Highlights Include Universal Pictures’ Neighbors, Predestination & New Episodic Section

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival announced a diverse features lineup for this year’s Festival, the 21st edition and running March 7 – 15, 2014 in Austin, Texas. The 2014 program expands on SXSW tradition of embracing a range of genres and span of budgets, featuring a wealth of vision from experienced and developing filmmakers alike. For more information visit http://www.sxsw.com/film.


Every March, creatives of all stripes gather in Austin to witness, share and inspire the visions that will galvanize the filmmakers and ideas of tomorrow. SXSW Film Conference & Festival champions the vitality, innovation and opportunity that drives the entertainment and media landscape, and boldly tackles the evolution of all aspects of “film” today, down to its very definition.

Listed in the announcement are 115 of the features that will screen over the course of nine days at SXSW 2014. The lineup below includes 68 films from first-time filmmakers, and consists of 76 World Premieres, 10 North American Premieres and 7 U.S. Premieres. These films were selected from a record 2,215 feature-length film submissions composed of 1,540 U.S. and 675 fbcb1b3ainternational feature-length films. With a record number of 6,482 submissions total, the overall increase was 14% over 2013. The Midnighters feature section and the Short Film program will be announced on February 5, with the complete Conference lineup and schedule to follow on February 12.

New for 2014, SXSW introduces the “Episodic” screening category, inspired by the success of previous SXSW programming, such as the world premieres of HBO’s hit series Girls and A&E’s Bates Motel. This section will feature premieres of innovative new work hitting the small screen, including HBO’s Silicon Valley, Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, Hulu’s Deadbeat, FOX’s COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey and From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, debuting on Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network.

Also new for 2014, SXSW launched SXsports, a Convergent sports-focused track open to all Film and Interactive registrants, incorporating film screenings and panel elements, and touching on all aspects of sports through the SXSW lens of cultural impact, entertainment, innovation and the forward-thinking convergence areas of those respective worlds. Featured Speakers include Mandalay Sports Media Chairman Peter Guber, ESPN’s Bill Simmons & Nate Silver in conversation, US Men’s National Soccer Team Head Coach Jürgen Klinsmann in conversation with Men in Blazers’ Roger Bennett, and cycling legend Greg LeMond. SXsports associated films appear in a variety of screening sections, and are denoted with an asterisk.

In addition to nine full days of film screenings, SXSW Film Conference, (Friday, March 7 – Tuesday, March 11), will feature over 150 informative and entertaining sessions, including its first-ever daily keynotes, previously announced to include Lena Dunham, Jason Blum and Casey Neistat, and major Conversations with luminaries like Alejandro Jodorowsky. For more confirmed Conference sessions, including details on additional Conversations and programming for the all new SXsports, Digital Domain, Future 15s, Mentor Sessions, Meet the Insiders, Workshops, Startup Alley, and Come & Capture Film Factory visitwww.sxsw.com/film/sessions/about.

We are psyched to present this year’s slate – truly diverse in size, shape, and emotional tone and reflective of ourever-eclectic tastes. As always, we strive for the delicate balance of launching new voices, while providing equally combustible entertainment from red carpet moments and highly anticipated titles to soon-to-be-new- addictions from the small screen,” said Head of SXSW Film Janet Pierson. “Getting to share this work with our adventurous, intelligent, film-loving audience is where the magic happens and the films truly come alive. Is it March yet?

Once again, the festival’s main competition categories are comprised of eight Narrative Feature world premieres and eight Documentary Feature world premieres, vying for their respective Grand Jury Prizes. The SXSW Film Awards show will take place on Tuesday, March 11 at 8pm at the Paramount Theatre, and hosted by comedian Jerrod Carmichel. Announced at the show will be the Feature Film Jury Award winners, Short Film Jury Award winners, Design Award winners, and Special Award winners. In addition to juried awards, all feature categories, with the exception of Headliners and Special Events, will be eligible for category specific Audience Awards. Audience Award winners will be announced via http://www.sxsw.com on Saturday, March 15.

The Narrative Feature Competition includes: 10,000KM, directed by Carlos Marques MarcetAnimals, directed by Collin SchiffliBefore I Disappear, directed by Shawn ChristensenFort Tilden, directed by Sarah-Violet Bliss & Charles Rogers, The Heart Machine, directed by Zachary WigonI Believe in Unicorns, directed by Leah MeyerhoffThe Mend, directed by John Magary and Wild Canaries, directed by Lawrence Michael Levine. The Documentary Feature Competition includes: Beginning With The End, directed by David MarshallBorn to Fly, directed by Catherine Gund, The Great Invisible, directed by Margaret BrownThe Immortalists, directed by Jason Sussberg & David Alvarado, Impossible Light, directed by Jeremy AmbersMateo, directed by Aaron I. NaarPrint the Legend, directed by Luis Lopez & Clay Tweel and Vessel, directed by Diana Whitten.

The 2014 SXSW Film Festival will feature: Continue reading

FACING FEAR: A moment of hate. A lifetime of forgiveness.

A documentary short film by Jason Cohen

Imagine if you were brutally beaten, left for dead… and happened to encounter your attacker years later? What would you do? That opportunity is explored in the deeply moving documentary, FACING FEAR, A powerfully inspirational film about fear, hate, reconciliation and forgiveness. It tells the story of brutal hate crime and a chance meeting, between victim and attacker, 25 years later. Together, they embark on a transformative journey that challenges both to grapple with their beliefs and preconceptions, eventually leading to an improbable collaboration and poignant friendship. FACING FEAR is one of the five nominated short films for the 2014 Best Documentary Short Subject Academy Award.


As a 13 year-old, Matthew Boger was thrown out of his home for being gay. While living on the streets of Hollywood, he was savagely beaten in a back alley by a group of neo-Nazi skinheads. Boger managed to survive the attack and escape life on the streets. Twenty-five years later, Boger found himself in a chance meeting with a former neo-Nazi skinhead, Tim Zaal. The two men soon realized that they had met before…Zaal was one of the attackers who beat Boger and left him for dead.

With their worlds turned upside down, the two embarked on a journey of forgiveness and reconciliation that challenged both to grapple with their own beliefs and fears. Neither could imagine that it would to lead to an improbable collaboration…and friendship.

FACING FEAR retraces the haunting accounts of the attack and the startling revelation that brought these men together again. Delving deep into their backgrounds, the roots of the ideologies that shape how they handle the reconciliation process are exposed. Self-doubt, anger and fear are just a few of the emotions they struggle through as they come to terms with their unimaginable situation.

Shot on location in Los Angeles, the film is the theatrical directorial debut for Jason Cohen. Edited by the award-winning Tom Christopher with cinematography by Svetlana Cvetko (Academy Award-winning INSIDE JOB), the film takes an introspective trip through the world of early 80’s Hollywood while delicately addressing past events that shaped the men involved, from early childhood to their present relationship.

Jason Cohen has produced and directed all formats of film and television on projects that cover a broad range of topics over the past 20 years. Currently, Cohen is in production on a global film about love and forgiveness that has taken him around the world to highlight stories in Uganda, India, Haiti, Spain and Italy.

Last year he produced the Okazaki-directed APPROXIMATELY NELS CLINE, about the world-renowned lead guitarist of the rock band Wilco. He co-produced HBO’s Emmy-nominated BLACK TAR HEROIN: DARK END OF THE STREET, with Okazaki and was a producer on his Emmy Award-winning HBO doc on the dropping of the atomic bomb, WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN, which also screened at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

Cohen has also worked in narrative film, producing the feature film OPAL based on the life of controversial author, Opal Whiteley, which premiered at the 2010 Mill Valley Film Festival and is now being distributed online by Tribeca Film Institute. Other past work includes directing the Olympic documentary, THE ROAD TO HONG KONG, a short doc on champion U.S. equestrian horse Ravel, and a documentary on San Jose Sharks radio announcer Dan Rusanowsky for the NHL Network’s VOICES series.

In regards to the film, Cohen says, “I hope audiences watch the film objectively and then see how the story may affect them in their own lives and relationships. We are not preaching forgiveness as the answer for everyone because we know it may not be. We just wanted to present this story and let the audience connect with it personally. Whether it’s the hate, homophobia, bullying or forgiveness that strikes a chord with each audience member, we hope it opens a discussion when they leave the theater.”