South By Southwest (SXSW), the massive film/music/interactive festival held annually in Austin, Texas announced its feature film lineup today for the 2014 festival. Holding fast to its independent roots, more than half of the festival selections came from first time filmmakers. Last year’s winner, Short Term 12, was only the second feature from writer/director Destin Cretton, proving that big guns like Jon Favreau’s Chef, among the festival’s 78 world premiers, could have some competition for festival buzz.
All in all, the festival will feature more than 115 films in a dozen categories, including the newly added “Episodic” category, showcasing work set to appear on HBO, AMC, Hulu, and more. The addition of the category doubtless highlights the growing influence of both episodic storytelling and digital distribution platforms such as Hulu and Netflix. Still to be announced are the selections for the “Midnighter” features and “Short Film” categories. Both will be revealed February 5th.
As mentioned, we’ll have to wait to see which among the more obscure entries rise to be the creme of the crop, but there are also a number of more well known pictures which will be shown at the festival. One Zac Efron comedy, That Awkward Moment, is headed to theaters this weekend, but another, Neighbors, will see its world premier at SXSW. The film co-stars Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne and was directed by Forgetting Sarah Marshall‘s Nicholas Stoller. Wes Anderson will also be making an appearance at the festival in support of The Grand Budapest Hotel, complete with Q&A. Chef we’ve already mentioned, and several holdovers from recent festivals including Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, the Michael Fassbender-starring Frank, and the Nicolas Cage/Tye Sheridon coming of age thriller Joe will all be in attendance. The much anticipated Veronica Mars movie will also be making its debut.
The full list of films can be found here on the SXSW website. We’ll be highlighting several of them in the run up to the festival, so be sure to check back for all things SXSW.