13 SXSW Film & TV Screenings We Can’t Wait to See
All the premieres to catch with your badges when the festival kicks off in Austin this year
By Meher Qazilbash
SXSW will return to Austin on March 10 for a 10-day extravaganza featuring a number of film and TV premieres. While there’s an overwhelming amount of screenings to keep track of, read below to find a list of some of the most intriguing titles premiering at the festival this year. For screening times and more details, click on each title.
A dazzling new feature from independent film studio A24, Problemista depicts an abstract narrative about an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador struggling to make his dreams a reality in New York City. The all-star cast includes Julio Torres, Tilda Swinton, RZA, Isabella Rossellini and Greta Lee. A masterpiece about the struggles of immigration, navigating New York and chasing one’s dreams, this is sure to be an engrossing story for viewers to experience.
Directed by Emma Seligman, who brought us the exhilarating comedy Shiva Baby in 2020, Bottoms is a high school story about two nerdy queer girls who vie for the attention of cheerleaders by starting a fight club. The feature stars Shiva Baby lead Rachel Sennott and Ayo Edibri, known for her role as Sydney in the cutthroat kitchen dramedy The Bear, as the unpopular girls. Model and actress Kaia Gerber stars as one of the desired cheerleaders.
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Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
One of the most epic and highly anticipated SXSW world premieres, viewers can catch Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves on the festival’s opening night. Directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley and starring A-listers like Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Hugh Grant and Regé-Jean Page, fans can experience the fantasy game in a new light through this adventurous and hilarious movie.
Hung Up on a Dream
Actor, musician and director Robert Schwartzman directed Hung Up on a Dream, the first feature documentary about The Zombies, chronicling the band’s journey from the members’ initial meeting as teenagers in the 1960s to their navigation of the difficulties of the music industry. With fan favorite songs and memories of the band’s successes and failures, Hung Up on a Dream beautifully portrays the lives and friendships of these rock ‘n’ roll legends.
Going Varsity in Mariachi
Coming home after a triumphant world premiere at Sundance Film Festival, Going Varsity in Mariachi examines how Mariachi music affects and transforms the lives of high school students and teachers in South Texas border towns. From native Texas filmmakers Alejandra Vasquez and Sam Osborn, the documentary captures a fascinating element of American high school culture.
Geoff Mcfetridge: Drawing a Life
Directed by Dan Covert and produced by Spike Jonze and Amy Dempsey, this documentary examines artist Geoff McFetridge, a prolific creator behind countless designs that influence aesthetics everywhere. McFetridge is a fascinating subject who asks valuable questions about leading a life of meaning and simultaneously inspires artists with his authentic mindset.
A unique take on a teenager’s exploration of sexuality, Bloody Hell tells the tale of 16-year-old Lindy, played by dancer and actress Maddie Ziegler, who is diagnosed with the reproductive condition Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome. In this semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story from Molly McGlynn, a whirlwind expedition ensues following a discovery that complicates Lindy’s presumptions regarding her sexual life and identity as a woman.
American Born Chinese
From showrunner Kelvin Yu comes a humorous, edgy and touching series about the Asian-American experience. Based on the popular and acclaimed graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang, American Born Chinese follows Jin Wang, a high school student with hopes to climb up the social ladder. A Chinese exchange student named Wei-Chen Sun is assigned to Jin as a shadow, which kicks off a battle with Chinese mythology characters and his own internalized racism. Boasting a stacked cast that includes current Oscar nominees Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan from Everything, Everywhere All at Once, this is a can’t-miss TV debut.
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A comedy mixed with unsettling fantasy, Slip explores the idea of a mistake with irreparable consequences. Created by and starring the multi-talented Zoe Lister-Jones, the series takes a look at long-term couple Mae and Elijah, who have hit a rut in their relationship of 13 years. When Mae “slips” for a night and experiences a one-night stand with a man named Eric, she wakes up in a world in which she’s married to Eric, and her relationship with Elijah has completely disappeared from her life.
Emmy and Golden-Globe winner Donald Glover is bringing his post-Atlanta project to SXSW for its world premiere. Swarm combines horror and comedy in a thrilling new TV series in which a young woman named Dre’s obsession with a pop idol brings dark consequences.
Love & Death
An HBO Max limited series featuring Elizabeth Olsen and Jesse Plemons, Love & Death is based on a two-part Texas Monthly article from 1984 titled “Love and Death in Silicon Prairie.” The crime drama recounts the case of Candy Montgomery, a seemingly average small town woman who was accused of violently killing the wife of her lover with an ax. The series will debut at the festival and be available on HBO Max on April 27.
A dark comedy from Netflix, Beef follows the aftermath of a road rage incident between two strangers. Created by showrunner Lee Sung Jin and featuring Oscar-nominated actor Steven Yeun and comedian and actress Ali Wong, the chilling and compelling series showcases an intense clashing between people from two very different backgrounds. The show will stream on Netflix on April 6. Plus, both Yeun and Wong will be in attendance at South By!
I’m a Virgo
From Boots Riley, director of acclaimed film Sorry to Bother You, comes a sci-fi and comedy program about Cootie, a 13-foot-tall young Black man living in Oakland, California. An absurdist coming-of-age tale starring Jharrel Jerome, of Moonlight and When They See Us, this is a promising new title we can’t wait to see.