When it comes to the annual South By Southwest festival (or SXSW) in Austin, Texas, there’s a little something for everyone. With interactive, film and music elements, the creative energy in Austin is electric for two weeks in March, with plenty of movies, conversations and music to devour. Fandango will once again be on the scene at SXSW this year, where we’ll be watching movies, hosting panels and interviewing many of the biggest actors, actresses and filmmakers in attendance. Want to get an idea of what everyone at SXSW will be chattering about this year? Here’s a taste…
The Big Premieres
A Quiet Place (in theaters April 6)
Here’s the deal: John Krasinski directs and stars opposite his real-life wife, Emily Blunt, in this haunting thriller about a family forced to live in silence due to an unknown threat that attacks at any sound. This is a very different kind of film for Krasinski, both as a director and an actor. Behind the camera he always seems to jump from genre to genre, and we’re excited to see what he brings to what sounds like a hold-your-breath kinda horror movie.
Here’s the deal: The big comedy premiere this year is Blockers, a film about three parents who go to great lengths to stop their daughters from having sex on prom night. John Cena, who’s been slowly making a name for himself in the comedic realm (see: Trainwreck), stars alongside Leslie Mann and Kathryn Newton. With Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg producing, we expect an R-rated twist on the teen sex comedy that will no doubt come stuffed with corny sex jokes, but will still find room for a little heart, too.
Isle of Dogs
Here’s the deal: Wes Anderson is back with another stop-motion animated movie packed with a star-studded ensemble of voice actors that includes a mix of Anderson veterans (Bill Murray, Edward Norton) and newcomers (Bryan Cranston, Greta Gerwig). This time he trades foxes for dogs with a story set in Japan that tracks a boy’s quest to find his dog.
The Potential Indie Breakouts
Here’s the deal: Looking to reconnect with her estranged father, a Brooklyn girl hardened by years in foster care, decides that the only way back to her father is to begin wrestling boys. Starring Elvire Emanuelle, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Colman Domingo, First Match has a great premise and the markings of a unique sports movie about empowerment and family, and it feels like the type of movie that could have a strong showing at SXSW.
Here’s the deal: In all honesty, what sold us on this film is its righteous description of the film’s lead character: “A shape-shifting, pepperoni-loving, black teenage Instagram celebrity.” Jinn, starring Zoe Renee, is said to revolve around a girl who is exploring her identity and sexuality amidst her mother’s conversion to Islam. With issues of religion and identity as relevant as they’ve ever been, Jinn feels like a conversation starter and a film we don’t want to miss.
The Breaker Upperers
Here’s the deal: We’re loving the premise of this comedy, about a pair of woman whose job it is to break up other couples - except things get weird between the two when one of them develops a conscience. Produced by Taika Waititi and including many of the folks who worked on one of our favorite comedies in recent years, What We Do in the Shadows, The Breaker Upperers has all the markings of the fest’s breakout comedy.
The Coolest Activations
Here’s the deal: In anticipation of its second season on HBO, Westworld is looking to bring its audience closer to the realities of its story by bringing a bold immersive experience to SXSW that allows fans to remain inside its “world” for two hours or more. The activation is teasing the opportunity to explore more than two acres of custom-built parkland. What will happen once there? We can’t wait to find out.
Ready Player One
Here’s the deal: Ready to step into the OASIS? With Steven Spielberg’s hotly anticipated adaptation of Ernie Cline’s Ready Player One hitting theaters later this month, Warner Bros. will descend upon SXSW with all kinds of treats for fans, including a glimpse into Wade Watts’ world, as well as a trip into the OASIS using Vive VR.
Panels We Won’t Miss
SXSW Insider’s Guide: Tips, Tricks and Hacks
Here’s the deal: Self promotion alert! Yours truly will be hosting this annual panel alongside Entertainment Weekly’s Katie Hasty, Mashable’s Angie Han and Film School Rejects’ Neil Miller. For newbies of the fest, this is a panel you don’t want to miss as we’ll be telling you where to go, where to eat, where to watch movies and how to make the most out of your time in Austin.
Rotten Tomatoes’ Your Opinion Sucks
Here’s the deal: This is one of the most fun times you will ever have at a convention panel. If you’ve never been to a Your Opinion Sucks event, you are missing out. Join Rotten Tomatoes’ veteran Grae Drake and a line-up of critics as they debate fans on some of your favorite movies.
For more from the SXSW Film Festival, definitely keep tabs on Fandango on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram beginning Friday, March 9, as we’ll be seeing movies, interviewing some of the biggest actors and filmmakers attending the festival and more.