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SXSW plots in-person film fest with ‘Atlanta’, ‘Lost City’

Jake Coyle

NEW YORK (AP) – After the pandemic forced the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival to turn virtual the last two years, the Austin, Texas, festival is plotting a largely in-person event this March that will feature the premieres of the third season of Donald Glover’s Atlanta, the latest from Richard Linklater and the Sandra Bullock-Channing Tatum comedy The Lost City.

SXSW announced its slate of 99 feature films, including 76 world premieres, on Wednesday.

All of those films, organisers said, will have in-person premieres. Films that choose to will also have online screenings for badge holders the following day.

In the first days of the pandemic in the United States (US), the 2020 edition of SXSW was cancelled just a week before it was to begin. An online component was later presented. Last year, the festival was held entirely virtually.

“The last two years have been complicated, and full of uncharted new waters for all of us.

SXSW Interactive and Film Festival attendees crowd the Austin Convention Centre on March 9, 2013. FILE PHOTO: AP

While there’s been innovation in building community in isolation and figuring out how to pivot, we’ve intensely missed being able to gather together,” said Janet Pierson, director of film for SXSW, in a statement. “For our 29th edition of SXSW Film Festival, we are thrilled to share a bounty of creative work to experience together, in-person, with some virtual possibilities, as well.”

Premieres will include Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood, Linklater’s coming-of-age tale set in Houston 1969. Its cast includes Jack Black, Zachary Levi and Glen Powell.

Closing night will be the long-awaited debut of the third season of FX’s Atlanta. After a hiatus of almost four years, the first two episodes of the series are set to air March 24.

Other premieres include the party-gone-wrong slasher film Bodies Bodies Bodies, with Amandla Stenberg, Pete Davidson and Maria Bakalova; the Nic Cage action comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent and the earlier announced opening-night film, Everything Everywhere All at Once, a sci-fi adventure starring Michelle Yeoh.

The SXSW Film Festival runs on March 11-20.