Ithaca Fantastik has announced the last wave of programing for the 7th edition of their upstate NY celebration of genre film, electrifying music and dynamic art. Returning to Cinemapolis, IF embarks on our 10-day event October 26th - November 4th.
The full line-up will open with the breathtaking Swedish war drama The Unthinkable from Victor Danelland, while the 2018 program continues with the highly acclaimed and award-winning My Name Is Myeisha by Gus Krieger’s and Daniel Goldhaber’s electrifying Cam, and notable IF alum Perry Blackshear returns following his 2015 psychological horror hit They Look Like People with an eerie and out-of-the-world fable The Rusalka!
The Cinema Pur side-bar is back with one of the strongest vanguard focused programs to date adding Joel Potrykus’ latest niche nostalgia nerd-fest Relaxer and A.T. White’s spellbinding debut Starfish. The Ithaca Fantastik will host also special screening of Boiled Angels: The Trial of Mike Diana with celebrated cult director Frank Henenlotter and Mike Diana paired with a discussion. Taking the Piss Down Under, a mini series with two of favorite films of the year coming from South East Pacific: Brother's Nest, Mega Time Squad. What would Ithaca Fantastik be without a dose of gore and fun! Get ready for the gruesome French insanity that is Alfonso’s Girls With Balls and the international festival midnighter darling, Ueda’s One Cut of the Dead!
For it’s 7th edition, Ithaca Fantastik goes wild with its shorts with four massive blocks - GASP! The Horror!, WTFantastik!, Light+/-Dark Shorts, and the very special Eyeslicer Halloween Special, a curation of the weirdest and wackiest American indie spooky shorts from NYC producers Dan Schoenbrun and Vanessa McDonnell.
Ithaca Fantastik rounds out theri final wave with a dive into AR/VR and brings a program of six experiences, including the award winner Dinner Party and Alexandre’s Aja’s Campfire Creepers!
Come revel in exploitation with the popular event Dunken Cinema! A celebration to B-Movie filmmaking… with a pint of beer, now for the first time in NYS! Halloween may come to an end but they’ve still got some tricks and treats for you from our friends at Vinegar Syndrome with a ravishing double feature of Raw Force and new 4K restoration of White Fire!
For more info, please visit the official website - http://ithacafilmfestival.com/
The Unthinkable East Coast Premiere
Victor Danell | 2018 | Sweden | 129min
While Alex attempts to reconnect with the long lost love of his youth, a series of strange events unfold—each bizarre occurrence leading to the next until it culminates in a declaration of war by a belligerent foreign country. Carried on by his quest for love, Alex must also manage to find his family and save them from the war. This epic adventure pushes him to overcome each obstacle and face the deepest, darkest corners of his past.
Scandinavia has produced some of recent years’ most impressive action films with a healthy dose of heart—from The Wave (2015) to The Quake (2018)—redefining what it means to be a blockbuster in the global market. Following in this grand tradition, Crazy Pictures takes us by storm with this genre blurring piece of cinema. It expertly navigates the arthouse drama landscape while using a backdrop of a war as metaphorical elements enhance the frustration of the protagonist. THE UNTHINKABLE will make you think, cringe, laugh out loud, and cry- all in the span of a second. You’ll be talking about this perfect IF8 closing film for months to come.
Cam Regional Premiere
Daniel Goldhaber | 2018 | USA | 94min
Alice’s (Handmaid's Tale’s Madeline Brewer) career as “Lola” the cam girl is red hot, and her public can’t seem to get enough! But when a mysterious clone of her web persona surfaces, Alice is left questioning where she ends and her online presence begins.
Daniel Goldhaber’s debut feature CAM delivers an unvarnished and brutal reflection on a culture of obsession and vice. The first feature about sex work written by a former sex worker Isa Mazzei has masterfully drawn from real life to create this dazzling and dark thriller. The 2018 Fantasia Film Festival New Flesh award winner is not to be missed.
Actor Patch Darragh in attendance
Dog (Chien) East Coast Premiere
Samuel Benchetrit | 2017 | France | 90min
After losing his wife, home and job, Jacques spirals into depression, closing himself off to the world around him. That is, until he meets the owner of a pet shop. He finds redemption in giving his free will over to the most random person he’s met: A dog trainer.
Multi-talented artist Samuel Benchetrit adapts his eponymous book with a style and voice reminiscent of another french perturbateur: Quentin Dupieux. Taking a literal route to define modern alienation, Benchetrit creates a surreal piece of cinema, which, despite its straightforward approach to the problematic, shocks at every turn.
My Name is Myeisha Regional Premiere
Gus Krieger | 2018 | USA | 85min
At the moment of Myeisha's (the outstanding Rhaechyl Walker) death at the hands of police, she guides us inside her mind and muses over the life she’ll be leaving behind. Told uniquely through hip-hop, spoken word poetry, and dance—and inspired by the 1998 police shooting of California teen Tyisha Miller—the mix of style and social message allows the narrative to explore territories rarely tackled in film. We connect with Myeisha as we see into both her past and a possible future she will never have.
Highly acclaimed on the festival circuit, this is one of the most important films of the year.
The Rusalka Regional Premiere
Perry Blackshear | 2018 | USA | 88min
A perfectly twisted balance of folklore and modern cinema, THE RUSALKA reinvents “the lady of the lake” into “the girl next door.” Mina is chained to water by demons that possess her. The man who pines for her is traumatized and left speechless by a childhood swimming accident. This love story is only rendered more eerie by the haunting beauty of the setting, and the slavic songs that set the dark and atmospheric tone of this tale.
Director Perry Blackshear in attendance
Prospect Regional Premiere
Christopher Caldwell | 2018 | USA | 98min
In a working-class future (in space!), a father and daughter mining team (Jay Duplass and Sophie Thatcher) struggle to make a living on an alien moon with worn out space suits and a barely functional spacecraft. When they learn about a large haul of the rare, valuable crystals they’ve been tracking, they decide to risk confrontations with their lawless competition.
Adapted from a short film of the same name, PROSPECT has a blue collar sci-fi atmosphere that evokes the highlights of the genre and follows the lead of films like Alien (1979) and Silent Running (1972).
Relaxer Regional Premiere
Joel Potrykus | 2018 | USA | 91min
Settle in for 91 minutes of action and adventure set entirely on a sofa as our hero Abbie (Joshua Burge) attempts to beat every level of Pac-Man- including the legendary 256th. Berated by his brother and a slew of off-kilter friends, Abbie must stick to his mission at any cost. He’ll have to stay focused in the midst of hilarious antics. Will he beat the game? This is the Y2K apocalyptic slacker comedy you didn’t know you needed until Poltrykus dared you to.
Starfish Regional Premiere
A.T. White | 2018 | USA, UK | 99min
The past can creep up on us in the most unlikely of ways. While grieving the loss of her best friend, Aubrey (Runaway’s cosmic babe Virginia Gardner) finds herself in the middle of a wintery apocalypse. She holes up in her late friend’s flat, fending for herself as the world deteriorates and unspeakable Lovecraftian creatures lurk around every corner. With mixtapes, an indie soundtrack, and an adorable pet turtle, Aubrey fights to survive. This fantastical tale of grief and trauma transcends time, space, and logic.
Director A.T White in attendance
Luz Regional Premiere
Tilman Singer | 2018 | Germany | 70min
Luz (Luana Velis) arrives at a police station. Seemingly in a state of shock, she begins the interview process of filing a report. Meanwhile, at a nearby bar, a mysterious man drinks alone. He’s approached by a young woman with a disconcerting manner. They strike up a conversation over drinks. A malevolent force seems to permeate both communions .
Shot on 16mm—and the thesis project for German film student Tilman Singer—LUZ already feels like a movie out of it’s time with aesthetic trappings of a film made in the 80s but characters and story contemporary in their design and feel.
Boiled Angels: The Trial of Mike Diana Regional Premiere
Frank Henenlotter | 2018 | USA | 101min
In 1991, the FBI thought they had a lead on the Gainesville student murders when they came into possession of Mike Diana’s 'zine, Boiled Angel. Despite being cleared of any murder charges, the FBI forwarded information about him and his work to Florida police. He became the first artist in US history to be prosecuted on obscenity charges—all because of his cartoonish depictions of depravity. This documentary, directed by Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case, Brain Damage), features narration by Jello Biafra and appearances by Neil Gaiman, George Romero, Jay Lynch, and the trial lawyers who felt they were justified in putting an artist behind bars.
Join us for this special screening of BOILED ANGELS, followed by an extended Q&A and discussion with director Frank Henenlotter, artist Mike Diana, and producer Mike Hunchback.
Taking the Piss Down Under:
Brother’s Nest Regional Premiere
Clayton Jacobson | 2018 | Australia | 98min
Two brothers reflect on memories, their upbringing, and family in their childhood home as they plot to kill their stepfather. What at first seems like a simple plan soon spirals out of control and into an abyss of mayhem and murder. Clayton Jacobsen’s pitch black comedy features rapid fire dialogue that is both rhythmic and increasingly ironic and bittersweet—feeling like a blend of the Coen brothers and Hitchcockian crime dramas of the golden age of cinema.
Mega Time Squad New York Premiere
Tim van Dammen | 2018 | New Zealand | 86min
John (Anton Tennet) is down on his luck in small town Auckland and hoping to escape his loser life. When a strange Chinese artifact gives him the power to travel back in time, Johnny decides to face off against his drug dealer boss Shelton (Jonny Brugh of What We Do In The Shadows). The consequences of time travel are more dangerous than Johnny expects, and he very quickly realizes the price he may have to pay. Quick-witted dialogue coupled with heaps of charm and charisma make Tim van Dammen’s Kiwi-comedy a must see.
Back to Castle: A Special Screening of THE TINGLER with live theatre
Wednesday, Oct. 31 7pm at The Cherry Artspace
William Castle | 1959 | USA | 82min
When a pathologist (Vincent Price) discovers a creature that feeds and grows on fear, he quickly realizes the key to its defeat. He captures it to test his hypothesis. As the creature evolves in size and atrocity levels rise, the Doctor’s theories distill into one single urgent lesson: “please, do not panic, but scream!.... Scream for your lives.”
This film’s just-wacky-enough execution of excruciatingly frightening ideas may just keep its viewers from requiring intensive therapy.
Released the very same year as House on Haunted Hill, THE TINGLER reprises and intensifies the same camp horror theatricality and B-movie zeal from William Castle’s wild imagination. The delicate dissonance between Castle’s gimmicks and Vincent Price’s outstanding performance gets perfectly showcased in this triumphant return of the pioneering duo.
Enjoy this one-time-only interactive event, created in partnership with our friends at The Cherry Artspace—true to William Castle’s innovative vision of an immersive 4-dimensional theatrical experience. Filmed in “Percepto!”
In the gloriously raucous tradition of original midnight screenings that were a fundamentally participatory event, DRUNKEN CINEMA offers an experience that the modern multiplex can’t even fathom. With general, personal, secret, and prop rules clearly indicated on specially made cards, Drunken Cinema asks you to get involved in the action (Think The Rocky Horror Picture show or cult screenings of The Room).
Vinegar Syndrome Presents:
Vinegar Syndrome is a film restoration and distribution company with a catalogue of hundreds of feature films, produced primarily between the 1960s and 1980s. With an ever growing archive we’re thrilled to team up to present two exhilarating entries for IF audiences to enjoy on the big screen once again.
Edward Murphy | 1982 | USA | 86min
Ninjas and cannibal monks and zombies, OH MY! Martial arts students from the Burbank Kung Fu Club head out on a leisurely cruise, but when their ship drifts too close to a mysterious island, their vacation becomes a lot less relaxing. They’ve landed far from home on Warrior Island, a burial ground for shamed martial artists. And they are not alone. White supremacist sex traffickers have made camp on this lowly island chock full of secrets just waiting to be unearthed.
Vinegar Syndrome’s 35mm scan of this gritty, seductive and totally bonkers film is filled to the brim with nudity, over-the-top action and enough ridiculous one-liners to satisfy even the most rambunctious cravings for sleaze.
White Fire (Vivre pour Survivre) East Coast Premiere
Jean-Marie Pallardy | 1985 | Turkey, France, UK | 101min
When Bo was a child, a mysterious stranger sadistically murdered his parents. Only Bo and his sister Ingrid survived the bloodshed. Now, twenty years later, Bo and Ingrid are employees at a diamond mineshaft in the desert. The mischievous duo stumble upon the discovery of a legendary diamond, the "White Fire." However, rapture for the diamond has provoked the angst of some short-tempered, not-so-nice villains. The quest to capture the most sought-out diamond in the world is afoot!
One Cut of the Dead Regional Premiere
Shin'ichirô Ueda | 2017 | Japan | 96min
When an ambitious but small-time commercial director (Takayuki Hamatsu) is hired for the arduous task of creating a single-take zombie film which is broadcast live, death and gore become the least of his on-set problems. Starting with the unbroken 37-minute final piece, One Cut of the Dead then goes back in time to show the story behind the making of the actual film—complete with trouble from divas, saké, broken equipment, and even diarrhea. A high-energy screamfest that turns heartwarming, this film knows exactly how to sell its scares.
Girls With Balls East Coast Premiere
Olivier Afonso | 2018 | France | 87min
Girls volleyball team The Falcons find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere after their minivan breaks down. Little do they know they landed on the property of some degenerate redneck hunters. The hunt is on and thus begins a very long night where the girls must run for their lives and test their team spirit. But these young athletes may be more resourceful than the hunters give them credit for. Serve. Set. Spike. Kill!
Seven Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss By Passing Through the Gateway Chosen By the Holy Storsh Regional Premiere
Vivieno Caldinelli | 2018 | USA | 96min
A small-town couple (Kate Micucci and Sam Huntington) find the perfect apartment at an inconceivable price. But their idyllic life is disturbed by a parade of intruders that won’t stop breaking in to practice a strange cult ritual, all following the direction of their guru, the Holy Storsh (Taika Waititi). The final step? Suicide in the apartment bathtub.
From the deranged mind of Spectrevision (Mandy, 2018; Bitch, 2017), this is pure comedy in the tradition of the grand guignol, with the hilarious Dan Harmon (Rick and Morty) as an out of his mind inspector—be ready to laugh out loud for 96 minutes straight in this comedy. Definitely… cult!
GASP! The Horror! Shorts
Sometimes horror is a magical horned demon shooting fire at you. Sometimes it lives in your own home... Ithaca Fantastik is proud to present this selection of shorts that shows just how wide, wild, and inventive the realm of horror can be.
Goodnight, Gracie, Dir. Stellan Kendrick (USA); The Day Mum Became A Monster, Dir. Josephine Hopkins (France); MILK, Dir. Santiago Menghini (Canada); MAW, Dir. Jasper Vrancken (Belgium); New Feelings, Dir. Anastasia Nechaeva (Russian Federation), Those Who Can Die, Dir. Charlotte Cayeux (France)
Think you’ve seen everything the genre world has to offer? Think again. Our WTFantastiK! block challenges genre veterans with envelope-pushing, boundary- breaking shorts that must be seen to be believed. For adventurous audiences only!
What's That In The Ground?, Dir. Wally Chung (USA); The Story of Everything, Dir. Sharon A. Mooney (USA); Sweet Deceit, Dir. Shannon Jones (USA); Loathing, Dir. Franz Milec (Czech Republic); NewVHS, Dir. Spencer Starnes, Kevin R. Wright, Pete Clendenning, Jordan Paul Miles (USA); Mama's Boy, Dir. Samantha Kolesnick (USA); MOTHER FUCKER, Dir. Nicholas Payn (USA); Entropia, Dir. Marinah Janello (USA)..
Tampon Monsters. Murderous Johnny Depp fans. Two dudes just trying to be cool. The LIGHT+/-DARK shorts block presents the comedy genre shorts that made us laugh, or made us cringe.
BFF Girls, Dir. Brian Lonano (USA); Psycho Kino, Dir. Guillem Dols (Spain); Lunch Ladies, Dir. Clarissa Jacobson, J.M. Logan (USA), We Summoned A Demon, Dir. Chris McInroy (USA); Seafood Diet, Dir. Max Levine (USA); Beautiful Eyes, Dir. Rani Deigh Crowe (USA); Fetish, Dir David Lee Hess, Richard H. Perry (USA)
The Eyeslicer Halloween Special !
Dan Schoenbrun and Vanessa McDonnell / 2018 / USA / 93min
A comedy-horror anthology presented by internet rock stars The Eyeslicer. Taking viewers on a chaotic journey through the liminal space of the Halloween season, THE EYESLICER HALLOWEEN SPECIAL feels like an acid trip down the Halloween aisle at Party City.
Shorts Accompanying a feature:
Death Metal Grandma, Dir. by Leah Galant (US); Ad Infinitum, Dir. Murat Çetinkaya (Turley); Payment, Dir. Ben Larned (USA); Special Day Teal Greyhaven (USA); Saturn Through The Telescope
Didac Gimeno (Spain); Mannequins, Dir. David Malcolm (UK); Every Ghost Has An Orchestra, Dir. Shayna Connely (USA); TiCK, Dir. Ashlea Wessel (Canada); Riley Was Here, Dir. Jon Rhoads (USA); Smoke Grenade, Dir. Joe LaRocca (USA); Fontaineblues, Dir. Akim Gagnon (Canada)
Dinner Party Angel Manuel Soto, Charlotte Stoudt, Laura Wexler / Puerto Rico, USA | 2018 | 13min Based on true events, this experience tells the story of Barney and Betty Hill, an interracial couple who in 1961 broke national news as the first reported extraterrestrial abduction in history. Trying to cope with the residual scars of their experience, they unexpectedly decide to seek out answers from an old tape recorder while hosting a dinner party.
Meeting A Monster Gabriela Arp | USA | 2018 | 9min With a past steeped in hatred and prejudice, a former white supremacist journeys back in time and invites us to experience both the stereotypes and bigotry that lured her into the white power movement as well as the encounters that led her back out. Before she can help others change their ways, she must come to terms with a true monster: herself.
We’re Still Here Jesse Ayala | USA | 2018 | 3 Minutes Struggling to preserve his cultural identity, an artist and historian from Boise, Idaho takes viewers on a journey to learn about what it means to be “Two Spirit”; a cultural term describing the fluidity of gender identity and sexuality with respect to traditional tribal roles across First Nations.
Alexandre Aja | USA | 2018 | 12 minutes
From master of horror Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha, Horns) comes an original anthology series that brings classic campfire stories to life in stunning virtual reality. Produced by Oculus and Future Lighthouse, Campfire Creepers invites viewers to join the fire circle at a summer camp called Camp Coyote as a group of kids take turns telling spooky tales. Inspired by cult classics like Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt, every episode of Campfire Creepers is a wild ride that will have you laughing and screaming in equal measure.
Declan Dowling | 2018 | Ireland | 6min
This stereoscopic virtual reality film set in an isolated 9th century Irish village follows the perilous journey of young Celt Ruairi. Vikings have begun invading Ireland, and it’s only a matter of time before they reach his village. Take on role of the Faoladh, a wolf-like guardian spirit and protector of the children from the woods of ancient Ireland. It’s up to you to guide Ruairi to safety as he evades capture from a bullish young Viking named Snorre.
Becky Lane | 2018 | USA - Sneak Peek - Work in Progress
It’s your own private show! A 3D, 360° recreation of historical burlesque styles from 1900—1970. Go on an entertaining and seductive journey through the evolution of burlesque, exploring its history and its impact on women’s sexual empowerment. Showcasing the artistry of burlesque dance troupe Whiskey Tango Sideshow, VIRTUAL BURLY is a combination of dance performances and interviews brought together to explore themes in women’s experience in this art form.
The uncanny terror that only children can elicit. The uncanny terror of what goes missing—or reveals itself—in the dark spaces between generations. The uncanny terror that intergenerational misunderstandings unleash, again and again.
The discord between old and young is a tension that is both as old as time and frighteningly contemporary and marks the theme of this year’s retrospective exploration.
The Bad Seed
Mervyn LeRoy | 1956 | USA | 129min
Christine Penmark (Nancy Kelly) and her daughter Rhoda (Patty McCormack) feign perfection to their community. When the the death of a schoolboy who won a penmanship competition brings suspicion to Rhoda’s hand, Christine assumes the worst about her little girl. As tension builds between characters, the calming atmosphere of suburbia is no match for this unsettling family dynamic.
Over-the-top performances and Oscar-nominated black-and-white cinematography keep the story reminiscent of its time. Based on a book by the same name, THE BAD SEED begs the question, what is worse: a remorseless homicidal preteen, or a mother who will do anything to hide her family shame?
Who Can Kill a Child? (¿Quién Puede Matar a un Niño?)
Narciso Ibáñez Serrador | 1976 | Spain | 112min
In reality, war and famine wreck their devastating effects on the innocent in refugee camps and struggling countries. On a remote island, eerie children take matters into their own hands. When an English couple, Tom and Evelyn (Lewis Fiander and Prunella Ransome), make their way to the island on holiday, they are forced to ask themselves the titular question: Who can kill a child?
Featuring a hypnotic score by Waldo de los Ríos, WHO CAN KILL A CHILD is an exploration of innate goodness and the lack thereof, and a violent confrontation between nature and nurture.
Ed Hunt | 1981 | USA | 85min
Three children are born during an eclipse. Because celestial patterns cause Saturn—which controls emotion—to be blocked, the children have no feelings. Void of all morality, the seemingly innocent youths create chaos in the town around them.
In a film that epitomizes the grainy cult horror scene of the 1980s, BLOODY BIRTHDAY entertains, building its body count in a vicious cycle of birth, life, sex, cake, and murder—setting the standard for sociopathic spree-killing movie tykes for decades to come.
Previously announced titles include…
Birds of Passage (Pájaros de verano) Regional Premiere
Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra | 2018 | Colombia | 125min In 1970s La Guaira, Colombia, an indigenous Wayuu family gets swept up in the newly-booming marijuana trade. When greed and passion overtake their tribe’s honor, their lives and ancestral traditions are forever fractured. Telling the original story of the inception of the drug trade between US and Colombia that led to the socio-political turmoil Colombia and South America at large face now.
A Cannes audience was lucky to first experience the brilliant return of Gallego and Guerra—and now it’s our turn. Making 180° turns in both visual style and narrative form, Birds of Passage feels almost like a reimagining of Scarface by way of Scorsese rather than De Palma: Less rage, more characters, and an authentic, grounded-in-reality view of a drug cartel’s destruction of ancestral culture and strongly avoids the nauseating tendency to glamorize the subject matter (we’re looking at you, Netflix’s Narcos). Once again, Gallego and Guerra transcend their subject matter to tell a story that resonates well beyond the story itself, with some of the most powerful visuals we’ve seen this year.
Black Mother Regional Premiere Khalik Allah | 2018 | USA | 77min The history of Jamaica is retold through the framework of the three trimesters of a woman’s pregnancy. This heartfelt look at Jamaican identity transcends its documentary form to offer an unusual and unique exploration of humanity. A collage of faces from different generations draws us in as the spoken stories of multiple individuals lead us through the mesmerizing rhythm of personal and national histories.
Khalik Allah has done it again. After his mesmerising documentary, Field Niggas (2015)—an observational piece of art as well as political statement—he treats us with one of the most compelling motion pictures of 2018. Pure hybrid between narrative and documentary, switching between digital, Bolex, and Super 8 footage as Allah explores the home country of his own mother, you will be changed after experiencing BLACK MOTHER. THIS is Pure Cinema, period.
Chained for Life Regional Premiere Aaron Schimberg | 2018 | USA | 91min Mabel, a beautiful actress, is cast as the lead in a schlocky horror film where her co-star and most members of the supporting cast are actors with disabilities and physical differences. While she connects with her peers off-screen, building friendships (and more) as filming goes on Mabel begins to consider whether their treatment on set is exploitational. This film within a film brings up important questions of inclusion vs. exploitation. Are current standards of representation in modern film as equal as we would like to believe?
Crisis Jung US Premiere Baptiste Gaubert and Jérémie Hoarau | 2018 | France | 70min Jung and Maria are sweethearts enjoying their blossoming love in an innocent world. But their starry-eyed paradise is imperiled when the malignant Little Jesus kidnaps Maria’s body to build his nefarious temple of pain! Jung’s heart is broken, and his quest to find love and inner peace in an apocalyptic hellscape begins. Along the way, he befriends a motley band of characters, each one searching for a way to survive in a landscape devoid of love.
French animation team Bobbypills crafts a wholly original world, packed with inventive characters, absurd story twists and a wicked sense of humor.
Diamantino Regional Premiere Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt | 2018 | Portugal | 92min Every time star footballer Diamantino makes a shot on goal, a pack of giant, happy, floppy dogs romps onto the pitch in a sparkly cloud. That is, until he misses the game-deciding penalty shot at the world cup. His groove is gone. The glittery pups are nowhere to be found. His career is over. Floundering, he falls prey to sinister forces dead set on turning him into a political mascot no matter the stakes. Always holding onto hope for a second chance, he is transported on a surreal and satirical journey through a dysfunctional modern landscape.
Game Over (3615 code Père Noël) East Coast Premiere René Manzor | 1989 | France | 87min Thomas (Alain Lalanne), a French child prodigy obsessed with American action films, believes he will be the first kid to catch Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. When a thief dressed as Santa shows up instead of the real deal, Thomas’s vengeance for his crushed childhood dream takes on epic proportions in this influential film. Long thought to be the inspiration for American Christmas classic, Home Alone, this darker, gorier, French-er take on hardcore home defense will delight elves and Scrooges alike.
Knife + Heart (Un Couteau Dans Le Coeur) Regional Premiere Yann Gonzales | 2018 | France | 110min After Anne breaks up with her editor girlfriend, the 70s low-budget gay French porno they were shooting begins to take an... artistic turn. The sensual film becomes a real-life erotic thriller that begins when one of the stars is brutally murdered and Anne can’t seem to out-maneuver the chaos that ensues.
This sophomore film from Yann Gonzales is a fresh yet highly referential take on Giallo. The setting brings a new twist to the Italian crime genre while allowing Gonzales to express his deep love for an industry France never shied away from. This Cannes 2018 official selection is a hidden gem.
Keep an Eye Out! (Au Poste!) East Coast Premiere Quentin Dupieux | 2018 | France | 73min When Louis Fugain (Grégoire Ludig) trips over a dead body in front of his condo, his first impulse is to report it to the police. That’s what any good, logical citizen would do, right? Too bad he quickly realizes he’s made a terrible mistake. The obsessive Captain Buron’s (Benoît Poelvoorde) gut tells him Fugain knows more than he’s letting on, and will gleefully grill him until he cracks. The seemingly never-ending interrogation takes absurd turns, soaked in dark humor and bloody fun. It’s a twisted ride all the way to the end.
Love Me Not East Coast Premiere Alexandros Avranas | 2018 | Greece, France | 99min An infertile, upper-middle-class couple hires a young woman as a surrogate and all three move into a remote villa. When the women begin to bond, the husband becomes envious, and an unfortunate chain of events turns the table on the already dysfunctional new family dynamic.
With a similar approach to his compatriot Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of the Sacred Deer), but without the absurd twist, Avranas’s blunt but spot-on view of an increasingly selfish society creates an unsettling piece that resonates far beyond the confinement of this home.
Peepoodo & the Super Fuck Friends
Balak and Bobbypills 2018 France An educative series for children over 18 years old, Super Fuck Friends explores sexuality without taboos and in all its forms. An episodic romp of positive sexuality, unrestrained and totally without prejudices, culminates in one single message: tolerance. Ithaca Fantastik proudly presents this florilege of episodes intertwined in the Bobbypills Super program!
Piercing Regional Premiere Nicolas Pesce | 2018 | USA | 81min Reed (Christopher Abbott) takes off from wife, baby, and idyllic life for a very important business trip. He’s been preparing for some time now, but there’s one small problem- the business he has in mind is murder! All set with his plan to commit the perfect crime, Reed finds his target in the mysterious call girl Jackie (Mia Wasikowska) who ends up being anything but a victim.
Director Nicolas Pesce takes a 180° turn in style from The Eyes of My Mother (2016) to tackle a dark comedy punctuated with colorful art deco visuals. An adaptation of Murakami’s eponymous novel, Piercing goes from laughter to shock in a heartbeat while remaining pleasing to the eyes—a tour de force few directors can achieve.
Vermin Alexis Beaumont | 2018 | France | 81min A young praying mantis follows in his father’s many footsteps and moves to the big city to become a police officer. A greenhorn from the country, young Reggie is totally unequipped for the dangers and temptations of city life. But when he’s assigned a partner with a history of drinking and bad police work, the sparks fly and both characters get more than they bargained for.
Director Alexis Beaumont’s work with French animation team Bobbypills is reminiscent of buddy cop films taken to their extreme absurd paroxysm.
Violence Voyager Regional Premiere Ujicha | 2018 | Japan | 83min Bobby and Akkun set out for an end-of-school celebration in the mountains where they discover a seemingly abandoned amusement park where the owner greets them and offers them free tickets. Against their better judgement, they accept.
Three words for you - Ujicha is back! After impressing us with The Burning Buddha Man (2013) the rad insanity of his animation and storytelling reach a peak with this new opus. As always, Ujicha includes some important hidden messages about the world in which we live. Like a sinfully delicious cake, the layers are what make this film a Fantastik winner of our hearts.