SXSW Snags Midwest Films

SXSW Snags Midwest Films

SXSW has announced its 2015 lineup and I thought it would be good to take a minute to celebrate the tremendous showing Midwest filmmakers will be making in Austin next month. Here's a quick rundown...

Chicago director Steven Piet and producer Erik Crary's head to Austin for the World Premiere of their riveting Midwest-made drama UNCLE JOHN. Filmed in Wisconsin and Illinois, UNCLE JOHN is an intimately told story that revolves around the struggle to keep a mysterious disappearance unsolved. Chicago contributors include DP Mike Bove, colorist Tyler Roth of Company 3 and casting director David O'Connor of O'Connor Casting, who returns to Austin for the second consecutive year, following up last year's SXSW jury winner ANIMALS.

Kevin Pang of the Chicago Tribune and Mark Helenowski spent four years making their feature-length documentary debut FOR GRACE, about a Chicago chef named Curtis Duffy and the building of his three-Michelin star restaurant, Grace, from concrete box to opening night. It's about Duffy's path from Central Ohio to Chicago, from emerging through his parents' murder-suicide, to living through his own marital problems, and the home economics teacher who saved him.

Kris Swanberg takes her Chicago-made drama UNEXPECTED to Austin following its premiere last month at the Sundance Film Festival. UNEXPECTED will screen as part of SXSW's "Festival Favorites" lineup.

Kris's husband Joe will also be on the plane to Austin for the World Premiere of UNCLE KENT 2. In a desperate search to create a follow-up to Joe Swanberg's 2011 film UNCLE KENT, Kent Osborne travels to a comic book convention in San Diego where he loses his mind and confronts the end of the world. Swanberg appears in the film and is executive producing with Osbourne.

Last but not least, kudos to cinematographer and Columbia College Chicago alum John Guleserian and his wife and production designer Theresa, who teamed up on the sex comedy THE OVERNIGHT, which will play in SXSW's "Festival Favorites" lineup.

More news from SXSW coming up this month... I'll be in Austin for the festival March 12-19, drop me a line anytime at if you're heading to SXSW or have any news to share.

Mike McNamara is the Co-Founder of The Midwest Independent Film Festival, Mike pays his rent as an actor in Chicago in theatre, commercials, television and film. More from Mac at