This year’s SXSW has finally rounded out the rest of its film festival program, including its popular Midnighters section, along with Festival Favorites, late-addition features and the closing night film for the 6th edition of the festival, running March 8 – 17 in Austin, Texas. This year’s program encompasses 131 feature films including 101 world premieres, 9 North American premieres, 3 U.S. premieres, and 64 films from first-time filmmakers.
In a nod to the festival’s affinity for genre films, this year’s event will close with the world premiere of Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer’s new version of “Pet Sematary.” (The festival also opens with a much-anticipated horror movie, Jordan Peele’s much-anticipated “Get Out” followup, “Us,” which was previously announced.) Kolsch and Widmyer’s film is based on the beloved Stephen King novel of the same name, and stars Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow. Paramount Pictures will release the film on April 5.
In that same vein, the festival has also unveiled its list of Midnighters. Featuring 10 new world premieres, the slate includes dark comedies, thrillers, sci-fi, mystery, and slasher horror from a mix of established and first-time filmmakers. Titles of note include Roxanne Benjamin’s “Body at Brighton Rock,” Adam Egypt Mortimer’s “Daniel Isn’t Real,” and Pollyanna McIntosh’s “Darlin’,” an unofficial sequel to Lucky McKee’s “The Woman,” in which McIntosh starred.
“Programming the SXSW Midnighters section is always a favorite part of my job, and this year was no exception,” said Jarod Neece, SXSW Senior Film Programmer, in an official statement. “We get to peek into the collective consciousness of the world of genre filmmakers working today. This year’s selections are a mix of horror, thriller, sci-fi and fantasy with a good dose of feral children, haunted houses, extraterrestrial creatures and the undead to creep out SXSW audiences late into the night. Genre films can be found throughout the entire SXSW program from Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ on Opening Night to our Closing Night Film, ‘Pet Sematary’!”
True to form, SXSW’s Festival Favorites section includes a number of popular films that have previously screened at other festivals, including Sundance hits like “Apollo 11” and “Knock Down the House” and TIFF standouts like “Her Smell,” “The Weekend,” and “Maiden.”
Check out the latest round of additions to the SXSW Film Festival lineup below, with all information and synopses provided by the festival.
Scary, funny, sexy, controversial – ten provocative after-dark features for night owls and the terminally curious.
7 Reasons to Run Away (From Society) (Spain)
Directors: Esteve Soler, Gerard Quinto, David Torras, Screenwriter: Esteve Soler
7 Reasons to Run Away takes a critical look at today’s society and puts the values it transmits into question. Cast: Sergi Lopez, Emma Suarez, Lola Dueñas, Alex Brendemuhl, Alain Hernandez, Francesc Orella (World Premiere)
Body At Brighton Rock
Director/Screenwriter: Roxanne Benjamin
An inexperienced park employee discovers a body on a remote mountain trail and must stay with it overnight in the wilderness, facing her darkest fears in the process. Cast: Karina Fontes, Casey Adams, Emily Althaus, Brodie Reed, Martin Spanjers, John Getz, Miranda Bailey, Susan Burke, Matt Peters (World Premiere)
Boyz In The Wood (United Kingdom, U.S.)
Director/Screenwriter: Ninian Doff
Set deep in the Scottish Highlands, Boyz In The Wood is an anarchic cocktail of generational politics, hip-hop loving farmers, and hallucinogenic rabbit shites. Cast: Eddie Izzard, Kate Dickie, James Cosmo, Kevin Guthrie, Jonathan Aris, Alice Lowe, Samuel Bottomley, Viraj Juneja, Rian Gordon, Lewis Gribben (World Premiere)
Daniel Isn’t Real
Director: Adam Egypt Mortimer, Screenwriters: Brian DeLeeuw, Adam Egypt Mortimer
Troubled Luke suffers a violent family trauma and resurrects his childhood imaginary friend to help him cope. Charismatic and full of manic energy, “Daniel” helps Luke to achieve his dreams, before pushing him into a desperate fight for his own soul. Cast: Patrick Schwarzenegger, Miles Robbins, Sasha Lane, Hannah Marks, Mary Stuart Masterson (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Pollyanna McIntosh
In this visually inventive sequel to The Woman, a feral teenage girl is taken into strict Catholic care and prepared for her First Holy Communion. Cast: Lauryn Canny, Bryan Batt, Nora-Jane Noone, Cooper Andrews, Pollyanna McIntosh (World Premiere)
Girl On The Third Floor
Director/Screenwriter: Travis Stevens
Don Koch tries to renovate a rundown house with a sordid history for his growing family, only to learn that the house has other plans. Cast: Phil Brooks, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Sarah Brooks, Elissa Dowling, Karen Woditsch, Travis Delgado, Marshall Bean, Anish Jethmalani, Bishop Stevens, Tonya Kay (World Premiere)
I See You (United Kingdom, U.S.)
Director: Adam Randall, Screenwriter: Devon Graye
Strange occurrences plague a small town detective and his family as he investigates the disappearance of a young boy. Cast: Helen Hunt, Jon Tenney, Judah Lewis, Owen Teague, Libe Barer, Greg Alan Williams, Erika Alexander, Allison King (World Premiere)
Directors: Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman, Screenwriters: Stephen Cedars, Benji Kleiman, Scott Yacyshyn
After a popular teen has sex for the first time, she finds herself pregnant — with an alien. With no one to turn to but her nerdy ex-best-friend, she’ll have to risk her neck — and social status — to fight the freaky extraterrestrial threat. Cast: Mary Nepi, Gabrielle Elyse, Austin Fryberger, JJ Nolan, Nick Gomez, Ashley Argota, Amy Arburn, Amy Landecker, Rich Fulcher (World Premiere)
Tales from the Lodge (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Abigail Blackmore
When a group of old friends spend the night telling stories of murders, ghosts, zombies and possessions they soon become aware of another tale unfolding around them. And this one is real. Cast: Mackenzie Crook, Dustin Demri-Burns, Laura Fraser, Sophie Thompson, Johnny Vegas, Kelly Wenham (World Premiere)
Director/Screenwriter: Richard Bates, Jr.
Two generations collide with terrifying results in this home invasion horror film that is also a darkly comedic critique of the bizarre cultural and political climates in the United States. Cast: Amanda Crew, Robert Patrick, Kim Delaney, Hayley Marie-Norman, Ray Wise, Johnny Pemberton, Keisha Castle-Hughes, AnnaLynne McCord, Nelson Franklin, Ronnie Gene-Blevins (World Premiere)
Acclaimed standouts and selected premieres from festivals around the world.
Director: Todd Douglas Miller
A look at the Apollo 11 mission to land on the moon led by commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin.
Aquarela (Germany, United Kingdom)
Director:Victor Kossakovsky, Screenwriters: Victor Kossakovsky, Aimara Reques
Aquarela is a deeply cinematic journey through the transformative beauty and raw power of water. Filmed at 96 frames per second, it’s a visceral wake-up call that humans are no match for the sheer force and will of Earth’s most precious element.
Directors/Screenwriters: Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe
A deliciously twisted comedy set in a demented, timeless suburbia where every adult wears braces on their straight teeth, couples coordinate meticulously pressed outfits, and coveted family members are swapped in more ways than one in this competition for acceptance. Cast: Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe, Beck Bennett, Neil Casey, Mary Holland, D’Arcy Carden, Dot-Marie Jones, Janicza Bravo, Jim Cummings, Lauren Adams
Director/Screenwriter: Alex Ross Perry
A self-destructive punk rocker struggles with sobriety while trying to recapture the creative inspiration that led her band to success. Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Cara Delevingne, Dan Stevens, Amber Heard, Agyness Deyn, Gayle Rankin, Ashley Benson, Eric Stoltz, Dylan Gelula
The Hottest August (Canada, U.S.)
Director: Brett Story
A film about climate change, disguised as a portrait of collective anxiety.
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley
Director/Screenwriter: Alex Gibney
Elizabeth Holmes was once the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, heralded as the next Steve Jobs. Then, overnight, her $10-billion-dollar company dissolved. The rise and fall of Theranos is a window into the psychology of fraud.
Knock Down the House
Director: Rachel Lears Screenwriters: Rachel Lears, Robin Blotnick
Four women run for Congress, overcoming personal adversity to battle powerful political machines across the country. One of their races will change the country forever.
Little Monsters (Australia)
Director/Screenwriter: Abe Forsythe
A washed-up musician teams up with a plucky schoolteacher and a despicable kid’s show personality to protect a Kindergarten class from a sudden outbreak of zombies. Cast: Lupita Nyong’o, Alexander England, Josh Gad
Maiden (United Kingdom)
Director/Screenwriter: Alex Holmes
In a moving portrait of resilience, Alex Holmes chronicles the unprecedented journey of 24-year-old Tracy Edwards and the first all-female sailing crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race.
Director: Rick Alverson, Screenwriters: Rick Alverson, Dustin Guy Defa, Colm O’Leary
A well known physician, in the decline of his career, takes a young man on a desperate tour of rural mid-century hospitals, advocating for a new controversial procedure. Cast: Tye Sheridan, Jeff Goldblum, Hannah Gross, Denis Lavant, Udo Kier
Directors: Ivete Lucas, Patrick Bresnan
In a small agricultural town in the Florida Everglades, hopes for the future are concentrated on the youth. Four teens face heartbreak and celebrate in the rituals of an extraordinary senior year.
Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins
Director: Janice Engel, Screenwriters: Janice Engel, Monique Zavistovski
Six-feet of Texas trouble, Molly Ivins, a legendary journalist and a warrior for the Bill of Rights, fought Good Old Boy corruption with razor-sharp wit that left both sides of the aisle laughing and craving ink in her columns. Raise Hell y’all!
Directors/Screenwriters: Samantha Buck, Marie Schlingmann
After faking her own death, America’s most famous evangelist finds herself on a wild road trip towards Mexico, haunted not only by the police but by her own persona. Cast: Anna Margaret Hollyman, Michael Mosley, Andrea Suarez Paz, Julie White, Amy Hargreaves, Macon Blair, Lee Eddy, Blake Delong, John Merriman, Nathan Zellner
Them That Follow
Directors/Screenwriters: Britt Poulton, Dan Madison Savage
Set deep in the wilds of Appalachia, where believers handle death-dealing snakes to prove themselves before God, Them That Follow tells the story of a pastor’s daughter who holds a secret that threatens to tear her community apart. Cast: Olivia Colman, Kaitlyn Dever, Alice Englert, Jim Gaffigan, Walton Goggins, Thomas Mann, Lewis Pullman
Director/Screenwriter: Stella Meghie
A comedian hauls the baggage of her defunct relationship on a weekend getaway with friends, which happens to include her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend. Cast: Sasheer Zamata, Tone Bell, Dewanda Wise, Y’Lan Noel, Kym Whitley
Big names, big talent: Headliners bring star power to SXSW, featuring red carpet premieres and gala film events with major and rising names in cinema.
The Curse of La Llorona
Director: Michael Chaves, Screenwriters: Mikki Daughtry, Tobias Iaconis
In 1970s Los Angeles, La Llorona is stalking the night…and the children. Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother, a social worker is soon drawn into a terrifying supernatural realm, with the lives and souls of her own kids at stake. Cast: Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz, Patricia Velasquez, Marisol Ramirez, Sean Patrick Thomas, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Roman Christou (World Premiere)
Directors: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, Screenwriter: Jeff Buhler
Based on the seminal horror novel by Stephen King. The new Pet Sematary trailer premieres online tomorrow! Click here to be one of the first to see it. Cast: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, Jeté Laurence, Hugo Lavoie, Lucas Lavoie and John Lithgow
Director: Michael Dowse, Screenwriter: Tripper Clancy
When a mild-mannered Uber driver (Kumail Nanjiani) picks up a cop (Dave Bautista) hot on the trail of a brutal killer, he’s thrust into a harrowing ordeal where he has to keep his wits, his life and his five-star rating. Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Dave Bautista, Iko Uwais, Natalie Morales, Betty Gilpin, Jimmy Tatro, with Mira Sorvino and Karen Gillan
Shining a light on new documentary features receiving their World, North American or U.S. premieres at SXSW.
I Am Richard Pryor
Director/Screenwriter: Jesse James Miller
I Am Richard Pryor tells the life story of the legendary performer and iconic social satirist, who transcended race and social barriers by delivering his honest irreverent and biting humor to America’s stages and living rooms until his death at 65. (World Premiere)
Director: Amy C. Elliott
The Yellowknife dump, and its massive, unrestricted salvage area, has long played a central role in this remote Canadian city’s civic and social life. Can a colorful group of thrifty locals save it from city bureaucrats determined to close it down? (World Premiere)
State of Pride
Directors/Screenwriters: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Fifty years after the Stonewall uprising, Oscar winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman travel to three diverse communities – Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama – for an unflinching look at LGBTQ Pride. (World Premiere)
24 BEATS PER SECOND
Showcasing the sounds, culture and influence of music and musicians, with an emphasis on documentary.
Iris: A Space Opera by Justice (France)
Directors: Andre Chemetoff, Armand Beraud
Iris is a film adaptation of Justice’s Woman World Wide live show from 2017-2018, which is widely regarded as the greatest live electronic concert created. Recorded in an empty and invisible space, Iris focuses on the impressive production and music. (World Premiere)