Russell Brand Doc to Open 2015 SXSW, Plus Six Other Films Announced


Russell Brand in BRAND: A Second Coming
Photo: Interloper Films

This March will mark my fourth straight year attending the South by Southwest Film Festival. Every year creates many memorable moments, whether it be seeing the world premiere of Short Term 12 when it was on no one’s radar or seeing Iko Uwais and Cecep Arif Rahman fight on stage when there was a problem with the screening file for The Raid 2, I always have a good time seeing as many movies I can in a short amount of time. And I am happy to be covering it for the first time as press for RopeofSilicon.

The opening night films for SXSW have been hit and miss. My first year it was The Cabin in the Woods, and unfortunately, they cannot all be that great. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Chef followed after that. This year, SXSW has chosen the documentary BRAND: A Second Coming as the opening night film. I applaud them for choosing a doc to open the festival, I just wish they chose a doc with a subject I am more interested in. Russell Brand is not someone I find particularly interesting or funny, so that is a bit of a disappointment.

They also announced a small bunch of films that will appear at this year’s festival. The highest profile film, so far is Ex Machina, the directorial debut from 28 Days Later screenwriter Alex Garland. Other titles include Hello, My Name is Doris, starring Sally Field, and Son of the Congo, a doc about Oklahoma City Thunder forward/center Serge Ibaka.

You can take a look at all the films so far announced 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.
  • 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 ayounger coworker, causing her to stumble into the spotlight of the Brooklyn hipster social scene, starring Sally Field, Max Greenfield, and 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, starring Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman, Emayatzy Corinealdi, and 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.
  • The closer we get to the festival and the more films announced, the more I will get really excited devouring as much cinema as I can. Is there anyone else out there who attends SXSW? What are you hoping gets added to the lineup?

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Weekend: Jun. 27, 2019, Jun. 30, 2019

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