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SXSW 2014: Veronica Mars, Chef Are Big Names On Early Schedule

South By Southwest -- the annual film, music and interactive festival that takes over downtown Austin, Texas – began teasing its wares for the 2014 event, announcing its Opening Night selection and a few key features that will dot its schedule.

Jon Favreau’s anticipated Chef, starring the writer-director and a colorful cast of supporting talents, will kick off this year’s fest with a Friday evening screening on March 7. Favreau stars in the film, playing a celebrated chef who loses his high-profile gig, then decides to start a food truck while reuniting with his estranged family. The Elf and Iron Man director is calling Chef a return to his roots on SXSW’s official blog, though his cast is populated with non-indie darlings like Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hofman, Sofia Vergara and Bobby Cannavale. Expect Favreau to be in Austin for the film’s world premiere, and it will be interesting to see which cast members he convinces to tag along to Texas.

As you can tell from the above image, the fan-backed feature film based on the former TV show Veronica Mars also makes its world premiere in Austin this March. As you have been reading, Mars creator Rob Thomas famously took to Kickstarter to help get this film off the ground. If you paid for it, will you also pay for a ticket to go see it in Austin at SXSW? The trailer dropped the other day. We’re sharing it again.

What else is on SXSW’s docket at the moment? The festival also announced that it will screen Patrick Brice’s Creep (with Mark Duplass), Jay Karas’ tennis drama Break Point, Christian Larson’s documentary Leave the World Behind (about the Swedish House Mafia) and Alexandre O. Philippe’s Doc of the Dead, which I’m hearing very good things about.

The new title that really catches my eye, however, is Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey. The series, hosted by renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, explores the cosmic mysteries of our universe. Tyson will be in Austin for a special event tied to the SXSW screening, and its those kind of interactive exhibits that make SXSW worth the trip each year.

The fest has begun mapping out is Keynote Speakers, as well, but there are hundreds of panels, speakers, conferences, live events and screenings to come. We’ll be on the ground in Austin covering the fest once again this year, so start checking back as we get closer to the March 7 kick off.

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.