Russell Brand’s Brand: A Second Coming to Open SXSW Film

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This year’s South by SouthWest Film Festival (SXSW Film) will run from March 13 to March 21 in Austin, Texas, and they’ve just announced that the Opening Night Premiere will be Russell Brand’s concert doc BRAND: A Second Coming, directed by award-winning filmmaker Ondi Timoner (Dig!). They also announced a handful of the other movies having premieres at this year’s film festival.

Michael Showalter from “The State” and Red Hot American Summer will debut his new movie Hello, My Name is Doris, starring Sally Field, as a World Premiere at the festival, as will The Invitation, which reunites Aeon Flux director Karyn Kusama with writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi for a thriller starring Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), Tammy Blanchard and more. 

Alex Garland’s sci-fi thriller Ex Machina, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander will have its North American premiere at the festival.

Following SXSW’s attempt to combine film with its long-running music festival, considered to be one of the important musical events to attend for many new and veteran bands, they’ll also be premiering Jessica Edwards’ documentary Mavis! about singer Mavis Staples.

You can read more about the first seven movies announced for the film festival below.

BRAND: A Second Coming (World Premiere)
Director: Ondi Timoner
BRAND: A Second Coming follows comedian/author Russell Brand’s evolution from addict & Hollywood star to unexpected political disruptor & newfound hero to the underserved. Brand is criticized for egomaniacal self-interest as he calls for revolution. 

A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story (World Premiere)   
Director: Sara Hirsh Bordo    
From the producers of the most viewed TEDWomen event of 2013 comes A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, a documentary following the inspiring journey of 25-year-old, 58-pound Lizzie from cyber-bullying victim to anti-bullying activist.

Ex Machina (North American Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Alex Garland
Alex Garland, writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine, makes his directorial debut with the stylish and cerebral thriller Ex Machina, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander.
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander

Hello, My Name is Doris (World Premiere)
Director: Michael Showalter, Screenwriters: Michael Showalter, Laura Terruso
An isolated 60-year-old woman is motivated by a self-help seminar to romantically pursue a younger coworker, causing her to stumble into the spotlight of the Brooklyn hipster social scene.
Cast: Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Beth Behrs

The Invitation (World Premiere)
Director: Karyn Kusama, Screenwriters: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
A reunion of old friends turns into a nightmare when one guest, a haunted man whose ex-wife is among the hosts, begins to fear that the night is part of a terrifying agenda.
Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Lindsay Burdge 

Mavis! (World Premiere)
Director: Jessica Edwards    
Her family group, the Staple Singers, inspired millions and helped propel the civil rights movement with their music. After 60 years of performing, legendary singer Mavis Staples’ message of love and equality is needed now more than ever.           

Son of the Congo (World Premiere / SXsports screening)
Director/Screenwriter: Adam Hootnick                                  
Serge Ibaka’s improbable journey has taken him from the violence of Congo to the top of the NBA. In Son of the Congo, Ibaka returns home, hoping his basketball success can help rebuild a country and inspire a new generation to dream of a better life.