Now that the Sundance Film Festival has come and gone, it’s time to set our sights on the South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival, which takes places March 9-17 in Austin, Texas.
While many titles have already been announced, we’ve now landed the complete Midnight line-up that includes the likes of [REC] 3 Genesis, The Tall Man and Bloody Disgusting’s own V/H/S!
One of my first encounters with SXSW Senior Programmer & Operations Manager Jarod Neece came at the beginning of 2011 while I was preparing my panel on true crime films for the SXSW Film Festival. Neece informed me that an iconic horror film director, whom I worked my ass off to get for the panel, was no longer welcome. Obviously, I was stunned and wanted to know what the hell happened. Who was this guy who merely worked at a film festival and how dare he boot off a respected Hollywood horror icon?
Then Neece told me what happened. Seems that said director was unhappy about a perceived slight and proceeded to declare that Neece was “a Nazi.”
I later spoke with the director and he admitted that he did exactly what Neece had said he had done. Sadly, the rift was too wide to be repaired and I lost my biggest name on the panel. (Luckily, my friend and co-author Philip Anselmo stepped in and saved the day.)
Though I wasn’t at all happy that Neece booted my big name from the panel, I completely understood his position. Indeed, I actually admired the cojones it took for him to tell the director his services were no longer appreciated. I realized that Jarod Neece was a man who was willing to take a stand for what he believed in.
That level of assuredness and belief in his work is also evident in what Neece has accomplished at the SXSW Film Festival over the past ten years. He has risen from the ranks of lowly behind-the-scenes gofer to one of the chief programmers of the festival. He’s opened his arms up to the Alamo Drafthouse’s Tim League and the Fantastic Fest for the past three years with the inclusion of SXFantastic, a slate of five films chosen by League. In addition, Neece has programmed the infamous Midnighters section of SXSW that have helped launch the careers of such genre stalwarts as Eli Roth, Joe Cornish, and Ti West.
Indeed, in the past two years alone, Neece and the SXSW Midnighters section have lit up festival-goers’ eyeballs with such quality genre films as THE LOVED ONES, TUCKER & DALE VERSUS EVIL, ENTER THE VOID, INSIDIOUS, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, ATTACK THE BLOCK, THE DIVIDE, and our very own Bloody Disgusting Selects PHASE 7.
Surprisingly, SXFantastic is not a part of SXSW this year. According to Neece, Tim League is a bit swamped seeing as he just fathered twins and an Academy Award nominated film (BULLHEAD). As a result, Neece was solely in charge of selecting eleven Midnighters titles and he is very excited about the slate he has chosen.
“There’s truly something for everyone this year,” he told me via phone yesterday. “You’ve got high dollar, big name participants, to a few first time directors with practically zero budgets.” Neece added, “There is a sequel I’m sure everyone will want to see,” referring to the world premiere of [REC] 3 GENESIS. “And the newest film from MARTYRS director Pascual Laugier called THE TALL MAN, that I’m really looking forward to.”
Neece seemed especially excited about a little Nazis in Space treat entitled IRON SKY. “I’ve actually been tracking the progress of that one for more than six years and it’s finally completed. Really happy to have that one at SXSW.”
Oh yeah, and there’s a little film with ties to a certain Mr. Disgusting that will be playing the festival. Yep, V/H/S, brainchild of one Mr. Brad Miska AKA Mr. Disgusting, will be screening at SXSW 2012 as well. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask Neece if he would have a hefty supply of barf bags on hand after what happened during the film’s screening at the Sundance Film festival last month.
As I’ve mentioned in my previews for SXSW, there are already plenty of Bloody Disgusting-friendly feature films scheduled this year, such as THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, THE RAID, LOVELY MOLLY, THALE, and GOD BLESS AMERICA, to name but a few. The addition of the 11 Midnighters makes SXSW 2012 a genre lover’s wet dream.
Here are the 2012 SXSW Midnighters Selections:
Scary, funny, sexy, controversial – provocative after-dark features for night owls and the terminally curious.
The Aggression Scale
Director: Steven C. Miller, Screenwriter: Ben Powell
4 hitmen + $500,000 of stolen cash + 1 family = WAR Cast: Fabianne Therese, Ryan Hartwig, Dana Ashbrook, Derek Mears, Jacob Reynolds, Joseph McKelheer, Boyd Kestner, Lisa Rotondi, Ray Wise (World Premiere)
CITADEL (Ireland, Scotland)
Director/Screenwriter: Ciarán Foy
An agoraphobic father teams up with a renegade priest to save his daughter from the clutches of a gang of twisted feral children. Cast: Anuerin Barnard, James Cosmo, Wumni Mosaku, Jake Wilson, Amy Shiels (World Premiere)
Girls Against Boys
Director/Screenwriter: Austin Chick
A psychological thriller about two girls on a killing spree. With edgy and ironic humor and a darkly meditative tone, it is also a coming-of-age story about a girl learning how the world really works. Cast: Danielle Panabaker, Nicole LaLiberte, Liam Aiken, Michael Stahl-David, Andrew Howard (World Premiere)
Intruders (Spain, UK) Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Screenwriters: Nicolás Casariego, Jaime Marques The haunting story of two children living in different countries, each visited nightly by a faceless being who wants to take possession of them. Cast: Clive Owen, Carice Van Houten, Daniel Brühl, Pilar López de Ayala (U.S. Premiere)
Iron Sky (Finland, Germany, Australia)
Director: Timo Vuorensola, Screenwriters: Michael Kalesniko, Timo Vuorensola
In 1945 the Nazis went to the moon; in 2018 they are coming back. Cast: Julia Dietze, Götz Otto, Christopher Kirby, Peta Sergeant, Stephanie Paul, Tilo Prückner, Michael Cullen, Udo Kier (North American Premiere)
Modus Anomali (Indonesia)
Director/Screenwriter: Joko Anwar
A man tries to save his family who go missing during a vacation in the forest. Cast: Rio Dewanto, Hannah Al Rashid, Izziati Amara Isman, Aridh Tritama, Surya Saputra, Marsha Timothy, Sadha Triyudha, Jose Gamo (World Premiere)
John Dies At The End
Director & Screenwriter: Don Coscarelli
On the street it’s called “soy sauce,” a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. Suddenly, a silent otherworldly invasion is underway. Can college dropouts John and Dave save humanity? No, they can’t.
Cast: Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman
[REC] 3 GENESIS (Spain)
Director: Paco Plaza
Screenwriters: Luiso Berdejo, Paco Plaza
Koldo and Clara’s wedding is horrifically interrupted when some of the guests start showing signs of a strange illness. Before they know what’s happening, the bride and groom find themselves in the middle of a hellish ordeal, as an uncontrollable torrent of violence is unleashed on the wedding.
Cast: Leticia Dolera, Diego Martin (World Premiere)
Super Secret Screening
Be the first to see this feature film coming to theaters near you.
The Tall Man
Director/Screenwriter: Pascal Laugier When her child goes missing, a mother looks to unravel the legend of the Tall Man, an entity who allegedly abducts children. Cast: Jessica Biel, Jodelle Ferland, Stephen McHattie, William B.Davis (World Premiere)
Directors: Ti West, Adam Wingard, Joe Swanberg, David Bruckner, Glenn Mcquaid, Radio Silence, Screenwriter: Ti West, Simon Barrett, David Bruckner, Radio Silence, Glenn Mcquaid A group of misfits are hired to burglarize a house in the countryside and acquire a rare tape. The guys are confronted with a dead body and an endless supply of cryptic footage, each video stranger than the last… Cast: Joe Swanberg, Calvin Reeder, Kate Lynn Shiel, Sophia Takal, Lane Hughes, Helen Rogers, Adam Wingard
Corey Mitchell is a best-selling author of several true crime books and is currently helping Philip H. Anselmo (Pantera/Down/Superjoint Ritual/Arson Anthem/Housecore Records/etc.) write his autobiography.