Festival organisers announced 109 features on Thursday [31], 68 of which come from first-time film-makers and 69 are world premieres. The multimedia festival is scheduled to run from Mar 8-16 in Austin, Texas.

The Midnighters feature section and short films will be announced on Feb 6 and the complete panel line-up and schedule will be made public on Feb 13.

“It’s an incredible privilege to sift through so much exciting work, and every year brings new surprises,” said Film Conference and Festival producer Janet Pierson. “Though trends emerge after the fact, not consciously while we’re programming, much of this year’s programme embraces love and the need/search/desire for connection.

“Many films reflect importantly on our culture and include intimate looks at iconic figures, and we’re lucky to have a plethora of hugely entertaining and audience pleasing films. Even more thrilling is the opportunity to support so many film-makers we’ve followed for years who’ve made enormous creative leaps in their work.”

The festival’s main juried competition categories comprise eight Narrative Feature world premieres and eight Documentary Feature world premieres. All feature categories, except Headliners, will be eligible for category-specific Audience Awards. 

The Narrative Feature Competition entries are: Awful Nice by Todd Sklar, Burma by Carlos Puga, Improvement Club by Dayna Hanson, LICKS by Jonathan Singer-Vine, The Retrieval by Chris Eska, Short Term 12 by Destin Daniel Cretton, Swim Little Fish Swim by Ruben Amar and Lola Bessis and This Is Where We Live by Josh Barrett and Marc Menchaca.

The Documentary Feature Competition entries are: 12 O’Clock Boys by Lotfy Nathan, Big Joy: The Adventures Of James Broughton by Stephen Silha and Eric Slade, Hey Bartender by Douglas Tirola, Los Wild Ones by Elise Salomon, The Short Game by Josh Greenbaum, Touba by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, We Always Lie To Strangers by A J Schnack and David Wilson and William And The Windmill by Ben Nabors.

Among the Headliners entries are Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead remake, Don Scardino’s The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Stephen Finnigan’s Hawking. Narrative Spotlight entries include Joe Swanberg’s Drinking Buddies, Dan Mazer’s I Give It A Year[pictured], John Sayles’s Go For Sisters and Sean H A Gallagher’s Good Night.

Top brass received a record 2,096 feature-length submissions comprising 1,482 US and 614 international entries. The record number of 5,682 submissions in total amounted to a 7% increase over 2012. To see the full programme visit the official website.