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SXSW 2013 film festival lineup announced

January 31, 2013|By Rebecca Keegan
  • Simon Baker, Anna Faris, Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall in "I Give it a Year." Credit: SXSW
Simon Baker, Anna Faris, Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall in "I Give it a Year."… (SXSW )

A comedy about the first year of marriage, a documentary about physicist Stephen Hawking, and Joss Whedon's adaptation of a Shakespeare play are among the eclectic mix of 109 films set to screen at this year's South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival, organizers announced Thursday.

"I Give It a Year," which makes its North American premiere at the Texas festival, is the directorial debut of "Borat" and "Bruno" screenwriter Dan Mazer, and stars Rose Byrne, Anna Faris, Rafe Spall and Simon Baker in a comedy about falling out of marital love.

The film is one of many comedies premiering at the March festival, such as the previously announced "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" (Dan Scardino's Las Vegas magician satire starring Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi and Jim Carrey), and "Drinking Buddies" (Joe Swanberg's workplace romance starring Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston and Jake Johnson).

"We're always strong on comedy for sure," said SXSW film conference and festival producer Janet Pierson. "But there's a lot of joy and fun in the program this year, and maybe a wider appeal."

Another traditional strength at SXSW is its documentaries, and this year's slate includes the world premiere of "Hawking," director Stephen Finnigan's portrait of paralyzed British physicist Stephen Hawking; "The Network," Eva Orner's behind-the-scenes chronicle of an Afghan TV network; and "Milius," Zak Knutson and Joey Figueroa's story of self-proclaimed "Zen anarchist" filmmaker John Milius.

The lineup is also heavy on theater entries, Pierson noted, with the U.S. premiere of Whedon's take on the Bard's "Much Ado About Nothing," and world premieres of "Some Girl(s)" (Daisy Von Scherler Mayer's adaptation of the Neil LaBute play), "Improvement Club" (Dayna Hanson's tale of an avant-garde performance group) and "We Cause Scenes" (Matt Adams' documentary about the New York comedy troupe Improv Everywhere).

The festival is light this year on one of its traditional mainstays -- genre films -- with the previously announced "Evil Dead," director Fede Alvarez's remake of the 1981 cult horror film from Sam Raimi, the most high-profile horror title.

More titles will be announced, however, when the Midnighters feature section and short film programs are finalized Wednesday.

The 2013 SXSW Film Conference and Festival is set for March 8-16 in Austin, Texas. More information is available at sxsw.com/film.

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