Taika Waititi’s ‘Jojo Rabbit’ to Open Fantastic Fest 2019, First Wave of Films Announced

The first wave of programming for this year’s Fantastic Fest has been announced and Taika Waititi‘s “Jojo Rabbit” has found its place as the opening night film September 19 at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin, Texas. The “Thor: Ragnarok” director blends irony into his latest satire, an anti-hate film starring Waititi as Adolf Hitler. The cast includes Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson. The news comes just days from its official teaser trailer debut and selection at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Fantastic Fest reels in the most peculiar and “out there” program selections. The genre film festival prides itself as the home of weird independent cinema and fun flicks for an audience just as bold. In its 15th year now, the festival continues to relish the genres of horror, sci-fi, fantasy and action in its ripe programming along with picks from around the globe.

“Our fifteenth year is a one-of-a-kind of celebration of the cinema we champion: brilliant and out-there,” the festival’s Creative Director Evrim Ersoy said. “It’s a 15-year-long love letter to the wide spectrum of daring, crazy films, filmmakers, and audience members whom we host in Austin each September. It’s an ode to the independent spirit of cinema that allows us to showcase the diversity of the world at large and helps us to understand it better!”

The 15th edition of Fantastic Fest runs from September 19-26 in Austin, Texas. Find the full first wave of films below.

FIRST WAVE FILM LINEUP

  • 4X4
    Argentina, Spain, 2019
    North American Premiere, 93 min
    Director – Mariano Cohn
    A 4×4 car will be the battleground between a brash thief trapped inside and the mysterious man who will do anything to keep him imprisoned.
  • BLOODY BIRTHDAY: Presented by AGFA + Arrow Films
    USA, 1981
    World Premiere of Restoration, 85 min
    Director – Ed Hunt
    The classic Killer Kids slasher, newly restored by Arrow Films and presented by AGFA.
  • THE CLEANSING HOUR
    USA, 2019
    World Premiere, 95 min
    Director – Damien LeVeck
    Reverend Max and his best friend Drew have a hit web show where they make a pretty good living faking exorcisms for hundreds of thousands of fans until the evening a real demon takes over and terrorizes their crew.
  • COME TO DADDY
    New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, 2019
    Texas Premiere, 94 min
    Director – Ant Timpson
    When 30-year-old Norval receives a letter from his estranged dad begging him to visit, he is set on a weird path of discovery, unusual encounters… and a lot of violence.
  • COSMIC CANDY
    Greece, 2019
    World Premiere, 95 min
    Director – Rinio Dragasaki
    Anna, an eccentric supermarket cashier with an obsessive taste for a trippy treat called Cosmic Candy, undergoes a quirky transformation when forced to care for a ten-year-old neighbor girl.
  • THE DEATH OF DICK LONG
    USA, 2019
    Austin Premiere, 107 min
    Director – Daniel Scheinert
    Dick is dead but no one knows how, and Zeke and Earl are desperate enough to go to any lengths to stop anyone from finding out the reason… but a small town in Alabama is not the kind of place where secrets can stay buried for long. Soon all hell breaks loose, engulfing the two men in a reckoning they had never even considered.
  • DEERSKIN
    France, 2019
    North American Premiere, 77 min
    Director – Quentin Dupieux
    When Georges buys himself a deerskin jacket, he will find his life on a collision course with madness, crime, and the desire to be the only man wearing an overgarment.
  • DIE KINDER DER TOTEN
    Austria, 2019
    North American Premiere, 90 min
    Directors – Kelly Copper & Pavol Liška
    In this experimental adaptation of an epic Elfriede Jelinek novel, a group of Austrian tourists is killed in a traffic accident before reanimating as zombies and terrorizing a local pub.
  • DOGS DON’T WEAR PANTS
    Finland, Latvia, 2019
    US Premiere, 105 min
    Director – Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää
    A heartbroken heart surgeon is introduced to the dark and extreme when his daughter gets her tongue pierced, sending him down a path of pain, dreams, life, love, death, and awakenings.
  • FIRST LOVE
    Japan, 2019
    US Premiere, 108 min
    Director – Takashi Miike
    When aspiring boxer Leo discovers that he may not have long to live, he goes all out to help drug-addicted call girl Monica, facing down gangsters, assassins, corrupt cops, and much more over the course of one long night.
  • FRACTURED
    USA, 2019
    World Premiere, 100 min
    Director – Brad Anderson
    An unfortunate accident at a truck stop means Ray has to rush his daughter to the nearest hospital for a broken arm, but when his family disappears, he soon finds himself in a frantic fight to discover what happened.
  • THE GOLDEN GLOVE
    Germany, 2019
    North American Premiere, 110 min
    Director – Fatih Akin
    Based on true events that transpired in the grimy slums of 1970s Hamburg, loner-turned-murderer Fritz Honka stalks his local drinking spot, The Golden Glove, in search of his next victim.
  • HAPPY FACE
    Canada, 2018
    Texas Premiere, 97 min
    Director – Alexandre Franchi
    In Attendance – Director Alexandre Franchi and Actor E. R. Ruiz
    An attractive teenager infiltrates a support group for those with facial differences in hopes of learning how to connect with his cancer-stricken mother in Alexandre Franchi’s (THE WILD HUNT) deeply personal, often hilarious, and powerfully inclusive sophomore feature.
  • IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON
    USA, Canada, 2019
    World Premiere, 115 min
    Director – Jim Mickle
    In 1988, a Philadelphia police officer doggedly hunts a serial killer whose crimes seemingly follow no pattern, but he hasn’t considered how far the repercussions of his hunt may go.
  • IN THE TALL GRASS
    Canada, 2019
    World Premiere, 90 min
    Director – Vincenzo Natali
    Adapted from the eponymous novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill, IN THE TALL GRASS follows siblings Cal and Becky who find themselves trapped within a vast field of tall grass when they venture in to answer the cries of a young boy.
  • JOJO RABBIT
    USA, 2019
    US Premiere, 108 min
    Director – Taika Waititi
    In Attendance – Director Taika Waititi
    Taika Waititi is back with a timely and hilarious satire about a bright-eyed German boy who wants nothing more than to join his nation’s army during WWII, until he finds out his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.
  • KNIVES AND SKIN
    USA, 2019
    Texas Premiere, 109 min
    Director – Jennifer Reeder
    The disappearance of popular teenager Carolyn Harper has a profound ripple effect across her small midwest town in Jennifer Reeder’s hypnotic musical mystery.
  • KOKO-DI KOKO-DA
    Sweden, Denmark, 2019
    Texas Premiere, 86 min
    Director – Johannes Nyholm
    When a disconnected couple take a camping trip in an attempt to mend their marriage after tragedy, they find themselves tormented by a peculiar band of misfits.
  • THE LAST TO SEE THEM
    Germany, 2019
    Texas Premiere, 79 min
    Director – Sara Summa
    One summer evening in rural Italy, the Durati family is murdered during a home robbery. THE LAST TO SEE THEM chronicles the previous — and final — day of their lives.
  • LIMBO: Presented by AGFA + Bleeding Skull!
    USA, 1999
    Texas Premiere of Restoration, 55 min
    Director – Tina Krause
    Tina Krause’s unseen and unreal shot-on-video horror movie, newly preserved by AGFA + Bleeding Skull!
  • THE MCPHERSON TAPE: Presented by AGFA + Bleeding Skull!
    USA, 1989
    World Premiere of Restoration, 63 min
    Director – Dean Alito
    The world’s first found footage horror movie, newly preserved by AGFA + Bleeding Skull!
  • MEMORY: THE ORIGINS OF ALIEN
    USA, 2019
    Texas Premiere, 93 min
    Director – Alexandre O. Philippe
    Following up his deconstruction of PSYCHO’s shower scene in 78/52, documentarian Alexandre O. Philippe is back with his analysis of ALIEN, its origins, and the impact of Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi shocker.
  • NAIL IN THE COFFIN: EL VAMPIRO CANADIENSE
    Canada, 2019
    World Premiere, 88 min
    Director – Michael Paszt
    In Attendance – Director Michael Paszt
    An intimate and heartfelt look at professional wrestler Vampiro’s past, and his new life navigating the management of a lucha libre federation in Mexico, while raising his teenage daughter in Canada.
  • NIGHT HAS COME
    Belgium, 2019
    World Premiere, 56 min
    Director – Peter Van Goethem
    In Attendance – Director Peter Van Goethem
    In a dystopian society, the population is threatened by a virus eating its way through the brain, erasing memories. After developing a treatment to store and classify memories, the State requires citizens to comply.
  • THE PEANUT BUTTER SOLUTION: Presented by AGFA + Severin Films
    Canada, 1985
    World Premiere 2K Restoration, 93 min
    Director – Michael Rubbo
    The Canadian children’s oddity takes youthful fantasy to strange new places in a brand new 2K restoration.
  • THE POOL
    Thailand, 2018
    Texas Premiere, 90 min
    Director – Ping Lumprapleng
    When a dog trainer and his pet finish their commercial gig, it’s time to head home and enjoy a lazy afternoon floating in the pool… until he wakes up to the pool being drained and no way out.
  • REFLECTIONS OF EVIL: Presented by AGFA
    USA, 2002
    World Premiere of Restoration, 137 min
    Director – Damon Packard
    The new ground zero for gonzo horror surrealism in the 21st century, newly preserved by AGFA.
  • ROCK, PAPER, AND SCISSORS
    Argentina, 2019
    North American Premiere, 83 min
    Directors – Macarena García Lenzi & Martín Blousson
    When Magdalena returns to Argentina to confront her half-siblings about her share of the inheritance, the stage is set for a family reunion both bloody and brilliant.
  • SHE MOB: Presented by AGFA + Something Weird
    USA, 1968
    World Premiere 2K Restoration, 82 min
    Director – Harry Wuest
    A gang of lesbian prison escapees kidnaps a gigolo in a 2K preservation of this sexploitation classic.
  • SOMETHING ELSE
    USA, 2019
    Texas Premiere, 83 min
    Directors – Jeremy Gardner & Christian Stella
    In Attendance – Directors Jeremy Gardner & Christian Stella
    When Hank’s longtime girlfriend Abby leaves him, he spirals into a cycle of drinking and depression. But it’s the monster that shows up every night that’s really driving him crazy.
  • SON OF THE WHITE MARE
    Hungary, 1981
    US Premiere 4K Restoration, 81 min
    Director – Marcell Jankovics
    A psychedelic animated cult classic is back on the big screen in this brand-new restoration. Three brothers join forces to restore order in their kingdom, encountering bizarre and mind-bending challenges along the way.
  • SWALLOW
    USA, 2019
    Texas Premiere, 94 min
    Directors – Carlo Mirabella-Davis
    Beautiful newlywed Hunter has a perfect home, perfect life, and perfect husband. When the pressure to maintain that perfection builds after the announcement of her pregnancy, she develops an unusual craving: swallowing random household objects.
  • TAMMY AND THE T-REX: Presented by AGFA + Vinegar Syndrome
    USA, 1994
    World Premiere of Restoration, 91 min
    Directors – Stewart Raffill
    Fully restored and ready to tear your head off. Literally.
  • THE WAVE
    United States, 2019
    World Premiere, 87 min
    Director – Gille Klabin
    Frank (Justin Long), a bored corporate lawyer, decides to shake it up with a wild night out. In the process, he takes a mysterious drug that launches him into a mind-bending time travel adventure.
  • THE WHISTLERS
    Romania, 2019
    US Premiere, 97 min
    Director – Corneliu Porumboiu
    Corneliu Porumboiu mixes Romanian New Wave with Hollywood noir beats as he follows a corrupt detective who helps a wealthy criminal escape from jail by learning the ancient, secret language of silbo whistling.
  • WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE!
    Russia, 2019
    Texas Premiere, 100 min
    Director – Kirill Sokolov
    In Attendance – Director Kirill Sokolov
    After agreeing to kill his girlfriend’s father, Matvei gets in way over his head when he arrives at her parents’ apartment to learn her dad’s a cop.
  • WRINKLES THE CLOWN
    USA, 2019
    World Premiere, 78 min
    Director – Michael Beach Nichols
    In Attendance – Director Michael Beach Nichols
    Pennywise isn’t real. But Wrinkles is. This documentary explores the story of the infamous freaky clown from Naples, Florida who makes a living being hired by parents to terrorize their naughty children.
  • YOU DON’T NOMI
    USA, 2019
    Texas Premiere, 94 min
    Director – Jeffrey McHale
    In Attendance – Director Jeffrey McHale
    Using cleverly edited clips of Paul Verhoeven’s genre-spanning filmography, Jeffrey McHale’s video essay explores the decidedly un-titillating and delightfully inexplicable SHOWGIRLS and its continued, ever-expanding legacy.


What do you make of Fantastic Fest’s first wave programming? Let us know in the comments!

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