A guide to the SXSW 2017 film categories


This year’s prestigious South by Southwest Film Festival boasts a huge roster of brave new stories and perspectives. It will be impossible to catch all the films, documentaries and shorts that will be screened, so the Daily Texan has a breakdown of the film categories to help you decide which ones to catch.
If you’re looking for big names and big premieres, the Headliner screenings are the place to be. Terrence Malick will open the festival with Austin-based romance “Song to Song,” while action comedy “Free Fire” will bring laughs and violence with an all-star cast led by Brie Larson and Sharlto Copley. Other big pictures include Edgar Wright’s crime comedy “Baby Driver” and Wolf Alice documentary “On the Road.”

Narrative Feature Competition and Narrative Spotlight
Out of 1,407 submissions, 10 fantastic films were selected to premiere. From the emotionally challenging “A Critically Endangered Species” to the dark crime drama “Like Me,” these pictures are some of the most impactful and meaningful films the festival has to offer.

Documentary Feature Competition and Documentary Spotlight
The 10 films of the Documentary Feature Competition will prove real stories can be just as exciting as fiction. Witness  Chinese students’ cultural shock at a boarding school in Maine in “Maineland,” or follow the family of an unarmed man gunned down by police seek justice in “The Blood is at the Doorstep.”

Junkies for the bold and the daring need look no further than SXSW’s Visions category, which features some of the most intriguing and unique entries of the festival. Among them are the narrative/documentary hybrid “Becoming Bond,” the story of how George Lazenby became James Bond for only one film, and the fantasy drama “Sylvio” which tracks the exploits of a small-town gorilla on a journey to discover his own identity.

The Midnighters category is a cocktail of comedy, horror and sex, and, as the category suggests, these films premiere at midnight. Stay up late to check out “68 Kill,” a crime centered around a femme fatale, or “The Honor Farm,” a prom night horror flick.

Netflix and chill with SXSW’s Episodic screenings, which focus on the latest exciting TV productions. Dark fantasy “American Gods,” adapted from Neil Gaiman’s award-winning novel, and “The Son,” a multigenerational family drama led by Pierce Brosnan, are poised to make big splashes.

24 Beats Per Second
Get into the  rhythm with the films of 24 Beats Per Second, which will showcase the influence of music on pop culture. Documentaries include “As I Walk Through The Valley,” a picture that sheds light on the underground music scene in the southern Texas border region, and “A Life in Waves,” the biography of electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani. Among the narrative features is “Patti Cake$,” a drama about an aspiring rapper.

The films of Global will open windows to places beyond our borders with a selection of narrative films and documentaries. You can head to Colombia through, “Bad Lucky Goat,” a drama about two siblings, or watch the trials and tribulations of high school wrestlers in Germany in the documentary “Win By Fall.”

Festival Favorites
Catch up on acclaimed films that have already premiered at other festivals around the world. Experience the thrills in comedic monster film “Colossal,” starring Anne Hathaway, or dive into the making of the iconic shower scene of “Psycho” in the documentary “78/52.”