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Terrance Malick set to open SXSW 2017 as the Film Festival announces first run of World Premieres

The 24th annual SXSW Festival has announced its opening night film and a string of world premieres that will help make up the run of screenings that will take the stage in Austin, Texas between March 10th and March 19th, 2017.

Starring today’s Golden Globe winner Ryan Gosling, alongside the likes of Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman and more, Terrence Malick’s anticipated new film Song To Song will be the Opening Night Film, holding its World Premiere at SXSW on Friday March 10th, 2017.

The choice to premiere Song to Song at SXSW seems a natural one; this is a music focused film which had been shot over the last six years or so in the same city – so really, where else by SXSW would Malick premiere the film? Many who frequent Austin’s other festivals like Austin City Limits or the former Fun Fun Fun festival (including this writer) may also remember spotting Malick and the cast filming the movie all the way back in 2012 at both festivals.

“Terrence Malick is a world class revered cinematic poet. His work is a treasure trove of talented actors and vision. Set in the Austin music scene, Song to Song couldn’t be a more perfect Opening Night film for SXSW,” said Janet Pierson, Director of Film. “While these titles are just a taste of what SXSW 2017 will offer, they reflect the range of work we are known for, from newcomers and auteurs to pop entertainment in traditional cinema, episodics and now VR.”

Other festival highlights announced include Eshom and 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, the follow up to their 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.

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods will also hold its world premiere at the festival, 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, January 31st, with the exception of Midnighter features, which will be revealed with the Short Film and VR Program on Tuesday, February 7th.

Here’s a full list of the films announced in the past week:

American Gods (World Premiere)

Director: David Slade, Screenwriters/Showrunners: 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 (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 (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 (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 (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 (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 ‘n’ roll landscape of seduction and betrayal.

Cast: Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman

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.