To experience a genre film festival is to see the life and dreams of unique as well as deeply creative souls unveil like flower opening on a warm day. Each film and filmmaker are like fingerprints leaving their own mark on the viewer, peer and that segment of time forever. To create a piece of art whether visual, audio or capturing a moment or feeling is a gift that I was lucky enough along with what seemed liked thousands at this year’s FANTASTIC FEST. Making the pilgrimage down to this incredible event that is never long enough, my peers, friends and the dysfunctional family worship at the ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE venturing into the dark and letting the light, sounds and sensations guide us to through a world that we experience maybe only once in our life. This year’s lineup hosted by Tim League, crew, filmmakers and company in Austin was truly a unique time in my every evolving and passionate love affair with the walls of movie posters. The shadows and darkness that imprints on my soul. The culture of unique voices as well as stories that flow on a scream and/or a whisper and the rhythmic feeling of Christmas Day… Here are five of the most impactful features from FANTASTIC FEST.
THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE: Directed by Andre Ovredal (UK)
What cannot be said about a film that features rich, expressive and talented performers like Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch? A film that puts you underground in a time capsule of macabre arts and isolates you utilizing the last sounds, sights and frights as tools of escalating and storytelling horror. A haunted house film wrapped in puzzle that offers a unique perspective of retribution and relationships. This is the powerful storytelling of Andre Ovredal, Ian B. Goldberg and Richard Naing utilizes incredible cinematography, authentic reaction and meticulous detail on a canvas of shadow, demons and claustrophobia making what you see as mysterious and scary as what your imagination scares up. This father and son tale connected with me on many levels and left me completely engrossed in the world of understanding the obsession within Jan Doe.
Read my full interview with filmmaker Andre Ovredal at http://iconsoffright.com/2016/10/12/interview-the-autopsy-of-jane-doe-director-andre-ovredal/.
Read my full review of the film at http://iconsoffright.com/2016/09/27/fantastic-fest-review-the-autopsy-of-jane-doe/ .
24X36: A MOVIE ABOUT MOVIE POSTERS: Directed by Kevin Burke (Canada/USA)
At FANTASTIC FEST, there was not a project that I felt more of a connection than 24X36: A MOVIE ABOUT MOVIE POSTERS. Knowing the passion, love and power these timeless, visual art expressions hold for generations as well as the many changes and obstacles that have effected movie posters over the decades, you thank Kevin Burke for the detail and brilliance at the foundation of this documentary. Offering an education and so many different perspectives from filmmakers to artists to historians, the knowledge and storytelling is truly a masterpiece with an edit that brings the whole project together like a comfortable blanket and creates these windows into our creative souls. 24X36: A MOVIE ABOUT MOVIE POSTERS blew me away and made me remembered why I would put my name on the back of the video store posters that enchanted me high above me in the stores of yester year and curate my walls expressing the uniqueness of me when the world won’t accept words.
RAW: Directed by Julia Ducournau (France/Belgium)
Truly a scary tale from such a talented, understanding and emotional filmmaker like Julia Ducournau. Whether it is the twisted and dark irony at the foundation of the story or the real to life narrative of university life and struggle to exceed expectations, RAW showcases powerful performances, the dark side of temptation and an insanity that very few of us would ever know and give our souls to. An emotional ride and crafted family dynamic are the driving force behind this coming or age story of the human side of consumption, sexuality and the cringing practical FX and makeup master class against the idea of consumption and living. Laced with powerful visuals and the truth with the darkness of our soul, RAW engrossed the audience at FANTASTIC FEST making everyone hungry for more.
Read my full review for the film at http://iconsoffright.com/2016/10/01/fantastic-fest-review-raw/ .
SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD: Directed by Chris Peckover (Australia/USA)
It is no secret that I love Chris Peckover’s work. Peckover has a way to cultivate the human monster that we know exists but never see coming. One of the largest trends and most amazing aspects to witness was the young filmmakers at FANTASTIC FEST that are coming of age with their debut or sophomore features. Taking for many the most wonderful time of year and ripping the heart out it with disturbing twists, Michael Hanke style violence and the idea of coming of age pertaining to infatuation and friendship, you hold your breath and experience the incredible and visceral tools used to unwrap SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD. When it is all said and done, it will will be that film remembered in the annuls off cult cinema and the darker side of what HOME ALONE could have been in the disturbing hands of a modern horror maestro like Peckover.
Read my full review for SAFE NEIGHBORHOOD at http://iconsoffright.com/2016/09/23/fantastic-fest-review-safe-neighborhood/.
THE EYES OF MY MOTHER: Directed by Nicolas Pesce (USA)
Wow… just wow. This monochromatic perspective that showcases a very disturbing young girl and woman’s struggles to find her way after a series of traumatic events early in her life and an estranged family and friends captive trigger this emotionally drenched and completely powerhouse dark drama. From an artistic and framing perspective, THE EYES OF MY MOTHER has very few equals this year as we understand the macabre in the shadows, the dread and the focus of an open space can be so claustrophobic. From a performance standpoint, both actress Olivia Bond and Kika Magalhaes bring to terrifying and sympathetic life the black widow that is Francisca as well as her very warped understanding of relationships on all levels. Paced on a foundation of pulsing score and diabolical predator style kills and captivity, it is all captured in the unsettling, arthouse and deeply personal portrait of THE EYES OF MY MOTHER.
Read my interview with THE EYES OF MY MOTHER filmmaker Nicolas Pesce at http://iconsoffright.com/2016/10/12/interview-the-eyes-of-my-mother-director-nicolas-pesce/ .
A DARK SONG: Directed by Liam Gavin
ANOTHER WOLFCOP: Directed by Lowell Dean
CONTRATIEMPO aka THE INVISIBLE GUEST: Directed by Oriol Paulo
MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN: Directed by Tim Burton
THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS: Directed by Colm McCarthy
THE HANDMAIDEN: Directed by Chan-wook Park
THE VOID: Directed by Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski