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2014 SXSW Film Festival Midnight Lineup Includes 'The Guest,' 'Oculus' & More

The Playlist By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 5, 2014 at 2:00PM

With last month's Sundance Film Festival, and the forthcoming Berlin Film Festival presenting that lineups that mostly lean toward more serious fare, SXSW is something of a more playful cousin to those two. With a looser vibe, and a spirit that syncs with the warming weather than tends to put everyone in a better mood, and the Midnight screenings are where you'll want to be to let it all out.
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"The Guest"

With last month's Sundance Film Festival, and the forthcoming Berlin Film Festival presenting lineups that lean toward more serious fare, SXSW is something of a more playful cousin to those two. With a looser vibe, and a spirit that syncs with the warming weather than tends to put everyone in a better mood, the Midnight screenings are where you'll want to be to let it all out.

The folks in Austin have unveiled their Midnighters slate, and it's a mix of rising favorites and world premieres. One of the biggest titles would have to be Adam Wingard's "The Guest" starring Dan Stevens, which is riding hot out of Park City (read our review). Another one that has been building buzz is "Oculus" which makes it's U.S. Premiere at SXSW, while other movies we'll be keeping an eye on include the Mark Webber and Ron Perlman starring "13 Sins," and Catalina Sandeno Moreno's "Home."

SXSW runs from March 7-15. Check out the Midnight and short films lineups below.

MIDNIGHTERS

Scary, funny, sexy, controversial – provocative after-dark features for night owls and the terminally curious.


13 Sins

Director/Screenwriter: Daniel Stamm, Screenwriter: David Birke

A cryptic phone call sets off a dangerous game of risks for Elliot, a down-on-his luck salesman. The game promises increasing rewards for completing 13 tasks, each more sinister than the last.

Cast: Mark Webber, Rutina Wesley, Devon Graye, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Richard Burgi, Tom Bower, Ron Perlman (World Premiere)


Among The Living (France)

Director/Screenwriter: Julien Maury, Alexandre Bustillo

After horror favorites Inside and Livid, Maury and Bustillo pair up again for a horror-thriller at the cross roads between Stand by Me and Friday the13th. Cast: Anne Marivin, Béatrice Dalle, Francis Renaud, Fabien Jegoudez, Nicolas Giraud (World Premiere)


Exists

Director: Eduardo Sánchez, Screenwriter: Jamie Nash

Five friends on a camping weekend in the remote woods of East Texas struggle to survive against a legendary beast that is stronger, smarter and more terrifying than they would have ever believed exists. Cast: Chris Osborn, Dora Madison Burge, Roger Edwards, Denise Williamson, Samuel Davis (World Premiere)


The Guest

Director: Adam Wingard, Screenwriter: Simon Barrett

A soldier on leave befriends the family of a fallen comrade, only to become a threat to all around him when it’s revealed he’s hiding dangerous secrets from his past.

Cast: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser, Lance Reddick, Sheila Kelley


Home

Director/Screenwriter: Nicholas McCarthy

When a realtor is asked to sell a vacant home, she and her sister cross paths with its previous tenant: a teenage girl who sold her soul to the devil. Cast: Naya Rivera, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Ashley Rickards, Wyatt Russell, Ava Acres (World Premiere)


Honeymoon

Director/Screenwriter: Leigh Janiak, Screenwriter: Phil Graziadei

Young newlyweds find their honeymoon spiraling mysteriously into chaos.

Cast: Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway, Ben Huber, Hanna Brown (World Premiere)


Late Phases

Director: Adrián García Bogliano, Screenwriter: Eric Stolze

When deadly attacks from the forests beset a secluded retirement community, it is up to a grizzled veteran to figure what the residents are hiding.

Cast: Nick Damici, Ethan Embry, Erin Cummings, Tom Noonan, Lance Guest (World Premiere)


Oculus

Director/Screenwriter: Mike Flanagan, Screenwriter: Jeff Howard

As children, two siblings witnessed their parents' harrowing descent into madness and death. Now, as adults, they reunite to expose and destroy the supernatural entity responsible: the Lasser Glass - a legendary mirror their parents owned. Cast: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane, James Lafferty, Katee Sackhoff (U.S. Premiere)


Stage Fright

Director: Jerome Sable

Stage Fright tells the story of a snobby musical theater camp terrorized by a bloodthirsty masked killer who despises musical theatre. "Scream" meets "Glee" in this genre-bending R-rated horror-musical. Cast: Allie MacDonald, Douglas Smith, Brandon Uranowitz, Kent Nolan, Melanie Leishman

(World Premiere)


Starry Eyes

Directors/Screenwriters: Dennis Widmyer, Kevin Kolsch

In the city of dreams, a desperate actress will do whatever it takes for the role of a lifetime… no matter what the cost. Cast: Alexandra Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Fabianne Therese, Noah Segan, Shane Coffey (World Premiere)

SHORT FILMS


NARRATIVE SHORTS

A selection of original, well-crafted films that take advantage of the short form and exemplify distinctive and genuine storytelling. The winner of our Grand Jury Award in this category is eligible for a 2014 Academy Award nomination for Best Narrative Short.


216 Months (France)

Directors: Valentin Potier, Frédéric Potier

A shadow is hanging over Maureen's career the famous ventriloquist singer. The deep voice that comes out of Maureen's insides has a name: Charles. He will soon be 18, the rebellious age, and he has one sole objective in life: to be born.


Baby Mary

Director: Kris Swanberg

An eight-year-old girl living on the west side of Chicago finds a neglected toddler and decides to take her home.


Blood Pulls A Gun (Australia / France)

Director: Ben Briand

A teenage girl gets a keyhole look into a dangerous and mysterious world when a tattooed stranger checks into her roadside motel.


CADET (Belgium)

Director: Kevin Meul

“If it were easy, everyone would do it”


Cowboys Janken Ook (Netherlands)

Director: Mees Peijnenburg

A film about losing your youth, loneliness, violence and guilt: an homage to friendship.


Crystal (Canada / USA)

Director: Chell Stephen

Cursed with a real crumby attitude and a boring-ass hometown, 17-year-old Crystal relies on her passion for dance to escape the mundane life of rural Ontario and pursues her outsized dream of being a pop superstar.


FUNNEL

Director: Andre Hyland

When a man's car breaks down, he finds himself on a quest for a funnel.


Gypsy (Portugal)

Director: David Bonneville

Sebastian is a wealthy young man. He finds out he has a flat tire and ends up accepting help from a Gypsy passer-by.


I'm Not Sorry

Director: Russell Costanzo

A lonely man wants nothing more than to fit in but his self-loathing tendencies prevent that from becoming a reality. Surreal and macabre, sad and funny – I’m Not Sorry is an unsettling tale about the power of self-image and societal judgments.


Jonathan's Chest (USA / France)

Director: Christopher Radcliff

Everything changes for Alex, a troubled teenage boy, when he is visited one night by someone claiming to be his brother - who disappeared years earlier.


The Kármán Line (UK)

Director: Oscar Sharp

A mother is hit by a rare condition and begins to rise gradually into the air.


Krisha

Director: Trey Edward Shults

Krisha has not seen her family for many years. When Krisha decides to join her family for a holiday dinner, tensions escalate and Krisha struggles to keep her own demons at bay.


Little Horribles: Minibar

Directors: Amy Talkington, Amy York Rubin

Little Horribles is an uber self-aware, deadpan comedy series following the poor decisions of a self-indulgent lesbian.


Nous avions

Director: Stéphane Moukarzel

In his teenage crisis, Akram decides to take off to live his own life, creating a commotion in the family.


Oi, Meu Amor (Hi, My Love)

Director: Robert G. Putka

Men are from Mars. Women are from Brazil.


Peepers

Director: Ken Lam

Todd and Tamara's perfect life begins to crumble once they sense that someone's watching.Person to Person

Director: Dustin Guy Defa

A man tries to get rid of a stranger who won't leave his apartment.


Prospect

Directors: Zeek Earl, Christopher Caldwell

A girl and her father aim to strike it rich on a toxic alien planet. When her father is attacked, she is forced to grow up quick.


Quelqu'un d'extraordinaire

Director: Monia Chokri

A 30-year-old scholar, intelligent and beautiful yet socially crippled, is forced to attend a bachelorette party.


Random Stop

Director: Benjamin Arfmann

On his way home at the end of his shift, Sheriff's Deputy Kyle Dinkheller made one final stop. Based on tragic true events.


Refuge

Director: Mohammad Gorjestani

Set in 2020, a brewing cyberwar between the US and Iran puts Sonia, a young Iranian refugee, at risk of deportation. Her only escape may come at a greater price than she’s willing to pay.


SEND

Director: Peter Vack

Separated for the summer, the only way for a teenage girl to communicate with her boyfriend is over the Internet.


Sleepover LA

Director: Lily Baldwin

An innocent tourist travels to LA and unexpectedly conjures her sister's last night alive. Bold score, stylized dance and an eccentric cast weave a dark and luminous film that revamps traditional narrative.


SUNROOF (UK)

Director: Robin Fraser

Set high above the streets of South London, Sunroof is the story of two brothers pit against one another by a freak accident as their world closes in around them.


Super Sleuths

Director: Benjamin Dickinson

Marie takes a break from her own heartache to help her best friend Sally Blue Frankenfrass find her missing boyfriend, but the duo keeps getting distracted along the way.


Tzniut

Director: David Formentin

A Hasidic woman discovers she has an STD and seeks its source.


Verbatim

Director: Brett Weiner

A jaded lawyer wastes his afternoon trying to figure out if dim-witted government employee has ever used a photocopier. All dialogue in this short is from an actual court deposition.


DOCUMENTARY SHORTS

Unfiltered slices of life, from across the documentary spectrum.


Best Sound

Director: Josh Polon

Trent and Chris go on a sonic journey.


David Hockney IN THE NOW (in six minutes)

Director: Lucy Walker

A tribute to the legendary British artist David Hockney, produced for LACMA's Art + Film Gala.


Eleanor Ambos Interiors

Director: Andrew Michael Ellis

As a celebrated interior designer loses her eyesight to macular degeneration, she begins to see her life’s work in a new light. This eccentric renegade topples ageist stereotypes as she grapples with the limitations of her aging body.


Font Men

Director: Dress Code

You've never heard of Jonathan Hoefler or Tobias Frere-Jones but you've seen their work. They run the most successful and respected type design studio in the world, making fonts used by the Wall Street Journal to the President of the United States.


The High Five

Director: Michael Jacobs

The story behind the classic celebratory gesture and its unsung originator.


The Home Team

Director: Joshua Seftel

What’s in the water of Murray, Kentucky that such a small, tight-knit town is home to such an extraordinary basketball team? Murray’s love for The Home Team runs deep, and on the night of the big game, a single act of generosity changes everything.


Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace

Director: Jeff Dupre

Painter Kehinde Wiley is renowned for his stunning portraits of black and brown men. Now, for the first time, he’s decided to create a series of paintings of women, and he’s enlisted Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci to help him.


Notes on Blindness (UK / USA / Australia)

Directors: Peter Middleton, James Spinney

Cognition is beautiful.


OBEY THE ARTIST

Director: Ondi Timoner

From the studio to the streets, graphic design legend Shepard Fairey takes us inside his creative process as he makes a 12 foot mural in order to give voice to social justice & the forgotten history of the Black Hills’ Lakota Indian tribe.

Phoebe's Birthday Cheeseburger

Director: Will Lennon

Every year for Phoebe's birthday, she has a cheeseburger to celebrate.


The Pioneertown Palace

Director: Andrew McAllister

From the dusty sets of Gene Autry to the musical stage of Victoria Williams, "The Pioneertown Palace" tells the eclectic but true tale of an unlikely venue - a remote honky tonk - that sings life into an otherwise deserted California ghost town.


That B.E.A.T (USA / UK)

Director: Abteen Bagheri

Abteen Bagheri’s That B.E.A.T for Nokia New American Noise sinks deep into the sensational sounds of New Orleans. Beware: Booty poppin.


Unlocking the Truth

Director: Luke Meyer

Unlocking the Truth" is a band of pre-teen heavy metal phenoms from Flatbush Brooklyn. This eponymous short documentary offers a look into their distinctive vantage-point on the precipice of both adolescence and rock and roll fame.


ANIMATED SHORTS

An assortment of stories told using a mix of traditional animation, computer-generated effects, stop-motion, and everything in-between. The winner of our Grand Jury Award in this category is eligible for a 2014 Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short.


The Alligator

Director: Alexandra Barsky

Two creatures are trapped together in a swamp. Tension escalates between them when an alligator haunts the waters outside.


Cavierão (Brazil / France / USA)

Director: Guilherme Marcondes

Caveirão imagines the secret night activities of São Paulo's spirits. Inspired by the darker side of Brazilian pop culture, the film crosses over genres and techniques. Fantasy, horror and cartoon meet through live-action and animation.


Clarence

Director: Skyler Page

Clarence is an optimistic boy, who is excited by life. He wants to do everything. Because everything is amazing.


Coda (Ireland)

Director: Alan Holly

A lost soul stumbles drunken through the city. In a park, Death finds him and shows him many things.


Confusion Through Sand

Director: Danny Madden

A 19-year-old kid finds himself alone in a hostile desert, scared as hell and trained to react.

The Construction of ANSTALT3000 (Austria)

Director: Helmut Munz

The Construction of ANSTALT3000 is about the construction of ANSTALT3000.


Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 2 - Time (UK)

Directors: Becky Sloane, Joe Pelling

Following up from the award-winning Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, the gang are back to discover the meaning of time.


Eager

Director: Allison Schulnik

Eager is a traditional, stop-motion and clay-mation film ballet by painter/animator Allison Schulnik.


Marilyn Myller

Director: Mikey Please

Marilyn maketh. Marilyn taketh awayeth. Marilyn is trying really hard to create something good. For once, her expectation and reality are going to align. It will be epic. It will be tear-jerkingly profound. It will be perfect. Nothing can go wrong.


Queenie (New Zealand)

Director: Paul Neason

An animated film following Danny, a university Geography tutor in his 30s, as he embarks on a cutting edge academic project which has nothing to do with his ex-wife.


Through the Hawthorn

Director: Anna Benner, Pia Borg, Gemma Burditt

Three characters, three perspectives, three directors: A session between a psychiatrist, a schizophrenic patient and his mother.


The Video Dating Tape of Desmondo Ray, Aged 33 & 3/4 (Australia)

Director: Steve Baker

His name is Desmondo Ray, and this is his video dating tape.


Yearbook

Director: Bernardo Britto

A man is hired to compile the definitive history of human existence before the planet blows up.


MIDNIGHT SHORTS

Bite-sized bits for all of your sex, genre, and hilarity needs.


Box Room (Ireland)

Director: Michael Lathrop

A strange and solitary boy discovers a seductive creature growing in his bedroom wall.


Chocolate Heart

Director: Harrison Atkins

Owen never learned about sex or relationships from his parents, since they turned into cats. But today, with the help of a human girl, Owen is going to learn a lot.

Dog Food

Director: Brian Crano

A butcher loses his dog.


Happy B-Day (Germany)

Director: Holger B. Frick

Happy B-Day is a black comedy showing us how a well-planned birthday surprise can go horribly wrong.


Kekasih (Malaysia / USA)

Director: Diffan Sina Norman

In pursuit of his late wife, a botanical professor encounters a divine presence that will transform him forever.


Kids and Explosions - Swear Words (France)

Directors: Thomas Vernay, Yann Wallaert

Inspired by GIF, this video clip is about the clichés of American antagonisms: Christian thought, homeland love and excesses of the USA.


late for meeting

Director: David Lewandowski

My summer vacation.


The Muck

Director: Tony Wash

Laverne arrives home and decides to relax in the bathtub. She strips down, settles into the tub, and closes her eyes. Serenity at last... or so she thought! The Muck will leave you never wanting to take a bath again!


Pumpkin & Bubby Get in a Fight

Director: Will Carsola

Two friends find themselves defending themselves against the forces of nature.


Rat Pack Rat

Director: Todd Rohal

A Sammy Davis, Jr. impersonator, hired to visit with a loyal Rat Pack fan, finds himself delivering last rites at the boy's bedside.


Violent Florence (Australia)

Director: Jaime Snyder

Florence rescues a stray cat from a gang of teenagers. After taking the feline to an isolated building, her true intentions emerge.


Wawd Ahp

Directors: Steve Girard, Josh Chertoff

Wawd ahp! I'm throwing both birds up. Stick a stick of dynamite up your ass. Now I'm blowing turds up.


MUSIC VIDEOS

A range of classic, innovative, and stylish work showcasing the scope of music video culture.


Alagoas - "Brighton"

Director: Jeremiah Zagar


Clubfeet - "Everything You Wanted"

Director: Josh Thomas


Deathcrush - "Lesson #16 for Beatmaster V/Fun"

Director: Kenneth Karlstad


Diplo - "Revolution"

Director: Phil Pinto


Floyd, Darling - "A Lake"

Director: Alberto Belli


Hiatus - "We can be ghosts now"

Director: Tom Jobbins


Joel Compass - "Back to Me"

Director: Ian And Cooper


Mgmt - "Cool Song No. 2"

Director: Isaiah Seret


My Panda Shall Fly & Adventure Elephant - "Opening Brace"

Director: Chris Toumazou


Nekrogoblikon - "No One Survives"

Director: Brandon Dermer


Paper Kites - "Young"

Director: Darcy Prendergast


Passion Pit - "Cry Like A Ghost"

Director: DANIELS


Placebo - "Too Many Friends"

Director: Saman Kesh


Raffertie - "Build Me Up"

Director: Vincent Haycock


Sandra Kolstad - "Run Away"

Director: Yenni Lee


Siriusmo - "Itchy / Cornerboy"

Director: Jakob Grunert

Tame Impala - "Mind Mischief"

Director: David Wilson


The Vein - "Magma"

Director: Dvein


Vitalic - "Fade Away"

Director: Romain Chassaing



TEXAS SHORTS

An offshoot of our regular narrative shorts program, composed of work shot in, about, or somehow relating to the Lone Star state.


DIG

Director: Toby Halbrooks

A young girl makes a connection with her father, after watching him dig a hole in their backyard.


EASY

Director: Daniel Laabs

A character study about the relationship between two brothers, one on the verge of becoming an adult, the other becoming a teenager, and impact each others choices have on one another.


I Was a Teenage Girl

Director: Augustine Frizzell

Emma and Jesse are close friends. One night, after an intense breakup, they have a heartfelt conversation that challenges the boundaries of their friendship in an unexpected way.


Molly

Director: Craig Elrod

Denial. Regret. Depression. Foam Party.


One Armed Man

Director: Tim Guinee

In Oscar-winning writer Horton Foote’s chilling drama, One Armed Man, a wealthy cotton gin executive is confronted by a disgruntled former employee demanding the return of an arm lost in the gin’s machinery.


Road Kill Zoo

Director: Bradley Beesley

Road Kill Zoo follows Abby, a nearly-blind girl who spends her summer saving up to go on a cruise - one dead possum at a time



TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHORTS

Texas High School students offer a glimpse of a bright future for Texas filmmaking.


As We Get Older

Director: Silas Connolly

A short film following Jack, a lost and lonely high school boy, for one weekend. It reflects the emptiness and loss of innocence experienced by a generation who escape reality through drugs and alcohol.

Beautiful

Director: John Byron Hanby, IV

War is tragic on all fronts.


Cages

Director: Harrison Chen

A boy is trapped by his fears in his dreams.


Cliché

Directors: Joseph Alvarez, Eric Zelaya

Four teenagers on a mission to create the greatest student short film.


Cultivation

Director: Tiffany Giraudon

Cultivation is a stopmotion short about young woman and the world that her written words create.


Date Night

Director: Nicky Cannon

A teenage boy with a mysterious past latches onto his fellow classmate and is heartbroken when she does not reciprocate. Trouble ensues, as the night grows darker.


Ernest

Director: Frankie Chen

Ernest is a short portrait of Katrina survivor, Ernest Lemot, who recounts his life-changing move to Austin, Texas. Featuring Ernest Lemot, Jacquelyn Lemot, Chris McCoy, Joan Winter, Nick Osella. A film by Frankie Chen


Evolution

Directors: Alexia Salingaros, Sophia Salingaros

Evolution is a hand drawn animation, which explores the energy and connection of all living things.


FROZEN

Directors: Jonathan Zonum, Kyle Curtis

A young man is out for his morning jog when something extraordinary happens...


Genetika

Director: Callan Harrison

Genetika is a short film exploring the difficulties of being a transdimensional time traveller.


Heartbreak

Director: Eric Stern

Love throws curves, so who can really be trusted? Involved dialogue between friends strikes an uneasy chord.


Homecoming: A Texas Tradition

Directors: Sammy Ali, Bridgett Falcone

Everything is bigger in Texas, including a Texas high school homecoming.


Ice Cream Truck

Directors: Rania Blaik, Alexander Raphael

Let's go, baby.


Just Skate

Directors: Alicia Tanguma, Brianna Garza

The boy loves to skate.


Love, Noted

Directors: Xander McCabe, Jasmine Hashemi

Two young men pursue the same girl and try to find a way to her heart.


Lydia

Director: Logan Evans

A mysterious stranger encounters a ghost with which he has unresolved ties.


Non Sequitur

Director: Chris Prinz

Build a life, then tear it down.


Purple

Directors: Ryker Allen, Isabella Cabello

A Super-8 esque shot, coming of age music video for the song "Purple" performed by San Antonio based band Islands and Tigers.


Seawolf

Directors: Caila Pickett, Max Montoya

Seawolf follows a young girl as she travels to different worlds through magical boxes.


Spark

Director: Kunal Dixit

A man goes for a walk in the woods


Unicorn Council

Directors: Kalen Doyle, Abby Grindstaff

Unicorn Council is a stopmotion short about an evil man-eating cat and the space unicorns that work to save the day. The saviors of the universe have horns and attitudes.


A Wrong Note

Director: Josh Leftwich

Some things happen at the worst of times

This article is related to: SXSW Film Festival, The Guest, Home


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