Fantasia 2024: It’s Heeerrreee (almost). Genre’s best of the best is about to begin.

Fantasia 2024 posterFANTASIA 2024

It’s no secret that Fantasia is the festival I gush about the most. If you want to call yourself a genre film fan you have to know about the buzziest films coming out of the fest each year. Once again, Quebec will host a plethora of premieres, a gaggle of talks with the industry’s best, and scare the pants off of you. Would you expect any less? Fantasia 2024 is the 28th edition of this wonderfully wacky cinephile playground.


IN OUR BLOOD Fantasia 2024

IN OUR BLOOD

Nothing is as it seems when filmmaker Emily Wyland (Brittany O’Grady) teams up with cinematographer Danny (E. J. Bonilla) to shoot an intimate documentary about reuniting with Emily’s estranged mother after a decade apart. When her mother suddenly goes missing, possibly succumbing to the addictions that first tore her family apart, Emily and Danny must piece together increasingly sinister clues to find her before it’s too late.

Directed by Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Pedro Kos (Rebel Hearts, Lead Me Home) in his first narrative feature, IN OUR BLOOD masterfully blends psychological mystery with chilling horror. The film weaves a twisted tale of reconciling with the ghosts of our past and confronting the complicity we share in creating a world that preys on the most vulnerable.


HELL HOLE Fantasia 2024

Hell HoleA road trip through Canadian oil fields conjured up fantasies of secrets deep in the dirt for the Adams family, and inspired them to create HELL HOLE, an indie rock-n-roll monster movie set at a far-away fracking site. Known for their DIY ethos, John and Lulu Adams and Toby Poser, partnering with Shudder, have joined the team behind The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs and FX legend Todd Masters to shoot their latest in Serbia with a local cast and crew. Absurd, mutinous, and transgressively comical, Hell Hole is old-school sci-fi horror, yet in typical family fashion, they subvert the genre with textures of biological and environmental horror in tandem with questions of gender and bodily autonomy. This will be the fourth time Fantasia World Premieres work from the gifted filmmaking family, following launches of THE DEEPER YOU DIGHELLBENDER, and WHERE THE DEVIL ROAMSWorld Premiere.


THE BEAST WITHIN

The Beast Within Fantasia 2024

The haze of childhood is a magic lantern that throws light on the wall through a veil of dark both frightening and exciting, and nowhere is this better articulated than in THE BEAST WITHIN (previously titled WHAT REMAINS OF US). Kit Harington (GAME OF THRONESETERNALS) is a father with a secret that he is desperately trying to keep under control. His mysterious excursions at night leave his ailing daughter (Caoilinn Springall, THE MIDNIGHT SKYSTOPMOTION) plagued with questions. The old, timeless house in the woods that she lives in with her caring mother (Ashleigh Cummings, NOS4A2) and absent father feels more like a haunted castle than a loving home. As she investigates her father’s bizarre and dark behaviour, a monstrous figure emerges from the shadows, terrorizing those who encounter it. Supported by her grandfather (James Cosmo, HIGHLANDERBRAVEHEART), she attempts to unravel the mysteries of the creature, and the revelations that she discovers will rock her family and leave her forever changed.


FRANKIE FREAKO Fantasia 2024

Frankie FreakoAfter the success of PSYCHO GOREMAN, FX artist and director Steven Kostanski hits back with the zany, over-the-top FRANKIE FREAKO! Starring Conor Sweeney and Adam Brooks of Astron-6 fame, the film follows a nerdy man who just isn’t cool. In an attempt to impress his wife and boss, he’s lured by a 1-900 TV ad to party with a strange little creature called Frankie Freako. All hell breaks loose when Conor calls and Frankie and his two friends wreak interdimensional havoc in Conor’s life. Kostanski fans will flock to his latest imaginative adventure, saturated with throwback cartoonish fun à la GHOULIES, wildly creative puppets, big laughs, and a helluva good time! Septentrion Shadows section. World Premiere.


THE CODE Fantasia 2024

The CodePeter Vack (ASSHOLES) and Dasha Nekrasova (THE SCARY OF SIXTY-FIRST) star as couple on the rocks during the early part of the Covid-19 pandemic in American filmmaker Eugene Kotlyarenko (SPREE)’s latest, THE CODE – a generation-defining, wickedly dark comedy that blends post-New Wave French sensibilities of aesthetic disillusionment with a singularly alien view of contemporary American life. A transgressive and singular experience, nothing is off limits in this surveillance-heavy narrative, which uses multiple formats, points of view, and cameras to create a visionary collage-like experience of modern life. An epic poem for our post-pandemic world. Underground Section. World Premiere.


BLACK EYED SUSAN Fantasia 2024

Black Eyed SusanIt’s been 21 long years since Scooter McCrae (SHATTER DEAD) released a new feature, and he’s lost none of his smart, transgressive bite. Desperate for work, Derek (Damian Maffei, THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT) accepts a job at a shady tech start-up, working intimately with Susan (Yvonne Emilie Thälker in a powerful debut role), a bleeding-edge BDSM sex doll meant to receive and appreciate sexual punishment as an integral part of her evolving AI. Shot on Super 16, BLACK EYED SUSAN counterbalances its dark, vulgar core with a surprisingly tender vulnerability, creating a lo-fi science-fiction landscape infused with surprising fragility, as legendary Italian composer Fabio Frizzi (THE BEYOND, ZOMBIE) lends the picture a lush, atmospheric backdrop. Not for the faint of heart, BLACK EYED SUSAN delves into themes and questions that will only become more pertinent with the continued evolution of artificial intelligence. World Premiere.


CHAINSAWS WERE SINGING Fantasia 2024

Chainsaws Were SingingA true DIY passion project from Estonian filmmaker Sander Maran, CHAINSAWS WERE SINGING is a zany, blood-soaked musical about lovers split up by a chainsaw-wielding killer. Over a decade in the making, Saran not only directed but wrote, scored, shot, and edited this colorful murder-fest that’s part gory horror movie and part ridiculous musical. The camerawork is inventive, the editing slapstick, and the tone truly absurdist. Most importantly, though, the songs are incredibly catchy, with Sander clearly deeply indebted to Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL and Frank Oz’s LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. Underground Section. International Premiere.


THE CHAPEL Fantasia 2024

The Chapel Fantasia 2024The stunning sophomore feature from award-winning director Carlota Pereda (PIGGY), THE CHAPEL marks the fantastic return of atmospheric, character-driven supernatural Spanish horror. Emma (Maia Zaitegi) wants to learn how to communicate with the spirit of a little girl who has spent centuries trapped inside a chapel. She tries to convince Carol (THE ORPHANAGE’s Belen Rueda), a cynical and fake medium, to help her in the hopes that contacting the spirit may help her to remain close to her dying mother after she passes. What Carol doesn’t suspect is that Emma really does have “the gift” and, if she keeps on trying to use it without her guidance, she will be putting her young life at terrifying risk. Winner: Best Actress, Belen Rueda, Cinefantasy 2023. Official Selection: Sitges 2023. North American Premiere.


BORN OF WOMAN 2024 Fantasia 2024

https://fantasiafestival.com/en/program/born-of-woman-2024

Fantasia 2024 - Born of Woman 2024 - fantasiafestival.comMy favorite shorts collection of the year, this wildly eclectic and insanely talented group of female filmmakers aims to please, shock, and gag audiences. You never know what you’ll get with each passing year and I get giddy in anticipation. Fantasia 2024’s Born Of Woman lineup includes the following films:

IZZY

Nahema Ricci stars in this sharply staged build piece expressionistically conveying a person’s realization that they’d rather not fit in, if it means continuingly giving in.

 


the_bleacher_poster_THE BLEACHER

An outright bonkers stop-motion freakazoid about a woman, a laundromat, and a missing sock. From the makers of SEXY FURBY.

 


wildflower posterWILDFLOWER

A reclusive woman gives everything she can to a blood-sucking flower that she’s devoted every waking minute towards caring for.


Mosquito Lady poster Fantasia 2024

MOSQUITO LADY (see our previous coverage)

A sharp intersection between Filipino folklore and the ever-devolving issue of bodily autonomy in the U.S.

 


Dead Tooth posterDEAD TOOTH

A stylishly inventive and considerably bloody take on the one-terrible-day film.


LES YEUX D’OLGA

A senior vampire who moves herself into an elder care facility so as to feed solely on those already at the edge of death.


I'm Not A Robot posterI’M NOT A ROBOT

We’ve all had the annoyance when forced to solve wonky online captchas to convince a website that we’re real-deal human. What if we were to repeatedly fail it?


BERTA

Following the extraordinary DANA, Spanish filmmaker Lucía Forner Segarra returns to Fantasia with BERTA, a tensely compelling new work that continues her explorations of accountability and empowerment following gendered violence.

(You can find past Born of Woman coverage here) Fantasia 2024


You can find more info on Fantasia 2024’s lineup and tickets by tapping HERE


Fantasia 2024 Dates:
Thursday, July 18 – Sunday, August 4th

For previous years’ FANTASIA coverage, click here!

(Tribeca 2024 shorts) ‘A ROSE FOR KATRINA, ‘ ‘LICE,’ ‘MY BEST FRIEND,’ & ‘WHEN EVERYTHING BURNS’ – Exemplary work from across the globe

tribeca 2024 logoTribeca 2024 Shorts


A ROSE FOR KATRINA Tribeca 2024 Shorts

https://tribecafilm.com/films/rose-for-katrina-2024

ROSE_FOR_KATRINA-Clean-16x

Short | Australia | 9 MINUTES | English

Harry Quinlan‘s short film A ROSE FOR KATRINA is technically dizzying. Augmented and overlapping sound editing combined with its one continuous take filmed from outside the busy household immediately throws you into a subconscious panic.

An unknowing Michael shows up for a first date, rose in hand for a girl named Katrina. Accosted at the front door by her twin and surrounded by the chaos inside, his frustrations get the better of him. When Katrina tracks him down outside, the questions don’t end there.

The dialogue barrels ahead like a freight train, weaving in and out of innocuous and aggressive. A ROSE FOR KATRINA leaves you buzzing. It would be impossible to move on without debating what you witnessed.


LICE Tribeca 2024 Shorts

https://tribecafilm.com/films/lice-2024

LICE-Clean-16x9-02 Tribeca 2024 shorts

Short | India, United States | 14 MINUTES | English, Hindi | English subtitles

Filmmaker Vindhya Gupta‘s Tribeca 2024 short LICE tackles the challenges of childhood cruelty and power dynamics. The subject had me itching and cringing as a former teacher and mother of two elementary-aged children. In the film, we find two girls, one a popular bully and the other a quiet loner. When Roshni tries to blame her lice infestation on Chakor, an unusual friendship begins, but are her intentions pure?

Guilt and redemption flow through the lines. DP Maria Belen Poncio captures eye-catching natural light in India’s architecture. The final scene puts you through the emotional wringer. Each viewer may take away a different ending. Either way, the film serves attention for its tangible dialogue, compelling performances, and universal messaging.


MY BEST FRIEND Tribeca 2024 Shorts

https://tribecafilm.com/films/my-best-friend-2024

MY_BEST_FRIEND-Clean-16x9-0Short | United States, France | 18 MINUTES | English, French | English subtitles

A post-breakup Clara (Marie Zabukovec) meets up with her best friend Léa (Lana Boy) for a staycation in NYC. Léa divulges she has convinced her boyfriend to have an open relationship. Will a night alone bring friends closer together or push them apart?

The natural lighting in each scene is a visual gift. Watching the credits shows you the predominantly female crew, making a difference in storytelling and environment as this dynamic spills into the project in all the right ways.

My Best Friend encompasses female friendship to a tea. It expresses the beauty and purity of everything and nothing all at once. Marie Zabukovec and Lana Boy are spectacular. Their chemistry feels palpably authentic. It’s movie magic. Filmmaker Elina Street has a dazzling gem in MY BEST FRIEND.


WHEN EVERYTHING BURNS Tribeca 2024 Shorts

https://tribecafilm.com/films/mazda-presents-moving-the-spotlight-2024

cuando_todo_arde-- when everything burns poster

Maria Belen Poncio‘s Tribeca 2024 short begins with a bang and an ominous visual. Isabel is a fire brigade volunteer with no official authority besides her moral compass. As the flames swiftly approach a neighborhood, she shares a stubborn fortitude with a local man, each standing their ground to survive.

Juan Pablo Toch‘s poignant score says it all. Lead actors Annabella Bacigalupo and Ruben Gattino speak volumes in their silence and circumstances, with each generation silently resigned to the world’s fate by the time the screen goes black. In 12 minutes, WHEN EVERYTHING BURNS is powerful.

Tribeca 2024 Shorts

For more Tribeca 2024 coverage, click here!

‘BLACK EYED SUSAN’ first-look trailer drops prior to its Fantasia 2024 World Premiere

FantasiaLogo

TRAILER PREMIERE

BLACK EYED SUSAN


Black_Eyed_Susan_POSTERLegendary underground filmmaker Scooter McCrae (SHATTER DEAD, SIXTEEN TONGUES) returns after a 21-year absence from feature filmmaking with the bold, vulgar, and deeply thought-provoking BLACK EYED SUSAN. Simultaneously brutally challenging and deeply vulnerable, the latest from the New York-based provocateur appropriates bleeding-edge science fiction concepts to address the seemingly-endless lengths that men will go to satisfy their darkest impulses without questioning the consequences of their actions.
 
In the film, down-on-his-luck Derek (Damien Maffei, THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT) is hired by a shady tech industrialist to “test” Susan (Yvonne Emilie Thälker, in a striking feature debut), a lifelike robot built for the purpose of receiving and “enjoying” sexual abuse. Initially hesitant to take part, Derek accepts, but quickly finds himself drawn to Susan’s developing personality and inquisitive nature. As the robot’s expanding humanity chips away at him and he learns more about his own secret desires, he questions if what he’s been tasked to do – even to a robot – should ever be condoned.
 
Black Eyed SusanHere is the first-look trailer for Scooter McCrae’s dark sci-fi drama BLACK EYED SUSAN, which World Premieres at Fantasia on Friday, August 2nd.
 

A Vinegar Syndrome Production in association with Not the Funeral Home and Moose + Squirrel, the feature was filmed on Super 16mm film and features a luscious musical score from legendary Italian composer Fabio Frizzi (THE BEYOND, ZOMBIE). 
 
The film’s cast includes Damian Maffei (THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT, 2023’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Game), model Yvonne Emilie Thälker, Marc Romeo, and ex-WWE Superstar Scott Fowler.


Black_Eyed_Susan_02

For all things Fantasia 2024 stay tuned to Reel News Daily and be sure to check out our bestie, Steve Kopian, at Unseen Films

Fantasia 2024 poster

Follow along with our festival coverage as it rolls out by searching Fantasia 2024

Fantasia 2022 ‘BORN OF WOMAN’ rules supreme, again.

fantasia26header

BORN OF WOMAN (2022)

born-of-woman-2023

One of the best shorts collections at the Fantasia International Film Festival is the annual Born Of Woman program. This year’s selections ran to a sold-out audience. The Born Of Woman selection is special because the films are bold genre stories created exclusively by female filmmakers. 2022’s iteration saw nine films from five countries and every single one blew me away. Each year, this is my personal favorite program. The films are fresh, vibrant, scary, relatable, and wildly intriguing.

Lily’s Mirror

A shocking opening leads to one of the sharpest takedowns of the patriarchy I’ve seen in quite some time. Lily receives a therapeutic mirror allowing her to take back the power so freely stolen by men. The depiction of the erasure of women is a comic and creative chef’s kiss. I didn’t think it was possible to make misogyny funny, but the script is carefully crafted. I found myself nodding, laughing, and exclaiming, “This is sheer perfection.” Highlighting women going to bat for other women and the fragility of the white man, Lily’s Mirror could easily be an entire series or feature film. This type of short drives audiences wild, and Fantasia 2022 knew what they were doing programming this film. A slow, celebratory clap for everyone involved. 

Everybody Goes to The Hospital

Everybody Goes to the HospitalThis haunting stop-motion animation speaks to the often barbaric side of medicine. Fear, misogyny, and the medical staff’s good complex are all in full view. While the story occurred in the 60s, its relevance does not wane. Writer-director Tiffany Kimmel does an excellent job capturing the terror of a child that undoubtedly attached itself to adulthood. The narration from Lucia Hadley Wheeler hits you square in the heart. The short was surprisingly personal for me. When I was 20, doctors at Saint Luke’s Roosevelt subjected me to a battery of invasive tests, unconvinced that I was a virgin. What I knew was appendicitis was treated as an STD. After 12 hrs and an emergency surgery later, my medical gaslighting experience still haunts me. Fantastic 2022 audiences will watch in awe of the artistry and storytelling style. Everybody Goes To The Hospital will make your blood run cold.

Wild Card

Writer-director Tipper Newton gives us a glorious, tongue-in-cheek, neo-noir throwback. Daniel makes a dating tape, and his first date brings nothing but good trouble. I’m not sure if Wild Card was shot on 16mm, but the combination of costumes, sets, and score gives the film’s overall aesthetic an era legit look. Fantasia 2022 viewers got an excellent treatment in Wild Card. When the credits rolled, I was left wanting to know what happened to Daniel. I needed to know what happened to Daniel! Billy Flynn and Newton give great performances. I cannot stress how perfect they are for these roles. The subtle nuance between them walks a fine line between serious and absurd. Overall, I’m beyond thrilled to follow Wild Card‘s journey.

Punch Drunk

A young woman recovering from surgery works the night shift as a bartender and contends with the memories of her surroundings. Horror doesn’t have to be a creature feature in the traditional sense. Punch Drunk is a creative declaration of power. Writers Cason Weiss and Emily Lerer (who also directs) bring a uniquely intimate short to Fantasia 2022. Danielle Argyros is stunning in the lead role. I would love to see this developed into something bigger. It has endless potential. Punch Drunk is a bold, fearless, funny, and relatable look at the trauma that sent a shiver down my spine. 

Stained Skin

A mesmerizing juxtaposition of live action and 2D animation, Stained Skin uses fable storytelling to ease the reality of women stuck in an endless work cycle. Attempting to combat their sadness, the story passes from Samy to Alba as a coping mechanism. As screenwriter Mirjam Khera’s narrative grows, so too does their sense of hope. Marisa Wojtkowiak and Safinaz Sattar are captivating in the eight minutes they share alongside beautifully drawn images from Andrei Ebîncā. Directors Adam Graf and Mandy Peterat understand the balance of dark and light. It’s films like these that bring Fantasia audiences to Born of Woman. Stained Skin is a gorgeous addition to 2022.

The Anteroom

Writer-director Elisa Puerto Aubel gives Fantasia 2022 audiences a heart-stopping short. In the near future, a refugee and her infant daughter must negotiate with a customs AI. As the seconds dwindle toward one of two options, tension is palpable. The sparse and ominous set adds to the suffocating feeling, and the desperation in actress Irene Anula’s voice against the callous echoes of the machine will take your breath away. 

Daughters of Witches

A young mother brings her baby Iris to participate in a traditional ritual. Generations of women trek into the forest, but Clara is unsettled and guilt-ridden, having missed her grandmother’s recent passing. Written by Karen Acosta, Naria Muñoz, and director Faride Schroeder, Daughters of Witches is another excellent example of the intrigue a short can generate. As night breaks into dawn and Clara finds Iris crying in another location, the final reveal left me emotionally invested in each character of this family lineage. Starring Yalitza Aparicio (ROMA), Daughters of Witches builds an engrossing world in ten minutes. 

Don’t Go Where I Can’t Find You

This intoxicating short film from writer-director Rioghnach Ni Ghrioghair teases every one of your senses. Margaret has lost her lover Freya to something she believed was haunting them inside the walls of their expansive Victorian mansion. Capturing Freya’s presence becomes an obsession, compromising her relationships with the living and the dead. Garrett Sholdice and Benedict Schlepper-Connolly’s score becomes a plot point. Truthfully, the sound design from Garret Farrell is one of the most impactful aspects of the story. The film’s audio consumes the viewer, placing them in the stranglehold of grief. Fantasia 2022 audiences will undoubtedly fall in love with this film, from its costumes to Allyn Quigley’s editing. It’s nothing short of sumptuous. 

Kin

Striking cinematography by Marc Patterson and a dissonant score from Jonathan Keith set the scene for director Sarah Gross’ Fantasia 2022 short film Kin. Three siblings must survive the western plains on their own. Eldest sister Ida takes the familial reigns to protect everyone. Madison Tebbutt’s screenplay subverts expectations bringing us an unusual creature feature that twists and turns from beginning to end. The final shot made me shudder.

 

More Fantasia coverage can be found here 🙂

‘COTTONTAIL’ (2024) A beautiful portrait of grief and redemption

COTTONTAIL


Cottontail_KeyArt_10_2x3Filmmaker Patrick Dickinson brings audiences a nuanced tale of loss and love in COTTONTAIL. Following the death of his wife, Kenzaburo travels with his son and his young family to fulfill his late wife’s last wish, to scatter her ashes at Lake Windemere in England. The film flashes back in time, giving us intimate details of the love story between Kenzaburo and Akiko.

COTTONTAIN Final Platform Stills - Dropbox - www.dropbox.comTae Kimura gives an award-worthy performance as Akiko. The depth is mesmerizing. You will remember it. Lily Franky delivers a stunning complexity in Kenzaburo. Dickinson skillfully draws out the rift between him and his son Toshi (a fantastic Ryo Nishikido). The built-up guilt and regret flow off the screen as Franky moves from scene to scene. So, too, does the fierce adoration for his wife. COTTONTAIL

Cottontail_Still06_1920x1080.jpg - www.dropbox.comDickinson places the audience in a precarious emotional state once we witness the hardships of Akiko’s progressing condition and Kenzaburo’s increasing frustrations with losing the wife he vowed to love through thick and thin. The discussion of the impact of acting as a primary caregiver hangs above the film like a dark cloud, allowing the redemption narrative to hold your heart. COTTONTAIL is about the individuality of grief, keeping secrets, and human connection. It is an undeniably beautiful and affecting film.

TRAILER

COTTONTAIL will be released exclusively IN THEATERS on June 7th and On Demand July 9th thereafter

 

Cottontail_Still11_1920x1080.jpg - www.dropbox.comStarring Academy Award® Nominee CIARÁN HINDS (Belfast, First Man, “Game of Thrones”), LILY FRANKY (Analog, “The Naked Director”), AOIFE HINDS (Belfast, The Commuter), RYÔ NISHIKIDO (A Boy and His Samurai, Eight Rangers), TAE KIMURA ( “House of Ninjas,” “The Unbroken,”  “24 Japan”), RIN TAKANASHI (Love for Beginners, Samurai Sentai Shinkenger Movies), YURI TSUNEMATSU ( “Tokyo Vice,” The Pink Panther 2, Letters from Iwo Jima).

Cottontail_Still03_1920x1080.jpg - www.dropbox.com

For more Drama reviews, click here!

‘HOW I ROLL’ (DWF:LA 2024 short) Resilience at its finest

DWF-LA logo

HOW I ROLL
https://danceswithfilms.com/HOW-I-ROLL-2/

How I roll posterOne of the most harrowing stories I’ve seen featured in a short film comes from BriGuel‘s HOW I ROLL. This 13-minute emotional rollercoaster is an eye-opening tale of resilience. Robin Cohen lives with MS, navigating Miami, Manhattan, and a family history of shocking violence, loss, and great love. 

HOW-I-ROLLBriGuel beautifully edits Cohen’s innermost thoughts, one on top of the other in the most organic way, mimicking the chaos of our mind’s intrusive thoughts. With an abundance of home videos and footage of Robin’s daily life and love story, HOW I ROLL introduces the world to a woman who inspires us to love, laugh, and live life to its fullest despite what might feel like insurmountable odds. Eternal positivity and perseverance are the beauty of life.

Get Tickets Here!

How I Roll (Official Trailer) from BriGuel on Vimeo.

DIRS: Brianne Berkson & Miguel Gluckstern, BriGuel
PRODS: Robin Cohen, Brianne Berkson, Miguel Gluckstern, Stefany Dobken

Facing unthinkable hardships – murder, loss, battling MS for 25 years, Robin Cohen impressively defies the odds, finding light despite the darkness.

For more DWF coverage, click here!

‘MISSING FROM FIRE TRAIL ROAD’ (Tribeca 2024) Shouting from the rooftops for their loved ones

tribeca 2024 logoMISSING FROM FIRE TRAIL ROAD 

World Premiere: Spotlight Documentary Section

Sabrina Van Tassel‘s TRIBECA 2024 documentary MISSING FROM FIRE TRAIL ROAD speaks for those without a voice. Indigenous women are in crisis. Why aren’t we talking about the statistics of missing native women? The number is vastly higher than any other group in the United States.

The film focuses on the story of Mary Ellen Johnson Davis, missing since 2020, as her family tries to piece together all the information they can, while also showing up for those in their community with similar circumstances. There are far too many unexplained disappearances and deaths for one community not to call it an epidemic.

MISSING_FROM_FIRE_TRAIL_ROAD 2The reservation has its own justice system, under which not a single white man has been prosecuted in connection to a disappearance. Families must rely on the Feds to intervene. They never do. It is endless, lawless mayhem.

Story after story, family after family, one thread connects them all. That is abuse from white outsiders. You can’t tell this story without delving into the trauma of native children stolen from their families and physically and emotionally tormented in boarding schools. MISSING FROM FIRE TRAIL ROAD delivers the horrific truth through the words of survivors.

MISSING_FROM_FIRE_TRAIL_ROAD 1A quote from a manual given to households when children the government was ripping from their homes reads, “The goal is not to make scientists, or doctors or lawyers out of these citizens. The goal is to make domestic housewives and farmers and laborers.” Keeping the population suppressed remains the goal. It’s cyclical genocide. It is the continuation of colonization, plain and simple.

The question remains. How many of these documentaries need to be made to get the message across? Tribeca 2024 audiences can share the native plight and, perhaps, move the dial toward justice. Do something.

Remaining Screenings of MISSING FROM FIRE TRAIL ROAD:

Saturday, June 15 – 11:00 AM:  AMC 19th St. East 6


Mary Ellen Johnson Davis has been missing since the eve of Thanksgiving 2020 from the Tulalip Reservation. She is only one of hundreds of Native American women who continue to go missing in the U.S. As director Sabrina Van Tassel (“The State of Texas vs Melissa”) investigates Mary Ellen’s case, dozens of Native women speak up about the violence suffered and observed by them. 

 

Executive Produced and featuring Deborah Parker, activist and indigenous leader, Deb Haaland, US Secretary of the Interior, to many of Mary Ellen’s friends and family, the film threads a haunting but important report about these underlooked cases and the urgency for attention and action in these investigations. 

MISSING FROM FIRE TRAIL ROAD 

For more Tribeca 2024 coverage, click here!

‘1-800-ON-HER-OWN’ (Tribeca 2024) Ani DiFranco’s vulnerability still rocks

tribeca 2024 logo

1-800-ON-HER-OWN

Spotlight+

1-800-ON-HER-OWN poster

Ani DiFranco was a force of nature in my high school and college years. Her songs informed my passion, my power, and my voice. 32 Flavors remains my theme song as a woman. Dana Flor‘s 1-800-ON-HER-OWN gives Tribeca 2024 audiences a sneak peek behind the righteous audacity of Ani DiFranco

An editing wonder, the doc opens with performances of her song Shameless throughout the years and mashes them into one great montage. As a fan, it is electric. Ani talks about the extreme highs and lows of fame. She has always been entirely honest about the traps of the industry, but her fans clammer for her fearless writing. 

1-800-ON-HER-OWN-Clean-16x9The revelations in the film are astounding. In a collab session, Ani confides in Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) that she’s never written a song with anyone else. Her warmth and honesty are not simply for show. Witnessing this creative potion-making is chill-inducing. At 18, Ani and Scot Fisher created Righteous Babe Records. Their partnership proved to be an emotional rollercoaster, for better or worse. The remnants of that time echo in her present-day reclamation of her power. 

The doc chronicles Ani during lockdown, leading her to discuss her childhood in Buffalo, NY. Her mother’s feminist anger and the household’s minimal parenting drove her into survival and creativity mode from early on. 1-800-ON-HER-OWN boasts a brilliant amount of archival footage with voiceover stories from all the artists in her life. Lockdown also brings uncertainty and the relatable chaos of forced homeschooling our kids, Zoom glitches and attempting to maintain an identity and sanity under the circumstances. Her vulnerability spills off the screen beyond the songs. Ani’s unfiltered confessions hit you square in the chest.

1-800-ON-HER-OWN-21-800-ON-HER-OWN is a celebration of an artist in a league of her own. Ani DiFranco‘s relentless magic hangs in the air in my house. This film reintroduces her to the world. 

Feature | United States | 77 MINUTES | English

1-800-ON-HER-OWN follows groundbreaking indie musician/feminist Ani DiFranco, founder of the first “woman-run non-corporate queer-happy” label, Righteous Babe Records, on wild road trip from her punk-folk past to her life today as an activist, mother and rock star. Throughout, Ani remains resolutely true to herself, no matter the cost

Directed by Dana Flor
Produced by Amy Hobby
Producers Dana Flor, Emily Wachtel
Executive Produced by Alex Appel
Music by Ani DiFranco

 

Remaining Tribeca Screenings of 1-800-ON-HER-OWN:

Thu June 13 – 2:15 PM

 Village East by Angelika

Upcoming Film Festivals
DC/DOX Film Festival- June 16th, 2024
Provincetown Film Festival – June 15th & 16th, 2024
Montclaire Summer Film Showcase – June 28th, 2024

For more Tribeca 2024 coverage, click here!