‘THE BEAST WITHIN’ (Fantasia 2024) A stunning allegory

Fantasia 2024 logoTHE BEAST WITHIN

Filmmaker Alexander J. Farrell surprises Fantasia 2024 audiences with a monster movie from a child’s perspective. THE BEAST WITHIN sinks its teeth into audiences in ways you won’t see coming.

The Beast Within Fantasia 2024The attention to detail in world-building is delicious. The jewel-toned costumes and set dressings draw you in. Natural light, candles, and soft-bulbed corner lamps create an atmosphere that makes your heart race from the very beginning.

Willow and Noah’s clothing color choices are no accident. Costumers John K. Lemons and Frances Harrison Hays place Caoilinn Springall between worlds, one foot in Little Red territory and the other the Woodsman. Harington lands solidly between Woodsman and Wolf. It is unmistakably brilliant.

TheBeastWithin_04_WellGoUSA_AshleighCummingsAshleigh Cummings and James Cosmo ground the narrative with emotionally wrought performances. Kit Harington proves yet again his ability to fill a frame with little more than a facial expression. Harington keeps the audience on their toes with fierce volatility. His chemistry with fellow cast members is alarming.

Caoilinn Springall delivers an astonishing turn as young Willow. Her performance in Stop Motion turned heads. Her vulnerability and fierce curiosity keep you entranced every second. She is a star.

The Beast Within is a story of unresolved generational trauma and abuse wrapped in a Gothic fairy tale. It’s beautiful to behold in every sense.

For all things Fantasia 2024, click here!

‘ESCAPE ATTEMPT’ (Fantasia 2024 short) Chilling and visually stunning

Fantasia 2024 logoESCAPE ATTEMPT

Escape Attempt – Film - Aggressive - aggressive.tv

A desperate man tries to make his way to an uninhabited planet with the help of a young and idealistic couple. In their Fantasia 2024 short ESCAPE ATTEMPT, directors Daniel Shapiro and Alex Topaller take audiences on a journey across time, space, and humanity. Based on a novella of the same name by the Strugatsky Brothers, this dazzling twenty-nine minutes of storytelling hits harder than you might expect. Performances are outstanding across the board. Without spoiling the impact of this explosive narrative, I can easily say that it is a visually exciting and thoroughly engaging dive into the metaphor for the cyclical nature of history—the cliche warning about what happens when we don’t learn from our past. I highly recommend seeking out this short. I imagine it is only the beginning for Shapiro and Topaller.

Daniel Shapiro and Alex Topaller, founders of the Aggressive design studio, deliver the US/Polish co-production ESCAPE ATTEMPT based on the Strugatsky Brothers’s novella of the same name. 


Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia 2023

FilmQuest 2023

Landshut Short Film Festival 2024

Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival 2024


Grand Prize – FilmQuest 2023

Best Sci-Fi Short – FilmQuest 2023

Navigator Award for Best Sci-Fi Film – Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy Film Festival 2024


Daniel Shapiro, Alex Topaller


Jacek Kulczycki, Daniel Shapiro, Alex Topaller


Lukasz Tomasz Koltunowicz


Christina Lazaridi, Daniel Shapiro, Alex Topaller


Anna Burnett, Andrzej Chyra, Ieuan Coombs, Piotr Witkowski


Pils Kajetan

Fantasia 2024 posterFor all things Fantasia 2024, click here!

‘MIDNIGHT TAXI’ (2024) A well-crafted thriller


Midnight Taxi poster

In Midnight Taxi, night shift cab driver Eddie Carter goes down the homespun detective rabbit hole when he discovers a murdered sex worker on his route home. Because he suffers from sleepwalking, Eddie is afraid he might know more than he immediately recalls. Enlisting the help of an investigative journalist, his journey through the dark streets of London drives him to the brink of madness.

Midnight Taxi 1Ladi Emeruwa is a star. He exudes effortless charm, diving headfirst into Eddie’s unresolved trauma and the ensuing panic attacks. Emeruwa’s ability to grab the audience is a filmmaker’s dream. He has that ” It” factor in spades. 

Midnight Taxi 3The score is proper neo-noir, but the volume is often distracting. Filmmakers Bertie Speirs and Samantha Speirs deliver a well-crafted thriller. Eddie has dreams with flashes of memories or fantasies. We aren’t exactly sure. His lost time ups the ante. They skillfully tease a mysterious backstory so the audience constantly questions Eddie’s possible culpability. MIDNIGHT TAXI takes you along for a complex psychological ride.

Midnight Taxi 2



Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Written and Directed by: Bertie Speirs and Samantha Speirs

Starring: Ladi Emeruwa, Charlotte Price, and Eddie Eyre

Genre: Mystery, Drama

RT: 97 min | Not Yet Rated

Language: English | U.S.

For more mystery film coverage, click here!

‘DARK MATCH’ (Fantasia 2024 capsule) A raucous and twisty crowd-pleaser from Lowell Dean keeps you on the ropes.

Fantasia 2024 logo


Dark Match logoDark Match Still 3It’s 1988, and the members of a semi-pro wrestling league get an offer for a private event. Lowell Dean‘s Fantasia 2024 film DARK MATCH delivers a great soundtrack, flashy editing reminiscent of music videos of the era, a super creative twist on wrestling’s history, and the parallels to modern mob mentality.

Dark Match Still 4Performances kick ass. Ayisha Issa and Steven Ogg bring fierce chemistry against Chris Jericho‘s sinister aura. Mo Adan and Jonathan Cherry round out electric chemistry. Dean’s script has multiple twists you’ll never saw coming. Audiences will undoubtedly demand a Round 2 because Dark Match is entertaining as hell.


Dark Match Still 2


CAST: Sara Canning, Jonathan Cherry, Michael Eklund, Ayisha Issa, Chris Jericho, Steven Ogg

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: https://darkmatch.com/

Dark Match Still 1

Fantasia 2024 poster

For all things Fantasia 2024, click here!


‘HELL IS A TEENAGE GIRL’ (Fantasia 2024) Flipping the script on the Final Girl trope.

Fantasia 2024 logo


Hell Is A Teenage Girl poster

Every Halloween, the small town of Springboro is terrorized by its resident SLASHER – a masked serial killer who targets sinful teenagers that break ‘The Rules of Horror’ – don’t drink, don’t do drugs, and don’t have sex! At the center of it all is Parker Campbell, the Slasher’s estranged biological daughter. In an attempt to clear her name and make things right with the town, Parker sets out on a life-or-death mission in hopes of ending his reign of terror once and for all…

Hell Is a Teenage Girl (2024

Skylar Radzion plays Parker, the daughter of a small-town slasher. Tortured by her peers most of her life, she enlists her best friend and an obsessive lunkhead to break all the rules and unleash the ultimate form of revenge. Filmmaker Stephen Sawchuk delivers the goods to Fantasia 2024 audiences with his short film HELL IS A TEENAGE GIRL.
Radzion, Faly Mevamanana, and Kevin Osea nail their roles. The updated colonial set that serves as Parker’s home is perfect, and well-thought-out costumes complete the vision. The film is a solid treatment for a feature I’d be delighted to dive into. Sawchuk gives us enough meat on the bone for expansion, past and future.


Mammoth Film Festival 2024

WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival 2024

Luxembourg International Indie Film Festival 2024

Cannes Indie International Film Festival 2024


Gold Remi Award – WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival 2024

Best Horror Film – Cannes Indie International Film Festival 2024

Best Director – Cannes Indie International Film Festival 2024

Best Actress – Luxembourg Indie International Film Fest 2024


Stephen Sawchuk


Elysia Rotaru, Stephen Sawchuk


Jenni Baynham, Barbara Gregusova


Stephen Sawchuk


Mar Andersons, Zenia Marshall, Faly Mevamanana, Jill Morrison, Kevin Osea, Skylar Radzion

SOCIAL MEDIA: @hellisateenagegirl (Instagram) #HellIsATeenageGirl

Fantasia 2024 posterFor all things Fantasia 2024, click here!


‘CARNAGE FOR CHRISTMAS’ (Fantasia 2024) A murder podcaster’s unresolved trauma turns holiday horror in Alice Maio Mackay latest

Fantasia 2024 logo



Alice Maio Mackay‘s fifth film makes its Montreal premiere at Fantasia 2024. CARNAGE FOR CHRISTMAS finds a murder podcast host answering a listener’s question, “How did you get into true crime?” Lola recounts a childhood hometown legend, then returns to said location for the Christmas holidays.

When the town’s queer population starts getting murdered, and with a sudden uptick in sightings of The Toy Maker, Lola digs into her expertise and goes over the heads of the local cops to try to find the killer.

CARNAGE_FOR_CHRISTMAS_STILLS_1_148_1Graphic novel animation serves as visually delightful childhood memories surrounding Lola’s backstory with the villain. The poster is undoubtedly an homage to Black Christmas, and the classic trope of a killer in a Santa suit plays, ala Silent Night Deadly Night, still rules.

The practical FX team nails it, aided by the slick editing. Speaking of, the editing and featured neon lighting feel like a calling card for Mackay and editor Vera Drew, Aka “The People’s Joker.” (A must-see feast for the eyes) If you’ve seen Mackay’s 2023 film T BLOCKERS, you’ll understand she’s building a brand here.

CARNAGE_FOR_CHRISTMAS_STILLS_1_327_1Jeremy Moineau gives Lola an effortlessly badass persona but beautifully balances toughness with authentic vulnerability. Her monologue about the town’s history is perfection.

Alice Maio Mackay provides a creative space for trans artists to thrive. CARNAGE FOR CHRISTMAS has a solid mystery and great performances. It is another sweet notch in Mackay’s stylistic belt.





Alice Maio Mackay


Alice Maio Mackay


Alice Maio Mackay, Ben Pahl Robinson


Zairf ., Dominique Booth, Olivia Deeble, Jeremy Moineau, Tumelo Nthupi


Alexander Taylor


Vera Drew

Remaining Screenings of Carnage For Christmas:

Wed July 24, 2024
5:00 PM

Fantasia 2024 posterFor all things Fantasia 2024, click here!

‘ONE FOR THE ROAD’ (LA Shorts 2024) Based on a Stephen King short story, it is pure fear.


One for the Road Teaser TrailerBased on a Stephen King story, Daniel Carsenty‘s short film ONE FOR THE ROAD is here to terrify LA Shorts International Film Festival audiences with its world premiere.

It’s 3 am, and a mysterious, rather odorous man walks into a truck stop diner, muttering one phrase, “Old Mill Road.” Two drivers with the best intentions get roped into helping solve the mystery, but no good deed goes unpunished.

Writer Corey Slater captures the classic King build-up. In the 9-minute run, the audience knows these characters and feels an emotional connection. Carsenty gathers a cast that is perfection. The production design team nails the aesthetic, placing the viewer in a timeless era. Putting The Red Sox cap on one of our protagonist’s heads is a clever nod to King, as any fan knows where his allegiance lies. I’m begging for an expansion of this world.

one for the road cropped trailer

Teaser Trailer:

ABOUT DIRECTOR: Berlinale Talents alumni Daniel Carsenty wrote and directed the thriller “After Spring Comes Fall” in 2015. It won the award for Best Feature at the Zsigmond Vilmos Festival. His second film, “The Devil’s Drivers,” a documentary about a Bedouin smuggler, premiered at TIFF in 2021, won the Special Jury Award at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, and was nominated by the Cinema for Peace Foundation for Best Documentary. A graduate of AFI, Daniel came to filmmaking after working as a TV journalist for ARTE and BBC in zones of conflict. 

“As a director, what I love most about horror movies is that they are about getting as close as possible to what makes me afraid. In my opinion, a good horror story carries as much hope as it creates fear. If these two emotions play out against each other, we start to care,” says Carsenty. He reached out to King during his time at AFI, hoping to use horror narrative to tell the same stories about the darkness of humanity that he did in his documentaries. 

ABOUT LA SHORTS:  LA Shorts International Film Festival is an Oscar and BAFTA qualifying festival, and is the longest-running short film festival in Los Angeles. 

Sunday, July 21, 2024, 10:00 P.M., Program 26
Regal LA Live – DTLA

For more short film reviews, click here!

‘ODDITY’ (2024) IFC and Shudder reign supreme in scaring us with Damian McCarthy’s latest

IFC Shudder Logo


ODDITY poster

After the murder of her twin sister, medium and oddity shop owner Darcy visits the husband she left behind, gifting him an alarming wooden mannequin. ODDITY is a battle between skepticism and the supernatural. It is a spellbinding tale of revenge.

Carolyn Bracken is Darcy. This character is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Her supernatural abilities and encompassing rage come off as powerfully controlled. Bracken is dazzling.

Oddity_01The production design by Lauren Kelly delivers visuals that are startling and sneaky. Creepy art pieces, like the anatomical drawing behind Ted’s desk to the Rorschach paintings, hung in the house subconsciously keep you off kilter. Darcy’s shop even houses director Damian McCarthy‘s disquieting rabbit from his 2020 terrifier CAVEAT.

Bravo to the editing by Brian Philip Davis. The several jump scares are well-earned. The twists, yes plural, are shocking. The wooden figure’s physical evolution is skin crawling. Elements of ancient witchcraft and haunted objects mesmerize and terrify. The final shot is deliciously satisfying.

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IFC Films Will Release ODDITY

In Theaters July 19th


When Dani is brutally murdered at the remote country house that she and her husband Ted are renovating, everyone suspects a patient from the local mental health institution, where Ted is a doctor. However, soon after the tragic killing, the suspect is found dead. A year later, Dani’s blind twin sister Darcy, a self-proclaimed psychic and collector of cursed items, pays an unexpected visit to Ted and his new girlfriend, Yana. Convinced that there was more to her sister’s murder than people know, Darcy has brought with her the most dangerous items from her cursed collection to help her exact revenge.

Writer / Director: Damian McCarthy

Starring: Gwilym Lee, Carolyn Bracken, Tadhg Murphy, Caroline Menton, Jonathan French, Steve Wall

Language: English

Run Time: 98 Min

ODDITY screenings

For more IFC and Shudder films, click here!


IFC Films


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


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 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 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


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:


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.


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?


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



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


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


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.



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




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.


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.




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. 


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.


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


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.


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).

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‘MURDER COMPANY ‘ (2024) Based on an untold true story


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During the D-Day invasion, a group of U.S. soldiers must smuggle a member of the French resistance behind enemy lines to assassinate a high-value Nazi target.

Murder Company 2 (2024) - www.imdb.comShane Dax Taylor‘s WWII drama imagines the never-before-told story of a secret mission. While all the elements of greatness are there, MURDER COMPANY delivers a rather average film. I never found myself emotionally invested in the characters, which is unfortunate because performances from the entire ensemble deliver solid work. I found myself drifting. The battle scenes felt noticeably repetitive as if a few days had been spent in the same wooded location and shot from only a few different angles. The dialogue suffered the same fate. I couldn’t repeat a single line after watching. The FX were similarly subpar. Bullet holes were glaringly CG, and it was frankly distracting. War films are immense undertakings. Tackling an untold story adds extra scrutiny. Filmmakers should have taken more advantage of Kelsey Grammer‘s abilities. Ultimately, Murder Company waves the white flag.

Murder Company (2024) - www.imdb.com

Here’s the trailer: 

MURDER COMPANY comes to theaters, on Demand and Digital, today.

Buy Tickets here: https://www.fandango.com/murder-company-2024-236335/movie-overview?cmp=Indie_YouTube_Desc

Murder Company 3 (2024) - www.imdb.comIt stars William Moseley (The Chronicles of Narnia trilogy, “The Royals”), Pooch Hall (“Ray Donovan,” “The Game”), Gilles Marini (Sex and the City, “Switched at Birth”), Joe Anderson (Across the Universe, The Crazies), and Kelsey Grammer (“Cheers,” “Frasier”).

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‘NUKED” (Tribeca 2024) Rowdy revelations in dire times

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NUKED Dinner Table
**World Premiere – Spotlight Narrative Category** NUKED

A group of old friends celebrate one couple’s 40th birthday. Booze, cannabis-infused menu, deep secrets, and a single text blow up in their faces in Deena Kashper‘s Tribeca 2024 highlight NUKED.

NUKED Bottom of StairsThe more stoned they get, the more intense the setup as the audience waits for Jack to drop a truth bomb. But that’s the least of their problems when an emergency broadcast message forces our guests to face facts of their past and present.

NUKED boasts a superb comedy ensemble. Natasha Leggero plays Chef Sasha, the cannabis expert and sarcastic wonder kind. I imagine that at least a few of her lines are improvised based on the cast’s reactions. Lucy Punch makes every film more spectacular. Her comic timing is a thing of the gods. As the anxious mother of a newborn, Punch balances heartfelt attachment and sardonic wit like a star.

Justin Bartha has the effortless charm of Jason Bateman. His ability to hold the frame and take you on an emotional journey is always impressive. His physical comedy holds a lot of emotional swings. Bartha is fantastic. Anna Camp is relentlessly funny. She’s a little Energizer Bunny that you feel compelled to watch. Her chemistry with Bartha is a knockout success.

Raunchy and unfiltered, NUKED is a modern take on evergreen issues. It’s hilarious, unapologetic, and a damn good time. Make sure you stay tuned for the credits!

Written and Directed by: Deena Kashper
Story by: Deena Kashper & Danny Kashper
Produced by Julie Christeas, p.g.a., Daryl Freimark, p.g.a., Deena Kashper
Executive Producer: Kerri Elder, Blake Elder, Justin Bartha, Victoria Sidebotham, Jon Stockel, Danny Kashper, Eugene Kashper
Co-Executive Producers: John Balis, Adam Kirszner, Eric Litman
Co-Producer: Emily McCann Lesser, Jeremy Kotin
Starring: Anna Camp, Justin Bartha, Lucy Punch, George Young, Tawny Newsome, Ignacio Serrichio, Maulik Pancholy, Stephen Guarino, Natasha Leggero, and Cole Stockel

Gill Langer (Pitch Perfect’Anna Camp), a relationship podcaster, influencer and oversharer, is celebrating her 40th birthday alongside her husband, Jack Langer (The Hangover’s Justin Bartha), an unassuming educator who wants nothing more than for them to conceive a child. Convening at a lavish estate, she throws a cannabis-infused dinner party with some of her closest friends, couples who are also at a crossroads in their relationships. As the night carries on, the high settles in and the insecurities of their respective relationships come to the surface; everyone gets a sudden phone alert that a nuclear missile is headed directly toward them.You’d be surprised what facing your impending death looks like and how weed, surprisingly, may not be your best ally in this scenario.

Feature | United States | 86 MINUTES | English

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‘FAMILY PORTRAIT’ (2024) Authentic and unsettling award-winning film comes to Metrograph at Home this Friday

Factory 25 logoFAMILY PORTRAIT

Family Portrait poster

Filmmaker Lucy Kerr follows a well-off family as they gather to take a photo for their annual Christmas card. When the matriarch goes missing, one daughter makes it her mission to find her. In the dawn of Covid, FAMILY PORTRAIT is a haunting film whose title is a stunning double entendre.

Family Portrait groupThe heightened sound editing by Andrew Siedenburg and Nikolay Antonov is a character in the film. There is no better way to articulate its effect. The camera work from Lidia Nikonova swings from following closeups to static long takes, and it is nothing short of magnificent.

family portrait 1There is a theatrical delivery of much of the dialogue. Deragh Campbell is marvelous playing Katy. She delivers a compelling performance, reminding us how much we rely on the family matriarch to set our boundaries. Campbell’s pervasive anxiety flows on the screen.

Family_Portrait_new_screenshots_02The film brilliantly captures the poetic chaos of family gatherings. A myriad of intimate vignettes are all swirling together in an authentic picture where time loses all meaning. FAMILY PORTRAIT is haunting in so many ways. It will leave you breathless and wanting more.

Opens at Metrograph Theater in NYC Friday, June 28, Expands to Chicago and Los Angeles in July & Makes US Streaming Premiere Exclusively on Metrograph at Home Friday, July 5

Synopsis: Family Portrait follows a sprawling family on a morning when they have planned a group picture. After the mother disappears and one of the daughters becomes increasingly anxious to find her and take the picture, the rest of the family appears to resist any attempt to gather. Initially presenting itself as a realistic portrayal of a family on an idle but hectic summer day, the film progressively descends into a realm where time and space lose their grip, transforming the family portrait into a solemn and enigmatic ritual of transition.

FAMILY PORTRAIT stars a captivating Deragh Campbell (Kazik Radwanski’s ANNE AT 13,000 FT., Nathan Silver’s STINKING HEAVEN) and world premiered at the 2023 Locarno Film Festival in the Concorso Cineasti del presente section, the festival’s slate dedicated to discovering the cinema of tomorrow, where it took the Boccalino d’Oro for Best Director for Kerr. In addition to the US theatrical rollout, FAMILY PORTRAIT will make its US streaming premiere exclusively on Metrograph at Home on Friday, July 5, where it will be available for a two-month online engagement alongside a collection of Kerr’s short films.

In addition to the film’s winning reception at Locarno, FAMILY PORTRAIT has received accolades from the Black Canvas Film Festival (Best Director), the Hainan Island International Film Festival (Best Picture, Best Actress, and the Best Artistic Contribution), the Austin Film Society (Feature Film Grant), FIDLab (AirFrance Prize), and the New Horizon Award from the U.S. In Progress event in Wroclaw, Poland.

Kerr, Houston-born and New York-based, was one of Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Film of 2022 and a graduate of CalArts film and video program. Inspired by familial pain and the feeling of loss that reflects what was felt by many during the pandemic, in the world of her film —which was shot in Hunt, TX, along the Guadalupe River— when grief is denied, mourning transforms into a melancholia that begins to undermine the sense of “reality,” ultimately leading to a divergence beyond the territory of the living.

Chris Galust (GIVE ME LIBERTY), Katie Folger (DAY 5), Rachel Alig (FIRST BLUSH), Robert Salas (CASSANDRO), and Silvana Jakich (WHAT HAPPENED AT 625 RIVER ROAD?) round out the cast alongside Campbell. The film is produced by Megan Pickrell and Frederic Winkler, co-produced by Rob Rice, and executive produced by Kerr for Conjuring Productions, her production banner, and Brittany Reeber. Lidia Nikonova lensed, Karlis Bergs edited, the sound department was comprised of Andrew Siedenburg and Nikolay Antonov, and production design was done by Tim Nicholas.

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‘COLD BLOWS THE WIND’ (2024) Fresh meat on a bone in this indie horror from Eric Williford

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When a husband and wife (Victoria Vertuga and Danell Leyva) find their night blown wildly off-course, they’re forced to band together in order to survive in the most extreme of circumstances.

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COLD BLOWS THE WIND finds Tasha and Dean in a moral predicament. After drunk driving, striking a jogger with their car, a stranger makes things even more complicated. Teamwork makes the dream work. Too bad this husband and wife can’t agree on a damn thing.

Cold Blows The Wind -VictoriaVertugaDanell Leyva does a great job of being entirely unlikeable. Victoria Vertuga gives Tasha a fierce presence. She is very watchable. It is Jamie Bernadette who steals the show playing Briar. Everything from her blunt haircut to her unsettling delivery is star quality. I want a prequel where she and Torrey Lawrence lead.

cold blows the wind jamie bernadetteFilmmaker Eric Williford starts his new film off with a bang. The editing by Timothy Widmann is effective. Practical FX are solid and in your face. Cold Blows The Wind is a mysterious story of body-snatching possession on unholy ground. So much of the film feels inspired by the Evil Dead franchise, with a few other classic homages mixed in. Williford offers bits and pieces of backstory. Even though we are left to fill in the blanks, the potential is clear. There is enough meat on the bone (pun intended) to keep audiences hungry.

Watch the trailer to COLD BLOWS THE WIND here


Written and directed by Eric Williford, COLD BLOWS THE WIND stars Victoria Vertuga (LEXI), Danell Leyva (CLOCKED), Jamie Bernadette (I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE: DEJA VU), and Torrey Lawrence (THE HARDER THEY FALL).

Horror / Crime Thriller
85 Minutes
English Language

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‘SWEATY LARRY’ (DWF:LA 2024) Gen Z’s newest and funniest superstition




80s and 90s kid here. Ouija boards and Blood Mary were a right of passage at sleepover parties or Saturday nights. Filmmaker Vanessa Ionta Wright delivers a new generation of jaded kids trying to scare themselves in a world where they’ve already seen it all thanks to the internet. Our three youngest stars, Sienna Burton, Quinn Reames, and Camryn Bentley, eat the screen up with genuine laughs and an authentic level of “suss.” I loved everything about them.

Sweaty-Larry - GirlsOur introduction to Sweaty Larry is as ridiculous as it should be, and the original song saying over the credits (written and performed by ATL’s Ross Childress, co-founder of the rock band Collective Soul) is a straight banger. SWEATY LARRY is the brilliant reason a festival’s Midnight section exists. I loved everything about it.

WRITER/DIR: Vanessa Ionta Wright
PRODS: Ryan Burton, Rozalyn Mattocks, Tony Reames
CAST: Haley Leary, Victor Rivera, Sienna Burton, Quinn Reames, Camryn Bentley

Sweaty Larry the man

Three curious young girls stumble upon an obscure urban legend and summon the infamous entity known as Sweaty Larry. They were warned…they were warned.

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‘DEATH PERCEPTION’ (DWF: LA 2024) Killer art from a new perspective




Filmmakers Alec Wry, Sam Slade, & Kevin Mix give DWF: LA 2024 audiences a fresh take on the slasher genre with DEATH PERCEPTION. The setup finds a group of college friends coming together for a watch party of Sean’s newly completed short film. No one seems particularly excited, aside from Sean. The night rolls on and the guests find a masked maniac picking them off, one by one. You think you know what’s happening in DEATH PERCEPTION, but you’d be dead wrong.

Every character gets a run-through of the mayhem from their perspective. Each version varies slightly with more information than before. It gets weirder, wackier, and more confusing as the film progresses. Things make more and less sense, but it is too late. You are already hooked.

The script delivers a trove of unlikeable characters and slip-n-slide of tropey goodness with a unique twist. The entire cast digs into the campiness of B horror, but two performances in particular deserve a shout-out. Nicole Murray as Anna, and Kevin Mix playing Sean. Both fully embrace the nutty chaos and bring their A-game. Bravo.

The editing is a damn triumph, and they stick the ending with one last glorious laugh driving their entire point home. It’s a genius stuff.

DIRS/Writers: Alec Wry, Sam Slade, & Kevin Mix

PRODS: Alec Wry, Nicole Murray, Kevin MIx & Sam Slade

CAST: Omari Williams, Cody Laper, Laura Wichman, Nicole Murray, Brian Velazquez, Kevin Mix, Rosemberg Jimmenez


A group of college students are invited to a screening party for a short film made by aspiring auteur filmmaker Sean Davis. The night takes a dark turn as each character gets picked off one by one by a mysterious masked killer. The story unfolds from the point-of-view of each of the six guests, and with each new perspective new clues come to light about the darkly comedic truth behind the violence.

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‘DELICATE ARCH’ (DWF: LA 2024) This supernatural WTF showcases a new voice



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Filmmaker Matthew Warren brings DWF: LA 2024 audiences DELICATE ARCH, where four college students embark on a camping trip to prepare for the inevitable societal shift due to climate change. When they arrive, visions creep into their waking mind, blurring reality for everyone.

Katie Self is the soothing voice of the narrator. While we hear her only briefly throughout the film, her presence is memorable. Rene Leech plays Ferg with exuberant energy. Their stoner persona is fun and carefree until shit hits the fan.

DELICATE-ARCH-2Kevin Bohleber gives Cody a know-it-all environmentalist vibe. He hides a much more nuanced undertone. Kelley Mack is Wilda. She mixes a breezy girl-next-door quality with authentic emotional baggage.

William Leon gives Grant an upright aura, quickly crumbling as his sense of reality changes at every turn. Leon is beyond compelling.

Delicate Arch 06The titular location is a real place in Utah. It is striking and entirely isolated, making for an immediately tense premise. The score is haunting and ethereal, comprised of disembodied voices. Scenes in which Grant trips on mushrooms utilize a combination of ever-evolving animation and VHS-style imagery to illustrate his POV. It is trippy.

Tongue-in-cheek dialogue overtly pegs each character by their archetype. Their love for horror and subsequent homages blend into the whirlwind finale.

The film plunges into chaos, further down the rabbit hole as the minutes tick by. Warren makes it impossible to predict. DWF: LA audiences are in for one hell of a ride in DELICATE ARCH. To weirdly quote Mean Girls, “The limit does not exist.” You will question everything.

WRITER/DIR: Matt Warren
PRODS: Larissa Beck, Josh Long, Aaron Nelson, Matt Warren
CAST: William Leon, Kelley Mack, Kevin Bohleber, Rene Leech

Four young friends with fracturing relationships take a camping trip to Southern Utah in order to escape an ecological disaster in the northern part of the state. Alone in the desert, they begin to suspect that their reality might not be as it seems, and soon realize they’re being observed by a mysterious cosmic force.

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