To give their fans a taste of what is set to premiere at this year's festival, South By Southwest has just announced their first handful of films for 2017, and there is a Chicago indie feature amid this glorious gaggle. "First time filmmaker Jennifer Reeder’s coming-of-age Muslim melodrama SIGNATURE MOVE starring Fawzia Mirza" will make its world premiere at the prestigious Austin festival coming up in March.

"Any truly indie film, but in particular one that is written by queer women, directed by a woman, starring women of color, one of the hardest parts is getting visibility," Mirza told SCREEN this afternoon. "SXSW has seen us and has given us a great big platform for our little film. We couldn’t be more excited to be Austin-bound."

SIGNATURE MOVE's compatriots in this first set of films for SXSW, which runs March 10-19, include the Opening Night Film, SONG TO SONG, from celebrated director Terrence Malick, starring Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, and Natalie Portman. Click here for the other five films announced today.

In SIGNATURE MOVE, a secret new romance with Alma forces Zaynab to confront her complicated relationship with her recently widowed mother. In this coming-of-age Muslim melodrama, Zaynab copes by taking up Lucha-style wrestling.

Cast includes Fawzia Mirza, Shabana Azmi, Sari Sanchez, Audrey Francis, Charin Alvarez, Mark Hood, Molly Brennan, Malic White, Jasmine McNealy and Molly Callinan. Production team includes director Jennifer Reeder, screenwriter Lisa Donato who co-wrote the script with Mirza, executive producers Michael Shannon, Nabeela Rasheed and Jan Hieggelke, producers Brian Hieggelke, Eugene Park and Mirza, associate producers Angie Gaffney, Ray Goldberg and Joe Klest, casting directors Mickie Paskal and Jennifer Rudnicke, 1st AD Jen Bukovsky, editor Felix Piniero and cinematographer Christopher Rejano.

If you'd like to learn more about the shoot this summer, click here for a couple of articles from earlier this year.

Looking ahead to the premiere this March... "The first screening is always nerve-wracking," said Mirza. "And this story is very personal on so many levels. But this is the kind of movie that takes a Little Village and Devon Ave and communities of people to make. I can't wait to share it with everyone."

South by Southwest will announce the rest of their lineup toward the end of this month. As they do, I'll keep you posted!

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