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TOH!'s Ten Most Anticipated Films at SXSW

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood March 6, 2014 at 3:06PM

TOH! heads to SXSW on March 7. What films from the sprawling fest am I most anticipating? Find out, below.

'Wild Canaries'
'Wild Canaries'
The Immortalists

5.“The Immortalists." This in-competition doc looks at two men, lab biologist and long distance runner Bill Andrews and hirsute biologist Aubrey de Grey, both nurturing the same obsession: Discovering a medical breakthrough for eternal youth. They think of our current world as “blind to the tragedy of old age.” They clearly don’t live anywhere near Hollywood.  But the premise has me totally hooked. (Trailer below.)

4. “Starry Eyes." Based on an enticing first trailer (watch below), this Midnighter tale of a young actress (Alexandra Essoe) struggling to make it in a grey and unsettling Hollywood looks to have shades of “Black Swan.” Directed by Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch, with the always welcome Pat Healy (“Compliance”) in a supporting role.

3. “The Heart Machine." From a recent turn in “House of Cards” to much more indie fare like Alex Ross Perry’s “The Color Wheel” and Rick Alverson’s “The Comedy,” actress Kate Lyn Sheil continues to be one to watch. Here she stars as one half of an online long-distance relationship; she’s in Berlin, while Cody (John Gallagher Jr. of “The Newsroom”) lives in Brooklyn. But paranoia brews between the two as we track their parallel lives. Zachary Wigon directs.

2. “Wild Canaries." Mumblecore apparently meets noir (Mumblenoir?) in this in-competition comedy following a newly engaged Brooklyn couple who suspect foul play when an elderly lady in their building winds up dead. Familiar indie faces pepper the cast like Sophia Takal, Jason Ritter, Alia Shawkat and Kevin Corrigan. Lawrence Michael Levine (“Gabi on the Roof in July”) directs.


1. “Vessel." First-time feature filmmaker Diana Whitten’s in-competition doc focuses on Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, who sails around the globe providing abortions at sea for women who have no legal alternative. Sounds like an unlikely cross between two strong docs from 2013, “Maidentrip” and “After Tiller,” with subject material too intriguing to ignore.

This article is related to: Festivals, SXSW, South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival (SXSW)

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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.