Film Lists

All the SXSW Movies to Look Out For in Amazon's Free Online Film Festival

People were excited to see these films at SXSW; later this month you'll be able to stream them at home.

When SXSW was officially canceled in early March, dozens of filmmakers were left with nowhere to premiere their movies.

Luckily Amazon has stepped up, offering an online film festival for free to its Prime members (and to people who sign up for a free Prime trial just for this event...). The festival will last ten days and is expected to begin sometime this month. While an official start date and lineup have yet to be announced, it's not too soon to get excited for some new movies at a time when we're all pretty desperate for something to watch. While we'll have to wait and see which ones make Amazon's cut, these are the movies that had people excited for SXSW.

Sh*thouse

Sh*thouse

22-year-old Cooper Raiff wrote, directed, and starred in this coming-of-age romance. Telling the story of two college Freshman struggling to navigate the world away from home, it was made on a shoestring budget. Critics have praised it for its awkward sincerity, and on Tuesday it was announced as the winner of SXSW's Grand Jury prize for Best Narrative Feature.

An Elephant in the Room

An Elephant in the Room

An Elephant in the Room documents the lives of children dealing with the death of one or both parents. Director Katrine Philps takes viewers into the Good Grief community where children learn how to process loss and support one another through life's most difficult experiences. A deeply moving portrait of childhood under trying circumstances, An Elephant in the Room won SXSW's Grand Jury prize for Best Documentary Feature.

Lapsis

Lapsis is a dystopian sci-fi dramedy written and directed by Noah Hutton. The story follows Ray, a down-and-out blue-collar worker from queens who is depserate to earn enough money to treat his brother's obscure medical condition. When Ray gets a new job running cable for a mysterious and shady tech company, things quickly devolve into chaos and violence. Lapsis has earned critical acclaim for its wry humor and meticulous world-building.

Aviva

Aviva

Acclaimed screenwriter and filmmaker Boaz Yakin, well-known for directing Remember the Titans, funded Aviva himself himself to tell a surrealist story that covered questions of gender identity and love, drawing on his real life relationship with his ex-wife. The film has been noted particularly for its use of dance sequences to communicate emotion with the help of choreographer Bobbi Jene Smith.

You Cannot Kill David Arquette

Do you remember David Arquette from Scream? Patricia Arquette's brother? He used to be married to Courtney Cox? Well, he was also in a terrible movie called Ready to Rumble in the year 2000, which he promoted by briefly becoming a professional wrestler and winning the WCW heavyweight championship in a scripted victory that enraged fans. The backlash from that event, along with some other challenges have led to a distinct lull in his career, but he's ready for a comeback. Directed by David Darg and Price James, You Cannot Kill David Arquette documents the 48-year-old actor's attempt to revitalize his career and redeem himself in the world of pro-wrestling and relaunch his career. Even a heart attack (which he had early on in the project) apparently can't stop him.

Topside

Topside

Celine Held and Logan George are a directorial team known for their short films, but in Topside they applied their talents to a feature-length story about a young girl and her mother evicted from their home beneath the streets of New York City, and forced to contend with life above ground. It received SXSW's Special Jury Selection for Directing.

Finding Yingying

Finding Yingying

Finding Yingying documents the disappearance of 26-year-old Xhang Yingying from the University of Illinois, and her family's search for her. Directed by Jiayan "Jenny" Shi, Yingying's former classmate from Nanping, China, Finding Yingying follows the Zhang family's struggle to find out what happened to their daughter and to navigate the American justice system. It received SXSW's special jury recognition for Breakthrough Voice.

Shiva Baby

Shiva Baby is a comedy that follows Danielle, a sex worker sitting shiva with her Jewish family after the death of a family member—though she's not sure which one. Events quickly begin to unravel when Danielle's client shows up at the service and Danielle finds out that there is about his personal life and connection to her father. Writer-director Emma Seligman has earned praise for her debut feature's sharp wit.

I Used to Go Here

I Used to Go Here

I Used to Go Here is a comedy written and directed by Kris Rey and starring Gillian Jacobs and Jemaine Clement. It follows Kate, an author in her mid-30s whose career and personal life are both falling apart. Amid this turmoil, she's invited to return to her old university to do a reading from her mediocre new book and to briefly relive her college years. I Used to go Here was made with The Lonely Island's Party Over Here production company and has been praised for its relatable, cringe-inducing comedy.

Boys State

Boys State

Since 1937 the American Legion has hosted Boys States and Girls states around the US, where young aspiring leaders practice a summer-camp version of politics complete with an election to select their "Governor." Past attendees have gone on to be prominent figures in American politics, including Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney. Boys State follows several participants in Texas' 2018 Boys State event as they form parties—the Federalist and the Nationalist (yikes)—compete for nominations, and ultimately for the governorship. Directors Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss offer views toward possible futures in the American political landscape that are by turns chilling and hopeful.

In & of Itself

In & Of Itself

Frank Oz, the voice and hand behind Kermit and Yoda, is also the talented director responsible for The Dark Crystal and The Muppets Take Manhattan, and What About Bob. His latest feature, In & Of Itself, brings the off-Broadway stage show of magician and storyteller Derek DelGaudio to the screen. Blending dazzling illusions with autobiography and existential musings, In & Of Itself has received praise for tackling complex subjects with the aid of magic show spectacle.

Really Love

Really Love

Really Love is a romantic drama that director Angel Kristi Williams wrote with Felicia Pride. Really Love tells the story passionate artist Isaiah and ambitious, hopelessly romantic Stevie falling in love. Kofi Siriboe and Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing won Special Jury Recognition for Acting for their performances.

Golden Arm

Golden Arm

Golden Arm, directed by Maureen Bharoocha, is a comedy telling the story of an unlikely competitor being trained by her butch best friend to enter the National Ladies Arm Wrestling Championship. Golden Arm has been lauded for transforming the familiar buddy comedy formula as a vehicle for exploring themes of women's empowerment.

The Donut King

The Donut King is the directorial debut of Alice Gu, and it documents the life of Ted Ngoy, a Cambodian refugee who launched a donut craze in California that ended up supporting much of the Cambodian community in that state. The documentary recounts Ngoy's escape from the Khmer Rouge and his early business success, followed by the greed that led to his eventual downfall and return to Cambodia. The film received the Special Jury Recognition for Documentary Storytelling.

She Dies Tomorrow

She Dies Tomorrow

Written and directed by filmmaker Amy Seimetz (Sun Don't Shine and The Girlfriend Experience), She Dies Tomorrow tells a surreal story of contagious self-destruction and mental breakdown—in other words, the perfect movie for our time. As the dazed characters wander LA, the film explores concepts of modern alienation and the dread of mortality in a fragmentary structure that is intentionally disorienting and eerie.

Look out for these films and more to appear on Amazon Prime later this month.

E3

The recent cancellation of E3 2020 is a major bummer for the gaming community, but it's not exactly a surprise.

COVID-19, the coronavirus pandemic (it's official!) currently sweeping the world, is primarily spread from person-to-person. This means that any area where large numbers of people are gathered together—subway cars, office spaces, jam-packed convention centers—are best to be avoided right now. So unfortunately, yes, every major upcoming event you're excited for is almost definitely canceled (or, at the very least, postponed). Oh, and if you don't see the event you're most excited for on this list, don't worry. It will be.

E3

E3 E3

From major sequel reveals to new console previews, E3 announcements shape the gaming industry year after year. But while gamers await E3 news with bated breath, there's no video game that's actually worth risking your upper respiratory system over (except maybe Final Fantasy VII Remake). Besides, it's important to keep in mind that everything planned for E3 will still be revealed later. The PlayStation 5 is still happening, but you can't play it if you're dead.

Emerald City Comic Con

Emerald City comic con ECCC

Seattle's Comic Con has gotten big enough in recent years to warrant a serious stop on any nerd culture enthusiast's yearly circuit, but that also means it's big enough to warrant shutting down over coronavirus. Take solace knowing that the scalpers will need to wait a little longer to get their grubby hands on those sweet exclusives before you're forced to pay them a premium.

Google I/O and pretty much every tech event

Google IO Google

People who work in tech most likely (hopefully) believe in science, so don't expect to be attending any tech conferences during a global pandemic. Not only are dev events like Google I/O canceled, but pretty much every major tech company is also having their employees work from home. Because, you know, they actually care about their employees' health and safety.

Tucson Festival of Books

Tucson Festival of books

Coronavirus can be transmitted through infected surfaces, so books aren't safe either. Okay, that's not actually why the Tucson Festival of Books has been canceled. The problem is still tons of people, many of whom are unlikely to show symptoms even if they're infected, all in one place. But the thought of a ton of people reading books together in the middle of a global health crisis is still kind of amusing.

SXSW, Coachella, and probably every music event for the foreseeable future

Coachella Street Style At The 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 2 Getty Images for Coachella

The film and music industries, both of which heavily revolve around event-based media, are going to be hit especially hard by COVID-19. SXSW is canceled and refusing to refund passholders, putting plenty of budding filmmakers and musical artists in a major financial bind. Coachella is canceled, too, which is probably for the best considering what a hot bed of germs music festivals tend to be, even when there's not a global pandemic. If you're still holding onto any concert tickets at the moment, try to get a refund sooner rather than later.

Movies

James Bond No time to die United Artists Releasing

Speaking of movies, movies are done. You can still go to the theater, sure, but is there any movie that's actually worth risking spreading COVID-19 over? The new James Bond movie, No Time to Die, is even being pushed back. So stay home. Watch Netflix. This is...no time to die.

St. Patrick's Day Parades and also most other cultural events

St patricks day parade Photo via Visit Philadelphia

Watching the St. Patrick's Day Parade is an Irish tradition, which is exactly why the whole thing is being called off this year. If it's allowed to happen, people will go, and if people go, some of them are going to get coronavirus. Looking at people marching while wearing green clothes and shamrock face paint is not worth killing the elderly.

College

Harvard

Pretty much everything can be done online now, and that includes college. Why sit in a classroom full of potentially infected students when you can watch your professor talk onscreen, right from the comfort of your living room? The truth is that people barely need to interact face-to-face anymore, and maybe COVID-19 is here to teach us that waking up and going to a physical building to do work is silly and irrelevant.

Italy

Italy

If you haven't been following world news, here's an important update: Italy has basically shut down due to COVID-19. And if you're in America thinking, "How does that apply to me?" come back in three weeks and let us know. America is about to get hit hard. If you still don't think that's true, we're sorry to inform you, but your stupidity is terminal (for at least 3.4% of the population).

Today, March 6, 2020, Tyler Okonma—best known as Tyler, the Creator—turns 29 years old.

The polymathic rapper first rose to prominence as a founding member of the alternative hip-hop collective, Odd Future, whose debut album was released in 2012. And although multiple members of the now-inactive group have experienced fruitful solo careers—Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt among them—Tyler, the Creator's has arguably left the most recognizable influence. With five studio albums, a clothing line, a music festival, and much more on his resume, Tyler has been cited as a major inspiration to Gen Z icons like Billie Eilish and BROCKHAMPTON's Kevin Abstract.

Occasionally controversial but always a brilliant artist, Tyler has made himself known as not only a masterful musician, but a filterless class clown of the real world. Below, here are nine of Tyler, the Creator's most iconic moments.

A Walking Paradox

With just a cockroach, a noose, and a perspective control lens, Tyler introduced his solo rap career with one of the most unforgettable music videos of the decade (self-directed under his alter ego, Wolf Haley).

MUSIC

From SXSW to Coachella, Will the Coronavirus Kill Live Music in 2020?

With a recent spate of cancellations and mounting fear of an emerging pandemic, the near-future of live music is in doubt.

Getty Images

UPDATE:

Both SXSW and Coachella have been canceled, with the latter beung technically postponed until October. Coachella organizers released a statement on March 10:

At the direction of the County of Riverside and local health authorities, we must sadly confirm the rescheduling of Coachella and Stagecoach due to COVID-19 concerns. While this decision comes at a time of universal uncertainty, we take the safety and health of our guests, staff and community very seriously. We urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials.

Coachella will now take place on October 9, 10 and 11 and October 16, 17 and 18, 2020. Stagecoach will take place on October 23, 24 and 25, 2020. All purchases for the April dates will be honored for the rescheduled October dates. Purchasers will be notified by Friday, March 13 on how to obtain a refund if they are unable to attend.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you in the desert this fall.

Less than a week prior, for the first time in 34 years, SXSW was canceled by the city of Austin, citing public safety concerns over the coronavirus.

There's something so special about seeing music live.

The energy from the crowd all around you. Thousands of bodies pressed together—moving in rhythm, sharing one voice, one breath, and one expanding cloud of viral pathogens…

Is it even really a concert or a music festival if you aren't making forced physical contact with two to five strangers at all times? With fears around the nascent coronavirus pandemic already disrupting tourism—Disney is forecasting tens of millions in losses from drops in park attendance—and leading to the cancellation and closure of various large, public events and venues, the thought of a music festival is starting to seem like a relic of a simpler time.

Louvre Coronavirus Chesnot/Getty Images

All across the globe people are stocking up on dry goods and hand sanitizer and avoiding crowds as much as possible. So-called "self-isolating" is not just for binge-watching TV shows anymore, it's become actual medical advice along with "social distancing," which adds impossible precautions like maintaining six feet of physical distance when navigating public spaces. Tokyo all but canceled their yearly marathon, and it remains to be seen whether the city will be hosting the summer Olympics as planned. While apps and websites launch to help people avoid crowds, the Louvre is finally reopening in Paris this week with added precautions to protect staff and visitors.

In the US, the first real test of the new state of things will be taking place in Austin from March 13-22. South By Southwest—the annual amalgam of music, tech, and media events—is slated to begin next Friday, and it would normally be expected to draw attendance of more than 150,000. But events are already being canceled. Apple confirmed on Wednesday that it will be joining Netflix, Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook in pulling back from scheduled events amid calls to cancel altogether. Meanwhile Austin's Public Health offices released a statement posted on the SXSW website saying that "no health departments in the state have requested the cancellation of any gatherings as the current risk of person-to-person spread in their jurisdictions remains low."

If that statement turns out to be correct—and attendance is not substantially affected by mounting fear and the slew of cancellations—then perhaps Coachella will proceed as normal from April 10-19 in Indo, California. With an impressive lineup including Rage Against the Machine, Frank Ocean, Travis Scott, Run the Jewels, and Lana Del Rey, that's certainly what a lot of people are hoping. But if attendance tanks, or if even one new case of COVID-19 ends up being traced to Austin during SXSW, it seems unlikely that Coachella will take place without some major adjustments.

sxsw SXSW

Some companies are looking at the prospect of monitoring attendee's temperatures at the entrance to festivals, but there is reason to believe that this method has limited value, and with people practically living on top of each other for days on end—breathing the same air and swapping all manner of fluids—even one sociable carrier could quickly lead to a mass outbreak among nearly 100,000 daily attendees at Coachella. The venue has already proven to be an impressive petri dish for other diseases. Now imagine the Japanese cruise ship quarantine, except it's a crowd of underdressed Instagram influencers sharing not enough porta-potties.

Inside China, the rate of new infections is rapidly dropping. If that trend extends to the rest of the world, then perhaps there won't be a need for concern much longer. But if new cases continue to crop up as they have in California, Washington, New York and elsewhere, will bands even be willing to perform in mass venues? What if conditions worsen? Already, some live performances have been converted to livestreams from empty venues. Will that be the model for live performances in 2020?

There is an outside chance that as the seasons change the threat of the coronavirus may recede (or migrate to the southern hemisphere), in which case current concerns about the death of live music may be overblown. If the incidence rate drops in time for the Bonnaroo, Governors Ball, and Lollapalooza, then maybe live music can survive this brush with modern pestilence. On the other hand, if vaccine research doesn't proceed at a rapid pace, outbreaks could recur just in time for the fall and Austin City Limits from October 2-11. Tough year for Austin...

For anyone who's already committed to a crowded public event, the best advice is just to be aware of your vulnerabilities, to keep your hands clean, and to cough into the crook of your elbow. Also, use a condom. Good luck.

MUSIC

American Authors Begin a New Chapter with "Before I Go" Music Video

The band begins a new chapter with a fearless announcement of what it means to be human.

American Authors

Press Photo

American Authors just released the music video for "Before I Go," shot at drummer Matt Sanchez's wedding last October.

"Before I Go" is from the band's most recent album, Seasons, which has accumulated 30 million streams on Spotify, along with millions more on other platforms.

Based in Brooklyn, American Authors is made up of Zac Barnett (vocals), James Adam Shelley (guitar, banjo), Dave Rublin (bass), and Matt Sanchez (drums). In 2012, after changing their name from the Blue Pages to American Authors, they signed with Mercury Records and released their debut single, "Believer," earning well-deserved attention. Their follow-up single, "Best Day of My Life," went triple-platinum and launched the band to galactic success, appearing everywhere: television, movies, video games, and sporting events.

American Authors - Before I Go youtu.be

Since then, American Authors have dropped three albums, Oh, What A Life, What We Live For, and Seasons, resulting in sold-out shows around the world, as well as performances at Lollapalooza, Firefly Music Festive, BottleRock, Reading Festival, and the Leeds Festival, Pukkelpop, SXSW, and Polartec Big Air.

"Before I Go" opens with muted colors topped by Barnett's sensitive rasping vocals, infusing the tune with genuine warmth. Choirlike harmonies give the music a glowing radiance. The pop-flavored alt-rock melody is awash with yearning optimism and poignant lyrics: "I hope I find a peace of mind / In all of my woes / I hope the rain, it brings a light / To my broken soul / I hope I lose myself in the city / But…"

"Before I Go" rides bright hues full of emotions and a sense of imminent greatness, as a new chapter unfolds for the band.

Follow American Authors Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

TV

Watch Kate McKinnon Play an Evil Queen in New 'Heads Will Roll' Audio Series Teasers

In her new audio-only musical fantasy series, out on Audible tomorrow, Kate McKinnon pokes fun at evil-queen tropes.

Fairy tales about royals have been told and retold since time immemorial—so hopefully Kate McKinnon and her team can put a fresh 21st-century spin on the old trope of the bitter queen.

The first episode of her new audio fantasy series, Heads Will Roll, which debuts on Audible tomorrow, appears to be doing just that.

Though Heads Will Roll will primarily be an audio-only endeavor, it released its first promotional video clip today. Appearing in full-on evil queen regalia, McKinnon ominously announces some poor victim's impending beheading—but then struggles with the phrasing of that archetypical evil queen catchphrase, "Off with your head," trying out various emphases and inflections on different words before apologizing to the victim in question. "He doesn't want to hear this," she coos. "The guillotine's that way!"

Heads Will Roll www.youtube.com

The series stars McKinnon as a malevolent monarch and her sister, Emily Lynne, as a scatterbrained minion. It appears to poke fun at tired tropes of the evil queen and the hero's journey while also relishing in their theatrical value. In terms of plot, the story focuses on McKinnon's character, Queen Mortuana of the Night Realm, who catches wind of a potential peasant uprising and realizes that in order to put down the rebellion, she and her assistant JoJo (played by Lynne) must go on a quest to find the mystical "Shard of Acquiescence."

Regarding the series' podcast format, McKinnon told Variety, "Broadway Video was partnering with Audible, which I thought was very exciting, because we both are huge, insane podcast fanatics. I find that I can no longer sit in silence or walk anywhere in silence, which is actually a problem. So we wanted to hop on board this new thing that's happening." She also informed Jimmy Fallon, "We're living in the golden age and the renaissance of scripted audio."

Kate McKinnon's Heads Will Roll Is a Veep-Meets-Game of Thrones Sitcom for the Ear youtu.be

True to form, the show also released an audio clip from the series, which features a soothsayer, voiced by Sudi Green, telling McKinnon that she will need to find the "Shard" in question in order to continue ruling over her kingdom—but first, she has a few other predictions. "Tonight you will eat oatmeal," the soothsayer shrieks. "Perhaps tonight you will jack off!" In truth, the whole clip is profoundly cringeworthy—but hopefully, the whole series contains a bit more nuance and provokes a few more laughs. Hopefully, it also offers some queer delights; for, as a society, we would all benefit immeasurably from a fairytale that ends with an evil queen marrying a fairy godmother.

The fact that the Fab Five from Queer Eye will be making an appearance bodes well for this. Other stars who will appear on Heads Will Roll include Meryl Streep, Peter Dinklage, Audra McDonald, Bob the Drag Queen, and Tim Gunn. Some of McKinnon's SNL co-stars—such as Aidy Bryant, Alex Moffat, Heidi Gardner, and Chris Redd—have also lent their voices. When Fallon asked about how she recruited all of these stars for her show, McKinnon said, "Threats. Violent threats."

SXSW 2019 Heads Will Roll Event Walkthrough www.youtube.com

When asked about her inspiration for the project, McKinnon said, "I always wanted to do something about a Maleficent-style evil queen, who's having a little bit of a crisis of conscience or wondering if she really wants to be in charge or not. We both grew up obsessed with Disney, and obsessed with fairy tales, and obsessed with Shelley Duvall's '"Faerie Tale Theatre.'" We love fairy tales, and we love fantasy. We just thought if we could combine that with the foibles of modern existence, then we could make something fun."

As one of comedy's brightest talents, and also as a lesbian icon, McKinnon yet to disappoint. Catch Heads Will Roll on Audible when it debuts tomorrow, May 2.


Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.


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