Terrence Malick Film to Open SXSW

Ryan Gosling pic about the music industry filmed at ACL, Fun Fun Fun

Today’s announcement of seven world premieres scheduled to play at South by Southwest 2017 includes the news that Terrence Malick’s Song to Song, a love story set against the Austin music scene, has been selected as the March 10 opening night film. The film festival runs March 10-19.

Song to Song

You might remember hearing buzz around town about the Malick film, although under the different working titles Lawless and Weightless. Several spottings of Malick and crew were noted during 2011 and 2012 at local music festivals such as ACL and Fun Fun Fun Fest. The director, recently prolific following years of screen silence, was seen filming with stars including Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Val Kilmer, and Natalie Portman. It’s hard to think of a more appropriate film to open the local music and media festival.

Other world premieres announced today include Eshom & Ian Nelms’ hybrid action thriller with dark humor, Small Town Crime; Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen’s lyrical portrait of a tiny hill town in Tuscany Spettacolo, their second feature after the award-winning Marwencol; first-time filmmaker Jennifer Reeder’s coming-of-age Muslim melodrama Signature Move starring Fawzia Mirza; and Latin American phenomenon René Pérez Joglar’s chronicle of his global exploration of his genetic roots in Residente.

SXSW’s Episodic section – a sidebar with a focus on television storytelling, a concentration that has now become commonplace at film festivals, although SXSW Director of Film Janet Pierson was the first to pioneer it – features the world premiere of Neil Gaiman’s hotly anticipated American Gods, directed by David Slade. The first of many projects in SXSW Film’s new VR/AR strand is Viacom NEXT’s The Melody of Dust, an invitation inside the tortured mind of an artist.

The complete film festival lineup will be announced Tuesday, Jan. 31, with the exception of Midnighter features, which will be revealed with the Short Film and VR Program on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Previously announced keynotes and featured speakers include Lee Daniels, Gareth Edwards, Kathryn Hahn, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Jill Soloway, and more.

The films announced today are listed below.

American Gods
American Gods (World Premiere)
Director: David Slade, Screenwriters: Bryan Fuller, Michael Green
Adapted from Neil Gaiman's award-winning novel, American Gods follows Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) and Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) in a magical world where a battle is brewing between the Old Gods and the New Gods.
The Melody of Dust
The Melody of Dust (World Premiere)
Director: Viacom NEXT
A musical journey for the HTC Vive. Explore a mysterious world where every object contains a unique melody. Featuring original musical compositions by Hot Sugar, this experience brings you inside the tortured mind of a musician.
Residente
Residente (World Premiere)
Director: René Pérez Joglar
After taking a DNA test, Latin America’s most decorated artist, Rene Perez (aka Residente), embarks on a global adventure, to trace the footsteps of his ancestors and record his latest album.
Signature Move

Signature Move (World Premiere)
Director: Jennifer Reeder, Screenwriters: Fawzia Mirza, Lisa Donato
A secret new romance with Alma forces Zaynab to confront her complicated relationship with her recently widowed mother. In this coming-of-age Muslim melodrama, Zaynab copes by taking up Lucha-style wrestling.
Cast: Fawzia Mirza, Shabana Azmi, Sari Sanchez, Audrey Francis, Charin Alvarez, Mark Hood, Molly Brennan
Small Town Crime
Small Town Crime (World Premiere)
Directors/Screenwriters: Eshom Nelms, Ian Nelms
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.
Cast: John Hawkes, Anthony Anderson, Octavia Spencer, Robert Forster, Clifton Collins, Jr.
Song to Song
Song to Song (World Premiere)
Director: Terrence Malick
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 & roll landscape of seduction and betrayal.
Cast: Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman
Spettacolo
Spettacolo (World Premiere)
Directors: Jeff Malmberg, Chris Shellen, Screenwriter: Chris Shellen
For the past 50 years, the villagers of a tiny hill town in Tuscany have turned their lives into a play that the entire town writes and performs. "Spettacolo" is a portrait of this tradition through the eyes of the last man trying to keep it alive.

Keep up with all our SXSW coverage at austinchronicle.com/sxsw. Sign up for our South By-specific newsletter at austinchronicle.com/newsletters for news, reviews, and previews delivered to your inbox every day of the Fest. And for the latest tweets, follow @ChronSXSW.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

SXSW Film 2017, Song to Song, Terrence Malick, Small Town Crime, Eshom and Ian Nelms, Jeff Malmberg and Chris Shellen, Spettacolo, Jennifer Reeder, Signature Move, René Pérez Joglar, Residente, Neil Gaiman, American Gods, David Slade, Viacom NEXT, The Melody of Dust, Ryan Gosling

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