SXSW Announces 2015 Film Premieres, Including Russell Brand, Mavis Staples Docs

Russell Brand
OLIVIA HARRIS/Reuters /Landov

Russell Brand performs at his Messiah Complex show at Brixton Academy in London March 9, 2014.

A documentary on Russell Brand, Ondi Timoner's BRAND: A Second Coming, will open the South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival on March 13.

In addition, a documentary on Mavis Staples, Mavis!, will make its world premiere at SXSW, festival organizers announced on Jan. 8.

The first feature-length documentary on The Staple Singers lead singer, Mavis! is the first full-length feature documentary from director Jessica Edwards. It chronicles Staples' 60-year career, from singing with her father and sisters in Chicago area churches in 1951 to the 2013 recording of One True Vine with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy producing. Gary Hustwit, producer of the Wilco documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, is executive producing the film.

BRAND: A Second Coming follows the comedian/author's evolution from addict and Hollywood star to unexpected political disruptor and newfound hero to the underserved.

Among other films SXSW announced Thursday are Michael Showalter's comedy Hello, My Name is Doris starring Sally Field; Karyn Kusama's thriller The Invitation; Grantland Features' first film, Son of the Congo, following NBA star Serge Ibaka's return to his homeland; A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story from director Sara Hirsh Bordo tracing Lizzie's journey from cyberbullying victim to influential activist; and the North American premiere of Alex Garland's directorial debut, Ex Machina, starring Oscar Isaac.

The complete festival lineup will be announced Feb. 3 with the exception of Midnighter features, which will be revealed with the Short Film Program on Feb. 10. The SXSW Film Conference and Festival will take place March   13–21 in Austin, Texas.