2021 Film Festival Announces Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil as Opening Night Headliner & More

A preview of the 28th annual SXSW Film Festival is here. We cannot wait to share the innovative and timely pieces in store this spring including the World Premiere of Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil as our opening night headliner directed by Michael D. Ratner. Other highlights are Hysterical, Confronting a Serial Killer, The Hunt for Planet B, Jakob’s Wife, Luchadoras, Recovery, and Violet.

“It’s impressive and rare to see a pop superstar tell their story so authentically and without pretense,” said Janet Pierson, Director of Film. “We’re privileged to present this intimate journey told with such vulnerability. Demi Lovato’s profound interest in mental health awareness is helping change the landscape of a crucial issue in this year of national and international trauma and loss.”

“We are excited to share a handful of films from various sections of the festival (Headliners, Episodic Premieres, Doc and Narrative Spotlight, Midnighters, Global, 24 Beats Per Second, 2020 Spotlight) to give you a taste of the talent, risk-taking, passion, and achievements that we will be announcing in early February and share together online in March,” added Pierson.

This year, the acclaimed program will be online, where it will draw thousands of fans, filmmakers, press, and industry leaders to immerse themselves in Film Screenings, Conference Sessions, Music Showcases, Online Exhibitions, Mentoring, Meetups and Special Events that define the cross-industry event.

The complete film festival lineup will be announced Wednesday, February 10 and the 2021 online platform will launch on February 15. Register today to join us from March 16-20, 2021 for SXSW Online.

Highlights from the 2021 SXSW Film Festival

SXSW 2021 Film Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil

Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil
Director: Michael D. Ratner
Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil is a powerful YouTube Originals documentary event, exploring every aspect that led to Lovato’s nearly fatal overdose in 2018, and her awakenings in the aftermath. (World Premiere) (Headliners)

SXSW 2021 Film Confronting a Serial Killer

Confronting A Serial Killer
Director: Joe Berlinger, Showrunner: Po Kutchins
Joe Berlinger’s newest docuseries Confronting a Serial Killer follows reporter Jillian Lauren who lures the most prolific serial killer in American history — Sam Little. The series will follow their unsettling and unlikely relationship. (World Premiere) (Episodic Premiere)

SXSW 2021 Film The Hunt for Planet B

The Hunt for Planet B
Director: Nathaniel Kahn
The Hunt for Planet B follows a diverse group of scientists on a quest to find another Earth among the stars. From the hi-bays of NASA to the edge of the universe and the bottom of the sea, the film offers a way to see our own planet with new eyes. (World Premiere) (Documentary Spotlight)

SXSW 2021 Film Hysterical

Hysterical
Director: Andrea Nevins
Hysterical is an honest and hilarious backstage pass into the lives of some of stand-up comedy’s most boundary-breaking women, exploring the hard-fought journey to become the voices of their generation and their gender. Featuring Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster, Rachel Feinstein, Marina Franklin, Nikki Glaser, Judy Gold, Kathy Griffin, Jessica Kirson, Sherri Shepherd, Iliza Shlesinger and more. Available on FX in 2021. (World Premiere) (Documentary Spotlight)

SXSW 2021 Film Jakob's Wife

Jakob’s Wife
Director: Travis Stevens, Screenwriters: Travis Stevens, Kathy Charles, Mark Steensland
The disappearance of a young woman threatens to change the beige and banal lives of Anne Fedder (Barbara Crampton) and her pastor husband Jakob Fedder (Larry Fessenden) forever. Cast List: Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Bonnie Aarons, Mark Kelly, Sarah Lind, Robert Rusler, Nyisha Bell, Phil Brooks (World Premiere) (Midnighters)

SXSW 2021 Film Luchadoras

Luchadoras (Germany/Mexico)
Directors: Paola Calvo, Patrick Jasim, Screenwriters: Patrick Jasim, Paola Calvo, Phillip Kaminiak
Luchadoras portrays the courageous female wrestlers of Ciudad Juárez, a city known for its high murder rate against women — who fight in the ring and in their daily lives to redefine the image of what it means to be a woman in Mexico. (World Premiere) (Global)

SXSW 2021 Film Poly Styrene- I Am a Cliché

Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Director: Celeste Bell, Paul Sng, Screenwriters: Celeste Bell, Zoë Howe, Paul Sng
The death of punk icon and X-Ray Spex frontwoman Poly Styrene sends her daughter on a journey across the world and through her mother’s archives to reconcile their fraught relationship. (North American Premiere) (24 Beats Per Second)

SXSW 2021 Film Recovery

Recovery
Director: Mallory Everton, Stephen Meek, Screenwriters: Whitney Call, Mallory Everton
Two directionless sisters brave a cross-country road trip to rescue their grandmother from a COVID outbreak at her nursing home. Cast: Whitney Call, Mallory Everton, Anne Sward Hansen, Julia Jolley, Baylee Thornock, Jessica Drolet, Stephen Meek, Tyler Andrew Jones, Tori Pence, Dora McDonald (World Premiere) (Narrative Spotlight)

SXSW 2021 Film Violet

Violet
Director/Screenwriter: Justine Bateman
A film development executive realizes that the “guiding voice” inside her head has been lying to her about everything. Cast List: Olivia Munn, Luke Bracey, Justin Theroux (World Premiere) (2020 Spotlight)

Join Us for SXSW Online 2021

Register for SXSW Online, a digital experience from March 16-20, 2021. As part of our 2021 offerings, SXSW Online will feature conference keynotes and sessions, film screenings, music showcases, networking, and exhibitions. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook for the latest SX news.

$149 SXSW Online Passes Nearly Sold Out

By Hailey Hess

01/14/2021

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