By Adam B. Vary
Updated February 01, 2012 at 08:00 PM EST
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Crime thrillers, gay-straight families, international journeys, genre-bending horror flicks, and foul-mouthed banter between Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are some of the highlights of the 2012 SXSW Film Festival, which announced its full line-up today for the eight-day event, running from March 9 – 17 in Austin, Texas. 21 Jump Street will have its world premiere at the festival as the Centerpiece film, and the music doc Big Easy Express — which chronicles a train ride with Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show — will close the festival on March 17.

“This year we have this sense that there’s a lot of bold, risk-taking films,” festival producer Janet Pierson tells EW. “There’s a lot of in-your-face, edgy stuff.” Pierson says this year she and her staff waded through 5,243 submissions looking for films that focus on “taking chances, finding things that are culturally relevant, looking for stuff that’s not easy or too safe or too” — she pauses for a moment — “pleasant.” She laughs. “Although we have some pleasant, easy, audience-pleasing films in the line up. But we look for the unpredictable. When you actually see the films, it’s not like everything has been reinvented. A lot of these films are films you’ve seen: People in the woods, a relationship film, people in a house, starlets finding their way, having a baby. But we’re still looking for films that tell their stories in a fresh way.”

The festival previously announced that The Cabin in the Woods — from producer Joss Whedon and director Drew Goddard — will launch the festival. Also making their world premieres: The first three episodes of the HBO series Girls, from Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture) and exec producer Judd Apatow (the first time SXSW has showcase a television show); The Babymakers, a comedy about a man (Paul Schneider) who, unable to get his wife pregnant, attempts to rob a sperm bank holding his previously donated sperm; In Our Nature, starring Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights) and John Slattery (Mad Men) as a son and father who serendipitously end up at a vacation house with their girlfriends (Jena Malone and Gabrielle Union); and Small Apartments, from director Jonas Åkerlund (of Lady Gaga and Madonna music video fame), which sports the most eclectic cast in many a moon (Matt Lucas, Billy Crystal, James Caan, Johnny Knoxville, Juno Temple).

Also screening at the fest: Will Ferrell’s Spanish-language comedy Casa de mi Padre and Richard Linklater’s true-crime dark comedy Bernie, starring Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey, and Shirley MacLaine.

Click through to the next page for highlights from the line-up, and head over to the official SXSW Film Festival website for the full list of movies.

Official descriptions courtesy the SXSW Film Festival.

HEADLINERS

21 Jump Street

Directed by: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, Screenplay by: Michael Bacall, Story by: Michael Bacall & Jonah Hill

Police officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) get sent back to high school as undercover cops in the action-comedy 21 Jump Street. Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson, Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, with Ice Cube (World Premiere)

BIG EASY EXPRESS (Pictured)

Director: Emmett Malloy

Emmett Malloy’s latest film invites us aboard a train ride unlike any other with Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show. (World Premiere)

The Cabin in the Woods

Director: Drew Goddard, Screenwriters: Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard

Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods. Bad things happen. If you think you know this story, think again. From fan favorites Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard comes The Cabin in the Woods, a mind-blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out. Cast: Kristen Connolly, Fran Kranz, Anna Hutchison, Chris Hemsworth, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, and Bradley Whitford (World Premiere)

Decoding Deepak

Director: Gotham Chopra

Filmmaker Gotham Chopra spends a year on the road decoding his father and spiritual icon Deepak Chopra. (World Premiere)

Girls

Director/Screenwriter: Lena Dunham

Created by and starring Lena Dunham (Tiny Furniture), the HBO show is a comic look at the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of a group of girls in their early 20s.

Cast: Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver (World Premiere)

The Hunter (Australia)

Director: Daniel Nettheim, Screenplay by: Alice Addison, Novel by: Julia Leigh, Original Adaptation by: Wain Fimeri

A mercenary is dispatched from Europe to the Tasmanian wilderness by a mysterious biotech company to search for the last surviving Tasmanian tiger.

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Frances O’Connor, Sam Neill (U.S. Premiere)

Killer Joe

Director: William Friedkin, Screenwriter: Tracy Letts

A garish, Southwestern tale — a violent black comedy about a desperate Texas debtor (Hirsch) who plots to kill his mother with help of his family (Haden Church, Gershon). They hire a crazy Dallas cop who moonlights as a contract killer (McConaughey) to do the job, but Killer Joe asks for their teenage daughter (Temple) as a retainer. The film is based on Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts’ (August: Osage County) award-winning play. Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church (U.S. Premiere)

MARLEY (UK / USA)

Director: Kevin Macdonald

The definitive life story of Bob Marley — musician, revolutionary, legend — from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best. Directed by Academy-Award winner Kevin Macdonald. (North American Premiere)

NARRATIVE SPOTLIGHT

The Babymakers

Director: Jay Chandrasekhar, Screenwriters: Peter Gaulke, Gerry Swallow

Unable to impregnate his wife, Tommy and friends rob a sperm bank — to get Tommy’s long-ago donated sperm back. The crazy plan goes hilariously awry and shows how far a couple will go to create a new life.

Cast: Paul Schneider, Olivia Munn, Kevin Heffernan, Wood Harris, Nat Faxon (World Premiere)

Crazy Eyes

Director: Adam Sherman, Screenwriters: Adam Sherman, Dave Reeves & Rachel Hardisty

Just another story about love.

Cast: Lukas Haas, Madeline Zima, Jake Busey, Tania Raymonde, Regine Nehy (World Premiere)

Do-Deca-Pentathalon

Director/Screenwriter: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass

Two brothers compete in their own private 25-event Olympics.

Cast: Mark Kelly, Steve Zissis, Elton LeBlanc (World Premiere)

Fat Kid Rules The World

Director: Matthew Lillard, Screenwriters: Michael M.B. Galvin, Peter Speakman

Troy, a depressed overweight teenager, gets sucked into the punk rock world by Marcus, a charming street musician. But when Troy discovers Marcus’ drug addiction, he suddenly must figure out the true boundaries of friendship.

Cast: Jacob Wysocki, Matt O’Leary, Billy Campbell, Lili Simmons, Dylan Arnold (World Premiere)

frankie go boom

Director/Screenwriter: Jordan Roberts

a flick by bruce about his little brother frank who’s a crybaby f— who shouldn’t do lame-ass embarrassing s— if he dozn’t want people 2 see it

Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Chris O’Dowd, Lizzy Caplan, Ron Perlman, Chris Noth (World Premiere)

Hunky Dory (UK)

Director: Marc Evans, Screenwriter: Laurence Coriat

From the producer of Billy Elliot comes this funny, coming-of-age film featuring songs from artists such as David Bowie, Lou Reed, The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, Dusty Springfield and Electric Light Orchestra. Cast: Minnie Driver, Aneurin Barnard, Danielle Branch, Robert Pugh, Haydn Gwynne (North American Premiere)

In Our Nature

Director/Screenwriter: Brian Savelson

Taking place over a single weekend, an estranged father and son accidentally end up in the same country house with their two girlfriends.

Cast: Zach Gilford, Jena Malone, John Slattery, Gabrielle Union (World Premiere)

Keyhole (Canada)

Director: Guy Maddin, Screenwriters: Guy Maddin, George Toles

I’m only a ghost… but a ghost isn’t nothing.

Cast: Isabella Rossellini, Jason Patric, Udo Kier, Kevin McDonald, Tattiawna Jones (U.S. Premiere)

See Girl Run

Director/Screenwriter: Nate Meyer

What happens when a 30-something woman allows life’s “what ifs” to overwhelm her appreciation for what life actually is. Disregarding her current obligations, she digs into her romantic past in hopes of invigorating her present.

Cast: Robin Tunney, Adam Scott, Jeremy Strong, William Sadler, Josh Hamilton (World Premiere)

Small Apartments

Director: Jonas Åkerlund, Screenwriter: Chris Millis

When Franklin Franklin accidentally kills his landlord, he must hide the body; but, the wisdom of his beloved brother and the quirks of his neighbors, force him on a journey where a fortune awaits him. Cast: Matt Lucas, Billy Crystal, James Caan, Johnny Knoxville, Juno Temple (World Premiere)

Somebody Up There Likes Me

Director/Screenwriter: Bob Byington

Time flies for everyone: Thirty-five years in the life of Max, his best friend Sal, and a woman they both adore. A deadpan fable about time sneaking up on and swerving right around us.

Cast: Keith Poulson, Nick Offerman, Jess Weixler, Stephanie Hunt, Kevin Corrigan (World Premiere)

NARRATIVE FEATURE COMPETITION

Booster

Director/Screenwriter: Matt Ruskin

When Simon’s brother is arrested for armed robbery, he is asked to commit a string of similar crimes in an attempt to get his brother acquitted. Cast: Nico Stone, Adam DuPaul, Seymour Cassel, Kristin Dougherty, Brian McGrail (World Premiere)

Eden

Director: Megan Griffiths, Screenwriters: Richard B. Phillips, Megan Griffiths, Story by: Richard B. Phillips & Chong Kim

A young Korean-American girl, abducted and forced into prostitution by domestic human traffickers, joins forces with her captors in a desperate plea to survive. Cast: Jamie Chung, Matt O’Leary, Beau Bridges, Jeanine Monterroza, Scott Mechlowicz (World Premiere)

Gayby

Director/Screenwriter: Jonathan Lisecki

Jenn and Matt, best friends since college who are now in their thirties, decide to have a child together, the old-fashioned way — even though Matt is gay and Jenn is straight. Cast: Jenn Harris, Matthew Wilkas, Mike Doyle, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Jack Ferver (World Premiere)

Gimme the Loot

Director/Screenwriter: Adam Leon

When Malcolm and Sofia’s latest graffiti masterpiece is buffed by a rival gang, these two determined Bronx teens must hustle, steal, and scheme to get spectacular revenge and become the biggest writers in the City. Cast: Tashiana Washington, Ty Hickson, Meeko, Zoe Lescaze, Sam Soghor (World Premiere)

Los Chidos (Germany / Mexico / USA)

Director/Screenwriter: Omar Rodriguez Lopez

The Gonzales family tries hard to hold on to their beautiful Latino traditions of misogyny and homophobia when a tall, white, industrialist stranger appears, challenging their place in the exploitative food chain.

Cast: Kim Stodel, María De Jesús Canales Ramírez, Manuel Ramos, Cecilia Gutiérrez (World Premiere)

Pilgrim Song

Director: Martha Stephens, Screenwriters: Martha Stephens, Karrie Crouse

A pink-slipped music teacher ponders his stalled relationship and place in the world during an arduous trek across Kentucky’s Sheltowee Trace Trail.

Cast: Timothy Morton, Bryan Marshall, Karrie Crouse, Harrison Cole, Michael Abbott Jr. (World Premiere)

Starlet

Director: Sean Baker, Screenwriters: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch

The film explores the unlikely friendship between 21-year-old Jane (Dree Hemingway), and 85-year-old Sadie (Besedka Johnson), two women whose worlds collide in California’s San Fernando Valley.

Cast: Dree Hemingway, Besedka Johnson, Stella Maeve, James Ransone, Karren Karagulian (World Premiere)

The Taiwan Oyster

Director: Mark Jarrett, Screenwriters: Mark Jarrett, Jordan Heimer, Mitchell Jarrett

Two Ex-Pat Kindergarten teachers in Taiwan embark on a quixotic odyssey to bury a fellow countryman. Cast: Billy Harvey, Jeff Palmiotti, Leonora Lim (World Premiere)

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