Every year the colossal music, film and interactive festival SXSW descends upon Austin – bringing with it a flood of film, music and creativity enthusiasts.
It’s a tough gig, but our World Movies programmer has left behind World Movies HQ to visit this year’s festival, with the aim of finding the most intriguing and talked-about new films from across the globe.
Check out some of Ally’s highlights from her first few days at SXSW below – and stay tuned for more!
The festival vibe
At the moment Austin is flooded with young, creative types who are either looking to drink, ‚Äúnetwork at parties‚Äù or get their big break-out in their next movie. Then you have us ‚Äòfilm buffs’, waiting in the cold rainy weather for hours hoping to catch the many highly anticipated films from around the world. I must say that so far, nothing has disappointed. The weather has been hovering between 4 and 12 degrees with rain – but the real crowds apparently won’t show up until the Music Festival begins on Tuesday night.
The Infinite Man
The Film Festival section of SXSW kicked off on Friday and I began my festival experience that day by catching the world premiere of the Australian film The Infinite Man. Written and Directed by debut long-form director Hugh Sullivan, the film is a lovely quirky Aussie number set in outback South Australia that was co-funded through the South Australian Film Corporation’s FilmLab initiative. It’s a time travelling romantic comedy centred around a man, Dean (Josh McConville), who attempts to construct the perfect weekend date only for it to backfire – sending himself and his lover, Lana (Hannah Marshall, Packed To The Rafters) into an infinite loop of the future meeting the past.
The storyline is quite the mind-bender, but at the same time it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the audience are comforted through the character’s own realisation of the ridiculousness of the story. I found the film a fantastic example of how small budgets can be used to produce truly entertaining and uniquely funny Australian films.
Next I tuned into the highly disturbing Argentinian film The Desert, which tells the story of a failed love triangle in a post-apocalyptic world. The film did get feel a little claustrophobic at times as the three main characters are confined almost constantly to a very small space. The only instance in which they leave their boarded up house is to capture a zombie-like, shadow of a human creature which they then keep as their prisoner. I found the film had a very similar feel to the ‚ÄòREC’ trilogy, and it’s definitely one for all the horror/thriller zombie fans out there.
Now for one of the most anticipated comedies of this half of the year, the world premiere of the work-in-progress film, Neighbors. Nicholas Steller has raised the bar yet again with this laugh-a-minute comedy classic. The storyline focuses on young and ‚Äòstill hip’ couple who devise a mission to have their new neighbours kicked off the street after a frat house moves in next door. The film is a little Animal House crossed with Knocked Up and is filled to the brim with some great one-liners, pranks and more. With a star-studded cast including Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco and Lisa Kudrow this movie will not disappoint when you just want to sit back, laugh and be entertained. In the Q&A after the film, Seth said that whilst there are no plans to make a sequel, Zac is transitioning into a great comedic actor and that the pair could work together again in the near future.