The world premiere of Ondi Timoner’s Brand: A Second Coming will open the festival in Austin, Texas, on March 13.
The film charts the British comedian and writer’s career as political activist and self-styled revolutionary.
Head of film Janet Pierson and her team unveiled a handful of other titles that will screen during the festival in advance of the full programming announcement on February 3.
They include: the North American premiere of Alex Garland’s feature directorial debut Ex Machina; Michael Showalter’s comedy Hello, My Name Is Doris, starring Sally Field; Karyn Kusama’s thriller The Invitation; Jessica Edwards’ Mavis! about singer Mavis Staples; Adam Hootnick documentary Son Of The Congo, which followes NBA star Serge Ibaka’s return to his homeland; and A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story by Sara Hirsh Bordo, about the anti-cyber bullying figurehead.
“Firebrand Ondi Timoner’s bold and lively documentary on Russell Brand knocked us out with its humour, insight and raw energy, pulling back the curtain on a truly passionate figure as he grapples with fame, influence and where we are as a 21st century society,” said Pierson.
“We are thrilled for the film to kick off our event and excited to see our audiences embrace it with the same enthusiasm that shines out of Brand himself.”
SXSW is scheduled to take place from March 13-21.