: David Redmon & Ashley Sabin
Cecy and Camilo recently migrated to Reynosa, Mexico with a dream to buy land and build a home. A year later they return to their rural hometown to reunite with their daughter. What seems like a satisfying reunion turns into a confusing dilemma that transforms the course of their marriage. (World Premiere)

The King of Texas
Director: Rene Pinnell
Although Eagle Pinnell was quickly becoming a regional film legend, his acute alcoholism and legendary ego alienated many of his friends and collaborators. Eagle remained a forgotten and mostly unsung talent throughout his life, which ended in 2002. Friends, family, and fellow filmmakers recall Eagle’s life, the excitement of working alongside him, and the burden of his addictions. (World Premiere)

Tulia, Texas
Director: Cassandra Herrman & Kelly Whalen
At the end of one of the biggest drug stings in Texas history, dozens of residents of the small farming town of Tulia had been rounded up and thrown behind bars. Of 46 people indicted for cocaine dealing, 39 were African American. In the years to follow, troubling evidence about Coleman’s investigation and his past began to surface. (World Premiere)

Dance of the Dead
Director: Gregg Bishop
A horror/adventure that takes place on the night of the big High School Prom: the dead rise to eat the living, and the only people who can stop them are the losers who couldn’t get dates to the dance. (World Premiere)

Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie
Director: Jay Delaney
Through the experiences of two amateur bigfoot researchers in southern Ohio, we see how the power of a dream can bring two men together and provide a source of hope and meaning. (World Premiere)

Director: Tony Krantz
In the midst of a serial abductor/killer’s rampage, a beautiful young teen goes missing but soon turns the tables on her tormentor. (World Premiere)

Registered Sex Offender
Director/writer: Robert Byington
There may be one thing worse than being a sex offender sent to prison: Being a sex offender released from prison. (World Premiere)

Director/writer: Edward Anderson
A late-night shuttle ride home from airport descends into darkness. (World Premiere)

Southern Gothic
Director/writer: Mark Young
A man must atone for a tragic mistake by saving a little girl from a ruthless, undead preacher. (World Premiere)

Agile, Mobile, Hostile: A Year With Andre Williams
Director: Tricia Todd
A year in the life of Andre Williams, one of the unsung heroes of the American R&B community, who walks us through the hard life he’s led over five decades of making music. (World Premiere)

Bi The Way
Director: Brittany Blockman
This documentary looks at recent statistics, real-life stories, and more to paint a picture of the growing acceptance of bisexuality in America. (World Premiere)

The Black List
Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
In a film that works as series of living portraits, twenty prominent African Americans of various professions, disciplines and backgrounds offer their own stories and insights on the struggles, triumphs and joys of black life in this country and manage to re-define “blacklist” for a new century in the process. (Regional Premiere)

Body of War
Directors: Ellen Spiro & Phil Donahue
“Support our troops” has long been a rallying cry for war proponents. But that phrase will never sound the same after you meet Tomas Young, an eloquent former soldier and current war protester. (Regional Premiere)

Dancing Alfonso
Director: Barak Heymann
Alfonso is the lead dancer in a flamenco troupe, which rehearses in a Tel Aviv suburb After the death of his wife, he begins to obsessively court Sima, a dancer with the troupe, to the displeasure of his children, who are unwilling to accept the fact that their father might be interested in another woman. (U.S. Premiere)

Dear Zachary: a letter to a son about his father
Director: Kurt Kuenne
After Dr. Andrew Bagby was brutally murdered, the prime suspect (his former girlfriend) announced that she was pregnant with Andrew’s baby. Andrew’s childhood friend began this film as a way for the baby to learn about his father, until things started to take an even more unpredictable turn. (Regional Premiere)

Do You Sleep In the Nude?
Director: Marshall Fine
Forty years after he blazed across the scene, Rex Reed is still going strong — a brand-name movie critic whose name and face remain easily recognizable, even if his influence has waned. (Regional Premiere)

Don’t Get Me Wrong
Director: Adina Pintilie
Within a stark Romanian psychiatric hospital, patients move stones, help each other perform daily tasks and discuss the existence of God and how to stop the rain. (U.S. Premiere)

Director: David Zellner
A recently divorced man tries to find the one aspect of his marriage that still matters to him: his missing cat, Goliath. (Regional Premiere)

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Director: Alex Gibney
With access to never-before-seen archives, this is a fascinating documentary look at the legendary and undeniable Hunter S. Thompson. (Regional Premiere)

Here Is What Is
Director: Adam Vollick & Adam Samuels
An invitation to experience a year of creation, looking over Daniel Lanois’ shoulder.

Source: Variety