SXSW Returns to the Streets and Screens of Austin for 2022 — Film Preview

The Cinapse crew’s most anticipated films from this year’s lineup

Welcome back folks! After last year’s surprisingly smooth online experience and 2020’s shocking cancellation thanks to a brand new global pandemic, we’re back with a full blown South By Southwest. Austin’s expansive festival returns to an in person format for 2022, albeit with a hefty hybrid option. Obviously we’re all gung ho about the film slate, as well as having such a vibrant infusion of people to our fair city, Cinapse being born and (primarily) based out of Austin. We perused the schedule and our team picked out some of their most anticipated features coming in this, SXSW’s 29th year. We’ll have coverage through the festival, which runs March 11th-20th, but it’s still not too late to grab a badge and dive in yourself.

Rod Machen — @Rodmachen

Once again, SXSW has lots of great movies on tap, and one of the biggest is local to the hilt. Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood is Richard Linklater’s latest, and features not only big names like Jack Black and Zachary Levi, but locals like Lee Eddy and Bill Wise as well. Linklater revisits his rotoscoping days for an animated feature about childhood and the space race. A perfect SXSW premiere.

The Narrative Feature Competition is always top notch, and this year some famous comedians are headlining. Jim Gaffigan stars in Linoleum, another “Kids + Rockets” jawn, and Patton Oswalt leads I Love My Dad, based on a true (and probably very odd) story.

The 24 Beats a Second section highlights a wide variety of musicians, including Chumbawamba (I Get Knocked Down), Dio (Dio: Dreamers Never Die), and the inimitable Ms. Crow (Sheryl).

Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood

Jon Partridge — @Texas_Jon

SXSW 2022 looks set to kick off with a bang thanks to Daniels, with the directorial duo returning with their first film together after the batty and beautiful Swiss Army Man. Everything Everywhere Always at Once stars (cinematic legend) Michelle Yeoh as a “woman who’s struggling to do her taxes”. This seems like the most obscure or understated synopsis for a film ever, with the trailer suggesting something far more meditative and manic in nature.

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent features the meta-delight of Nicolas Cage taking on a role where he plays himself, embracing his own mythology. Down on his luck, he is offered a million dollars to attend a birthday party for his biggest (and slightly obsessive) fan (played by the indomitable Pedro Pascal). However, Cage has quietly been recruited by the CIA to go undercover in an operation against this man, who happens to be one of the world’s biggest drug lords. If you’re not sold by that description, I pity you, frankly. As a #CAGED devotee, this one looks like a gleeful time.

Ti West (The Innkeepers, The House of the Devil, In a Valley of Violence) has a good history with Austin festivals, and after a few years away is returning to his cinematic horror roots. X looks more more like a spiritual Texas Chain Saw successor than any of the sequels in that series. Plunging a group of young’uns into a nightmarish scenario as their efforts to secretly film a porno on a Texas farmhouse draws the wrath of their elderly hosts. A grubby 70s feel, unnerving, and with some weird little elements that add an unknown factor to the tale. A gnarly looking time, unashamedly embracing its genre, and featuring two of the more interesting young actors we have working right now, Mia Goth (A Cure for Wellness)and Jenna Ortega (The Fallout, Scream[5]).

Finally, I always appreciate horror films that take a timely societal issue and finds smart ways to ramp up the terror. Soft and Quiet from Beth de Araújo sounds like it does just that. A school teacher gathers together some “like-minded women” with the intention of starting a white supremacist group. A chilling immersion in a warped headspace, followed by some hinted at fallout for those involved. This Blumhouse backed project also sounds like it was filmed in a way to give it even more of an edge, apparently resulting from a single real time shoot, the best of a series of 4 complete run-throughs.

Everything Everywhere all at Once

Ed Travis — @Ed_Travis

In order to share my most anticipated films of SXSW 2022’s film festival, I would need to have made the time to really dig into exactly what will be playing. And, if I’m totally honest, I haven’t had much time to do that this year. That said, I find myself embracing this approach more and more as I approach festivals. I’m greatly looking forward to deeply immersing myself in the festival this year IN PERSON and trusting in the film programming team to blow me away with a wide array of films I know absolutely nothing about. So rest assured that I plan to soak in upwards of 30 films and will take chances and wild swings on titles ranging from the blockbuster to the obscure. BUT, when it comes to my most anticipated, that’s honestly the titles that are pretty high profile. So here we go:

The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent: I’ve been a Nicolas Cage fan for much of my life, and followed his career into some pretty obscure places. But I truly believe last year’s Pig is one of his finest films and feel that Cage is in somewhat of a sweet spot for his career right now. So a meta-action film starring Cage as Cage couldn’t be more attractive to me at this time.

Everything Everywhere All At Once: It’s probably not “cool” to select the high profile opening night film as one of my most anticipated, but dammit, The Daniels are fascinating, Michelle Yeoh is an absolute global superstar whom I love deeply, and even Jonathan Ke Quan of Goonies and Temple Of Doom fame is starring in a comeback role and this is absolutely how I want to kick off my festival.

X: Director Ti West has rarely let me down between such indie gems as House Of The Devil and The Innkeepers, and even with his western In The Valley Of Violence. This new horror film gives off a real Texas Chain Saw Massacre vibe and this is absolutely something I will want to experience with a crowd.

Emergency: There are several “festival favorites” playing SXSW that got a ton of buzz coming out of Sundance this year, and this one is probably my most anticipated from that crop. All I know is that it’s a frenetic/youthful dark adventure and coming of age story centered around a few young men of color and it simply sounds like the kind of fresh/emerging voice I like to experience at SXSW.

Slash/Back: A female directed, female starring, Native American riff on Attack The Block with young Native girls fighting off an alien invasion? SXSW literally changed my life with Attack The Block, one of the greatest festival discoveries of my entire life and one of my all time favorite movies ever. So I have high hopes this one could help me chase that high with its own unique perspective.

Jay Tyler —@jaythecakethief

There are few Hollywood careers I am more fascinated by than Channing Tatum. Originally written off as a hunk du jour, Tatum proved himself a dynamic and versatile screen presence, and has increasingly shown a range that surprised most. Thus his big come back year this year, with both his quiet directorial effort Dog and now The Lost City. He seems to be ready to build the next stage of his on screen persona. Thus the premiere of Lost City is probably the biggest release that I am very excited to see.

Beyond that, I am also really interested in seeing the documentary Mama Bears, which focuses on members of the Evangelical church who were faced with deconstructing their faith and belief systems in the face of their queer children. My hope is that the subject material is treated with the honor and respect to these women who, when faced with having to choose between their families and hardened doctrinal belief, chose to do the bravest thing and walk away from destructive systems.

Mama Bears

Follow our team on Twitter as we cover SXSW 2022 from March 11th-20th.

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