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

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HELL IS A TEENAGE GIRL

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.

OFFICIAL SELECTION

Mammoth Film Festival 2024

WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival 2024

Luxembourg International Indie Film Festival 2024

Cannes Indie International Film Festival 2024

HONORS

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

DIRECTOR

Stephen Sawchuk

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Elysia Rotaru, Stephen Sawchuk

PRODUCER

Jenni Baynham, Barbara Gregusova

WRITER

Stephen Sawchuk

CAST

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!

HELL IS A TEENAGE GIRL

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

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CARNAGE FOR CHRISTMAS

CARNAGE FOR CHRISTMAS POSTER

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.

CARNAGE_FOR_CHRISTMAS_STILLS_1.8

AUSTRALIA 2024 70 MINS OV ENGLISH

GENRE DramaHorrorLGBTQIA2S+


DIRECTOR

Alice Maio Mackay

PRODUCER

Alice Maio Mackay

WRITER

Alice Maio Mackay, Ben Pahl Robinson

CAST

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

COMPOSER

Alexander Taylor

EDITOR

Vera Drew


Remaining Screenings of Carnage For Christmas:

Wed July 24, 2024
5:00 PM

Fantasia 2024 posterFor all things Fantasia 2024, click here!

The Deliverance (2024) | Lee Daniels | Official Trailer | Netflix horror looks terrifying

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The Deliverance

The Deliverance (2024) posterSynopsis

Ebony Jackson, a struggling single mother fighting her personal demons, moves her family into a new home for a fresh start. But when strange occurrences inside the home raise the suspicions of Child Protective Services and threaten to tear the family apart, Ebony soon finds herself locked in a battle for her life and the souls of her children. Inspired by a true story, THE DELIVERANCE is directed by Academy Award nominee Lee Daniels and stars Andra Day, Glenn Close, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, and Mo’Nique in a genre-defying take on darkness, possession, and finding a higher power.

Coming to Netflix on August 30

The Deliverance - Assets (14) - Netflix Media Center - media.netflix.com

The Deliverance - Assets (14) - Netflix Media Center - media.netflix.com The Deliverance. Mo'Nique as Cynthia Henry in The Deliverance. cr. Aaron Ricketts Netflix © 2024

 

For more trailers, click here!

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

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ODDITY

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.

Oddity still 1

 

IFC Films Will Release ODDITY

In Theaters July 19th


Synopsis

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

Shudder

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

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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.

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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

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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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COLD BLOWS THE WIND

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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.

Cold Blows The Wind-Dean&Tasha

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

BUCKLE UP! THE INDIE THRILL-RIDE OF THE SUMMER CRASHES ONTO VOD JULY 2ND!

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
Color
85 Minutes
English Language
Unrated

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

DWF-LA logoSWEATY LARRY

https://danceswithfilms.com/sweaty-larry/

SWEATY LARRY

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

DWF-LA logoDEATH PERCEPTION

https://danceswithfilms.com/death-perception/

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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


DWF-LA logoDELICATE ARCH

https://danceswithfilms.com/delicate-arch/

Delicate Arch Poster
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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‘I NEED YOUR LOVE’ (DWF: LA 2024) Relatable yet unique shenanigans

DWF-LA logoI NEED YOUR LOVE

https://danceswithfilms.com/i-need-your-love/

I-Need-Your-Love

Earlier this month, Tribeca 2024 audiences got treated to episodes 1 and 3 of Walker Kalan‘s series I NEED YOUR LOVE. Now, DWF: LA gets a chance to laugh and play. Co-created by star Camille Trust, the show is  quick-witted, awkward (in the best way), and realistic, delving into how inevitable competition complicates friendships.

It’s a bold move coming for Taylor Swift. But if you attempt it, this is how it’s done. The Swiftie Army is real, but we can take a joke when we hear one. The episodes have all the markings of greatness. Camille Trust knows her audience. It is niche and yet entirely relatable. Trust carries each scene like a pro. You feel compelled by her presence and immediately accept she’s in her natural state on camera. Jam packed with Tons of promise in this one. Keep an eye out. I feel like we’ll be seeing more of I NEED YOUR LOVE really soon.

WRITER/DIR: Walker Kalan
PRODS: Walker Kalan, Camille Trust, Christina Campagnola, Susie Talbot, Jayne Sullivan, Thomas Glinkowski, Megaera Stephens, Nadine Bedrossian, Isabel Haro
CAST: Camille Trust, Inés Nassara, Athan Chekas, Willy Rincón, Ben Becher

Need Your Love is a bittersweet comedy about pop singer Camille Trust’s struggle to make a name for herself in New York’s cutthroat music scene—from sleazy producers and vengeful Swifties to heartbreak and self-sabotage. It’s raw. It’s messy. And most of it actually happened.

Camille Trust Bio:
Camille is a triple threat performer—she acts, she sings, she slays. After earning her BA in Theater at Florida State University, Camille moved to NYC, where she launched her solo musical career. She has since released an EP and full length soul-pop album, racking up more than 2 million streams on Spotify, and garnering praise from the likes of Billboard, Nylon, and Time Magazine. Camille is a proud member of the Resistance Revival Chorus and is a founding member of Brooklyn’s all-female jam session called “Femme Jam.”
She also sings back-up for various artists including Shawn Mendes (SNL & VMAs), Jim James (Spotify Sessions), Fleet Foxes (Colbert), Chelsea Cutler (Colbert), and Nathaniel Rateliff (SNL). She currently holds a residency at Bruno Mars’ Pinky Ring at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. @camilletrust 
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‘TIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX’ (DWF:LA 2024) Brilliantly funny sci-fi with a side of self-love. No, really.

DWF-LA logoTIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX

https://danceswithfilms.com/tim-travers-the-time-travelers-paradox-2/

TIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX posterStimson Snead takes us on a comedy of trial and error in DWF: LA sci-fi feature TIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX. This film is a story of a mad genius’s guide to what if, get ready to have your mind blown.

The badass credits come in hot from the first frame. The production design is outstanding, and the camera work is sharp and gorgeously lit. Within minutes, you understand that seeing this film in cinematic form and on the largest screen will make your day.

Filmmaker Stimson Snead plays Helter, a mercenary soldier of sorts. His bumbling actions add another level of hilarity. He lights up the screen.

Felicia Day is Delilah, the firecrackers radio producer to Joel McHale‘s conspiracy theorist radio host. Day is exactly how I imagine her to be in real life as a fandom icon. She is magnificent.

TIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX still 1Samuel Dunning is Tim Travers. He is funny, charming, and owns this role. Travers is stubborn as hell and honest to a fault. The character has authentic mad scientist vibes. The number of alternative death scenes and distinctly unique versions of the same character is Multiplicity on crack. Dunning eats it up.

The dialogue is whip-smart and relentlessly hilarious. If you’re going to make an autism joke, the approach is approved by this neuro-spicy matriarch. The editing is a smash. The music is perfect. Bravo to the SFX team for their top-notch work.

The screenplay goes to places you will never see coming. Pun is very much intended. It takes digs at certain Multiverse cinema, religion, and sexuality and obliterates every boundary that ever existed with genius-level wit. In the end, TIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX is a sci-fi comedy about self-love. No, seriously. Genre audiences are going to go nuts.

TIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX

WRITER/DIR: Stimson Snead
PRODS: Rich Cowan, Ben Yennie, Felicia Day, Casey Cowan, Kylie Walcuk, Stimson Snead
CAST: 
Starring Samuel Dunning, Co-Starring Felicia Day, Special Appearance by Keith David, With Joel McHale and Danny Trejo

It is called the Time Travelers Paradox. In which a scientist creates a Time Machine and kills their younger self. So now a man who should not- can not- exist, somehow does. That is the Paradox, and Paradoxes are impossible. And the man who has created it, is Tim Travers. A reclusive mad scientist whose stated mission in life is to stand alone with God at the end of time, and tell the bastard off. TIM TRAVERS AND THE TIME TRAVELER’S PARADOX

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

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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.

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‘WHAT A FEELING’ (Frameline 48) An age and stage charmer from filmmaker Kat Rohrer.

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WHAT A FEELING

What a Feeling (2024) - www.imdb.comIt is easy to see why Kat Rohrer‘s Frameline 48 feature WHAT A FEELING played to a sold-out crowd last night. This authentic love story is everything you want it to be.  Workplace shenanigans and complicated family dynamics genuinely ground the film. This naturally progressing script has it all.

what a feeling 3Fa is a wildly unpredictable woman who enjoys creating things with her hands and bouncing from woman to woman. Marie is a doctor whose husband demands a divorce on their 20th wedding anniversary. When the two run into each other, almost quite literally, they discover an unexpected spark between them.

what a feeling 2Caroline Peters delivers laughs and heart in the role of Marie Theres. Proschat Madani gives Fa a firecracker spirit. Both offer depth to roles that could easily remain surface-level clichés. Their chemistry is magic, and Rohrer thoughtfully crafts their characters’ journeys.

what a feeling 1The film leans into conversations of identity, both sexual and national, with Fa being Iranian. It tackles inherent bias and standing up for what’s right, no matter the issue. WHAT A FEELING dives into the nuance of relationships and the mistakes we make that either force us to grow or flee. It’s a lovely film.

https://youtu.be/-MRHS5I1umI

DIRECTOR
Kat Rohrer
YEAR
2024
COUNTRY
Austria
RUNNING TIME
110 mins
LANGUAGE
German, English, & Persian
SECTION
Narrative Features

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‘WHAT REMAINS’ (2024) Based on a true story and unresolved trauma

WHAT REMAINS

What Remains PosterUpon his upcoming release from a specialized mental hospital in Scandinavia, a man suddenly reveals his connection to a string of murders. His therapist and the police officer on the case go down the rabbit hole, putting all three of them in a precarious relationship.

Stellan Skarsgård plays Officer Soren Rank. He is always a solid actor. This role is another notch on his vast resume. Andrea Riseborough gives Dr. Anna Rudebeck a staunch determination. Yet again, she climbs into the skin of a self-sabotaging and flawed woman who would rather help others than confront her childhood trauma.

What Remains still 1Gustaf Skarsgård is Mads a deep sadness. His gentle nature is at odds with his confessions, although his true motivations feel evident from the beginning. Nevertheless, Skarsgård delivers an emotionally wrought performance.

The script comes from director Ran Huang and Megan Everett-Skarsgard, wife of Stellan and stepmother of Gustaf. WHAT REMAINS is Huang’s feature debut. The characters are so lush that I might suggest expanding this into a miniseries.

What-RemainsHaunting takes in the gloomy natural light of a rainstorm or afternoon in an unlit room, capturing the dark essence of the narrative. The true story behind the film is one of the most unusual in criminal history. In the 1990s, Sture Ragnar Bergwall (later known as Thomas Quicke ) confessed to 20 unsolved murders (convicted of 5). Years later, he rescinded his statements.

It is an intriguing commentary about mental health systems worldwide. The film takes place in Scandinavia, and Mads undergoes rehabilitation treatment. The stark difference between the US industrial prison complex is shocking. The human desire to heal inmates versus for-profit prisons is eye-opening. WHAT REMAINS speaks to the unrelenting consequences of unresolved trauma.

In Theaters & On Demand June 21st
 
** Locarno Film Festival **
** Warsaw International Film Festival **
** Beijing International Film Festival **
** Fantasy FilmFest **

Starring:
Gustaf Skarsgård (“Vikings”),
Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie)
and Stellan Skarsgård (Dune: Part Two)
 
Directed by: Ran Huang
 
Written by: Ran Huang and Megan Everett-Skarsgard 


LOGLINE
In a psychiatric hospital, an alleged serial killer, his therapist, and a police detective seek to solve a brutal cold case before their obsessive quest for the truth consumes them all.

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‘FAMILY THERAPY’ (Tribeca 2024) A twisted tale of trauma

tribeca 2024 logoFAMILY THERAPY

https://tribecafilm.com/films/family-therapy-2024

FAMILY_THERAPY-Clean-16x9Sonja Prosenc‘s Tribeca 2024 film FAMILY THERAPY features a nouveau riche household that operates in rigid formality, slowly cracking upon the arrival of a new member.

The film opens with Aleksander, Olivia, and daughter Agata picking Julien up at the airport. He is patriarch Aleks’s twenty-five-year-old son from a previous relationship. Following an awkward evening, they awaken to loud knocking in the middle of the night, setting off a chain of events that will make or break these four people.

Their home is modern, essentially a glass box with cement walls. The production design team’s selection of art inside the house speaks volumes. They are strategically placed on vast walls, begging for your eyes. The music by SILENCE is based on Henry Purcell‘s King Arthur Opera. This decision creates an entire mood from the first frame. The camera work is delicious.

FAMILY_THERAPY-Clean-16x9-0Mila Bezjak gives Agata a suspicious sass. Her personality gets a boost from her severe hairstyle. Blunt bangs and thick coiffure make her resemble an overgrown doll. Her attention-seeking behavior has everything to do with her parents’ infantilism.

Aliocha Schneider is Julien. Down-to-earth, kind-hearted, edgy, and fearless. Schneider connects with each family member in a layered way. It’s a compelling turn.

Olivia is mean, anal retentive, gallerist. Actress Katarina Stegnar gives off a genuine wicked stepmother vibe, a cover for genuinely feeling powerless. Her arch is visceral.

FAMILY_THERAPY-Clean-16x9-03Aleksander never shuts up. He flaunts his eccentricity most ignorantly, fancying himself a writer despite only writing a single piece twenty years prior. Marko Mandic is loathsome in the best way.

Writer-director Sonja Prosenc does a spectacular job of holding back information, leaving us small breadcrumbs of this odd family dynamic. The symbolism of fracture and subsequent healing comes in multiple genius forms. Bites of fantasy further the nuance of unresolved trauma and the search for joy. FAMILY THERAPY is brilliant stuff.

International Narrative Competition
Feature | Slovenia, Italy, Norway, Croatia, Serbia | 122 MINUTES | English, French, Slovene | English subtitles

Director

Sonja Prosenc

Producer

Rok Sečen

Screenwriter

Sonja Prosenc

Cinematographer

Mitja Ličen

Editor

Ivana Fumić

Composer

Primož Hladnik & Boris Benko

Co-Producer

Marta Zaccaron, Fabiana Balsamo, Tamara Babun, Matija Drnikovć, Jarle Bjørknes, Dimče Stojanovski

Cast

Mila Bezjak, Aliocha Schneider, Marko Mandić, Katarina Stegnar, Judita Franković Brdar, Jure Henigman



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