The first selected programming has been announced for the 2017 SXSW Film Festival. Of note, given this blog’s stated interests, is the World Premiere of Starz’s upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed contemporary fantasy novel, “American Gods,” which stars Ricky Whittle as Shadow Moon.
The series cast also includes Orlando Jones (Mr. Nancy), Demore Barnes (Mr. Ibis), Yetide Badaki (Bilquis), Emily Browning (Laura Moon), Pablo Schreiber (Mad Sweeney), Ian McShane (Mr. Wednesday), Bruce Langley (Technical Boy), Crispin Glover (Mr. World), Jonathan Tucker (Low Key Lyesmith), Gillian Anderson (Media), Peter Stormare (Czernobog), and Cloris Leachman (Zorya Vechernyaya).
The series plot posits a war brewing between old and new gods: the traditional gods of mythological roots from around the world steadily losing believers to an upstart pantheon of gods reflecting society’s modern love of money, technology, media, celebrity and drugs. Its protagonist, Shadow Moon, is an ex-con who becomes bodyguard and traveling partner to Mr. Wednesday, a conman but in reality one of the older gods, on a cross-country mission to gather his forces in preparation to battle the new deities.
Starz hasn’t announced an official premiere date yet, but “American Gods” is expected to debut this year.
Also of note on the SXSW announcement today is a thriller titled “Small Town Crime” (also making its World Premiere), from directors/screenwriters Eshom and Ian Nelms.
Starring John Hawkes, Anthony Anderson, Octavia Spencer, Robert Forster, and Clifton Collins, Jr., the film follows ex-cop Mike Kendall who finds the body of a young woman and, in an act of self-redemption, becomes hellbent on finding her killer, putting his family in danger.
No word on what roles Octavia Spencer and Anthony Anderson play.
The rest of the first SXSW 2017 announcement follows below; the complete film festival lineup will be announced Tuesday, January 31, with the exception of Midnighter features, which will be revealed with the Short Film Program on Tuesday, February 7.
The 2017 SXSW Film Festival will feature:
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, Malic White, Jasmine McNealy, Molly Callinan
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.