8 Films Not To Miss at SXSW 2018

Everyone from Bill Murray to Spike Lee and Wes Anderson will be represented as SXSW rolls around for its 2018 edition next week. The film and television section of the world renowned showcase festival is entering its big 25th anniversary this year, with what looks to be one of its most diverse programs to date, with a great reflection of the landscape inside, outside, around and far, far away from Hollywood.

It’s going to be tough taking on all those hard decisions, so the help lessen the stress we’ve gone through the program and come up with eight films we feel are going to end up favourites throughout the festival, starting with the most obvious choice.

Isle of Dogs

Director: Wes Anderson
Screenwriters: Wes Anderson
Producers: Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steve Rales, Jeremy Dawson
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Kunichi Nomura, Akira Takayama, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Akira Ito, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Yoko Ono, Tilda Swinton, Ken Watanabe, Mari Natsuki, Fisher Stevens, Nijiro Murakami, Liev Schreiber, Courtney B. Vance

Wes Anderson returns with his second stop-motion saga (his first being the marvellous The Fantastic Mr. Fox) which follows 12-year-old Atari Kobayashi, a ward to a corrupt mayor who sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop to search for his bodyguard-dog Spots after an Executive Degree has all the canine pets of fictional Megasaki City exiled to Trash Island. This adventure is sounding like vintage Anderson, and with a jaw-dropping A-list cast we’re expecting this SXSW Closing Night Film to end the festival in the best way possible.

Saturday 17th March | 8:00pm-9:40pm | Paramount Theatre

A Quiet Place

Director: John Krasinski
Screenwriters: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and John Krasinski
Producers: Platinum Dunes
Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Noah Jupe, and Millicent Simmonds

The Office’s Jim Halpert directing a supernatural horror film? Sure, we’ll take it. It of course helps that this seemingly terrifying and unique horror film has a very interesting trailer and a talented cast behind it. Selected as the Opening Night film for this year’s SXSW (so you know it has to be good), A Quiet Place is a film that follows a family of four who live in extreme isolation and avoid making any sound at all costs. Why? Because even the faintest of sounds seems to attract some particularly nasty (and probably murderous) things. This has the potential to throw some exciting ideas into the ever-growing genre of lo-fi horror, in addition to being a particularly tense way to kick of SXSW film for 2018.

Friday 9th March | 6:30pm-8:05pm | Paramount Theatre

Thunder Road

Director: Jim Cummings
Screenwriters: Jim Cummings
Producers: Zack Parker, Natalie Metzger, Ben Wiessner
Cast: Kendal Farr, Jim Cummings, Nican Robinson, Jocelyn DeBoer, Macon Blair, Bill Wise, Jordan Fox, Chelsea Edmundson

When the short of Jim Cumming’s short Thunder Road screened at SXSW in 2016 it was instantly met with acclaim, citing a powerful project that’s now been built into a narrative feature. The film follows Officer Arnaud, who raises his daughter as a love letter to his late mother.

Monday 12th March | 4:30pm-6:01pm | Stateside Theatre
Tuesday 13th March | 12:30pm-2:01pm | Alamo Lamar D
Friday 16th March | 9:45pm-11:16pm | Alamo Lamar B


Director: Ari Aster
Screenwriters: Ari Aster
Producers: Lars Knudsen
Cast: Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Ann Dowd, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro

You’ve surely read about this one by now. It terrified the crowd at Sundance and has since been tagged as one of the most anticipated horror films of the year. Critics have so far been calling it one of the scariest films in years, and there ain’t nothing like a truly scary film to immerse yourself into at one of the world’s biggest film festivals.

Sunday 11th March | 11:45pm-2:48am | Alamo Lamar E
Sunday 11th March | 11:55pm-2:58am | Alamo Lamar D

Outside In

Director: Lynn Shelton
Screenwriters: Lynn Shelton, Jay Duplass
Producers: Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Mel Eslyn, Lacey Leavitt
Cast: Jay Duplass, Edie Falco, Kaitlyn Dever, Ben Schwartz

Looking like a complex tale of redemption, Outside In follows 38-year-old Chris (Jay Duplass) upon his release from prison after serving 20 years for the crime of “essentially being in the wrong place at the wrong time”. Confronting a fraught relationship with his brother Ted (Ben Schwartz of Parks & Recreation fame), a love for his former high school teacher (Edie Falco) without whom his parole wouldn’t have been possible, and a bond with that teacher’s daughter, Chris has to deal with some pretty complicated dynamics as he faces life as an ex-con.

Saturday 10th March | 4:15pm-6:04pm | Zach Theatre
Tuesday 13th March | 2:00pm-3:49pm | Alamo Ritz 2
Wednesday 14th March | 5:45pm-7:34pm | Alamo Lamar D


Director: Shana Feste
Screenwriters: Shana Feste
Producers: Bailey Conway Anglewicz, Jennifer Besser, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Chris Ferguson
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Christopher Plummer, Lewis MacDougall, Bobby Cannavale, Kristen Schaal, Dolly Wells , Yahya Abdul-Mateen, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Fonda

With some superb actors on the bill, Boundaries looks like a hit for Shana Feste, who wrote and directed this comedy about a single mother, Laura (the endlessly talented Vera Farmiga) living in Seattle, who has a constant need to put others and animals before herself. Christopher Plummer (last seen stealing scenes in All the Money in the World) plays her criminally-minded father who is kicked out of his retirement home, leading to an unexpected road trip involving Laura’s son, an assortment of animal charity cases, and numerous marijuana deals. It’s just crazy enough to work, and as far as comedies at SXSW go, we’re expecting this one to be of the side-splitting variety.

Monday 12th March | 8:30pm-10:14pm | Paramount Theatre


Director: Megan Griffiths
Screenwriters: Megan Griffiths
Producers: Eliza Shelden, Lacey Leavitt, Jennessa West
Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Sophia Mitri Schloss, John Gallagher Jr., Danielle Brooks, Tony Hale, Keith L. Williams, Tee Dennard

Written and directed by Megan Griffiths, Sadie is the story of a 13-year-old girl living with her mother while her father is serving repeated tours in the military. This looks like a poignant opportunity to examine a very different angle of war focused films, as Sadie begins to take extreme measures to preserve her father’s place in the family after her mum starts dating a new man.

Saturday 10th March | 4:15pm-5:51pm | Stateside Theatre
Sunday 11th March | 12:15pm-1:51pm | Alamo Lamar B
Wednesday 14th March | 4:30pm-6:06pm | Alamo Lamar E

Ghost Stories

Director: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Screenwriters: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Producers: Peter Bahm, Graham Begg, Will Clarke, Mike Runagall, Hugo Heppell, Andy Mason, Barry Ryan, Niall Shama, Charlotte Walls
Cast: Martin Freeman, Alex Lawther, Jill Halfpenny, Andy Nyman, Paul Whitehouse

When psychologist and skeptic Profressor Goodman (Andy Nyman) uncovers a secret file containing details of three different hauntings, he sets off to find rational explanations for each. We’re trusting in the cast for this one, and Dyson & Nyman have managed to assemble quite the impressive group to bring these stories to life. SXSW is not lacking at all when it comes to horror this year, and from one look at this trailer, it’s a no-brainer that this will be right up there when critics pick apart the program post-festival.

Sunday 11th March | 11:55pm-2:33pm | Stateside Theatre
Monday 12 March | 11:55pm-1:33am | Alamo Lamar D
Thursday 15th March | 12:30pm-2:08pm | Alamo Lamar C

For more details about the festival, which runs in Austin, Texas from March 9th to the 17th, head to sxsw.com/film.


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.