At last year’s SXSW Film Festival, I saw The Act of Killing and Short Term 12, two movies that ended up landing on my Top 10 Films of 2013 list. Their selection committee is top notch, and this year they’ve chosen Jon Favreau‘s latest, Chef, as their opener. Favreau stars as Carl Casper, a man who starts up a food truck business in the hopes of reestablishing his artistic promise after he loses his job as a chef, all the while trying to reconnect with his estranged family. A lot of directors who moved from indies to blockbusters don’t return to their roots, and I’m excited to see what Favreau has in store. The festival will also play host to the world premiere of Veronica Mars and some other intriguing titles.
Hit the jump to check out the first wave of screening announcements along with the first image from Chef, which opens May 9th. The 2014 SXSW Film Festival will run from March 7 – 15th.
The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival announces the world premiere of Chef as its Opening Night Film, from director Jon Favreau, which will screen on Friday, March 7, 2014.
SXSW also revealed a diverse handful of titles that will premiere at the 2014 event, comprised of an array of topics that tap into the buzzing pulse of SXSW culture. Additional films announced include the hotly-anticipated world premiere of Rob Thomas’ Veronica Mars feature, COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey, FOX’s re-launch of COSMOS, the iconic 1980 television miniseries from Carl Sagan, and featuring a Q&A with host Neil deGrasse Tyson, Christian Larson’s Leave the World Behind, a documentary on EDM icons Swedish House Mafia, Creep, a twisted thriller starring Mark Duplass from Patrick Brice, first-time feature director Jay Karas’ Break Point, a comedy set in the world of competitive tennis and screening as part of the new SXsports, and Doc of the Dead, a definitive look at Zombie culture, directed by SXSW Alum Alexandre O. Philippe.
The complete festival lineup will be announced Thursday, January 30, excluding Midnighter features, which will be announced with the Short Film lineup on Wednesday, February 5. This year marks the 21st edition of the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival, March 7 – 15, 2015 in Austin, Texas. For more information visit sxsw.com/film.
“Jon Favreau’s wonderfully entertaining return to independent filmmaking works beautifully as our 2014 Opening Night Film, with his sharp and funny take on the world of food, artistry, and family in the age of social media,“ said Head of SXSW Film Janet Pierson. “We’re equally excited to share a few more highly anticipated projects and premieres with you in advance of our full slate, as well as reveal some terrific new discoveries.”
The 2014 SXSW Film Festival will feature:
Break Point (World Premiere / SXsports screening)
Director: Jay Karas, Screenwriters: Gene Hong, Jeremy Sisto
Two estranged brothers reunite to make an improbable run at a grand slam tennis tournament. The mismatched pair, with some unlikely help from a precocious 11-year-old boy, re-discover their game and their brotherhood.
Cast: Jeremy Sisto, David Walton, Joshua Rush, J.K. Simmons, Amy Smart
SXSW FILM ANNOUNCES 2014 OPENING NIGHT & TEASER
Chef (World Premiere)
Director: Jon Favreau, Screenplay & Story: Jon Favreau
When Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman), he is left to figure out what’s next. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), his friend (John Leguizamo) and his son (Emjay Anthony) to launch a food truck. Taking to the road, Chef Carl goes back to his roots to reignite his passion for the kitchen — and zest for life and love. Producers are Jon Favreau and Sergei Bespalov. Executive producers include Molly Allen and Karen Gilchrist. Open Road Films will release Chef in May 2014.
Cast: Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, Robert Downey, Jr. and young actor Emjay Anthony.
Creep (World Premiere)
Director: Patrick Brice, Screenwriters: Patrick Brice & Mark Duplass
When a videographer answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day job in the outer-exurbs, he finds his client is not at all what he initially seems.
Cast: Mark Duplass, Patrick Brice
COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey (Special Event with Neil deGrasse Tyson)
Director: Brannon Braga
As with the legendary original series, FOX’s new COSMOS is the saga of how we discovered the laws of nature and found our coordinates in space and time. The series is hosted by renowned astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson and brings to life never-before-told stories of the heroic quest for knowledge, transporting viewers to new worlds and across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest — and the smallest — scale. Executive Produced by Ann Druyan, Seth MacFarlane, Brannon Braga and Mitchell Cannold.
Doc of the Dead (World Premiere)
Director: Alexandre O. Philippe
The definitive zombie culture documentary, from the makers of The People vs. George Lucas. Doc of the Dead traces the rise and evolution of the zombie genre, its influence on pop culture, and investigates the possibility of an actual zombie outbreak.
Leave the World Behind (World Premiere)
Director: Christian Larson
A documentary following the final tour of the hugely successful band Swedish House Mafia. The film depicts the EDM scene at its peak as well as telling a story of friendship and success. (United Kingdom)
Veronica Mars (World Premiere)
Director: Rob Thomas, Screenwriters: Rob Thomas & Diane Ruggiero
Years after walking away from her past as a teenage private eye, Veronica Mars gets pulled back to her hometown, an ex-boyfriend with baggage, and an unraveling murder mystery.
Cast: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Krysten Ritter, Francis Capra, Percy Daggs III, Ryan Hansen, Gaby Hoffman, Chris Lowell, Tina Majorino, Jerry O’Connell
In addition to nine full days of film screenings, the SXSW Film Conference will feature over 150 informative and entertaining sessions, including its first-ever daily keynotes, previously announced to include Lena Dunham, Jason Blum and Casey Neistat.