SXSW to close with Wes Anderson’s ‘Isle of Dogs,’ plus more titles announced


The upcoming South by Southwest Film Festival continued to add to its program Wednesday with the announcement that the North American premiere of Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” will be the closing night selection. The festival runs from March 9-18 in Austin, Texas.

“Isle of Dogs” will have its world premiere as the opening night movie of the Berlin Film Festival later this month. The stop-motion animated picture is set in near-future Japan and tells the story of a boy on a journey to find his lost dog amid all the pooches in exile in a vast garbage dump.

Anderson was born in Texas and attended university in Austin. He was at SXSW with his previous film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” The impressive voice cast for “Isle of Dogs” includes Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Kunichi Nomura, Akira Takayama, Akira Ito, Scarlett Johansson, Yoko Ono, Tilda Swinton, Ken Watanabe, Mari Natsuki, Nijiro Murakami and Courtney B. Vance.


The festival also announced the lineup to its popular Midnighters section of genre films, including six world premieres.

Playing in the section will be Ari Aster’s Sundance breakout “Hereditary,” Katsuyuki Motohiro’s “Ajin: Demi-Human,” Owen Egerton’s “Blood Fest,” Stephen Susco’s “Untitled Blumhouse-Bazelevs Film,” Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s “Ghost Stories,” Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s “A Prayer Before Dying,” Jenn Wexler’s “The Ranger,” Leigh Whannell’s “Upgrade,” Colin Minihan’s “What Keeps You Alive” and the multi-director anthology “The Field Guide to Evil.”

Noting that the Midnighter selection included both veteran and many first-time filmmakers, SXSW senior film programmer Jarod Neece said in a statement, “It is the highlight of my year to get to dive into the yearly pool of genre film submissions and see what wild and devilish ideas these filmmakers have brought to life.”

Other titles added to the program include Melanie Laurent’s “Galveston,” Clayton Jacobson’s “Brothers Nest” and Dan Gregor’s “Most Likely to Murder,” all world premieres in the Narrative Spotlight section. Jason Outenreath’s “They Live Here, Now” will have its world premiere in the Documentary Spotlight section.

Added to the music-centric 24 Beats Per Second section are Steve Sullivan’s documentary “Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story” and Brett Haley’s “Hearts Beat Loud,” which premiered at Sundance. Bruno Dumont’s “Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc” will screen in the Global section.


Also screening in the Festival Favorites section will be three movies that premiered at the recent Sundance Film Festival: Carlos Lopez Estrada’s “Blindspotting,” Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster’s “Science Fair” and Boots Riley’s “Sorry to Bother You.”

Twelve curated short film programs were also announced. And the festival’s opening night party will be on the futuristic Iron City set for the upcoming “Alita: Battle Angel” filmed at Robert Rodriguez’s Austin-based Troublemaker Studios.

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