The 2013 South By Southwest Film Festival comes to a close on Saturday night with a screening of the upcoming Fox Searchlight indie thriller "The East." Since kicking off on March 8 with the premiere of "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," SXSW has screened more than 130 features and shorts and hosted numerous panels. Who and what were the biggest winners of the Austin-based festival of cool? Here are five to consider.
Brie Larson was everywhere during the 2013 SXSW Film Festival. The actress had a supporting role in two highly anticipated features ("The Spectacular Now" and "Don Jon") and directed her own short. It's the leading role she plays in "Short Term 12," however, that has everyone talking. "I kept bumping up against this weird thing where I couldn't imagine myself being the lead of something. I didn't buy it, so I didn't think anybody else would," Larson, 23, told HuffPost Entertainment at SXSW. "Then when I got this script I realized that it's just like anything else. It's a really great feeling when you feel like you're doing something that nobody else can do." Expect to read a lot about Larson's layered and subtle performance throughout the rest of 2013.
To be fair, Shailene Woodley enjoyed a breakout in 2011 when she almost scored an Oscar nod for her supporting turn in "The Descendants." Yet anyone who thought her performance was a fluke would be wise to check out "The Spectacular Now" when A24 releases the film in August. Woodley steals the James Ponsoldt film from co-stars like Miles Teller, Kyle Chandler and the aforementioned Ms. Larson by playing a teenager falling in love for the first time. (That's no easy task, either, as the entire cast is wonderful.) It's a role that is easily comparable to Ione Skye's Diane Court in "Say Anything," but Woodley makes it her own with a heartbreaking sweetness. Speaking of A24 ...
The upstart studio responsible for releasing "The Spectacular Now" made a splash at SXSW with that film and "Spring Breakers." Harmony Korine's fever dream is out in limited release right now (and screens nationwide starting on March 22), but the buzz surrounding the film was deafening in Austin. The film's U.S. premiere drew some of the largest crowds ever at the festival; a later showing on Thursday night was filled an hour before its scheduled starting time. All of which is to say, the studio made the wise choice of using SXSW to explode the "Spring Breakers" buzz, something that could pay off in ticket sales over the rest of this month.
Beyond starring in two SXSW premieres (the not incredible "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" and the enjoyable "Drinking Buddies"), Olivia Wilde appeared on a panel about movie marketing in the digital age and revealed, in part, why she's having a moment. "[Twitter] has dramatically changed my relationship to my fans and my relationship to film marketing," she told Vanity Fair. "People said, 'Oh, I didn't think you were funny at all but then I read you on Twitter and it made me laugh.'" Should "Drinking Buddies" get theatrical distribution in the near future, Wilde will also have audiences laughing in the theater.
Because of a rights issue, Danny Boyle wasn't able to premiere his twisty noir thriller "Trance" at SXSW. No matter: The Oscar-winning director sat down for an hour-long interview with New York Times media reporter David Carr, wherein he managed to spoil a good chunk of his film's ending with an extra-long clip. "There is an amnesia effect when a movie starts," Boyle said about the spoiler. "Hopefully that will happen when you see it." As if that weren't charming enough, Boyle also broke news about another "Trainspotting" movie and managed to act as DJ during a "Trance" after-party. Not a bad trip to Austin; we just hope he had time for some barbecue.