SXSW Online 2021: Film Preview and Cinapse Team Coverage

Switching from Austin, TX to Online, the festival lines up an eclectic schedule for film fans

Just over a year ago, the best laid plans of the SXSW Film Festival were thrown into disarray by the expanding COVID19 pandemic and the necessary response our communities took to protect our own. Well they’re back, albeit in a socially distanced form with SXSW Online!

As usual, the SXSW Film team have put together an eclectic program, with 75 feature films (57 World premieres), 84 Short films, an array of episodic and music entries, a series of virtual cinema projects, and a medley of special events, all watchable from the comfort of your sofa.

As usual, the Cinapse team will be on the ground, well…logged into their online accounts, to catch the festival, and bringing you coverage of the best SXSW has to offer. Read on to hear from the team about their “most anticipated features” from the 2021 Schedule, and check back with us from March 16th for our ongoing coverage.

Jon Partridge. @Texas_Jon

The Feast: A wealthy family gathers for a dinner party with mysterious overtones, is usually enough to peak my curiosity, but a setting in the Welsh mountains secures it. The last “Welsh horror” film I saw was 2015’s The Passing, and while it didn’t deliver the scares, it was an undeniably soulful and haunting affair. There’s poetry in this land, I know I grew up there, and I’m excited to see another genre entry from my folk.

The Moogai: As you may have already sensed, I appreciate when horror stems from a place and culture. How can you not be interested when you hear the term “Aboriginal psychological horror”. This is a land and people that have been deeply scarred, and I hope this film draws deeply from that well to deliver a message amidst the scares.

Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: Ok fine, I like horror films, especially folk horror. A sub-genre long associated with the British Isles, but is actually far more pervasive in cinema than most might think. At over 3 hours this looks to be an exhaustive dive into the history of weird villages and outsiders, animal masks, pagan rituals, witches, and more.

Swan Song: Udo Kier plays an aging stylist who escapes his nursing home to do one last haircut for a deceased friend. How can you not be sold on that.

Eddie Strait. @eddie_strait

Sound of Violence: Alex Noyer expands his short film Conductor to feature length with Sound of Violence. It’s a horror movie about a young woman, Alexis, whose hearing issues respond to particularly grisly aural sensations. To save her hearing and chase her musical aspirations, Alexis goes to increasingly extreme lengths to record the sounds that inspire her.

Lily Topples the World: From racking up millions of subscribers on YouTube to appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Lily Hevesh has made quite a name for herself. How did this 20 year old do it? Easy, by building some of the most intricate domino designs you’ve ever seen. If no less than Hugh Jackman felt compelled to tweet out one of Lily’s videos, surely there must be something here worth seeing.

The Lost Sons : This twisty documentary tells the story of Paul Fronczak, a man searching for the truth about his identity. It’s a mystery that has spanned over 50 years, from the kidnapping of a baby in Chicago in 1964 to finding long lost family members in the 2010s. The Lost Sons comes from the same production companies that released the similarly wild Three Identical Strangers, and is a must-see for fans of stranger than fiction stories.

Ed Travis. @Ed_Travis

The Spine Of Night: I love a good sword and sorcery tale steeped in deep magic, savagery, and a tinge of heavy metal aesthetic. Make it animated via rotoscope and I’m just about as curious as I could possibly be. Then add on top of that a cast of great voice actors like Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, and Joe Manganiello, and this becomes my most anticipated of the fest this year.

I’m Fine (Thanks For Asking): I know most films are racing to even get completed in time for the festival, but it really helps me when there’s a trailer. I also work in the world mitigating homelessness, so a story about a resourceful young mother dealing with trying to pull her and her daughter out of homelessness amidst our very broken system suggests a film I’ll likely connect with in a personal way.

The Oxy Kingpins: Again with a personal connection for why I’m anticipating this title, but my wife just joined the staff of a non-profit which is seeking to end substance use disorder by challenging the federal laws that have contributed to the opioid epidemic. I’m in a place where I want to learn everything I can about this tragedy and the white collar criminals who perpetrated it.

WeWork: or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn: Having already listened to an entire podcast about WeWork and its false corporate messiah Adam Neumann (that podcast being WeCrashed), I’m nevertheless eager to learn more about this cautionary tale of greed and the false promises of the tech world to solve all of our real world problems.

Witch Hunt: A modern day alternate reality where witches are both real and persecuted… and it’s written and directed by a female filmmaker? Yes please. I love a good alternate reality tale and at this point I really need to be hearing from female filmmakers if it’s going to try to be a relevant modern take on witches. If this brings a female-driven X-Men vibe, I’ll be extremely pleased.

How to Attend

Join us for SXSW Online, a digital experience featuring conference keynotes and sessions, film screenings, music showcases, networking, exhibitions, and more from March 16–20, 2021. With one pass that covers the entire event, attendees can take in programming and connect with others across the many industries that SX serves. The Film Festival includes exclusive Premieres, Screenings, and Q&As.

From Tuesday, March 16 to Thursday, March 18, the Film Festival will premiere new work every two hours from 10:00am to 8:00pm CT during SXSW Online 2021. Learn more about How to Watch Films at SXSW Online 2021 including global and U.S. access, capacity limits, and advance RSVP beginning March 9.

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