Pee-wee Herman, Jeff Nichols’ Sci-Fi drama and Tony Robbins among early SXSW Film Festival announcements

Ahead of the 23rd annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference Festival in Austin, Texas this March, a handful of films set to screen have been revealed, including four World Premieres.

This includes Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, directed by John Lee and produced by Judd Apatow and Paul Reubens featuring Pee-wee Herman on a new adventure, produced for Netlix; Jeff Nichols’ hotly-anticipated Sci-Fi drama Midnight Special, featuring Michael Shannon, Australia’s Joel Edgerton, and Kirsten DunstJoe Berlinger’s powerful behind the scenes look at the renowned life and business strategist in Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru; Irene Taylor Brodsky’s Beware the Slenderman, a searing expose on murder and internet memes; Athina Rachel Tsangari’s irresistibly witty and festival favorite Chevalier; and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s episodic supernatural thriller, the comic book adaptation of Preacher. These films join the previously announced opening night film, Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some, with dozens and dozens more still to be announced…

Janet Pierson, Head of SXSW Film, said this on the brief announcement, “Though we are still in the thick of programming, each year we release a handful of films to provide an early peek into the festival. These smart, stylish, and diverse offerings from some of the most exciting talent working today reflect what the SXSW audiences have come to expect: great stories, well told. Audiences are in for a wild ride.”

In addition to nine full days of film screenings, the SXSW Film Conference will feature over 500 sessions, with Featured Speakers set to include Jake GyllenhaalSarah Green and Kerry Washington, plus panels, workshops and mentor sessions. Expect plenty more announcements on that front as we get closer to the event.

The rest of the Feature Films (with the exception of Midnighters) will be announced on Tuesday, February 2. Midnighters, Short Films and Music Videos will be announced on Tuesday, February 9.

The 2016 SXSW Film Festival will feature:

a film still from "Fathom," a Slenderman story directed by Justin Jones A girl runs away with Slenderman in this scene from one of his many mythical online videos.  Readily available and mistaken for truth, the tales of Slenderman influenced two twelve-year-old girls in Wisconsin to attack their best friend in his honor.
A film still from “Fathom,” a Slenderman story directed by Justin Jones. A girl runs away with Slenderman in this scene from one of his many mythical online videos. Readily available and mistaken for truth, the tales of Slenderman influenced two twelve-year-old girls in Wisconsin to attack their best friend in his honor.

Beware the Slenderman (World Premiere)
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?

Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari, Screenwriters: Efthimis Filippou, Athina Rachel Tsangari
Cast: Yorgos Kentros, Panos Koronis, Vangelis Mourikis, Makis Papadimitriou, Yorgos Pirpassopoulos, Sakis Rouvas

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. (Greece)

Photo by Ben Rothstein (L-R) JOEL EDGERTON as Lucas, MICHAEL SHANNON as Roy, JAEDEN LIEBERHER as Alton and KIRSTEN DUNST as Sarah in director Jeff Nichols’ sci-fi thriller Midnight Special, a presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures in association with Faliro House Productions.

Midnight Special (North American Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Jaeden Lieberher, Sam Shepard

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.

Pee-wee’s Big Holiday (World Premiere)
Director: John Lee, Screenwriters: Paul Reubens, Paul Rust
Cast: Paul Reubens, Joe Manganiello, Jessica Pohly, Alia Shawkat, Stephanie Beatriz

In the Netflix film 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.

Preacher (World Premiere)
Directors: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Screenwriter: Sam Catlin
Cast: Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joseph Gilgun, Ian Colletti, W. Earl Brown, Lucy Griffiths

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.

Courtesy of Third Eye Motion Picture Company. Tony Robbins at his annual Date with Destiny Seminar.

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru (World Premiere)
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.



SXSW Film Conference and Festival 2016 takes place March 11-19 in Austin, TX. For more details head to Note that pass rates will increase Friday, January 15th (US time).


Headline Image: Photo by Glen Wilson; A scene from the Netflix original film Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.