Hundreds of movies are screening at the South by Southwest Film Festival, and we’ve been trying to give readers a peek at what’s ahead. We’ll have most of our coverage in Friday’s Austin360. But here are six movies that aren’t included in that package and are worthy of attention.
“Miles Ahead”: Don Cheadle makes his directorial debut with this feature film about jazz legend Miles Davis. Cheadle also plays Davis, with a supporting cast that includes Ewan McGregor, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Lakeith Lee Stanfield and Michael Stuhlbarg. The film pulls in tight on the period in the late 1970s when the jazz great went on hiatus, and jumps back to examine his complicated relationship with first wife, Frances Taylor. McGregor plays a Rolling Stone journalist obsessed with uncovering the enigmatic and contentious musician. (8 p.m. Wednesday, Paramount; 7 p.m. March 19, Stateside) Cheadle also will participate in the conference, with a conversation set for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in Room 16AB at the Austin Convention Center.
“Keanu”: This work-in-progress screening is a late addition to the festival. It’s the debut feature from Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele (of Key and Peele fame). Here’s the official synopsis: “A mysterious catnapping triggers a chain of events that lead cousins Clarence and Rell into the belly of LA’s criminal underworld. Suburbanites at heart, the hapless pair are ill-equipped to deal with the threats and illegal activities that lie ahead, but they have no choice but to dive in and rescue Rell’s beloved kitten, Keanu.” This is going to be popular, so line up before midnight Saturday. Peter Atencio directs. (12:30 a.m. Sunday, Paramount)
“Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey”: This feature-length documentary will make its world premiere at SXSW. “Force Awakens” visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett, supervising sound editor Matthew Wood and co-producer Michelle Rejwan will do the Q&A following the screening. “Secrets” is a bonus feature on the upcoming DVD/Blu-ray release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” an inside look at the making of “Force Awakens.” Expect exclusive interviews with the actors and filmmaker and behind-the-scenes footage. “The Force Awakens” has done more than $928 million domestically and about $2 billion worldwide, making that $4 billion Disney paid George Lucas for the franchise looking like a very wise investment indeed. The DVD/Blu-ray is out April 5. (Noon Monday, Paramount)
“Honky Tonk Heaven: Legend of the Broken Spoke”: This documentary about the iconic music venue on South Lamar is having its world premiere at SXSW. Here’s the official synopsis: “George Strait, Willie Nelson, Ernest Tubb, Bob Wills, George Jones and Roy Acuff have all been regulars on stage at the world famous honky tonk, The Broken Spoke. With fifty years under its belt buckle ‘the last of the true Texas dance halls’ has endured rapid urban growth and skyrocketing rents due to the passion and hard work of its charismatic, tenacious owners. More than a history of who played and when at this landmark venue, the film reveals a universal story about what it takes to maintain a family business in our increasingly corporate-driven society. Interviews include Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Dale Watson, James Hand, Jesse Dayton, the Waco Brothers and Alvin Crow.” Brenda Greene Mitchell and Sam Wainwright Douglas are the directors. (1:30 p.m. Sunday, Alamo South; 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, Marchesa; 4:45 p.m. March 17, Topfer at the Zach; 6:45 p.m. March 18, Alamo South)
“The Trust”: Two sadsack police officers are stuck in the evidence room of the Las Vegas Police Department. But when they stumble upon a bail receipt connected to a drug bust, they decide to investigate. The cast is good: Nicolas Cage, Elijah Wood, Sky Ferreira and Jerry Lewis. (3 p.m. Sunday, Paramount; 10 p.m. Tuesday, Topfer; 11:15 a.m. March 18, Stateside)
“Transpecos”: Austin’s Greg Kwedar makes his feature film directorial debut, focusing on three Border Patrol agents played by Gabriel Luna, Johnny Simmons and Clifton Collins Jr. Here’s part of the official synopsis: “It’s like most boring days, but soon the contents of one car will change everything. What follows is a journey to uncover the surreal, frightening secrets hidden behind the facade of this lonely outpost. The end of the path may cost them their lives along a border where the line between right and wrong shifts like the desert itself.” (9 p.m. Sunday, Vimeo; 11:30 a.m. Monday, Alamo South; 10:45 a.m. March 17, Alamo South)
More about SXSW Film
For the latest on movie events at South by Southwest, go to austin360.com/movies and austin360.com/sxsw.