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World premieres and notable speakers highlight SXSW 2020

The annual conference in Austin is presenting 99 world premiere features and speakers from all aspects of the entertainment industry.

The film and entertainment tracks at this year’s SXSW conference will present 99 world premiere features, five U.S. premieres and 75 films from first-time filmmakers. There will also be many speakers of note from every segment of the entertainment business. The conference runs Mar. 13-22 in Austin, Texas.

World Premiere Selections

Pete Davidson in The King of Staten Island (Mary Cybulski/Universal Pictures).

The festival’s opening night film is Judd Apatow’s new comedy The King of Staten Island, starring Pete Davidson and Oscar® winner Marisa Tomei. It premieres Friday, Mar. 13 at 6:00 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre.

Zappa, director Alex Winter’s definitive documentary about the legendary musician, draws from hundreds of hours of never-before-seen footage. It premieres Mar. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Alamo Ritz, with subsequent screenings at other locations throughout the festival.

Actor Justine Bateman makes her feature directorial debut with Violet, a drama about a film executive who has spent her whole life listening to “the Voice” which results in making fear-based decisions. It premieres Mar. 14 at 3:00 p.m. at the Alamo Lamar, with subsequent screenings at other venues.

We Don’t Deserve Dogs is a contemplative odyssey across our planet, looking at the simple and extraordinary ways that dogs influence our daily lives. Director Matthew Salleh’s documentary premieres Mar. 14 at 11:00 a.m. at the Alamo Lamar, with additional screenings throughout the festival.

Eric André and Lil Rel Howery in Bad Trip (Orion).

Kitao Sakuri’s Bad Trip is a hidden-camera comedy that follows two best friends as they go on a cross-country road trip full of hilarious, inventive pranks, pulling its real-life audience into the mayhem. The cast includes Eric Andre, Lil Rel Howery, and Tiffany Haddish. It premieres Mar. 14 at 9:00 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre.

Elle Callahan’s Witch Hunt imagines a modern-day America where witches actually exist, but witchcraft is illegal. A teenage girl must overcome her prejudices to help two witches escape to asylum in Mexico. It premieres Mar. 13 at 11:15 p.m. at the Alamo Lamar, with subsequent screenings around the festival.

Selected Featured Sessions

Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul (AMC).

Hoboken Squat Cobbler: Better Call Saul​ Conversation (Making Film & Episodics). An inside look at how Better Call Saul, the critically acclaimed prequel, forged its own distinct world inside the Breaking Bad universe. Co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, and actors Bob Odenkirk and Rhea Seehorn discuss the series and the pivotal transformations of Jimmy McGill and Kim Wexler as they come to terms with Saul Goodman. The event takes place Mar. 14 at 3:30 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center.

Directing: A Masterclass with M. Night Shyamalan. Screenwriter, director, and producer M. Night Shyamalan shares his approach to directing and the art of original storytelling for future filmmakers. The event takes place Mar. 13 at 2:00 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center.

Alex GarlandAlex Garland began as a novelist, writing “The Beach” and “Tesseract” before moving into screenwriting with 28 Days Later. His directorial debut, Ex Machina, garnered him an Academy Award® nomination. Among his other credits are AnnihilationSunshineNever Let Me GoDredd and the video game “Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.” Garland also executive produced 28 Weeks Later and most recently created, wrote and directed Devs, a limited series for FX on Hulu. He will speak Mar. 15 at 3:30 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center.

Stephen Colbert in Conversation with Judd Apatow. There should be laughs aplenty when filmmaker and comedian Judd Apatow interviews Emmy and Peabody Award-winning Stephen Colbert. The conversation takes place Mar. 14 at 12:30 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center.

Kenya Barris & Rashida Jones on #blackexcellence. The stars and executive producers of #blackexcellenceKenya Barris and Rashida Jones will discuss their upcoming Netflix series. Inspired by Barris’ irreverent, highly flawed, unbelievably honest approach to parenting, relationships, race, and culture, #blackexcellence flips the traditional sitcom family on its head. The conversation takes place Mar. 15 at 5:00 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center.

Complete conference details and registration information can be found on the SXSW site.

Feature photo: Witch Hunt (SXSW).

Kurt Gardner

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