AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- South by Southwest released its first lineup announcements for 2015, with the film, music and arts festival kicking off with Ondi Timoner's documentary on comedian and activist Russell Brand.
BRAND: A Second Coming will premiere at SXSW's March 13 in Austin.
"The lively film dives deep into the eye of the celebrity storm, with Brand at its center as he grapples with fame, influence and where we are as a 21st century society," describes SXSW film content administrator Christina Wiese on the festival's official website.
"Firebrand Ondi Timoner's bold and lively documentary on Russell Brand knocked us out with its humor, insight and raw energy, pulling back the curtain on a truly passionate figure as he grapples with fame, influence and where we are as a 21st century society," echoes SXSW head of film Janet Pierson to Variety.
"We are thrilled for the film to kick off our event and excited to see our audiences embrace it with the same enthusiasm that shines out of Brand himself."
Brand, who starred in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek, has turned his attention from movies to social issues, launching a self-produced YouTube series called The Trews: True News with Russell Brand.
In addition to the documentary about Brand, SXSW's six announced titles listed below:
A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story (World Premiere) Director: Sara Hirsh Bordo From the producers of the most viewed TEDWomen event of 2013 comes A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, a documentary following the inspiring journey of 25-year-old, 58-pound Lizzie from cyber-bullying victim to anti-bullying activist.
Ex Machina (North American Premiere) Director/Screenwriter: Alex Garland Alex Garland, writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine, makes his directorial debut with the stylish and cerebral thriller Ex Machina, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander. Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander
Hello, My Name is Doris (World Premiere) Director: Michael Showalter, Screenwriters: Michael Showalter, Laura Terruso An isolated 60-year-old woman is motivated by a self-help seminar to romantically pursue a younger coworker, causing her to stumble into the spotlight of the Brooklyn hipster social scene. Cast: Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Beth Behrs, Wendi Mclendon-Covey, Stephen Root, Elizabeth Reaser, Jack Antonoff, Natasha Lyonne, Tyne Daly
The Invitation (World Premiere) Director: Karyn Kusama, Screenwriters: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi A reunion of old friends turns into a nightmare when one guest, a haunted man whose ex-wife is among the hosts, begins to fear that the night is part of a terrifying agenda. Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Lindsay Burdge
Mavis! (World Premiere) Director: Jessica Edwards Her family group, the Staple Singers, inspired millions and helped propel the civil rights movement with their music. After 60 years of performing, legendary singer Mavis Staples' message of love and equality is needed now more than ever.
Son of the Congo (World Premiere / SXsports screening) Director/Screenwriter: Adam Hootnick Serge Ibaka's improbable journey has taken him from the violence of Congo to the top of the NBA. In Son of the Congo, Ibaka returns home, hoping his basketball success can help rebuild a country and inspire a new generation to dream of a better life.
The festival's full lineup will be revealed on Feb. 3.