Hollywood may be in the thick of what many refer to as its annual purple patch, with some of the year’s finest releases coming to the fore just in time for awards season, though we’ll soon be switching gears once again to focus on the film festivals and, by effect, highlighting the more low-key and experimental releases headed our way in 2016.
One of the more prominent dates on the calendar is occupied by South by Southwest, the film festival that takes place in Austin, Texas during mid-March. It’s primed to return this year, kicking off nine days of screenings on Friday, March 11 through March 16 with a string of intriguing releases. We’re a little less than a month out from SXSW 2016, and organizers have rolled out the initial lineup of films to be screened for critics, with Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special, the comic book adaptation of Preacher and Beware the Slenderman all topping the bill.
That’s right, while another Wisconsin crime has reared its head in the mainstream courtesy of Netflix’s Making a Murderer, Beware the Slenderman charts the court case of two 12-year-old girls charged for a crime they seemingly didn’t commit; rather, they were under the influence of the titular and malevolent spirit.
Beyond that, there’s also premieres for Pee-wee’s Big Holiday and Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru, and you can check out brief overviews of each candidate and their cast below. Out of the lineup, Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special will hit theaters first on March 18, 2016.
Beware the Slenderman
Director: Irene Taylor Brodsky
In this horrifyingly modern fairytale lurks an online Boogeyman and two 12-year-old girls who would kill for him. The entrance to the internet quickly leads to its darkest basement. How responsible are our children for what they find there? (World Premiere)
Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari, Screenwriters: Efthimis Filippou, Athina Rachel Tsangari
Six men on a fishing trip on a luxury yacht decide to play a game to compete. Things will be compared. Things will be measured. Songs will be butchered, blood will be tested. Friends will become rivals and rivals will become hungry. Cast: Yorgos Kentros, Panos Koronis, Vangelis Mourikis, Makis Papadimitriou, Yorgos Pirpassopoulos, Sakis Rouvas.
Director/Screenwriter: Jeff Nichols
A father goes on the run to protect his young son and uncover the truth behind the boy’s special powers in the sci-fi thriller Midnight Special, a film as supernatural as it is intimately human. Cast: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher, Sam Shepard. (North American Premiere)
Pee-wee’s Big Holiday
Director: John Lee, Screenwriters: Paul Reubens, Paul Rust
In Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, a fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger inspires Pee-wee Herman to take his first-ever holiday in this epic story of friendship and destiny. Cast: Paul Reubens, Joe Manganiello, Jessica Pohly, Alia Shawkat, Stephanie Beatriz. (World Premiere)
Directors: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Screenwriter: Sam Catlin
Preacher is a supernatural, twisted and darkly comedic drama that follows a West Texas preacher named Jesse Custer, who – along with his ex-girlfriend Tulip and an Irish vagabond named Cassidy – is thrust into a crazy world, much bigger than he is. Cast: Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joseph Gilgun, Ian Colletti, W. Earl Brown, Lucy Griffiths. (World Premiere)
Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru
Director: Joe Berlinger
Granted unprecedented access, Berlinger captures renowned life and business strategist Tony Robbins behind the scenes of his mega seminar Date with Destiny, pulling back the curtain on this life-altering and controversial event, the zealous participants and the man himself. (World Premiere)