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SXSW 2014: Opening Night Premieres

The Frontier
The Frontier
It's Terrific Pictures

SXSW kicks off tonight with an eclectic mix of features, documentaries and short films at multiple venues in Austin, TX.

Highlights include the premiere of Jon Favreau's "Chef" and Jason Bateman's "Bad Words" as well as documentaries such as "The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz" and "That Guy Dick Miller."

The comedy "Chef" also features Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman and Robert Downey Jr.

Favreau plays Carl, a chef who loses his job and decides to launch a food truck business, while attempting to reunite his estranged family.

Click on the slideshow to see a quick list of some of this year's Opening Night films premiering at SXSW.

For more about the festival go to: www.sxsw.com

The Desert
The Desert SXSW

The Desert

Axel, Jonathan and Ana live together in a house that seems like a bunker in a post-catastrophic world. Outside is a threatening landscape. Once they were a perfect love triangle, with strong bonds of friendship, but today nothing is left of it. Ana is with Jonathan and Axel is alone, bit by bit tattooing his body with flies. But everything changes when Axel and Jonathan go out on an expedition in search of provisions and return to the house with a zombie that they call Pythagoras.

That Guy Dick Miller
That Guy Dick Miller SXSW

That Guy Dick Miller

Dick Miller is the last of the great American character actors. Whether sharing the screen with Nicholson, DeNiro, Schwarzenegger or The Ramones, Dick has been stealing scenes since his screen debut in 1955. He has worked with some of the great directors: Scorsese, Corman, Fuller, Dante, Cameron, Demme and more. Every moviegoer knows his face, but few know his name and even fewer know his story; an aspiring writer turned accidental actor. For the first time, Dick Miller has allowed filmmakers incredible access to his life and home for this funny and unexpected story. Joining him are the directors, producers, co-stars and friends who have helped make him Hollywood's leading "that guy".

The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz SXSW

The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

The story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz's help in the development of RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz's groundbreaking work in political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26.

Take Care
Take Care SXSW

Take Care

"Take Care" is a comedy about a woman (Leslie Bibb), who returns home from the hospital after getting hit by a car, only to realize no one wants to take care of her. After being brushed off by her sister, (Nadia Dajani), best friend, (Marin Ireland) and neighbor, (Michael Stahl-David) she reluctantly asks an ex-boyfriend, (Thomas Sadoski) to help her.

Chef
Chef SXSW

Chef

When Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman), he is left to figure out what’s next. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), his friend (John Leguizamo) and his son (Emjay Anthony) to launch a food truck. Taking to the road, Chef Carl goes back to his roots to reignite his passion for the kitchen -- and zest for life and love.

Bad Words
Bad Words SXSW

Bad Words

Jason Bateman ("Identity Thief") makes his feature directorial debut with the subversive comedy Bad Words.

In the movie, he stars as Guy Trilby, a 40-year-old who finds a loophole in the rules of The Golden Quill national spelling bee and decides to cause trouble by hijacking the competition.
Contest officials, outraged parents, and overly ambitious 8th graders are no match for Guy, who zealously plays to win the prize money at stake, outpacing the pre-teen field in match after match. While reporter Jenny Widgeon (Kathryn Hahn of "We’re the Millers") attempts to discover his true motivation, Guy finds himself forging an unlikely alliance with a competitor: awkward 10-year-old Chaitanya Chopra (Rohan Chand of "Homeland"), who is completely unfazed by Guy’s take-no-prisoners approach to life.

The Dog
The Dog SXSW

The Dog

In 1972, John Wojtowicz attempted to rob a Brooklyn bank to pay for his lover’s sex change operation. The story was the basis for the film "Dog Day Afternoon". "The Dog" captures John, for the first time, telling his story in his own unique, offensive, hilarious and heartbreaking way.

She's Lost Control
She's Lost Control SXSW

She's Lost Control

Fiercely independent and in her mid-30s, Ronah works as a sexual surrogate in New York City, teaching her clients the very thing they fear most -- to be intimate. Her life unravels when she starts working with a volatile new client, Johnny. "She's Lost Control" explores the thin, ever-blurring line between professional and personal intimacy in the modern world.

The Infinite Man
The Infinite Man SXSW

The Infinite Man

Dean is an inventive yet unorthodox scientist who uses his technical expertise to create grand romantic gestures for his girlfriend Lana. After an anniversary weekend goes terribly wrong, a guilt-ridden Dean is spurred to his greatest scientific achievement yet: the invention of time travel. However, what begins as a simple desire to change the past and create the perfect weekend soon leads to a tightening spiral of multiple “Deans”, each one in competition with the next. And any attempts at romantic reconciliation are further complicated when Dean loses Lana in a recurring temporal loop, and must overcome his many selves in order to save her.

Wetlands
Wetlands SXSW

Wetlands

She experiments with vegetables while masturbating and thinks body hygiene is greatly overrated. She shocks those around her by speaking her mind in a most unladylike manner on topics that many people wouldn’t dare to think of: meet Helen Memel!
Helen is a handful for her divorced parents, yet she longs to see her family reunited. She only feels truly at home with her friend and soul mate Corinna, as they break one social taboo after another.
One day Helen has an intimate shaving accident and ends up in hospital. She makes waves throughout the hospital with her fierce wit and candid manner. Helen sees a chance to reconcile her parents at her sickbed and finds an ally in her male nurse.

Thank You a Lot
Thank You a Lot SXSW

Thank You a Lot

Jack Hand is a two-bit hustler and bottom-rung music manager with a questionable reputation. His dwindling social circle is made up of his only remaining clients; a hip-hop artist and an indie rock band. Jack's next best asset is his talented but estranged musician father, James Hand, a highly respected and reclusive songwriter whose legacy goes a long way in a music town like Austin. Jack is forced by his management company to sign his musician father to a management deal or lose his job and threaten the livelihood of his only friends. Jack hustles his way through a vibrant and diverse music scene as he struggles to keep his clients and create a bond with his estranged father.

The Case Against 8
The Case Against 8 SXSW

The Case Against 8

A behind-the-scenes look inside the historic case to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage. The high-profile trial first makes headlines with the unlikely pairing of Ted Olson and David Boies, political foes who last faced off as opposing attorneys in Bush v. Gore. The film also follows the plaintiffs, two gay couples who find their families at the center of the same-sex marriage controversy. Five years in the making, this is the story of how they took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton (This Is Stones Throw Records)
Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton (This Is Stones Throw Records) SXSW

Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton (This Is Stones Throw Records)

"Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton" is a feature-length documentary about avant-garde Los Angeles-based record label Stones Throw Records. Under the direction of founder and world-renowned DJ Peanut Butter Wolf, Stones Throw has consistently released critically acclaimed, left-of-center albums since its founding in 1996. Drawing on live concert footage, never-before-seen archival material, inner-circle home video and photographs and in-depth interviews with the folks who put Stones Throw on the map, "Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton" delves deeper into the label's enigmatic artists, history, culture and global following. Among those featured in the film are Kanye West, Common, Mike D, Questlove and Snoop Dogg.

Ping Pong Summer
Ping Pong Summer SXSW

Ping Pong Summer

The year is 1985. Rad Miracle is a shy 13-year-old white kid who's obsessed with two things: ping pong and hip hop. During his family's annual summer vacation to Ocean City, Maryland, Rad makes a new best friend, experiences his first real crush, becomes the target of rich, racist local bullies, and finds an unexpected mentor in his outcast next-door neighbor. "Ping Pong Summer" is about that time in your life when you're treated like an alien by everyone around you, even though you know deep down you're as funky fresh as it gets.

LADY VALOR: The Kristin Beck Story
LADY VALOR: The Kristin Beck Story SXSW

LADY VALOR: The Kristin Beck Story

Former U.S. Navy Seal Chris Beck embarks on a new mission as Kristin Beck. Kristin’s journey in search of the American ideals that she protected: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have a whole new meaning as she lives her life truthfully as a transgender woman.