muppet guys talking

Muppet Guys Talking

The Official Description: Five of the original Muppet performers come together for the first time ever to share behind-the-scenes secrets of the Muppets. Includes rare performance footage, surprising stories and insights into how Jim led his team to produce legendary work.

Why It Has Our Attention: Frank Oz, the original voice and puppeteer behind Miss Piggy and Yoda, directed this documentary, which puts a handful of unseen geniuses on camera to talk about their craft. We’ve seen the Muppets and we’ve loved the Muppets and we’ve wondered how silly creatures made of felt can be made to express to much character…and now we’ll get to see how the magic happens.

small crimes

Small Crimes

The Official Description: Small Crimes is a delightfully suspenseful, blackly comic tale that follows a disgraced former cop, fresh off a six-year prison sentence for attempted murder, who returns home looking for redemption but winds up trapped in the mess he left behind.

Why It Has Our Attention: The last time director E.L. Katz came to SXSW, he brought the twisted and unforgettable dark comedy Cheap Thrills. Now, he’s back with another story of desperate people getting in way over their heads. I’m not sure exactly how he plans to punish Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, but I can’t wait to find out. Katz co-wrote the film with Macon Blair, the Blue Ruin and Green Room actor who directed the Sundance hit I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore.

small town crime

Small Town Crime

The Official Description: Ex-cop, Mike Kendall, finds the body of a young woman and, in an act of self-redemption, becomes hellbent on finding the killer. While his uncouth, quirky detective style helps break the case, his dogged determination puts his family in danger.

Why It Has Our Attention: I’m not familiar with the work of directors Ian Nelms and Eshom Nelms, but anyone who has the good taste to cast the great character actor John Hawkes as troubled investigator who finds himself embroiled in a noir-tinged mystery deserves a look. Heck, anyone who rounds out the cast with Octavia Spencer and Robert Forster deserves your undivided attention.

song to song

Song to Song

The Official Description: In this modern love story set against the Austin, Texas music scene, two entangled couples — struggling songwriters Faye and BV, and music mogul Cook and the waitress whom he ensnares — chase success through a rock ‘n’ roll landscape of seduction and betrayal.

Why It Has Our Attention: Terrence Malick has grown increasingly divisive in the years since Tree of Life, increasing has output while tearing movie fans apart. His latest movie, Song to Song, features one of his best casts (Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett) and a plot that sounds like a step away from his usual territory.



The Official Description: Once upon a time there was a tiny hill town in Tuscany that found a remarkable way to confront their issues – they turned their lives into a play.

Why It Has Our Attention: Directors Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen previously made the tremendous documentary Marwencol, a movie about a man who recovers from a vicious assault by building a 1/6 scale replica of a World War II-era Belgian village in his backyard. Their new movie, Spettacolo, finds an equally eclectic tale to tell, following an Italian community that regularly stages plays to work through the town’s personal issues, with the citizenry playing themselves on stage. That sounds too weird to be true, but hey, that’s sometimes the case with non-fiction filmmaking.

win it all

Win It All

The Official Description: Small time Chicago gambler, Eddie Garrett, agrees to watch a duffel bag for an acquaintance who is heading to prison. When he discovers cash in the bag, he hatches a plan to win big, against the advice of his gambling sponsor and his brother.

Why It Has Our Attention: I don’t always love Joe Swanberg movies, but I always love that he’s working and seems to walk into just about every film festival season with a new movie to share. His latest project features a promising cast (Jake Johnson, Aislinn Derbez, Joe Lo Truglio, Keegan-Michael Key) in a well-honed indie movie template: the “small-time loser makes a bad decision” film. This sounds like a lot of fun.

the work

The Work

The Official Description: Set entirely inside Folsom Prison, The Work follows three men during four days of intensive group therapy with convicts, revealing an intimate and powerful portrait of authentic human transformation that transcends what we think of as rehabilitation.

Why It Has Our Attention: The best documentaries put us in the position to see the world from a POV we never would have considered. Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous’ new film, which explores group therapy amongst prisoners, sounds like it could be a harrowing and enlightening experience.


You can find a complete list of the movies play this year’s SXSW over here.

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