What’s a film festival without a few gongs? Last year, the winner of the SXSW Narrative Features Competition was Made in China, directed by Judi Krant. You’re probably thinking, “When is that coming to my local multiplex, then?” Judi is probably thinking, “When is my agent going to return my calls?” But for a few weeks in March, she and her movie were the future of film. Among those hoping to bask in similar white-hot glory are the tipped David Robert Mitchell and a drama starring indie darlings Carrie Brownstein and James Mercer. Click on the titles to watch trailers.
For his first feature, Texas director Will Canon decided to play with the notion of a fraternity initiation that gets way out of hand. Jon Foster is the pledge coerced into robbing a convenience store to prove his loyalty to the Delta Phi Nitwit. Nerves and coincidence work to thoroughly f*ck up the rest of the poor guy’s evening, leaving one to believe this wasn’t exactly the smartest idea these keg-lovers ever came up with.
Squally has always wanted to use the line “Dance with the one that brought ya,” but the situation has never really presented itself. The closest we’re going to get is appraising this Texas-set thriller, where a young teenager must protect his family from a homicidal drug-runner. The line “no country for young folks,” also springs to mind. Mike Dolan helms a script by Smith Henderson and Jon Marc Smith.
Feels like young filmmakers have really taken to the idea of space as the identity crisis’s final frontier. Following on from Duncan Jones’s Moon, writer/director Clay Liford gives us a space station-bound group who have the veil lifted from their eyes by an “atmospheric event.” These humans realize they’re really aliens in disguise. Their big choice: mingle with mankind or go home.
The lonely cabin/troubled couples scenario gets a dusting off from writer-director Joseph Infantolino in this wry drama. Lee Tergeson and Melanie Lynskey are the newlyweds whose New Year’s Eve bash at an upstate New York Eagle’s Nest is the occasion for much introspection, shifting allegiances and surprise gate-crashers. Hey, it worked when Chekhov did it.
For many, the sleepover is a rite of passage comparable to Pasolini’s Salò. Yes, we know we said that about the high school formal, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. David Robert Mitchell’s eagerly awaited film, however, is less about
circle jerks teenage bonding than about the dying days of a Detroit summer and the young kids bracing themselves for life’s next chapter.
Phillip the Fossil
Phillip has burned the candle at both ends for years. Now he’s fresh out of tallow. An aging thrill-seeker in a world that prizes fresh meat, Phillip realizes that maybe it’s time to endue his empty existence with some kind of significance. Welcome to the club. Star Brian Hasenfus struggles to keep his nose clean in Boston-based writer-director Garth Donovan’s character piece.
Carrie Brownstein, the sulky front-woman for Sleater-Kinney, makes her dramatic feature debut as a sulky nurse in writer-director Matt McCormick’s ensemble drama. Portland forms the backdrop as various lost characters try to find meaning in an old folk’s home. The film also features James Mercer of The Shins. And that’s all we got.
It’s back to the nest for Aura, who is overeducated and underemployed. Starring director Lena Dunham and boasting a cast littered with members of her brood, this is on a film about family. It’s also an attempt to depict the new listlessness of an Internet generation. The sort of listlessness, in fact, that takes the form of sporadic blogging and writing unread SXSW film previews.
Tags: Brian Hasenfus, Brotherhood, Carrie Brownstein, Clay Liford, Dance With the One, David Robert Mitchell, Earthling, Garth Donovan, Helena from the Wedding, James Mercer, Jon Foster, Jon Marc Smith, Joseph Infantolino, Lee Tergeson, Lena Dunham, Matt McCormick, Melanie Lynskey, Mike Dolan, Phillip the Fossil, Smith Henderson, Some Days Are Better Than Others, SXSW Film Festival, The Myth of the Great American Sleepover, The Shins, Tiny Furniture, Will Canon