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South by Southwest: Seth Rogen comedy premieres, TV section debuts

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"Neighbors," the raunchy Seth Rogen comedy about a married couple living next to a frat house, will premiere alongside Jon Favreau’s restaurant comedy “Chef” and Rob Thomas’ crowd-funded “Veronica Mars” movie as part of the 21st edition of the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas, organizers announced Thursday.

The 115-film lineup at the film fest, set for March 7-15, includes new movies from David Gordon Green, who will bring his adaptation of the Larry Brown novel "Joe," starring Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan; Diego Luna, who will screen his biopic "Cesar Chavez" about the labor organizer; and Patrick Brice, who will premiere "Creep," starring Mark Duplass as a videographer who answers a want ad for a job only to discover the client is not what he appears to be.

Filmmaker Wes Anderson also will be on hand for a screening of his new film, "The Grand Budapest Hotel," followed by an in-depth discussion about his career.

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"I feel great about the range of work we're able to premiere this year," said film conference and festival producer Janet Pierson. "It's a lot of films that I think are really intriguing across all budget sizes, sensibilities. As programmers, you look for work that just sort of speaks to you. You're looking for a point of view, perhaps, a singular voice, a directorial hand."

This year's event also will showcase a range of new television series with an "Episodic" section spotlighting high-profile shows such as HBO’s "Silicon Valley" from Mike Judge, Showtime's horror romance "Penny Dreadful," AMC’s period-set take on the dawn of the personal computing age, "Halt and Catch Fire," Hulu's supernatural-themed "Deadbeat," Fox’s "COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey" and "From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series," debuting on Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network.

"It's something we'd been interested in putting together for quite a while and finally the work caught up with being able to create a section dedicated to premiering one or two episodes of a new series," Pierson said. "It's where a lot of creative people are working, there's a lot of great content, and we were able to come up with a lot of work that spoke to us."

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Although documentaries make up a smaller portion of the roster than in years past, a number of high-profile titles will screen at SXSW, including "Supermensch," Mike Myers' chronicle of legendary manager Shep Gordon, and "Manny," a portrait of boxer and Philippines congressman Manny Pacquiao, which is playing under the SXsports banner, a new sports-focused category that will include programming for festivalgoers and attendees of the SXSW's Interactive conference.

"Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton (This is Stones Throw Records)" explores the influence of the L.A. based avant-garde record label.

Special events will commemorate the 40th anniversary of "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," and the legacy of the original 1954 "Godzilla." Gareth Edwards, who is directing the new “Godzilla” movie due out this summer, will appear for a Q&A about the Japanese release.

Overall, the lineup includes 68 titles from first-time filmmakers, and 76 world premieres. Festival organizers said they received a record number of 6,482 submissions this year, up 14% from 2013.

SXSW will announce the programming for its Midnighters feature section and its short film program on Feb. 5.

More information is available at sxsw.com/film.

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