SXSW Film Festival Announces 2015 Opening Night Film + Additional Films Confirmed To Premiere


Ahead of announcing the complete festival lineup on February 3rd, the 22nd South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival has started rolling out a list of the screenings which will be spread across Texas come March.

This year, SXSW has announced their 2015 Opening Night Film, and world premiere BRAND: A Second Coming, by director Ondi Timoner, a documentary on comedian, author and activist Russell Brand, to be shown on Friday, March 13, 2015. The doco has been described as a bold and lively piece on Russell Brand with a well-balanced mix of humour, insight, and raw energy, delving deeper into the truly passionate figure as he grapples with fame, influence, and where we are as a 21st century society.

Midnight features and SXSW’s short film program will be announced on February 10th, while the brunt of films will be announced on February 3rd. In addition to the Opening Night Film, the impressive line up will include:

A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story (World Premiere)

Directed by Sarah Hirsh Bordo and from the producers of the most reviewed TEDWomen event of 2013 comes this documentary about the inspiring journey of a 25 year old, 58 pound girl named Lizzie who goes on an inner journey from cyber-bullying victim to anti-bullying activist.

Ex Machina (North American Premiere)

Director and Screenwriter Alex Garland (writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine) makes his directorial debut with this cerebral thriller, which stars Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Issac, and Alicia Vikander.

Hello, My Name is Doris (World Premiere)

Director Michael Showalter and Screenwriters Michael Showalter and Laura Terruso deliver this drama about an isolated 60 year old woman who is motivated by a self-help seminar to romantically pursue a younger coworkers, causing her to stumble into the spotlight of the Brooklyn hipster social scene. The movie stars Sally Field, Max Greenfield, and Beth Behrs.

The Invitation (World Premiere)

Karyn Kusama directs this scary flick about a reunion of old friends which turns into a nightmare when one guest, a haunted man whose ex-wife is among the hosts, begins to fear that the night is part of a terrifying agenda. The movie was written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi and stars Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman, Lindsay Burdge, and Emayatzy Corinealdi.

Mavis! (World Premiere)

Legendary singer Mavis Staples gets a biopic directed by Jessica Edwards, tracking her family group, The Staple Singers, who inspired millions and helped propel the civil rights movement with their music. After 60 years of performing, Staples’ message of love and equality is needed now more than ever.

Son of the Congo (World Premiere/SXsports screening)

Director and Screenwriter Adam Hootnick follows Serge Ibaka’s improbably journey which has taken him from the violence of Congo to the top of the NBA. In Son of the Congo, Ibaka returns home, hoping his basketball success can help rebuild a country and inspire a new generation to dream of a better life.

Celebrating its 22nd year, the SXSW Film Conference and Festival will take place March 13 – 21, 2015 in Austin, Texas. For more information, visit


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