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This Week in Gaming News: The REAL Gamescom 2018 Awards

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Well, I made it you guys. I’m commissioning my “I survived Gamescom” t-shirt and I never want to see the Koelnmesse again. Well, maybe next year. There’s probably been gaming news happening this week, but I’ve been knee-deep in ‘boots on the ground’ action – playing games, chatting to devs, pushing past crowds and sweating off balls so you don’t have to – and with that in mind I’m bringing to you a special edition of TWiGN. Ladies and germs, I present to you, the Alex Aldridge Super Bombastic Wunderbar Gamescom Awards Euro Megamix 2018!

Biggest Surprise 

I’ll put this out there for you, straight up. When you’re at a video games convention filled with sweaty people (the worst offender being me) and lines lasting up to four hours, you really don’t often take a punt on something you expect to be a big pile of mince. With that in mind, finding a biggest surprise is actually quite difficult unless you’re actively seeking out games you’ve never heard of for a hypothetical awards ceremony you have complete control over. Which would be stupid. It stands to reason, then, that the only game that really surprised me was Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise.

fist of the north star gamescom

It probably shouldn’t have surprised me, considering it’s been out in Japan since March, but it seems that the franchise King of Campy Violence has found a very suitable home under the development arm of SEGA. Having moved on from those awful Dynasty Warriors clones made by Koei Tecmo, Kenishiro now finds himself slapped into a Yakuza clone instead. It works, though. It works pretty flawlessly, in fact. I don’t for one second think that I’ll be getting the game, but it made me laugh at least five times during the demo thanks to its ludicrous gore and over the top nonsense – the staple of any Yakuza game.

And the Award for Biggest Surprise goes to…

Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise

Nicest Folks

There are loads of nice developers and PR people at Gamescom. There are also some who just turn you away because you’re a total nobody and you look weird. The people who didn’t do that to us in the nicest way were the lovely dudes over at DotEmu. Not only was their setup in the Business Area done up to look like a 1980s bedroom, they let us have a go on the only-just-announced Windjammers 2, and even gave us a couple bottles of their own branded craft beer.

dotemu gamescom

We sat down to throw back brewskis, shoot the shit and play some hardcore Windjammers 2 with the very folks who made the game. If that’s not reason alone to go to a games convention, then I’m missing the point. The Head of Marketing, Arnaud De Sousa, is a solid bloke (even if he did absolutely kick my arse at the game) and was extremely chatty and responsive to any questions we had. Kudos to him, and we’ll have some hands-on impressions of the game coming to the site soon.

And the Award for Nicest Folks goes to…

DotEmu

Cheekiest Bastards

The absolute worst part of any games convention is the queuing. The heat, the standing, the boredom, the noise – it all amplifies by 1000% when you’re stuck in a stationary line for the length of two entire football matches. The stereotype about British people loving to queue is a lie, folks – we hate it just as much as the next nerd. It goes without saying, then, that if you’re made to queue for a second, hidden queue, you’re more than justified in throwing up your arms, mumbling “fuck it, it’s not worth it” and leaving the queue on principle alone.

You may well have a made a beautiful and brilliant game, Microsoft Studios, but if you expect me to step through the black curtain of mystery into a hotter, more cramped queue in a darkened room to play Ori and the Will of the Wisps, then you really don’t understand the notion of “fuck it, it’s not worth it” the way I do.

And the Award for Cheekiest Bastards goes to…

Whoever hid a second queue behind a curtain for Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Biggest Ball-Dropper

You know what? I don’t think Capcom really cares that much about Gamescom. At least, their pathetic presence there seems to indicate as much. Does anyone here remember when I laid on the news that Resident Evil 2 won Best Game of E3? Capcom seems to have forgotten that, as arguably the most sought-after demo in the entire expo for one of the most anticipated remakes of all time stumbled into Gamescom on two machines. Two. Machines. Abso-cocking-lutely ridiculous.

Gamescom 2018 Resident Evil 2

Can you see now how it took me half a day to find this?

Perhaps sensing this themselves, it seemed like Microsoft, who were hosting the demo, tried to keep the game’s playable presence a secret. Hiding it away in the far corner of the Xbox area, Resi 2 was locatable via a tiny little board that mentioned it amongst a bunch of other games you could play. It took us half a day to find it, and we then queued for well over two hours.

It wasn’t only Resi 2 that got the short shrift; Devil May Cry 5 was also sorely under-represented for its first current gen outing (and first main series title in nearly a decade). Queues for this game were also absolutely mental, spilling out into the demo areas for several other games. Capcom, why you gotta play us like this?

And the Award for Biggest Ball-Dropper goes to…

Capcom

The Filip Miucin Shitheel Award

I didn’t have to pay for my Gamescom press ticket, which was nice. It was also lucky because if I’d paid money for a public ticket and had to endure the abhorrent crowded floors of the entertainment area from Wednesday onwards, I’d have probably keeled over with a stroke. It was a fucking shambles. Literally, in fact, as shamble is what we had to do once the public was let in on day 2, and that’s not even when we were queuing to play a game. We genuinely had to queue to walk through an area en route to where we wanted to go. The monetary value of an experience like that is less than zero, yet thousands of poor bastards paid hundreds of Euros to put up with that shit and likely play three games in an entire day.

Gamescom 2018 awards

Call it me being entitled, call it me being unwilling to accept a staple of video game conventions but, in reality, I’m fine – I got to go to the press day and play dozens of games off a free ticket. Gamescom organizers clearly oversold the balls off this event, and it’s just not fair on people who pay money to have a crack at the newest releases from their favourite hobby. I genuinely feel sorry for every single one of them. Greed evidently won out, and feasibility was swept under the rug.

And The Filip Miucin Shitheel Award goes to…

The Gamescom organizers

Coolest Set

This is definitely the hardest award to decide upon. Gamescom had a ton of wicked cool sets. Darksiders 3, Metro: Exodus and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice went for huge models of in-game characters. The battle royale brothers made their presence felt, as Fortnite had a huge playground straight out of the game, while PUBG had a cut-out version of the game’s plane that people could sit in. It even took green-screen videos of players, blew a fan in their face and superimposed them to look like they were parachuting down to the eponymous battlegrounds themselves.

Elsewhere, Bethesda had an open vault door as the exit to their presentation area. Even some shitty games had good sets; the Game of Thrones browser game had a bunch of olde fashioned maidens stood around the Iron Throne itself, and Farming Simulator had… well, a farm, complete with a tractor. It was a tough choice with so much notable visual splendour to stare at from a queue, but the towering model of a New York City building and accompanying street set for Marvel’s Spider-Man just about nudged ahead of the rest.

And the Award for Coolest Set goes to…

Marvel’s Spider-Man

Wankiest Set

This decision was decidedly less tough than awarding the best set. There were a fair few games that had little more than a large poster hung over the demo machines, but these were usually within a larger area, like for Xbox and SEGA. An honorable mention goes to Forza Horizon 4 which, in fairness, could do little else than just park up a car next to the game booth, but that doesn’t mean it’s impressive.

Gamescom 2018 Nintendo

The winner of this category has to go to a large publisher that inexplicably displayed a total lack of effort in its display work, and that publisher is Nintendo. I’ve been to smaller events than Gamescom and seen better Nintendo sets, and they’ve had some seriously awesome ones at E3 before. Their Gamescom effort, however, was basically nothing. No models, no flashy lights or gimmicks – just a big square of demo machines and some red walls with Nintendo written on it. Granted, they had a huge screen for some competitive gaming, but there was a disappointing lack of pizazz to spice up an equally disappointing lack of games worth seeing.

And the Award for Wankiest Set goes to…

Nintendo

Swaggiest Swag

Oh, video game conventions, how you love to dole out useless free tat that people still willingly fill their luggage up with regardless. I shit you not, I saw people running to the Xbox stage on more than one occasion to try and catch free t-shirts being thrown out by the presenters. Some of them just had the Mixer logo on them. Who in the blue fuck is going to wear that? Seriously, they were running.

Gamescom 2018 Swag 

It’s not all shite though, just mostly. It’s not often you get something for free you’ll actually ever use again, but the adorable Super Mario Odyssey keyring we got from Nintendo is going straight on the ol’ janglies. Add to that the smart little Smash Bros. pin badge obtained after a bash on Ultimate and that’s a decent haul – certainly better than the wrist-mountable compass given out by Remnant: From the Ashes. It’s 2018; who doesn’t have a compass on their phone? Who gets lost anymore?!

And the Award for Swaggiest Swag goes to…

Nintendo

Milkiest Milquetoast Toast

You’ve done the hard work by now. The game has been announced, development and marketing are probably well underway and you’ve got your conference demo ready to go out and do its thing to create some buzz for release day. The last thing you want is a demo or a game that is so milquetoast that everyone’s forgotten about your game by the time they get home. Take a bow Team Sonic Racing. Actually, don’t.

Gamescom 2018 Team Sonic Racing

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed may be a contender for the most convoluted game title since Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie, but my word that game was brilliant. A genuine rival for Mario Kart’s decades-old crown, the game was a joyous combination of originality and fan-service. To capitalise on the critical acclaim of that game, SEGA decided, to boot all its franchise characters out of the sequel and focus entirely on the bunch of crappy critters that Sonic calls his mates. Not only that, but gone are the transforming cars, planes, boats, and the dynamic levels. In their place is a handful of team-based moves and some of the most sedentary racing I’ve played in a long time. Not terrible, just really, really bland.

And the Award for Milkiest Milquetoast Toast goes to…

Team Sonic Racing

Most Adequate Upholder of Expectations

Sometimes you don’t need a game to do all that much to please you, so long as it retains its level of quality and maintains its focus on what it does best. Hell, just look at any sports game released this generation – that’s all they do. The same can very much be said of the Forza series, and Forza Horizon 4 isn’t breaking any moulds this year, but stick a banana in my exhaust pipe if it isn’t still brilliant.

Gamescom 2018 Forza Horizon 4

The quality is still there, then, and I’m not ashamed to admit the pangs of glee I felt when I saw some of those beautifully familiar British road signs. Oh, white circle with a diagonal black line, you sexy national speed limit bastard. The rest of the world can get bored of Horizon if it wants, but the new dynamic seasons mechanic and the fact that I can drive on the left in good ol’ Blighty is so pleasing I feel like cracking on a seatbelt and popping down to Waitrose right now. I hope this game has roundabouts, even if it’s just those little white ones. Oh man, I need to calm down.

And the Award for Most Adequate Upholder of Expectations goes to…

Forza Horizon 4

The Frittering Mortality Award for Timewasting 

Bethesda went all out with Fallout 76 exposure at Gamescom. The game was freakin’ everywhere – on the outside of the arena, on billboards in the streets, on posters in train stations, and the publisher was giving out Vault 76 party hats and blowers outside a Fallout-branded party bus. With all this going on (as well as the impressive set I mentioned earlier) I thought the Gamescom demo of the game would be awesome. It probably would have been…if there was one.

Gamescom 2018 Fallout 76

No, there wasn’t a demo to play. Instead, there was a video presentation. No, there wasn’t a new video being presented. Instead, there was the E3 video and a brief clip of Todd Howard talking at QuakeCon. The only new thing they had to show in the video was Todd Howard not being able to read basic German off a teleprompter. And yet, people still flocked there and queued up expecting something they weren’t going to get. Every time I walked past the booth, I wanted to warn people of their impending boredom, but I’m only one man.

And The Frittering Mortality Award for Timewasting goes to…

Bethesda and Fallout 76

Worst Demo

Look, I’ve never made a game demo, but I reckon I know what most people would want to see in one – certainly what they wouldn’t want to see. A bad demo can leave a terrible impression of what may very well be a decent game. To avoid it coming off badly at a time when everyone playing it has hundreds of other demos they could be playing instead, don’t fuck yours up.

Metro: Exodus done fucked theirs up.

gamescom 2018 metro exodus

The demo was definitely boring – that much is to be expected for it to be mentioned in this category – but, worse still, it was confusing. Your game doesn’t need to hold my hand and tell me what to do and where to go, but your 15-minute demo really should. If I spend the last five minutes of playtime wondering where I’m going and why nothing happened when I killed everyone, then I’m not seeing the best of what you’ve got to offer; I’m seeing nothing. Add to that the terribly buggy AI that saw enemies walking into walls and getting stuck on the scenery, as well as the stupidly sensitive aiming, and a proper shit time was had.

And the Award for Worst Demo goes to…

Metro: Exodus

Best Demo

Perhaps serving as some kind of painful warning against the perils of too much of a good thing, the most under-represented demo in all of Gamescom was hands-down the best. Resident Evil 2’s demo was an absolute masterclass in pacing and direction – making sure you saw a little bit of every facet the game has going in its favour and subverting any preconceived expectations that experienced players could have.

Gamescom 2018 Resident Evil 2

The demo showcased the tense and scary atmosphere, gorgeous graphics punctuated by stellar lighting and sound, accomplished voice acting (sacrilege, I know), visceral combat, and teased several puzzles to be found in the full game. Even better was that you didn’t see a zombie for the entire first half of it, keeping the player on edge just waiting for the shit to hit the fan (or the back of a zombie’s trousers, as was often the case). Once it did, the stakes and the excitement ramped up significantly for the prefect crescendo to send players off thirsty for more. Truly exemplary.

And the Award for Best Demo goes to…

Resident Evil 2

Worst Game of Gamescom 2018

Remember when the gaming sphere (myself included) took a giant poop on the deck of Sea of Thieves over its lack of content? That criticism is almost entirely justified, but the one thing you could say about Rare’s co-op pirate title is that it had substance. If you take the lack of content of Sea of Thieves and then remove almost all of that substance, you end up with Ubisoft’s inexplicably boring Skull & Bones – a game about being a pirate where you play exclusively as a boat.

Attacking other ships is done with a simple left trigger-aim/right trigger-fire combo. If you do enough damage to the ship you can manoeuvre alongside your foe and press A to board them. Then a cutscene plays. If, however, you take damage, you’ll need to repair your ship by pressing the d-pad. Then a cutscene plays. If you find a glowing circle in the sea indicating sunken treasure, you can move to the circle and press A to collect the treasure. Then a cutscene plays.

Gamescom 2018 Skull & Bones

That, in a nutshell, is Skull & Bones – a game about moving really slowly to a location and pressing A to watch the same cutscene over and over. Not only did they make being a pirate (well, if you can call it being a pirate) duller than Pegleg Pete’s peg leg, they also made one of the pirates polite. A fucking polite pirate?! Bonus marks were also lost thanks to Ubisoft, of all companies, having the audacity to crown the game with the tagline “long live piracy.” What’s the definition of irony again?

And the Award for Worst Game of Gamescom 2018 goes to…

Skull & Bones

Best Game of Gamescom 2018

I felt like the fact that Resident Evil 2 won best demo meant that I should give another game the spotlight for best game, just to make things fair and balanced. Also because Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice feels like it’s going to be AWESOME. I’ve gone into way more detail with my hands-on preview already on this site, but it’s basically a game that balances itself with the grace and speed of Bloodborne crossed with the methodical combat of Dark Souls.

Gamescom 2018 Sekiro

I wasn’t worried about Resident Evil 2 the way I perhaps had some reservations about Sekiro. No multiplayer? No RPG elements? Will it feel like a From Software game at all? Well hush my pretty little mouth, because this feels like the next evolution in From Software games. A brutal, balletic extravaganza of difficulty and death, this will make veteran players feel right at home, offer new players a great jumping-off point, and give yet another fresh setting to a well-established set of inimitable core mechanics that continue to prove their versatility and brilliance nine years on.

And the Award for Best Game of Gamescom 2018 goes to…

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Right, show’s over. Let’s all get out of here before I add more categories and smash out another thousand words while I sit in the airport waiting to fly home to England. Cheers, Gamescom, for your sweaty, crowded hospitality – I’ll maybe see you next year. I’ll see you lot next week.

Crotchety Englishman who spends hundreds of pounds on video game tattoos and Amiibo in equally wallet-crippling measure. Likes grammar a lot, but not as much as he likes ranting about the latest gaming news in his weekly column.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Ricky D Fernandes

    August 26, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    I am so glad it isn’t just me who thinks Metro: Last Exodus is boring. I actually somehow broke the game while playing it at E3 which had the developers tripping out. I somehow wound up bypassing the entire demo area and landed somewhere I wasn’t supposed to see.

    It is also surprising that Nintendo had a lame setup because the set they had for E3 was amazing.

    • Alex Aldridge

      August 27, 2018 at 6:10 am

      I’ve been to lesser events than Gamescom before where the PR kids stood around each game will help you get through the demo and give you hints. This badly needed that as I’d cleared out the town and was stood at the X but had no idea where to go. I wasted the last 5 minutes of my 15 and left incredibly bored.

      I was really surprised by Nintendo – they had an awesome setup at the first EGX I went to where they were showing off Skyward Sword. Seems this year it was all about the big screen for competitive Smash and Splatoon 2

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SXSW 2020 Lineup Includes ‘King of Staten Island’, Spike Jonze’s Beastie Boys and more

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SXSW 2020 Lineup

SXSW Unveils 2020 Lineup

Last year, SXSW gave us the World Premieres of major studio hits like Jordan Peele’s Us and breakout indies that went on to receive critical acclaim throughout the year. Now the festival’s 2020 edition aims to give attendees even more amazing films to brag about seeing before anyone else. The festival just revealed its lineup of— count ‘em— 102 feature films and episodics, toplined by Judd Apatow‘s The King of Staten Island and the new Spike Jonze Beastie Boys documentary.

“Every year we pore through thousands of submissions searching for the best films to present to the SXSW audience. We are astounded by the talent at every level, from the emerging micro-budget artist to those at the peak of their careers, and can’t wait to share their risk-taking, passion, and achievements in March,” said Janet Pierson, SXSW’s director of film, in a statement.

Goomba Stomp will, of course, be at SXSW this year, so please check back for our festival coverage. In the meantime, here is the full lineup of films announced.

Bad Trip Movie
Bad Trip

SXSW 2020: Headliners

Bad Trip
Director: Kitao Sakurai, Screenwriters: Eric André, Dan Curry, Kitao Sakurai
From a producer of Jackass and Bad Grandpa, this hidden camera comedy follows two best friends as they go on a cross-country road trip full of hilarious, inventive pranks, pulling its real-life audience into the mayhem. Cast: Eric Andre, Lil Rel Howery, Tiffany Haddish, Michaela Conlin (World Premiere)

Beastie Boys Story
Director: Spike Jonze
Beastie Boys, Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz, tell you an intimate, personal story of their band and 40 years of friendship in this live documentary experience directed by their longtime friend and collaborator, and their former grandfather, filmmaker Spike Jonze. (World Premiere)

King of Staten Island
King of Staten Island

The King of Staten Island
Director: Judd Apatow, Screenwriters: Judd Apatow, Pete Davidson, Dave Sirus
Filmmaker Judd Apatow directs Saturday Night Live breakout Pete Davidson in a bracing comedy about a burnout stuck living with his mom (Oscar® winner Marisa Tomei) on Staten Island. Cast: Pete Davidson, Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Bel Powley, Maude Apatow, Ricky Velez and Steve Buscemi (World Premiere)

LA Originals (Argentina)
Director: Estevan Oriol, Screenwriters: Brian Maya, Omar Quiroga
An exploration of the culture and landmarks of the chicano and street art movement that cemented Mister Cartoon and Estevan Oriol’s status as behind-the-scenes hip hop legends.(World Premiere)

The Lovebirds
Director: Michael Showalter, Screenwriters: Aaron Abrams, Brendan Gall
A young couple (Issa Rae & Kumail Nanjiani) is pulled into a bizarre (and hilarious) murder mystery. Working to clear their names and solve the crime, they need to figure out how they, and their relationship, can survive the night. Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae, Paul Sparks, Anna Camp, Kyle Bornheimer (World Premiere)

Holler Movie SXSW
Holler

SXSW 2020: Narrative Feature Competition

Holler
Director/Screenwriter: Nicole Riegel
To pay for her education, and the chance of a better life, a young woman joins a dangerous scrap metal crew. Cast: Jessica Barden, Gus Halper, Austin Amelio, Grace Kaiser, Pamela Adlon, Becky Ann Baker (World Premiere)

I’ll Meet You There (Pakistan, United States)
Director/Screenwriter: Iram Parveen Bilal
A Muslim policeman goes undercover at his estranged father’s mosque while his daughter hides her passion for a forbidden dance, uncovering a shocking family secret. Cast: Faran Tahir, Nikita Tewani, Muhammad Qavi Khan, Sheetal Sheth, Shawn Parsons, Andrea Cirie, Nitin Madan, Michael Pemberton (World Premiere)

Lapsis
Director/Screenwriter: Noah Hutton
Delivery man Ray Tincelli is struggling to support himself and his ailing younger brother. He turns to quantum cabling, a strange new corner of the gig economy, and faces a pivotal choice to either help his fellow workers or to get rich and get out. Cast: Dean Imperial, Madeline Wise, Babe Howard, Dora Madison, Ivory Aquino, James McDaniel, Frank Wood, Arliss Howard, Pooya Mohseni, Portia (World Premiere)

Pink Skies Ahead
Director/Screenwriter: Kelly Oxford
Life unravels for a wild young woman after dropping out of college, moving in with her parents, and being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Cast: Jessica Barden, Marcia Gay Harden, Michael McKean, Henry Winkler, Rosa Salazar, Odeya Rush, Lewis Pullman, Devon Bostick, Mary J. Blige, Evan Ross (World Premiere)

Really Love
Director: Angel Kristi Williams, Screenwriters: Felicia Pride, Angel Kristi Williams
Set in a gentrifying Washington DC, a rising Black painter tries to break into a competitive art world, while balancing a whirlwind romance he never expected. Cast: Kofi Siriboe, Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing, Uzo Aduba, Mack Wilds, Naturi Naughton, Suzzanne Douglas, Jade Eshete, Blair Underwood, Michael Ealy (World Premiere)

Shithouse
Director/Screenwriter: Cooper Raiff
A homesick college freshman goes to a party at Shithouse and ends up spending the night with his sophomore RA who’s had a shitty day and wants someone to hang out with. Cast: Dylan Gelula, Cooper Raiff, Amy Landecker, Logan Miller (World Premiere)

Shiva Baby
Shiva Baby

Shiva Baby
Director/Screenwriter: Emma Seligman
A young woman struggles to keep up different versions of herself when she runs into her sugar daddy and her ex-girlfriend at a shiva with her parents. Cast: Rachel Sennott, Polly Draper, Molly Gordon, Danny Deferrari, Dianna Agron, Fred Melamed, Glynis Bell, Sondra James, Jackie Hoffman (World Premiere)

Teenage Badass
Director: Grant McCord, Screenwriters: Matthew D. Dho, Grant McCord
Set in 2006, Teenage Badass follows a band when they score a shot to play on the local news. But as all of their dreams start to become a reality, the band’s egocentric singer/songwriter threatens to make them lose everything. Cast: Mcabe Gregg, Evan Ultra, Madelyn Deutch, Dillon Lane, Elsie Hewitt, Karsen Liotta, Julie Ann Emery, Kevin Corrigan, James Paxton, Jim Adkins (World Premiere)

Topside
Directors/Screenwriters: Celine Held, Logan George
A five year-old girl and her mother live in a community inhabiting the tunnels beneath New York City, when a sudden police eviction forces them into the world above, throwing their lives into chaos. Cast: Zhaila Farmer, Celine Held, Jared Abrahamson, Fatlip (World Premiere)

Violet
Director/Screenwriter: Justine Bateman
A film development executive realizes that “guiding voice” inside her head has been lying to her about everything. Cast: Olivia Munn, Luke Bracey, Justin Theroux, Bonnie Bedelia, Zach Gordon, Erica Ash, Rob Benedict, Dennis Boutsikaris, Todd Stashwick, Laura San Giacomo (World Premiere)

The Boy Who Saved the World SXSW
The Boy Who Saved the World

SXSW 2020: Documentary Feature Competition

The Boy Who Sold The World
Director: Adam Barton
At age 15, Ben Pasternak dropped out of high school and moved to NYC. Leaving behind his family in Australia, Ben sacrificed his childhood to pursue his dream of changing the world through innovation. But things didn’t quite go according to plan. (World Premiere)

Bulletproof
Director: Todd Chandler
What does it mean to be safe in school in the United States? Safe from what, and from whom? Bulletproof poses and complicates these questions through a provocative exploration of fear and American violence. (World Premiere)

The Donut King
Director: Alice Gu, Screenwriters: Alice Gu, Carol Martori
The rise, fall, and rise again of a Cambodian refugee who escaped genocide and overcame poverty to build a life for himself and hundreds of other immigrant families by baking America’s favorite pastry and building an unlikely empire of donut shops. (World Premiere)

An Elephant in the Room
An Elephant in the Room

An Elephant in the Room (Denmark)
Director: Katrine Philp
At Good Grief in New Jersey, groups of children meet to understand the passing of a parent or a sibling through play. Death may come suddenly or slowly, violently or peacefully, but it leaves a pain that the child has never felt before. (World Premiere)

Finding Yingying
Director: Jiayan “Jenny” Shi
After a young Chinese student is kidnapped on a university campus, her family travels to the US for the first time, first hoping to unravel the mystery of her disappearance, and then to seek justice, find closure and reclaim their daughter. (World Premiere)

For Madmen Only
Director: Heather Ross, Screenwriters: Heather Ross, Adam Samuel Goldman
Del Close, the hidden architect of modern comedy, sets out to smash open the creative process by writing an autobiographical comic book. (World Premiere)

Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide
Directors/Screenwriters: Malia Scharf, Max Basch
Kenny Scharf is surveyed through the eyes of his daughter — revealing a private struggle for identity and acceptance through the ups and downs of a prolific career driven by a passion for making his fantastical inner worlds a very public reality. (World Premiere)

Lights Camera Uganda
Directors: Cathryne Czubek, Hugo Perez
When “Africa’s Tarantino” casts a New York film nerd as his next action hero, it’s the beginning of a friendship that makes their no-budget studio world famous. But as their success grows, tensions flare and threaten everything they built. (World Premiere)

Red Heaven
Directors: Lauren DeFilippo, Katherine Gorringe
Six people live for a year on “Mars” in a NASA experiment studying what happens to humans when they are isolated from Earth. (World Premiere)

We Don’t Deserve Dogs
Director: Matthew Salleh
A contemplative odyssey across our planet, looking at the simple and extraordinary ways that dogs influence our daily lives. People need dogs, and perhaps they need us, but what do humans do to deserve the unconditional love they provide? (World Premiere)

The 24th
The 24th

SXSW 2020: Narrative Spotlight

The 24th
Director: Kevin Willmott, Screenwriters: Kevin Willmott, Trai Byers
The 24th is based on the true story of the all-black Twenty-Fourth United States Infantry and the Houston Riot of 1917. The night of violence led to the largest murder trial in American History. Cast: Trai Byers, Aja Naomi King, Bashir Salahuddin, Mo McRae, Tosin Morohunfola, Mykelti Williamson, Thomas Haden Church (World Premiere)

Archive (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Gavin Rothery
2048: George Almore is working on a true human-equivalent AI. His latest prototype is almost ready. But his true goal must be hidden at all costs. Cast: Theo James, Stacy Martin, Rhona Mitra, Peter Ferdinando, Richard Glover, Lia Williams, Toby Jones (World Premiere)

Best Summer Ever
Directors: Michael Parks Randa, Lauren Smitelli, Screenwriters: Michael Parks Randa, Will Halby, Terra Mackintosh, Andrew Pilkington, Lauren Smitelli
A fresh and exhilarating take on the beloved teen musical genre featuring eight original songs and a fully integrated cast and crew of people with and without disabilities. Cast: Shannon DeVido, Rickey Wilson Jr., MuMu, Jacob Waltuck, Emily Kranking, Bradford Hayes, Eileen Grubba, Holly Palmer, Ajani A.J. Murray, Lawrence Carter-Long (World Premiere)

Castle In The Ground (Canada)
Director/Screenwriter: Joey Klein
A grieving teenager befriends the troubled woman across the hall just as the opiate epidemic takes hold of their small town in 2012. Cast: Alex Wolff, Imogen Poots, Neve Campbell, Tom Cullen, Keir Gilchrist, Kiowa Gordon, Star Slade (U.S. Premiere)

Critical Thinking
Director: John Leguizamo, Screenwriter: Dito Montiel
Based on a true story from 1998, five Latin and Black teenagers from the toughest underserved ghetto in Miami fight their way into the National Chess Championship under the guidance of their unconventional but inspirational teacher. Cast: John Leguizamo, Michael Kenneth Williams, Rachel Bay Jones, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Angel Bismark Curiel, Will Hochman, Corwin Tuggles, Jeffry Batista, Zora Casebere, Ramses Jimenez (World Premiere)

Cut Throat City
Director: RZA, Screenwriter: Paul Cuschieri
Cut Throat City is a powerful and hard-hitting heist drama by RZA, set in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward following Hurricane Katrina. Cast: Shameik Moore, Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris, Demetrius Shipp Jr., Kat Graham, Rob Morgan, Keean Johnson, Denzel Whitaker, Sam Daly, Isaiah Washington, Wesley Snipes, Terrence Howard, Eiza Gonzalez, Ethan Hawke (World Premiere)

I Used to Go Here
Director/Screenwriter: Kris Rey
Following the launch of her new novel, 35-year-old writer Kate Conklin (Gillian Jacobs) is invited to speak at her alma mater by her mentor and former professor (Jemaine Clement). Cast: Gillian Jacobs, Jemaine Clement, Josh Wiggins, Hannah Marks, Zoe Chao, Jorma Taccone, Forrest Goodluck (World Premiere)

The Outpost
The Outpost

The Outpost
Director: Rod Lurie, Screenwriter: Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson
Based on the Battle of Kamdesh in Afghanistan, where fifty four U.S. soldiers held off 400 Taliban insurgents in the deadliest military outpost in the world. Cast: Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones, Orlando Bloom, Jack Kesy, Cory Hardrict, Milo Gibson, Jacob Scipio, Taylor John Smith (World Premiere)

The Quarry
Director: Scott Teems, Screenwriters: Scott Teems, Andrew Brotzman
A mysterious fugitive kills a traveling preacher and assumes his identity, hiding out in a desolate Texas town. The congregation is quickly drawn to the man’s unorthodox sermons, but so is the local police chief, who has his suspicions. Cast: Shea Whigham, Michael Shannon, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Bobby Soto, Bruno Bichir, Alvaro Martinez (World Premiere)

The Racer (Ireland)
Director: Kieron J. Walsh, Screenwriter: Ciaran Cassidy, Kieron J. Walsh
As the 1998 Tour de France kicks off its first three stages in Ireland, one rider faces what could be the last stage of his own career during what became known as the notorious “Tour de Dopage.” Cast: Louis Talpe, Tara Lee, Matteo Simoni, Iain Glen, Karel Roden (World Premiere)

The Show (United Kingdom)
Director: Mitch Jenkins, Screenwriter: Alan Moore
A new mystery from the extraordinary mind of legendary comic book writer Alan Moore, creator of Watchmen, V for Vendetta and The League of Extraordinary GentlemenCast: Tom Burke, Ellie Bamber, Siobhan Hewlett, Sheila Atim, Alan Moore (World Premiere)

Small Engine Repair
Director/Screenwriter: John Pollono
Blue collar childhood buddies Frank, Swaino and Packie meet off-hours one night in Frank’s out-of-the-way repair shop for suspicious reasons only he seems to have a handle on. Cast: Jon Bernthal, Shea Whigham, Jordana Spiro, Ciara Bravo, Spencer House, John Pollono (World Premiere)

Uncorked
Director/Screenwriter: Prentice Penny
Elijah (Mamoudou Athie) must find a way to balance his dream of becoming a master sommelier with his father’s expectations for him to carry on the family’s popular Memphis barbeque joint. Cast: Mamoudou Athie, Courtney B. Vance, Niecy Nash, Matt McGorry, Sasha Compere, Gil Ozeri, Kelly Jenrette, Bernard David Jones, Meera Rohit Kumbhani (World Premiere)

9to5: The Story of A Movement
9to5: The Story of A Movement

SXSW 2020: Documentary Spotlight

9to5: The Story of A Movement
Directors: Julia Reichert, Steve Bognar
In the 1970s, America’s secretaries took to the streets, fed up with on-the-job abuse. They created a movement called 9to5, which later inspired Jane Fonda to make a movie and Dolly Parton to write a song. This is the untold story of their fight. (World Premiere)

The Alpinist
Directors: Peter Mortimer, Nicholas Rosen
An elusive young climber explores the limits of solo mountaineering. (World Premiere)

And We Go Green
Directors: Fisher Stevens, Malcolm Venville, Screenwriter: Mark Monroe
Professional drivers on the international Formula E circuit race for victory across 10 cities in this white-knuckle documentary from filmmaker Malcolm Venville, Oscar-winning director Fisher Stevens (The Cove), and producer Leonardo DiCaprio. (U.S. Premiere)

Baby God
Director: Hannah Olson
For more than 30 years, Dr. Quincy Fortier covertly used his own sperm to inseminate his fertility patients. Now his secret is out. Baby God follows his children as they seek the truth about his motives and try to make sense of their own identities. (World Premiere)

Clerk (Canada, United States)
Director: Malcolm Ingram
A documentary on the career and life of filmmaker and raconteur Kevin Smith. (World Premiere)

Console Wars [title may change]
Directors: Jonah Tulis, Blake J. Harris
In 1990, Sega assembled a team of misfits to take on the greatest video game company in the world, Nintendo. Console Wars goes behind the scenes to meet the men and women who fought for both sides in this epic battle that defined a generation. (World Premiere)

Crazy, Not Insane
Director: Alex Gibney
Dr. Dorothy Lewis is a psychiatrist who’s spent her career examining violent people. Through the use of chilling never-before-seen inmate interviews, Crazy, Not Insane looks into the mind of a killer in an attempt to understand why people kill. (U.S. Premiere)

The Dilemma of Desire
Director: Maria Finitzo
The Dilemma of Desire explores the clash between the external power of gender politics and the equally powerful imperative of female sexual desire. How different would the world look if women’s libidos were taken as seriously as men’s? (World Premiere)

Hamtramck, USA
Directors: Razi Jafri, Justin Feltman
Through the exploration of daily life and democracy in America’s first Muslim-majority city, Hamtramck, USA examines the benefits and tensions of multiculturalism. (World Premiere)

Hood River SXSW 2020
Hood River

Hood River
Director: Steven Cantor
In a small Oregon community, a high school soccer team struggles to overcome class and racial divide in a quest for team success. They are torn between their individual commitment to the team and the expectations of the town itself. (World Premiere)

Insert Coin
Director: Joshua Tsui
The oral history of a team of geeks and misfits in the back of a Chicago factory creating the biggest video games (Mortal KombatNBA JAM, and others) of all time. (World Premiere)

M For Magic
Director: Alexis Manya Spraic
M for Magic is the never-told story of the royal family of magic – four generations of the legendary Larsen family – and their tireless endeavor to save the art of magic with a private club for magicians – the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood. (World Premiere)

One Man and His Shoes (United Kingdom)
Director: Yemi Bamiro
One Man and His Shoes tells the story of Air Jordan sneakers, depicting their social, cultural and racial significance, showing how ground-breaking marketing strategies created a multi-billion-dollar business. (World Premiere)

A Secret Love
Director: Chris Bolan, Screenwriters: Chris Bolan, Alexa L. Fogel, Brendan Mason
A moving and triumphant love story about two trailblazing women who break barriers and conventional norms, coming out to their conservative families as they face the difficulties of aging. (World Premiere)

We Are As Gods
Directors/Screenwriters: Jason Sussberg, David Alvarado
“We are as gods and might as well get good at it,” Stewart Brand wrote in ‘68. The legendary pioneer of LSD, cyberspace, futurism, and modern environmentalism now urges people to use our god-like powers to fight extinction by reviving lost species. (World Premiere)

You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Directors: David Darg, Price James
In 2000, actor David Arquette infamously became the world wrestling champion as a promotion for his movie Ready to Rumble. He wasn’t prepared for the backlash. 20 years later, Arquette seeks redemption by returning to the ring… for real this time. (World Premiere)

In & Of Itself
In & Of Itself

SXSW 2020: Visions

Crestone
Director: Marnie Ellen Hertzler, Screenwriters: Marnie Ellen Hertzler, Corey Hughes
In the desert of Crestone, Colorado, a group of SoundCloud rappers live in solitude, growing weed and making music for the internet. When an old friend arrives to make a movie, reality and fiction begin to blur. (World Premiere)

Drunk Bus
Directors: Brandon LaGanke, John Carlucci, Screenwriter: Chris Molinaro
A directionless, young campus bus driver and a punk rock, Samoan security guard named Pineapple form an unlikely kinship as they navigate the unpredictable late shift shit show known as the “drunk bus.” Together, they break out of their endless loop. Cast: Charlie Tahan, Kara Hayward, Pineapple Tangaroa, Tonatiuh, Zach Cherry, Sarah Mezzanotte, Jay Devore, Dave Hill, Martin Pfefferkorn (World Premiere)

Echoes of the Invisible (Poland, United States)
Director: Steve Elkins
Daring explorers embark upon seemingly impossible journeys into the most extreme environments on Earth to find the connective tissue between all things seen and unseen. (World Premiere)

Freeland
Directors/Screenwriters: Kate McLean, Mario Furloni
Forced to go legal, an outlaw pot farmer fights to preserve her way of life. Cast: Krisha Fairchild, Frank Mosley, Lily Gladstone, John Craven, Ryan Tasker, Cameron James Matthews, Michelle Maxson, Robert Parsons, George Psarras (World Premiere)

Golden Arm
Director: Maureen Bharoocha, Screenwriters: Ann Marie Allison, Jenna Milly
Golden Arm is a female buddy comedy about a wimpy baker who gets roped into the world of ladies arm wrestling by her truck driving best friend. Cast: Mary Holland, Betsy Sodaro, Olivia Stambouliah, Eugene Cordero, Aparna Nancherla, Dawn Luebbe, Ron Funches, Ahmed Bharoocha, Dot-Marie Jones, Kate Flannery (World Premiere)

In & Of Itself 
Director: Frank Oz, Screenwriter: Derek DelGaudio
Storyteller and Conceptual Magician Derek DelGaudio attempts to understand the illusory nature of identity and answer one deceptively simple question: Who am I? Cast: Derek DelGaudio (World Premiere)

I Will Make You Mine
I Will Make You Mine

I Will Make You Mine
Director/Screenwriter: Lynn Chen
Three women wrestle with life’s difficulties while confronting their past relationships with the same man. Cast: Lynn Chen, Yea-Ming Chen, Ayako Fujitani, Goh Nakamura, Joy Osmanski, Mike Faiola, Tamlyn Tomita, Ayami Riley Tomine (World Premiere)

Make Up (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Claire Oakley
After Ruth moves in with her boyfriend in a remote holiday park, tensions rise as she makes an unsettling discovery that lures her into a spiral of obsession. Cast: Molly Windsor, Joseph Quinn, Stefanie Martini (North American Premiere)

Rare Beasts (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Billie Piper
An anti rom-com about Mandy, a career-driven single mother, who falls in love with the charming traditionalist Pete. Cast: Billie Piper, Leo Bill, David Thewlis, Kerry Fox, Toby Woolf, Lily James (North American Premiere)

Selfie (France)
Directors: Marc Fitoussi, Thomas Bidegain, Screenwriters: Giulio Callegari, Noé Debré, Hélène Lombard, Julien Sibony, Bertrand Soulier
Five interconnected stories explore the extremities of human behavior in the digital age. Cast: Blanche Gardin, Elsa Zylberstein, Finnegan Oldfield, Manu Payet, Sébastien Chassagne, Max Boublil, Julia Piaton, Alma Jodorowsky (World Premiere)

She Dies Tomorrow
Director/Screenwriter: Amy Seimetz
Amy thinks she’s dying tomorrow…and it’s contagious. Cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Kentucker Audley, Chris Messina, Katie Aselton, Tunde Adebimpe, Jennifer Kim, Josh Lucas, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Michelle Rodriguez (World Premiere)

TFW NO GF
Director/Screenwriter: Alex Lee Moyer
A generation of disaffected young men searches for meaning in the dark corners of the internet. TFW NO GF offers an intimate portrait of five such individuals- as shared through the metaphor of an iconic meme. (World Premiere)

Snowpiercer
Snowpiercer

SXSW 2020: Episodic Premieres

Central Park
Showrunner: Loren Bouchard
Central Park tells the story of how a family of caretakers, who live and work in Central Park, end up saving the park, and basically the world. Cast: Josh Gad, Leslie Odom, Jr., Titus Burgess, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, Daveed Diggs, Kathryn Hahn (World Premiere)

Chad
Showrunner: Nasim Pedrad
A pubescent Persian boy navigates high school. His friendships and sanity are pushed to the limits as he uses every tactic at his disposal to befriend the cool kids, while enduring his mother’s dating life and reconciling with his cultural identity. Cast: Nasim Pedrad, Jake Ryan, Ella Mika, Saba Homayoon, Paul Chahidi, Alexa Loo (World Premiere)

Cursed Films (Canada)
Showrunner: Jay Cheel
Cursed Films is a five-part documentary series which explores the myths and legends behind some of Hollywood’s notoriously cursed horror film productions. (World Premiere)

Hightown
Showrunner/Screenwriter: Rebecca Cutter
Set in the world of beautiful but bleak Cape Cod, Hightown follows one woman’s journey to sobriety, overshadowed by an unfolding murder investigation. Cast: Monica Raymund, James Badge Dale, Riley Voelkel, Shane Harper, Amaury Nolasco, Atkins Estimond, Dohn Norwood (World Premiere)

Home
Showrunners: Joe Poulin, Matt Weaver, Bruce Gersh, Ian Orefice, Doug Pray, Collin Orcutt, Matt Tyrnauer
Home is a nine-part series that explores extraordinary interpretations of domestic architecture and the concept of “home.” The first season features homes in six different countries and was filmed in eight countries and 16 cities around the world. (World Premiere)

Motherland: Fort Salem
Showrunner/Screenwriter: Eliot Laurence
The series is set in an alternate, present-day America where witches ended their persecution just over 300 years ago by cutting a deal with the burgeoning government to fight for and protect their country. Cast: Ashley Nicole Williams, Taylor Hickson, Jessica Sutton, Amalia Holm, Demetria McKinney (World Premiere)

Outcry
Showrunner: Pat Kondelis
In a small Texan town in 2014, star football player, Greg Kelley, was convicted of a child sexual assault case. In an outpour of support, his community bands together to prove his innocence and rectify a crime that ruined lives. (World Premiere)

Snowpiercer
Showrunner/Screenwriter: Graeme Manson
Set after the world has become a frozen wasteland, TNT’s Snowpiercer centers on the remnants of humanity who inhabit a perpetually moving train that circles the globe, dealing with class warfare, social injustice and the politics of survival. Cast: Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, Alison Wright, Mickey Sumner, Susan Park, Iddo Goldberg, Katie McGuinness, Lena Hall, Annalise Basso, Sam Otto, Roberto Urbina, Sheila Vand and Jaylin Fletcher. (World Premiere)

Solar Opposites
Showrunners/Screenwriters: Justin Roiland, Mike McMahan
From the minds behind Rick & Morty, Justin Roiland & Mike McMahan, Solar Opposites centers around a family of aliens from a better world who must take refuge in middle America. They disagree on whether this is awful or awesome. Cast: Thomas Middleditch, Sean Giambrone, Justin Roiland, Mary Mack (World Premiere)

Tales From the Loop 
Showrunner/Screenwriter: Nathaniel Halpern
A young girl turns to her friend for help when her mother mysteriously disappears. What begins as a search for the missing woman, ends with the shocking realization that Cole’s mother is in fact the same young girl, thirty years in the future. Cast: Rebecca Hall, Paul Schneider, Duncan Joiner, Daniel Zolghardi, Jonathan Pryce (World Premiere)

Upload
Showrunner: Greg Daniels
Upload is a ten-episode half-hour sci-fi comedy from the Emmy winning writer, Greg Daniels, starring Robbie Amell and Andy Allo. It takes place in the future, where people who are near death can be “Uploaded” into a virtual afterlife of their choice. Cast: Robbie Amell, Andy Allo, Allegra Edwards, Zainab Johnson, Kevin Bigley (World Premiere)

American Rap Star
American Rap Star

SXSW 2020: 24 Beats Per Second

American Rap Star
Director: Justin Staple
American Rapstar chronicles the rise of a subculture of young rappers who utilized the SoundCloud streaming platform to disrupt the traditional norms of the music industry with their distinct self expression and rebellious approach. (World Premiere)

Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne
Director: R. Greg Johnston
A&E’s Biography: The Nine Lives of Ozzy Osbourne celebrates the life of rock icon and Godfather of heavy metal Ozzy Osbourne and features interviews with Sharon Osbourne, Rick Rubin, Ice-T, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Jonathan Davis and Post Malone. (World Premiere)

Le Choc du Futur (France)
Director: Marc Collin
In the Paris of 1978, old formulas do not charm listeners anymore and new music must arise. In a male-dominated industry, Ana uses her electronic gadgets to create a new sound that will mark the decades to come: the music of the future. Cast: Alma Jodorowsky, Philippe Rebbot, Laurent Papot, Elli Medeiros, Clara Luciani, Teddy Melis, Corine (North American Premiere)

Lydia Lunch – The War Is Never Over
Director: Beth B
Lydia Lunch – The War is Never Over by Beth B is the first career-spanning documentary retrospective of Lydia Lunch’s confrontational, acerbic and always electric music and art.

The Mojo Manifesto: The Life and Times of Mojo Nixon
Director: Matt Eskey
On a bicycle trip across the country, a young Neill Kirby McMillan Jr. experiences The Mojo Revelation. After teaming up with the enigmatic Skid Roper, he unexpectedly finds mainstream success but makes a decision that could jeopardize his career. (World Premiere)

My Darling Vivian
Director: Matt Riddlehoover
Director Matt Riddlehoover traces the dizzying journey of Vivian Liberto, Johnny Cash’s first wife and the mother of his four daughters. Featuring unseen footage and photographs, the film was produced by Dustin Tittle, Vivian and Johnny’s grandson. (World Premiere)

The Nowhere Inn
Director: Bill Benz, Screenwriters: Carrie Brownstein, Annie Clark
St. Vincent sets out to make a documentary about her music, but when she hires a close friend to direct, notions of reality, identity, and authenticity grow increasingly distorted and bizarre. Cast: Annie Clark, Carrie Brownstein

Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm (United Kingdom)
Director: Hannah Berryman
The unlikely tale of two Welsh brothers who turned their dairy farm into one of the most successful recording studios of all time. This is a story of rock and roll dreams intertwined with a family business’ fight for survival. (World Premiere)

Tomboy
Director: Lindsay Lindenbaum
Tomboy shines a light on four women drummers, in a field that was once the exclusive domain of men. The narratives of these trailblazing musicians interweave, launching a dialogue on gender and artistry, which extends far beyond the musical sphere. (World Premiere)

We Are The Thousand (Canada, Italy)
Director/Screenwriter: Anita Rivaroli
Fan of rock music, Fabio wants to convince the Foo Fighters to perform in his little village in Italy. To do that he gathered 1,000 musicians to play their song together… He created a huge community who became the biggest rock band on Earth. (World Premiere)

Without Getting Killed or Caught
Directors: Tamara Saviano, Paul Whitfield, Screenwriters: Tamara Saviano, Bart Knaggs
Guy Clark, the dean of Texas songwriters, struggles to write poetic songs while balancing a complicated marriage with wife Susanna, and a deep friendship with legendary songwriter Townes Van Zandt, on whom Susanna forges a passionate dependence. (World Premiere)

Zappa
Director: Alex Winter
The first all-access documentary on the life and times of Frank Zappa. (World Premiere)

Cargo
Cargo

SXSW 2020: Global

Cargo (India)
Director/Screenwriter: Arati Kadav
Prahastha, a lonely devil astronaut has been working in a spaceship for many years. His spaceship comes close to Earth every morning and Cargos start arriving at the arrival station. These Cargos are people who have just died on Earth. Cast: Vikrant Massey, Shweta Tripathi, Nandu Madhav (North American Premiere)

Cat In The Wall (Bulgaria)
Directors/Screenwriters: Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova
Cat In The Wall tells the true story of how a cat, stuck in a wall, changes the lives of aspirational migrants, benefit fraudsters and gentrified Brexiteers. Cast: Irina Atanasova, Angel Genov, Orlin Asenov, Gilda Waugh, Chinwe A Nwokolo, Kadisha Gee Camara, Jon-jo Inkpen, John Harty (North American Premiere)

Executive Order (Brazil)
Director: Lázaro Ramos
In a near future Brazil, the federal government has decided to send the black population back to Africa. Three individuals try to resist and fight for their rights. (World Premiere)

La Mami (Mexico, Spain)
Director/Screenwriter: Laura Herrero Garvín
Night after night, La Mami, in charge of the women’s restroom at the mythical Cabaret Barba Azul offers care to the women who work there dancing.

Gunpowder Heart (Guatemala)
Director/Screenwriter: Camila Urrutia
In a chaotic Guatemala City two naive girlfriends have to make a radical decision on how to cope with the events of a fateful night: is violence the solution, or are there other ways? Cast: Andrea Henry, Vanessa Hernández (North American Premiere)

Marygoround (Poland)
Director: Daria Woszek, Screenwriters: Daria Woszek, Sylwester Piechura, Aleksandra Swierk
Mary is a lonely, small-town, grocery store worker, living a carefree life. On the eve of her 50th birthday, Mary’s life soon begins to take on a totally unexpected turn for the better – becoming an awesome revelation. Cast: Grazyna Misiorowska, Helena Sujecka, Sylwester Piechura, Janusz Chabior, Magdalena Kolesnik, Barbara Kurzaj, Agnieszka Wosinska, Michal Majnicz, Pawel Smagala, Katarzyna Nosowska (World Premiere)

Scales (Iraq, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates)
Director/Screenwriter: Shahad Ameen
Set in a dystopian landscape, Scales is the story of a young girl who stands alone against her family and overturns the village tradition of sacrificing the female children. Cast: Ashraf Barhoum, Yagoub AlFarhan, Fatima Al Taei, Haifa AlAgha, Hafssa Faisal, Abdulaziz Shtian, Basima Hajjar

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Everything You Need to Know About the Recent ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Announcements

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Byleth Super Smash Bros.

Byleth From the Fire Emblem Series Joins the Roster

Professor at Garreg Mach Monastery Revealed as Newest Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC Fighter, With News of Six More Fighters in Development

It’s been more than two years since it was released, and yet fans of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate still have plenty to look forward to. Series director, Masahiro Sakurai, revealed during a live stream earlier this morning that Byleth from Fire Emblem: Three Houses has been confirmed to be the next playable fighter coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

In addition to Byleth, Sakurai also confirmed a series of new Mii Fighter costumes, based on Cuphead, Altaïr from Assassin’s Creed, Rabbids, Mega Man X, and Mega Man Battle Network.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was released on Nintendo Switch in December 2018. It’s the biggest Smash Bros. game to date, with more than 80 playable characters, and if that wasn’t enough, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighters Pass Vol. 2, will include six more fighters currently under development.

Check out the press release below for more information.

REDMOND, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Combat class is in session! Byleth, the renowned mercenary and professor from the Fire Emblem series, is ready to teach Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players a lesson in battle. In a video released today, Masahiro Sakurai, the director of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, unveiled for the first time the battle-hardened Fire Emblem character in action, who will enter the arena on Jan. 28 as the game’s newest fighter. Sakurai demonstrated Byleth’s unique ranged play style, and revealed the Garreg Mach Monastery stage and 11 new music tracks from the Fire Emblem series, all coming to the Super Smash Bros. Ultimategame for the Nintendo Switch systemlater this month.

All of this new content will be available to players who own the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighters Pass or purchase Challenger Pack 5 separately.* In addition to Byleth’s reveal, new details were announced about the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighters Pass Vol. 2, which will include six more fighters currently under development. By purchasing Fighters Pass Vol. 2 for a suggested retail price of $29.99, players will get access to six more yet-to-be-announced Challenger Packs as they release. Each pack includes one new fighter, one stage and multiple music tracks.Those who purchase Fighters Pass Vol. 2 will also receive an exclusive costume for Mii Swordfighter, the Ancient Soldier Gear from the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game, available in-game starting Jan. 28.

“As Super Smash Bros. Ultimate continues to inspire friendly competition and heated matches on Nintendo Switch, the addition of Byleth from the beloved Fire Emblem series, along with the announcement of six more upcoming fighters, represents our commitment to supporting the game with new content that further enriches the overall experience,” said Nick Chavez, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will continue to welcome both newcomers and veteran players alike to enjoy the thrill of battle while exploring its unparalleled lineup of gaming icons.”

Byleth joins the ranks as the 80th legendary video game character included as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which features the biggest crossover of video game characters in history. Drawing upon Byleth’s chivalric exploitstheir inclusion in the roster will change the tide of every battle they appear in, with clever strategic choices motivating each defensive posture and offensive attack in their move setWith a sword, axe, lance and bow in hand, prevailing in combat will often come down to selecting the right moments to hold ground or advance.

Byleth’s accompanying stage, the Garreg Mach Monastery, also features a variety of cameos from popular characters in the Fire Emblem series, including Edelgard from the Black Eagles, Claude from the Golden Deer and Dimitri from the Blue Lions.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will also receive a new Spirit Board, which features some of the other popular characters from the Fire Emblem series, along with a new classic mode route, “A Heroic Legacy,” which highlights classic Fire Emblem stages throughout the series’ storied history.

Additionally, new Mii Fighter costumes inspired by Cuphead, Rabbids, Altair and various Mega Man games will be available for purchase on Jan. 28. Players who purchase the Cuphead Mii Fighter costume will also receive a new music track, Floral Fury, which was originally featured in the game’s classic Cagney Carnation boss battle.

Finally, two fighters from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will have amiibo figures available for purchase at select retailers beginning on Jan. 17: Samus’s mysterious doppelganger, Dark Samus, and Simon Belmont’s whip-wielding echo fighter, Richter.

Additional new fighters, stages and music will also be coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate through the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighters Pass Vol. 2. Players can also continue to purchase the current Fighters Pass for a suggested retail price of $24.99 to gain access to the first five Challenger Packs. Playable fighters Joker, Hero, Banjo & Kazooie and Terry Bogard are all available now, with Byleth joining on Jan. 28. For only $5.99, players can also purchase the packs individually.

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The Most Anticipated PlayStation Games of 2020

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PlayStation Games of 2020

2020 is well and truly upon us and there is no doubt that this is going to be an exciting year for video games. Despite the next generation of both the Xbox and the PlayStation consoles due for release in the Holiday season of 2020, there are plenty of current-gen games that are sure to cause a stir this year. PlayStation has plenty of upcoming titles so in this list we are going to be checking out some of the most anticipated games coming to the PlayStation in 2020. I’ll be focusing mainly on exclusives, but I will be including some games that will be released across other platforms too.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

The first of two remakes cropping up on this list, the remake of the classic PlayStation title Final Fantasy VII is arguably the most anticipated of all the entries that will be included here. Having been in full production since 2015 but speculated on since 2005, this remake of one of the most beloved and critically acclaimed PlayStation One titles has been awaited by gamers everywhere for a fair amount of time. The recent years have shown off more of the project and each trailer we get is even more promising. Game play looks revitalized yet familiar whereas infamous characters such as Cloud, Tifa and Aerith have developed far beyond their blocky beginnings. Their glow up is seriously unreal with the impressive graphics bringing realism to them and the world around them that was once confined to the limitations of the PlayStation One graphics. Remakes have been doing rather well in the gaming world, particularly PlayStation remakes such as Spyro the DragonCrash Bandicoot and Resident Evil 2. The remake of Final Fantasy VII has been in the pipeline since before any of these and the time that is being taken to perfect it can only be a good sign. Here’s hoping that the game will be worth the wait.

The Final Fantasy VII remake will be released March 3rd, 2020 and will be a timed PlayStation 4 exclusive. There is no news yet as to the other platforms it will be coming to but it likely will not be until 2021.

The Last of Us: Part II

Naughty Dog truly created one of the best narratives in gaming with 2013’s The Last of Us. The post-apocalyptic single-player story ended on a note that seemed pretty final so when a sequel was announced with a surprise teaser trailer in late 2016, the gaming community was shocked but excited to revisit the world and characters that were so affecting in the first game. Information on the game’s production has been few and far between, with a release date only being revealed- and subsequently pushed back- a few months ago. Naughty Dog is still holding their cards pretty close to their chest with this one, with vague notions of a storyline teased in the trailers. All we know is that we take on the role of Ellie five years after the conclusion of the last game and that she is on a mission for vengeance. This is probably my personal most anticipated game of 2020 and seeing as the first game was recently voted as the best PlayStation game of the decade by the general public, I don’t think I’m the only one waiting for this with excitement and anticipation.

The Last of Us: Part II is set to release on May 29th, 2020 exclusively for the PlayStation 4.

Ghost of Tsushima

Original IP’s are becoming more of a rarity in all forms of media in this day and age. Sequels, reboots, and remakes are a dominant force at the moment (even the first two entries on this list fall under this). Ghost of Tsushima is breaking this mold-following in the footsteps of games like 2019’s Game Awards Game of the Year winner Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice– by offering an original, single-player narrative with an interesting setting and concept. The game is set on Tsushima Island, an island on the Japanese archipelago, during the year 1270. The player will take on the role of a samurai, the last of his kind, during the Mongolian invasion of Japan. A fascinating concept that will be taking place during a real conflict that occurred within that time period, Ghost of Tsushima is not only looking highly original but also interesting in terms of story and gameplay from what has been shown. I really hope Ghost of Tsushima does well and continues to show the importance of single-player games in a community that sometimes feels dominated by big, bombastic multiplayers.

Ghost of Tsushima does not have a specific release date yet, but it is said to be releasing in the second or third quarter of 2020 exclusively for the PlayStation 4.

Resident Evil 3 Remake

Another remake of a classic PlayStation title that is highly anticipated in 2020 is Resident Evil 3. The game was officially announced in December 2019 but wasn’t too much of a surprise due to some leaked artwork of Jill Valentine, Carlos Olivera and nightmare fuel antagonist Nemesis. The game may well follow the huge success of the Resident Evil 2 remake-released at the beginning of 2019- which provided the same beloved template of the original RE2 whilst revitalizing it for the modern-day gamer. Certain changes already seem promising. The developers have suggested that Nemesis will be able to hunt down players even more menacingly due to new and improved artificial intelligence. There will also be a multiplayer game included alongside RE3 called Resident Evil Resistance. Little changes can make all the difference too, like Jill getting a more practical outfit (I can confirm that a strapless top, mini skirt and high heeled boots would not be particularly comfortable attire in the zombie apocalypse) but still having her original outfit as an unlockable skin. Capcom has managed to nail the remakes of their classic games by reinventing them in a contemporary way but still remaining true to the original titles. Resident Evil 3 will hopefully continue this trend.

Resident Evil 3 is not exclusive to the PlayStation. It will be released on April 3rd, 2020 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows.

Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 is another game that won’t just be exclusively PlayStation, but it is certainly worth a mention due to the excitement surrounding it. Developers of The Witcher game series CD Projekt Red announced the game in 2012 and the hype has been building ever since. Based on the tabletop role-playing Cyberpunk game, Cyberpunk 2077 is set in the futuristic and dystopian Night City. The player takes on the role of the mercenary V, a fully customizable character. From the trailers and demos presented so far, the game world looks alive, sprawling and full of various quests and activities. The scenery is vibrant and the inhabitants equally so. Cyberpunk 2077 is likely to be a significant addition to the gaming world and definitely has a lot of anticipation surrounding it. Let’s also not forget that Keanu Reeves plays a character called Johnny Silverhand in the game. Silverhand is a digital ghost of sorts living on a chip in V’s head. He will pop up throughout the game, a lot more so than he was originally intended to due to Reeves’s enthusiasm for the project. Quite frankly, I am sold a hundred times over by this prospect. Keanu is love; Keanu is life.

Cyberpunk 2077 will be released on April 16th, 2020 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia and Microsoft Windows.

Before we see the arrival of the next-gen PlayStation console at the end of the year, we will have these games plus plenty more to sink our teeth into. These are just a few of the most anticipated PlayStation games of 2020. Other games on the radar include Marvels Avengers (May 15th), Dreams (February 14th), Dying Light 2 (Spring), Watch Dogs: Legion (TBA) Doom Eternal (March 20th), Gods and Monsters (February 25th) and many more. 2020 is going to be a packed year for the PlayStation so let us hope that it will be one worth celebrating when 2021 rolls around.

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