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'Thor' director Taika Waititi’s new movie to kick off 15th Fantastic Fest in Austin

Joe Gross
Taika Waititi attends the premiere of "What We Do In The Shadows" during South by Southwest in March. [Suzanne Cordeiro for AUSTIN360]

“Jojo Rabbit,” the highly anticipated (and very odd-looking) movie from “Thor: Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi, will make its U.S. premiere when it kicks off the 15th edition of Fantastic Fest on Sept. 19, organizers announced Tuesday.

The fest also announced in its first 2019 lineup release that "Jojo Rabbit" will open this year's event. Waititi's film is billed as an "anti-hate satire" set during World War II, featuring the director playing an "idiotic imaginary friend" version of Adolph Hitler.

In addition, legendary Japanese director Takashi Miike will be on hand at Fantastic Fest to present his violent and apparently very funny Cannes Film Festival hit, “First Love.”

The weeklong festival that celebrates genre film, set to run until Sept. 26, will also feature the world premieres of several Netflix movies: Jim Mickle’s sci-fi thriller “In the Shadow of the Moon,” Vincenzo Natali’s adaptation of Stephen King's and son Joe Hill’s novella “In the Tall Grass” and much more.

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Over the years, Fantastic Fest has showcased a growing slate of international films. Other standouts on this year's lineup include Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu’s noir “The Whistlers” and the world premiere of Belgian director Peter Van Goethem’s “Night Has Come,” a film about a dystopian future made with nothing but archival footage.

Documentaries are also a big part of the fest. Look for Alexandre Philippe’s “Memory: The Origins of Alien” about the legendary sci-fi classic, a doc on the history of “Showgirls” called “Yo Don’t Nomi” and the world premiere of “Wrinkles the Clown” about ... Wrinkles the Clown.

The American Film Genre Archive, the preservation arm of the Alamo Drafthouse empire, will present an obscure genre film every day.

While the "Superfan" badge tier is sold out, badges for every other tier, as well as the full first-wave film lineup, are available at