Pet Sematary World Premiere to Close SXSW Festival

The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference and Festivals announced the second round of its Film Festival program, including the Midnighters, Festival Favorites, Shorts, Episodic Pilot Competition, Virtual Cinema, Music Video and Title Design lineup, plus late-addition Features and the Closing Night Film for the 26th edition of the Festival, running March 8-17, 2019 in Austin, Texas. The acclaimed Film program draws thousands of fans, filmmakers, press and industry leaders every year to immerse themselves in the most innovative, smart and entertaining new films of the year.

This year’s program encompasses 131 Feature Films including 101 World Premieres, 9 North American Premieres, 3 US Premieres, and 64 films from first-time filmmakers,101 Short Films (including music videos), 5 Episodic Premieres, 12 Episodic Pilots, 25 Virtual Cinema Projects, and 30 Title Design entries.

The world premiere of Paramount Pictures’ Pet Sematary, directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, will close the 2019 Festival. Based on the seminal horror novel by Stephen King, Pet Sematary follows Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who, after relocating with his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz) and their two young children from Boston to rural Maine, discovers a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near the family’s new home. When tragedy strikes, Louis turns to his unusual neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), setting off a perilous chain reaction that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences.

The SXSW Midnighters section is a perennial favorite for SXSW audiences thrilled by the weird, electric, and sometimes terrifying selections. Featuring 10 genre films, all World Premieres, the slate includes dark comedies, thrillers, Sci-Fi, mystery and slasher horror from a mix of established and first-time filmmakers. The Midnighters, Festival Favorites, as well as 15 additional films, round out the 131 total features now to be screened at the SXSW 2019 Film Festival.

“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. “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!”

This year’s 101 short films and music videos were selected from 5,478 submissions. A comprehensive list of the Short Film Program is below and will screen as part of 10 curated shorts programs.

“Welcoming these films and filmmakers into our community is a major highlight for me,” said Claudette Godfrey, Senior Film Programmer. “The work this year is contemplative and tender. In an uneasy era, these shorts show us how to connect across the abyss by exposing and embracing vulnerability through their originality, authenticity, and humor. Rightly so, over half of the films across our Shorts Programs, Music Videos, and Episodic Pilot Competition are directed by women.”

The Virtual Cinema section of the Film Festival continues to grow, showcasing the newest and most cutting-edge work. SXSW resides at the intersection of film and technology, and there is no better place to present this innovative format. The 25 projects emphasize storytelling, ingenuity and also showcase how other industries are embracing this new medium.

“The industry leaders and independent creators working in the immersive arts are once again bringing their fantastical new worlds to SXSW this March,” said Blake Kammerdiener, VR Programmer. “This year’s selections showcase the breadth of ingenuity in this medium and will transport you to far off lands in both the smallest and largest ways imaginable.”

SXSW Conference has announced separately many of this year’s Keynotes, Featured Speakers and Sessions in the Entertainment Influencers, Film & TV Industry and Making Film & Episodics Tracks, plus Convergence Tracks: Experiential Storytelling, Cannabusiness, VR/AR, Food, Media  & Journalism, Social and Global Impact and more.  Film and TV Highlights include:  Film Keynotes: Olivia Wilde, Jessica Brillhart, and Marti Noxon; Featured Speakers: Neil Gaiman; Frank Oz; Elisabeth Moss; Henry Winkler; Shira Lazar and Zoe Saldana; Pamela Adlon; Jason Blum and John Pierson; Busy Philipps with Hillary Kerr and more at:

Continuing for 2019, the Interactive, Film, and Music badges include expanded access to most of the SXSW Conference and Festivals experience. Attendees receive primary entry to programming associated with their badge type, with secondary access to most other SXSW events. SXSW’s next registration deadline is February 15, 2018 at 11:59pm PT. Early registrants benefit from discounted rates.


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