Leigh Whannell’s Melbourne-shot futuristic thriller Upgrade and Clayton Jacobson’s comedy-drama Brothers’ Nest will have their world premieres at the South by Southwest Conference and Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, next month.
The program announced today also includes two Australian shorts, director/screenwriter Renée Marie Petropoulos’ Tangles and Knots and Hyun Lee’s Asian Girls.
Among the titles which will screen in the Virtual Cinema sidebar are Martin Taylor’s Awake: Episode One, Jonathan Zawada and Mark Pitchard’s Four Worlds, Lester Francois’ Rone, Trent Parke, Narelle Autio and Matthew Bate’s Summation of Force and a collective effort, Parragirls Past, Present – unlocking institutional memories of ‘care.’
Produced by Goalpost Pictures and Blumhouse Productions, Whannell’s Upgrade (formerly Stem) will screen in the Midnighters section, described as scary, funny, sexy, controversial and provocative features for night owls and the terminally curious.
Set in a utopian near-future when technology controls everything, the plot follows a technophobe who avenges his wife’s murder and his own paralysis-causing injury with the help of an experimental computer chip implant – STEM – that turns out to have a mind of its own.
The cast is led by Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, Harrison Gilbertson, Benedict Hardie and Clayton Jacobson. The US distributor, Blumhouse’s multi-platform label BH Tilt, will launch the film on June 1. Madman Entertainment has the Oz rights.
Brothers’ Nest (formerly Sibling Rivalry), which will screen in the Narrative Spotlight, stars Clayton and Shane Jacobson as brothers who arrive at the family home in country Victoria intending to murder their stepfather (Kym Gyngell) as their mother (Lynette Curran) is dying of cancer.
Sarah Snook plays a young woman who turns up at the house looking to buy a horse. The script is by Jamie Browne (The Mule, Secret Daughter, Please Like Me) and the producer is Jason Byrne.
Executive producer Tait Brady tells IF, “It’s the festival we wanted, a great fit for the film.” Brady’s Label is planning a May release. Guardian Entertainment International has the sales rights.
Tangles and Knots is billed as the saga of an intimate, unique bond between mother and daughter which becomes threatened when the mother helps her teenage daughter throw a party to impress new, more popular friends.
Asian Girls centres on Chan, a Chinese factory worker who lives alone. Every night, she suffers from horrific nightmares involving the woman in the apartment next door, a Japanese office lady.
Awake: Episode One (credited to Australia and the US) follows Harry, a prisoner in his own house, who is obsessed with discovering the truth behind a recurring dream and a cryptic message within it. The arrival of a new presence promises to save Harry from his darkness and unlock the potential of humanity’s future.
Four Worlds (also US/Australian) consists of four installations of looping VR experiences augmented with extra sensory stimulation IRL. Each scene is a microcosm of a different environment, accompanied by a soundtrack by Mark Pritchard.
Parragirls Past, Present is described as a deeply moving immersive experience presenting former residents’ contemporary visions of Parramatta Girls Home to unlock memories of institutional ‘care’ within the punitive Australian child welfare system.
Rone profiles street artist Rone, whose large-scale portraits are often seen in forgotten spaces.
In Summation of Force, two brothers battle one another in an otherworldly game of cricket in a black and white live-action study of the motion, physics, and psychology of sport, created by photographers Trent Parke and Narelle Autio in collaboration with filmmaker Matthew Bate.