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Monday Roundup: First titles announced for SXSW 2010; USC Scripter Awards; Palm Springs Film Fest gains Houston Plaza

_JSA4647.JPG  SXSW aficionados, take note: The first few titles to screen at the 2010 edition of the Austin, Texas, fest were announced -- via snail mail, no less -- this weekend. The freshman batch includes "Electra Luxx," director Sebastian Gutierrez's sequel to his 2009 indie comedy "Women in Trouble," with his significant other/muse Carla Gugino back in the lead, and Timothy Olyphant, Alicia Silverstone and Justin ("Weeds") Kirk among the cast. Also on the docket: "No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson," a documentary from director Steve James (the Oscar-nominated, Peabody Award-winning "Hoop Dreams") about the Philadelphia 76ers star and his involvement in a 1993 fight between black and white teens that landed him in jail and fractured the city of Hampton, Va. The doc was originally produced for ESPN's lauded "30 for 30" series. The fest will also screen the Imax feature "Hubble 3-D" at the Bob Bullock Imax Theatre in Austin. SXSW 2010 takes place from March 12-21.

FOR THE RECORD: A previous version of this post said Lynn Barber is the author of "A Single Man." Christopher Isherwood is the author. The post also misidentified "Up in the Air" writer Walter Kirn as Walter Kim.

Meanwhile, Awards Daily has an interesting post about the USC Scripter Awards, which are given each year to the best film adaptation of a book or novella, with the prize going to both the screenwriter and the author of the source material. The nominations for this year's awards will be announced tomorrow (and the winner selected on February 6, 2010), but Awards Daily scribe Sasha Stone gives some solid predictions for which titles will be under consideration, with "Up in the Air" (based on the novel by Walter Kirn), "A Single Man" (novel by Christopher Isherwood), "Precious" (book by Sapphire) and "Fantastic Mr. Fox" (by Roald Dahl, of course) among the top picks. 

Stone also includes a handy chart that tracks which films that won Scripter Awards also took the Oscar and WGA trophy; as an indicator of which way those derbies will run, the Scripter is somewhat handicapped (only three of their choices -- "Slumdog Millionaire," "No Country for Old Men" and "A Beautiful Mind" -- have cleaned up with Oscar and the WGA since 1998). But they've made intriguing selections every time, including "Children of Men" over "The Departed" in 2006, "Capote" over "Brokeback Mountain" in 2005 and a tie between "Mystic River" and "Seabiscut" instead of "Return of the King" in 2003. 

And lastly, attendees for the 21st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, which kicks off tomorrow and runs until Jan. 18, will be among the first to enjoy the Jackie Lee Houston Plaza, which opens today. The 1.5-acre plaza, named for the vice chairman of the fest and chairman of its Awards Gala, is situated at the gateway to the Palm Springs Convention Center, where the fest takes place, offers a sustainable garden, views of the mountain vistas and art sculptures donated by the Houston family. It also sounds like a good place to catch one's breath between the avalanche of major stars receiving awards at this year's fest, like Jeff Bridges, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren, among many others. 

-- Paul Gaita 

Photo: Steve James (center) and "No Crossover" crew. Credit: Courtesy ESPN.

More from The Circuit:

The Contender Q&A: "Food, Inc." director Robert Kenner

Year-end best list of the year-end best lists


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