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2022 SXSW Film Festival | Watchlist

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival is fast approaching. Starting this weekend, March 11-19, 2022, fans around the world will have the opportunity to watch premieres of feature films, shorts, documentaries, and more! The SXSW Film Festival celebrates innovative filmmaking and emerging talent from behind and in front of the camera. Featuring dramas, documentaries, comedies, genre standouts, and more, the festival is known for its high-quality and diverse program.

This year, SXSW audiences will be able to explore a festival lineup like never before. The programming will include 99 Features including 76 World Premieres, 4 International Premieres, 4 North American Premieres, 2 U.S. Premieres, 13 Texas Premieres, and 111 Short Films. Fans can experience the festival mayhem over a course of nine days in Austin, TX and/or virtually.

This will be my first time covering SXSW from the comfort of my couch. Excitement can’t even begin to describe how I feel. And thanks to this year’s lineup, my optimism is through the roof. Here’s my 2022 SXSW Film Festival Watchlist:

Midnighters

1) Sissy | Directors: Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: Cecilia and Emma were tween-age BFFs who were going to grow old together and never let anything come between them, until Alex arrived on the scene. Twelve years later, Cecilia is a successful social media influencer living the dream of an independent, modern millennial woman… until she runs into Emma for the first time in over a decade. Emma invites Cecilia away on her bachelorette weekend at a remote cabin in the mountains, where Alex proceeds to make Cecilia’s weekend a living hell. Principal Cast: Aisha Dee, Hannah Barlow, Emily De Margheriti, Daniel Monks, Yerin Ha, Lucy Barrett, Shaun Martindale, Amelia Lule, April Blasdall, Camille Cumpston

2) Deadstream | Directors: Vanessa Winter and Joseph Winter

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: After a public controversy left him disgraced and demonetized, a washed-up internet personality tries to win back his followers by livestreaming himself spending one night alone in an abandoned haunted house. When he accidentally pisses off a vengeful spirit, his big comeback event becomes a real-time fight for his life (and social relevance) as he faces off with the sinister spirit of the house and her own powerful following. Principal Cast: Joseph Winter and Melanie Stone

3) X | Director: Ti West

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: In 1979, a group of young filmmakers set out to make an adult film in rural Texas, but when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, the cast find themselves fighting for their lives. Principal Cast: Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Martin Henderson, Brittany Snow, Owen Campbell, Stephen Ure, Scott Mescudi

4) Hypochondriac | Director: Addison Heimann

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: Will, a young Hispanic gay potter, is one gregarious guy. His boss is terrible, but he’s got a great boyfriend and a great job. Unfortunately, behind that veneer is a dark past of violence and mental illness that he is desperate to keep hidden. When his bipolar mother comes out of the woodwork after ten years of silence, he begins exhibiting unexplainable symptoms… Principal Cast: Zach Villa, Devon Graye, Madeline Zima, Yumarie Morales, Marlene Forte, Chris Doubek, Paget Brewster, Adam Busch, Michael Cassidy, Peter Mensah, Debra Wilson

5) The Cellar | Director: Brendan Muldowney

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: About a week after the Woods family move in to Xaos House, their daughter Ellie goes missing during a power cut. Ellie’s mother Keira investigates and finds that the walls have strange symbols engraved into them. After a number of terrifying supernatural experiences, she comes to the conclusion that the house took Ellie. Principal Cast: Elisha Cuthbert, Eoin Macken, Abby Fitz, Dylan Fitzmaurice-Brady

6) Bitch Ass | Director: Bill Posley

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: The year is 1980. Young Cecil is bullied by kids in the 6th Street gang for being fat, shy, and always playing board games. They all pick on him and call him Bitch Ass. On a gang initiation night, they jump him and leave him for dead. Fast forward to 1999. No one has seen or heard from Bitch Ass since, and he has become an urban legend. Now, a new crop of 6th Street recruits are gearing up for another initiation night. They get tasked with robbing a house, but little do they know they’re walking into Bitch Ass’ house, and he has been plotting his revenge by building deadly versions of the childhood games they bullied him for playing. Let the games begin! Principal Cast: Sheaun McKinney, Tunde Laleye, Me’Lisa Sellers, Teon Kelly, and Tony Todd

7) Watcher | Chloe Okuno

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: ‘The Watcher’ is set in the midst of a citywide panic over an active serial killer, a young woman moves into a new apartment with her fiancé and is tormented by the feeling that she is being stalked by an unseen watcher in an adjacent building. Principal Cast: Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman, and Burn Gorman

8) No Looking Back | Director: Kirill Sokolov

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: After four years in prison, Olga is determined to start over, and first of all she wants to get her ten-year-old daughter back. However, her overbearing mother isn’t letting her grandchild go without a fight. The family conflict quickly spirals out of control, resulting in a frenzied and violent wild goose chase with each character willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want. Principal Cast: Victoria Korotkova, Anna Mikhalkova, and Sofia Krugova

Festival Favorites

9) Fire of Love | Director: Sara Dosa

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: Fire of Love is an unexpected love story of two intrepid French scientists, Katia & Maurice Krafft, who died in a volcanic explosion doing the very thing that brought them together: seeking to understand the mystery of volcanoes by capturing the most spectacular imagery ever recorded.

10) Emergency | Director: Carey Williams

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: Ready for a night of partying, a group of college students must weigh the pros and cons of calling the police when faced with an unusual emergency. Principal Cast: RJ Cyler, Donald Elise Watkins, Sebastian Chacon, Sabrina Carpenter, Maddie Nichols, Madison Thompson, Diego Abraham

Narrative Features Competition

11) A Lot of Nothing | Director: Mo McRae

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: James and Vanessa, seem to be happily married, successful, and comfortable in every way. They are rocked to their core while watching the news one night when they see cell phone footage of their neighbor committing a crime. In a state of shock, and with opposing points of view about how to address the issue, they go on a highly combustible journey to ‘do something.’ Principal Cast: Y’lan Noel, Cleopatra Coleman, Shamier Anderson, Lex Scott Davis, Justin Hartley

12) Linoleum | Director: Colin West

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: When a satellite falls from orbit and crashes into the suburban home of a dysfunctional family in Ohio, the father seizes the opportunity to fulfill his dream of becoming an astronaut by re-building it into his own rocket ship. While his wife and daughter believe he’s experiencing a midlife crisis, surreal events begin to unfold around him, forcing him to reconsider how interconnected their lives truly are… Principal Cast: Jim Gaffigan, Rhea Seehorn, Katelyn Nacon, Gabriel Rush, Amy Hargreaves, West Duchovny, Michael Ian Black, Tony Shalhoub, Elisabeth Henry, Roger Hendricks Simon

13) Slash/Back | Director: Nyla Innuksuk

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: A sleepy hamlet nestled in the majestic mountains of Baffin Island in the Arctic Ocean, wakes up to a typical summer day. No School, no cool boys (well… except one), and 24-hour sunlight. But for Maika and her ragtag friends, the usual summer is suddenly not in the cards when they discover an alien invasion threatening Pang. Principal Cast: Tasiana Shirley, Alexis Wolfe, Chelsea Prusky, Frankie Vincent-Wolfe, Nalajoss Ellsworth

14) Soft & Quiet | Director: Beth de Araújo

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: Playing out in real time, SOFT & QUIET is a runaway train that follows a single afternoon in the life of Emily, an elementary school teacher. Emily organizes the inaugural club mixer of like-minded women, and she indoctrinates them into her sisterhood. When they all decide to move the meeting to Emily’s house, they stop at the local store to pick up refreshments, where an altercation breaks out between two sisters and the club that spirals into a volatile chain of events. Principal Cast: Stefanie Estes, Olivia Luccardi, Eleanore Pienta, Dana Millican, Melissa Paulo, Jon Beavers, Cissy Ly

15) I Love My Dad | Director: James Morosini

Synopsis: Inspired by Writer/Director/Star James Morosini’s true life experience, I Love My Dad follows Chuck (Patton Oswalt), an estranged father who desperately wants to reconnect with his depressive son, Franklin (Morosini). Blocked on social media and concerned for his son’s life, Chuck impersonates a waitress (Claudia Sulewski) online and starts checking in with Franklin. But things begin to spiral when Franklin falls for this imaginary girl and wants nothing more than to meet her in person, as Chuck has inadvertently catfished his own son. Principal Cast: Patton Oswalt, James Morosini, Claudia Sulewski, Rachel Dratch, Ricky Velez, Lil Rel Howery, Amy Landecker

Global

16) Raquel 1:1 | Director: Mariana Bastos

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: Raquel is a religious teenager who moves with her father to a small town, in search of a new life. During her first days there, she has a mysterious experience during which she believes she is given an important and controversial mission related to the Bible. Alongside her new friends, a group of evangelical girls from the local church, Raquel dives deep into her spirituality and relives the pain of profound traumas. With support from some and resentment from others, Raquel tries to balance herself in a disturbing spiral of faith, reason and madness. Principal Cast: Valentina Herszage, Emilio de Mello, Priscila Bittencourt, Eduarda Samara, Ravel Andrade

17) Without Prescription | Director: Juliana Maite

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: Olivia suffers from OCD, a mental condition that manifests itself through a voice in her head that compels her to brush her teeth constantly. During Christmas Eve festivities in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, the voice comes back after being dormant for a year. Not having Health Care, she desperately searches for the pills that will control her OCD without a prescription. Through her friend Jessica, who she met years ago in a mental institution, she meets David, the town’s pharmacist’s son, who agrees to sell her the pills. Trapped inside David’s apartment by a rainstorm, two strangers start uncovering truths about each other and start a healing process that doesn’t necessarily involve pills. Principal Cast: Marietere Vélez, Gabriel Leyva, Carola García, Junior Álvarez, Mariana Monclova, Yussef Soto

Visions

18) Chee$e | Director: Damian Marcano

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: In a remote village “behind God’s back” (“even God must have forgotten about it,” the locals crack), Skimma dreams of leaving the only place he’s known to explore the world. When Rebecca tells him she’s pregnant, Skimma is torn between leaving the island and the responsibilities that come with fatherhood. Principal Cast: Akil Gerard Williams, Lou Lyons, Ayanna Cezanne, Yidah Leonard, Binta Ford, Julio Prince, Trevison Pantin, Kevin Ash, Omar Jarra, Damian Marcano

19) A Vanishing Fog | Director: Augusto Sandino

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: The first feature film to be shot in the mysterious and endangered Páramo of Sumapaz, a crucial territory for the ecological balance of the western hemisphere, A VANISHING FOG draws on longstanding Latin American traditions of cinematic surrealism to tell the story of F, a solitary explorer and guardian of the mountains, condemned by his fate. He strives to protect the mystical and fragile ecosystem he inhabits while caring for his ailing father. Principal Cast: Sebastian Pii, Mario de Jesús Viana, Christian Ballesteros

Narrative Spotlight

20) Pretty Problems | Director: Kestrin Pantera

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: Low cash flow + plan B jobs + a snooze alarm sex life: Jack and Lindsey Simpson are officially stuck. But when they get invited to a Sonoma Chateau by affluent strangers, they end up on the most unhinged weekend of their lives. With the “haves,” anything goes — including their bearings on reality. Can their relationship survive this new wild west of wealth? Do they even want it to? Principal Cast: Britt Rentschler, Michael Tennant, JJ Nolan, Graham Outerbridge, Charlotte Ubben, Alex Klein, Clayton Froning, Katarina Hughes, Vanessa Chester, Amy Maghera

Episodic

21) The Girl from Plainville | Director: Lisa Cholodenko

Courtesy of SXSW

Synopsis: Hulu’s “The Girl From Plainville” is inspired by the true story of Michelle Carter’s unprecedented “texting-suicide” case. Based on the Esquire article of the same name by Jesse Barron, the limited series explores Carter’s relationship with Conrad Roy III and the events that led to his death and, later, her conviction of involuntary manslaughter. Principal Cast: Elle Fanning, Chloë Sevigny, Colton Ryan, Cara Buono, Kai Lennox, Norbert Leo Butz

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