The time has finally arrived! South By Southwest held annually in Austin, TX is upon us and we are excited to see new films and shows making its debut at one of the best festivals for film, music, and tech.
Here is our list of picks of films we plan to see this year in Austin!
First Match – Hardened by years in foster care, a teenage girl from Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood, decides that wrestling boys is the only way back to her estranged father. Directed by Olivia Newman.
Cast: Elvire Emanuelle, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Colman Domingo, Jharrel Jerome, Jared Kemp
Jinn – Summer is a carefree teenage girl whose world is turned upside down when her mother abruptly converts to Islam and becomes a different person. At first resistant to the faith, she begins to reevaluate her identity after becoming attracted to a Muslim classmate, crossing the thin line between physical desire and piety. (Featured photo)
Cast: Zoe Renee, Simone Missick, Kelvin Harrison, Jr., Hisham Tawfiq, Kelly Jenrette, Dorian Missick, Ashlei Foushee, Maya Morales, Damien D. Smith. Directed by Nijla Mu’min.
Transmilitary – Around 15,500 transgender people serve in the U.S. military, where they must conceal their gender identity because military policies ban their service. TransMilitary chronicles the lives of four of the troops defending their country’s freedom while fighting for their own. They put their careers and their families’ livelihoods on the line by coming out to top brass in the Pentagon as transgender in hopes of attaining the equal right to serve. The ban is lifted in 2016, but with President Trump now trying to reinstate it, their futures hang in the balance again. Directed by Gabriel Silverman and Fiona Dawson.
Cast: Staff Sergeant Logan Ireland, Corporal Laila Ireland (ret.), Captain Jennifer Peace, Captain El Cook
Blockers – When three parents discover their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity at prom, they launch a covert one-night operation to stop the teens from sealing the deal. Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz and John Cena star in Blockers, the directorial debut of Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect). The comedy is produced by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver, under their Point Grey Pictures banner, alongside Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg and DMG Entertainment’s Chris Fenton. Good Universe’s Nathan Kahane and Joseph Drake executive produce with Chris Cowles of DMG, as well as Josh Fagen, Dave Stassen and Jonathan McCoy. It is written by Brian & Jim Kehoe, Hurwitz & Schlossberg and Eben Russell. Directed by Kay Cannon.
Cast: Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena, Kathryn Newton, Geraldine Viswanathan, Gideon Adlon
Isle of Dogs – tells the story of ATARI KOBAYASHI, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When, by Executive Decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture. Directed by Wes Anderson.
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Kunichi Nomura, Akira Takayama, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Akira Ito, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Yoko Ono, Tilda Swinton, Ken Watanabe, Mari Natsuki, Fisher Stevens, Nijiro Murakami, Liev Schreiber, Courtney B. Vance
A Quiet Place – In the modern horror thriller, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threaten their survival. If they hear you, they hunt you. Directed by John Krasinski.
Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe
Fast Color – Ruth is a woman with extraordinary abilities she can no longer control, is haunted by a mysterious past. Set in a broken and drought-ridden world, we meet Ruth on the run from an unknown group that has discovered her abilities. Ruth turns to the only place she feels she can hide: the childhood home she abandoned long ago. There, she reconnects with her estranged mother, BO, and daughter, LILA. As Bo attempts to help Ruth control her abilities, the three women start to become a family again. But when Ruth’s pursuers catch up to her, she is forced to face her demons and confront her past. Directed by Julia Hart.
Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint, Saniyya Sidney, Christopher Denham, David Strathairn
Support The Girls – Lisa Conroy is the last person you’d expect to find in a highway-side “sports bar with curves,”–but as general manager at Double Whammies, she’s come to love the place and its customers. An incurable den mother, she nurtures and protects her girls fiercely–but over the course of one trying day, her optimism is battered from every direction…Double Whammies sells a big, weird American fantasy, but what happens when reality pokes a bunch of holes in it? Directed by Andrew Bujalski.
Cast: Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson, Shayna McHayle, James LeGros, Dylan Gelula, AJ Michalka, Brooklyn Decker, Lea DeLaria, Jana Kramer, John Elvis
The Last OG (TV series) – The Last O.G. is an American comedy television series created by Jordan Peele and John Carcieri. Morgan plays Tray, an ex-con released after a 15-year prison stint. The ex-con is shocked to see just how much the world has changed and feels like fish out of water in his old Brooklyn neighborhood. The neighborhood has undergone gentrification, & his ex-girlfriend Shay is married to a white man whom she’s been raising the twin sons he never knew existed. With no money & no connection to his kids falls back on what he learned in prison while adjusting to society. Cedric the Entertainer plays Miniard Mullins, who heads the halfway house where Tray stays & helps him transition back to society. Directed by Jorma Taccone.
Cast: Tracy Morgan, Cedric the Entertainer, Allen Maldonado, Tiffany Haddish, Joel Marsh Garland, Gino Vento, Natalie Carter, Taylor Mosby, Ryan Gaul
Blindspotting – A film we reviewed over at Sundance, features the story of Collin (Daveed Diggs) must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning. He works alongside his troublemaking childhood best friend, Miles (Rafael Casal) as movers forced to watch their old neighborhood become a trendy spot in the rapidly gentrifying Bay Area. When a life-altering event causes Collin to miss his mandatory curfew, the two men struggle to maintain their friendship as the changing social landscape exposes their differences. Director Carlos Lopez Estrada.
Cast: Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal
Sorry To Bother You – is the directorial debut by The Coup’s, Boots Riley. In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, black telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success, which propels him into a macabre universe with a disturbing likeness to our own. The upswing in Cassius’s career raises serious red flags with his brilliant girlfriend, Detroit (Tessa Thompson), a sign-twirling gallery artist who is secretly a part of a Banksy-style collective called Left Eye. But the unimaginable hits the fan when Cassius meets the company’s cocaine-snorting, orgy-hosting, obnoxious, and relentlessly optimistic CEO, Steve Lift (Armie Hammer). The film also features performances from Omari Hardwick, Jermaine Fowler, Danny Glover, and Terry Crews. Sorry To Bother You made its world premiere which we reviewed at Sundance Film Festival in Jan 2018. Directed by Boots Riley.
Cast: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer, Terry Crews, Steven Yeun, Omari Hardwick, Jermaine Fowler, Danny Glover
Untitled Blumhouse-Bazelevs Film – A 20-something finds a cache of hidden files on his new laptop and is thrust into the deep waters of the dark web. From the makers of Unfriended, this thriller unravels in real-time, entirely on a computer screen. A warning for the digital age. Directed by Stephen Susco.
Cast: Colin Woodell, Betty Gabriel, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Andrew Lees, Connor del Rio, Stephanie Nogueras, Savira Windyani
Upgrade – Grey Trace, a technophobe in a utopian near-future when computers control nearly everything – from cars to crime-surveillance – is paralyzed in a freak mugging that leaves his wife dead. But when a billionaire technologist offers him an experimental paralysis cure – an implanted computer chip called STEM – Grey finds that the chip has a voice and a mind of its own. Together Grey and STEM embark on a mission to avenge his wife’s death. Directed by Leigh Whannell.
Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, Harrison Gilbertson, Benedict Hardie
Ghost Stories – “Ghost Stories” stars Nyman as Professor Goodman, a psychologist and skeptic, who has his rationality tested when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three terrifying hauntings. He then embarks on a mission to find rational explanations for the ghostly happenings. Paul Whitehouse (“The Death of Stalin”) and Alex Lawther (“The Imitation Game”) also star alongside Freeman, known to audiences worldwide as Dr. Watson in “Sherlock.” Directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman.
Cast: Martin Freeman, Alex Lawther, Andy Nyman, Paul Whitehouse
Passover – Academy Award nominee and Honorary Oscar-winning Spike Lee captures the poetry, humor and humanity of this urgent and timely play about two young black men talking trash, passing the time, and dreaming of the promised land. A provocative riff on Waiting for Godot, Pass Over is by newcomer Antoinette Nwandu. Directed by Spike Lee and Danya Taymor.
Cast: Jon Michael Hill, Julian Parker, Ryan Hallahan, Blake DeLong
Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger (Freeform Event) – World premiere watch party of Freeform & Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger and Q&A with series stars Holt & Joseph, EP Joe Pokaski, director Gina Prince-Bythewood, & EP and Marvel’s Head of Television Jeph Loeb.
We look forward to watching and highlighting the films and shows above! See you at SXSW!
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Jamie Broadnax is the creator of the online publication and multimedia space for Black women called Black Girl Nerds. Jamie has appeared on MSNBC's The Melissa Harris-Perry Show and The Grio's Top 100. Her Twitter personality has been recognized by Shonda Rhimes as one of her favorites to follow. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association and executive producer of the Black Girl Nerds Podcast.