Beyond the red-carpet gala screenings of highly anticipated movies that will soon open across the country -- think Richard Linklater's Everybody Wants Some, Jeff Nichols' Midnight Special, Ti West's In a Valley of Violence, Fede Alvarez's untitled thriller -- and beyond high-profile, so-called 'work in progress' screenings -- Seth Rogen's animated Sausage Party, Key and Peele's Keanu -- the heart of SXSW remains the independent films, whether from the U.S. or elsewhere.
Frankly, with more than 130 films screening at the festival, and only three of us from the ScreenAnarchy crew -- Zach Gayne, Jeremy O. Harris and myself -- attending this year, it's impossible to cover everything of interest. But we've looked at the program as closely as possible and picked out a few notable titles that caught our collective eye. As always, some of the best titles likely remain in hiding and will surface during the festival; we remain ever open to the possibilities of discovery, whatever the source.
Directed by John Carchietta
"Feeling confined by their small town and overbearing parents, Annie and Jules hatch a scheme of running away. The only issue is, they need the money to get there. Jules suggests the couple try webcam modeling. Although she’s nervous at first, Annie can’t argue when the money starts rolling in. But as the girls soon find out, consequences can blindside you. Sometimes violently."
Why? I've attended SXSW since 2008, and in those years I've learned that track records matter as much as intriguing premises. This movie has the benefit of Travis Stevens as producer, as well as a cast that includes Nichole Bloom, Pat Healy, Michelle Borth and AJ Bowen, all solid names with good to great past work. Combined with the premise, that makes this an easy pick for me.