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South by Southwest Drops Opening Night Film

Jon Favreau's 'Chef' kicks off 21st annual festival

By Monica Riese, 2:00PM, Thu. Jan. 9

South by Southwest Drops Opening Night Film

South by Southwest Film Festival announced today a half-dozen premieres that will make their way to the annual March event.

The opening night honors go to Jon Favreau's Chef (which filmed in part here in Austin and which is not to be confused with the Bradley Cooper outfit of the same name), which stars Favreau, Dustin Hoffman, and Sofia Vergara in a story about a prominent chef rebooting his career with a food truck.

The other premieres announced include a project from the Duplass brothers, a special event with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and the long-awaited Veronica Mars movie, among others. Complete titles and descriptions via SXSW are below, with the full features slate (sans Midnighters and Shorts) to come Jan. 30.

Visit the SXSW Film website for more announcements, including Conference coups A Conversation with Alejandro Jodorowsky and Jeffrey Tambor's Acting Workshop; the complete Conference schedule will be released Feb. 12.

Break Point (World Premiere / SXsports screening)
Director: Jay Karas, Screenwriters: Gene Hong, Jeremy Sisto
Two estranged brothers reunite to make an improbable run at a grand slam tennis tournament. The mismatched pair, with some unlikely help from a precocious 11-year-old boy, re-discover their game and their brotherhood.
Cast: Jeremy Sisto, David Walton, Joshua Rush, J.K. Simmons, Amy Smart

Chef (World Premiere)
Director: Jon Favreau, Screenplay & Story: Jon Favreau
When Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman), he is left to figure out what’s next. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), his friend (John Leguizamo) and his son (Emjay Anthony) to launch a food truck. Taking to the road, Chef Carl goes back to his roots to reignite his passion for the kitchen -- and zest for life and love. Producers are Jon Favreau and Sergei Bespalov. Executive producers include Molly Allen and Karen Gilchrist. Open Road Films will release Chef in May 2014.
Cast: Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, Robert Downey, Jr. and young actor Emjay Anthony.

Creep (World Premiere)
Director: Patrick Brice, Screenwriters: Patrick Brice & Mark Duplass
When a videographer answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day job in the outer-exurbs, he finds his client is not at all what he initially seems.
Cast: Mark Duplass, Patrick Brice

COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey (Special Event with Neil deGrasse Tyson)
Director: Brannon Braga
As with the legendary original series, FOX’s new COSMOS is the saga of how we discovered the laws of nature and found our coordinates in space and time. The series is hosted by renowned astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson and brings to life never-before-told stories of the heroic quest for knowledge, transporting viewers to new worlds and across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest -- and the smallest -- scale. Executive Produced by Ann Druyan, Seth MacFarlane, Brannon Braga and Mitchell Cannold.

Doc of the Dead (World Premiere)
Director: Alexandre O. Philippe
The definitive zombie culture documentary, from the makers of The People vs. George Lucas. Doc of the Dead traces the rise and evolution of the zombie genre, its influence on pop culture, and investigates the possibility of an actual zombie outbreak.

Leave the World Behind (World Premiere)
Director: Christian Larson
A documentary following the final tour of the hugely successful band Swedish House Mafia. The film depicts the EDM scene at its peak as well as telling a story of friendship and success. (United Kingdom)

Veronica Mars (World Premiere)
Director: Rob Thomas, Screenwriters: Rob Thomas & Diane Ruggiero
Years after walking away from her past as a teenage private eye, Veronica Mars gets pulled back to her hometown, an ex-boyfriend with baggage, and an unraveling murder mystery.
Cast: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Krysten Ritter, Francis Capra, Percy Daggs III, Ryan Hansen, Gaby Hoffman, Chris Lowell, Tina Majorino, Jerry O'Connell


SXSW Film 2014 runs March 7-15. Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw.

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