The fifteenth edition of Fantastic Fest blasts off with the widest selection of weird and wonderful films gathered from across the world to screen in Austin, TX, September 19 – 26, 2019.
Featuring an opening night with the US Premiere of highly anticipated new Taika Waititi film JOJO RABBIT with the director in attendance, plus the World Premieres of Netflix titles, including Jim Mickle’s brilliant new sci-fi thriller IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON, Vincenzo Natali’s adaptation of eponymous novella by Stephen King & Joe Hill IN THE TALL GRASS, Brad Anderson’s tense & unrelenting FRACTURED, Takashi Miike in person, and much, much more.
Tickets are available now for this groundbreaking film fest. I am proud and super excited to cover this remotely, but have to watch it from afar this year…. but you don’t have to.
Reaching the milestone of fifteen years, Fantastic Fest continues to champion groundbreaking international genre films, bringing a diverse array of global filmmakers to Austin in a highly-controlled explosion of curated cinematic mayhem.
Opening the festival will be the US Premiere of the brilliant Taika Waititi’s hilarious and tender anti-hate satire JOJO RABBIT, in which a lonely young boy growing up in World War II Germany finds his world-view turned upside down when he discovers his single mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, Jojo must confront his blind nationalism. With Taika himself playing the phantom Fuhrer and a terrific cast, including Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, with Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson.
Also coming in is the new World Premiere from returning alum Jim Mickle. IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON is a mind-bending sci-fi film starring Boyd Holbrook as a Philadelphia police officer who begins tracking a serial killer who mysteriously resurfaces every nine years, defying all scientific explanation. Joining Mickle will be Vincenzo Natali, who returns to the big screen with an adaptation of Stephen King & Joe Hill’s bone-chilling novella IN THE TALL GRASS, starring the ever-amazing Patrick Wilson as one of the unfortunates discovering what horrors hide in the tall grass, as well as Brad Anderson’s latest FRACTURED, starring Sam Worthington as a desperate father trying to find his family at any cost after they mysteriously disappear in a hospital.
In the Shadow of the Moon
“Our fifteenth year is a one-of-a-kind celebration, of the cinema we champion: brilliant and out-there,” the festival’s Creative Director Evrim Ersoy said. “It’s a 15-year-long love letter to the wide spectrum of daring, crazy films, filmmakers, and audience members whom we host in Austin each September. It’s an ode to the independent spirit of cinema that allows us to showcase the diversity of the world at large and helps us to understand it better!”
Flying into Austin to celebrate the US Premiere of his brilliant, hypnotic, and violently hilarious new film FIRST LOVE will be none other than Japan’s unmatched movie maestro Takashi Miike, giving the audience the opportunity to join the director in-person to discover the film that had Cannes audiences screaming in their seats with pure joy.
Fantastic Fest will continue to bring the best of Cannes to Austin with the US Premiere of alumni Quentin Dupieux’s newest droll and gory wonder DEERSKIN, starring the ever-amazing Jean Dujardin; the US Premiere of the Romanian noir masterpiece (with a funny streak) THE WHISTLERS from director Corneliu Porumboiu; as well as one of the best discoveries of the year: the magical and highly charged S&M romantic wonder DOGS DON’T WEAR PANTS.
Traveling across the globe to seek out the best of the best, Fantastic Fest will host the most unusual, challenging, interesting, and wonderful films of the year, including the World Premiere of Peter Van Goethem’s NIGHT HAS COME from Belgium which tells of a dystopian future using only archival footage. From Germany comes the North American premiere of Fatih Akin’s searing and brutal examination of a psychopath in ‘70s Hamburg in THE GOLDEN GLOVE. And Argentina delivers the North American Premiere of powerhouse high concept thriller 4X4, pitting a petty thief against an inescapable SUV.
A focus on global female filmmakers provides a quartet of mind-bending features. From Greece, Rinio Dragasaki brings the World Premiere of the shockingly whimsical and brilliantly odd COSMIC CANDY. Austria’s Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska tell the story of a very different zombie invasion in the North American Premiere of DER KINDER DER TOTEN. Italian filmmaker Sara Summa explores the final day of a family in devastating detail in THE LAST TO SEE THEM. And finally, from the USA, Jennifer Reeder brings her singular vision of a high school torn apart by a missing cheerleader in the thrilling KNIVES AND SKIN.
Wrinkles the Clown
Documentaries make a splash at Fantastic Fest with the World Premiere of WRINKLES THE CLOWN, where your greatest real-life nightmares come true… in big, floppy shoes.
The World Premiere of Michael Paszt’s NAIL IN THE COFFIN: EL VAMPIRE CANADIENSE takes an in-depth look at the man behind the El Vampiro Lucha Libre grease paint, plus Alexandre Philippe’s masterful autopsy of the classic movie ALIEN in MEMORY: THE ORIGINS OF ALIEN, and the often-hilarious examination of the history of SHOWGIRLS in YOU DON’T NOMI.
Twisted genre comes together in a trifecta of Fantastic Fest films to make you scream. The North America/World premiere of THE CLEANSING HOUR sees a fake exorcist confronted by some very real demons in a highly charged adaptation from the short of the same name; an Argentinian family literally goes to war over their inheritance in the North America Premiere of the black-as-night comedy ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS; and a man finds himself trapped in the deep end while facing a giant alligator in the perfect midnight movie THE POOL.
The Cleansing Hour
Fantastic Fest alumni are represented in a blitz of titles this year. Ant Timpson returns with his directorial debut COME TO DADDY, starring Fest friend Elijah Wood as a man with some severe father issues. Daniel Scheinert explores the meltdown of two men over the death of their friend in the hilarious and strangely moving DEATH OF DICK LONG. And Jeremy Gardner along with co-director Christian Stella ask just what is behind the door in the uneasy and masterful blend of genres SOMETHING ELSE.
Finally, AGFA celebrates fifteen years of Fantastic Fest with a beautifully expanded program! Each day of the festival will be treated to a NEW AGFA screening, including the World Premiere of restorations of such outrageous classics as BLOODY BIRTHDAY. THE MCPHERSON TAPE, REFLECTIONS OF EVIL, as well as the 4K Restoration of the “gore cut” of the once-seen-never-forgotten TAMMY AND THE T-REX and a new transfer of Tina Krause’s brilliant and unseen horror nightmare LIMBO.
FANTASTIC FEST – FIRST WAVE FILM LINEUP
4X4 – Argentina, Spain, 2019
North American Premiere, 93 min
Director – Mariano Cohn
A 4×4 car will be the battleground between a brash thief trapped inside and the mysterious man who will do anything to keep him imprisoned.
BLOODY BIRTHDAY: Presented by AGFA + Arrow Films USA, 1981
World Premiere of Restoration, 85 min
Director – Ed Hunt
The classic Killer Kids slasher, newly restored by Arrow Films and presented by AGFA.
THE CLEANSING HOUR – USA, 2019
World Premiere, 95 min
Director – Damien LeVeck
Reverend Max and his best friend Drew have a hit web show where they make a pretty good living faking exorcisms for hundreds of thousands of fans until the evening a real demon takes over and terrorizes their crew.
COME TO DADDY – New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, 2019
Texas Premiere, 94 min
Director – Ant Timpson
When 30-year-old Norval receives a letter from his estranged dad begging him to visit, he is set on a weird path of discovery, unusual encounters… and a lot of violence.
COSMIC CANDY – Greece, 2019
World Premiere, 95 min
Director – Rinio Dragasaki
Anna, an eccentric supermarket cashier with an obsessive taste for a trippy treat called Cosmic Candy, undergoes a quirky transformation when forced to care for a ten-year-old neighbor girl.
THE DEATH OF DICK LONG – USA, 2019
Austin Premiere, 107 min
Director – Daniel Scheinert
Dick is dead but no one knows how, and Zeke and Earl are desperate enough to go to any lengths to stop anyone from finding out the reason… but a small town in Alabama is not the kind of place where secrets can stay buried for long. Soon all hell breaks loose, engulfing the two men in a reckoning they had never even considered.
DEERSKIN – France, 2019
North American Premiere, 77 min
Director – Quentin Dupieux
When Georges buys himself a deerskin jacket, he will find his life on a collision course with madness, crime, and the desire to be the only man wearing an overgarment.
DIE KINDER DER TOTEN – Austria, 2019
North American Premiere, 90 min
Directors – Kelly Copper & Pavol Liška
In this experimental adaptation of an epic Elfriede Jelinek novel, a group of Austrian tourists is killed in a traffic accident before reanimating as zombies and terrorizing a local pub.
DOGS DON’T WEAR PANTS – Finland, Latvia, 2019
US Premiere, 105 min
Director – Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää
A heartbroken heart surgeon is introduced to the dark and extreme when his daughter gets her tongue pierced, sending him down a path of pain, dreams, life, love, death, and awakenings.
FIRST LOVE – Japan, 2019
US Premiere, 108 min
Director – Takashi Miike
When aspiring boxer Leo discovers that he may not have long to live, he goes all out to help drug-addicted call girl Monica, facing down gangsters, assassins, corrupt cops, and much more over the course of one long night.
FRACTURED – USA, 2019
World Premiere, 100 min
Director – Brad Anderson
An unfortunate accident at a truck stop means Ray has to rush his daughter to the nearest hospital for a broken arm, but when his family disappears, he soon finds himself in a frantic fight to discover what happened.
THE GOLDEN GLOVE – Germany, 2019
North American Premiere, 110 min
Director – Fatih Akin
Based on true events that transpired in the grimy slums of 1970s Hamburg, loner-turned-murderer Fritz Honka stalks his local drinking spot, The Golden Glove, in search of his next victim.
HAPPY FACE – Canada, 2018
Texas Premiere, 97 min
Director – Alexandre Franchi
In Attendance – Director Alexandre Franchi and Actor E. R. Ruiz
An attractive teenager infiltrates a support group for those with facial differences in hopes of learning how to connect with his cancer-stricken mother in Alexandre Franchi’s (THE WILD HUNT) deeply personal, often hilarious, and powerfully inclusive sophomore feature.
IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON – USA, Canada, 2019
World Premiere, 115 min
Director – Jim Mickle
In 1988, a Philadelphia police officer doggedly hunts a serial killer whose crimes seemingly follow no pattern, but he hasn’t considered how far the repercussions of his hunt may go.
IN THE TALL GRASS – Canada, 2019
World Premiere, 90 min
Director – Vincenzo Natali
Adapted from the eponymous novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill, IN THE TALL GRASS follows siblings Cal and Becky who find themselves trapped within a vast field of tall grass when they venture in to answer the cries of a young boy.
JOJO RABBIT – USA, 2019
US Premiere, 108 min
Director – Taika Waititi
In Attendance – Director Taika Waititi
Writer-director Taika Waititi (THOR: RAGNAROK, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE), brings his signature style of humor and pathos to his latest film, JOJO RABBIT, a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy (Roman Griffin Davis as JoJo) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.
KNIVES AND SKIN – USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 109 min
Director – Jennifer Reeder
The disappearance of popular teenager Carolyn Harper has a profound ripple effect across her small midwest town in Jennifer Reeder’s hypnotic musical mystery.
KOKO-DI KOKO-DA – Sweden, Denmark, 2019
Texas Premiere, 86 min
Director – Johannes Nyholm
When a disconnected couple takes a camping trip in an attempt to mend their marriage after a tragedy, they find themselves tormented by a peculiar band of misfits.
THE LAST TO SEE THEM – Germany, 2019
Texas Premiere, 79 min
Director – Sara Summa
One summer evening in rural Italy, the Durati family is murdered during a home robbery. THE LAST TO SEE THEM chronicles the previous — and final — day of their lives.
LIMBO: Presented by AGFA + Bleeding Skull! – USA, 1999
Texas Premiere of Restoration, 55 min
Director – Tina Krause
Tina Krause’s unseen and unreal shot-on-video horror movie, newly preserved by AGFA + Bleeding Skull!
THE MCPHERSON TAPE: Presented by AGFA + Bleeding Skull! – USA, 1989
World Premiere of Restoration, 63 min
Director – Dean Alito
The world’s first found footage horror movie, newly preserved by AGFA + Bleeding Skull!
MEMORY: THE ORIGINS OF ALIEN – USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 93 min
Director – Alexandre O. Philippe
Following up his deconstruction of PSYCHO’s shower scene in 78/52, documentarian Alexandre O. Philippe is back with his analysis of ALIEN, its origins, and the impact of Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi shocker.
NAIL IN THE COFFIN: EL VAMPIRO CANADIENSE – Canada, 2019
World Premiere, 88 min
Director – Michael Paszt- (In Attendance – Director Michael Paszt)
An intimate and heartfelt look at professional wrestler Vampiro’s past, and his new life navigating the management of a lucha libre federation in Mexico, while raising his teenage daughter in Canada.
NIGHT HAS COME – Belgium, 2019
World Premiere, 56 min
Director – Peter Van Goethem – (In Attendance – Director Peter Van Goethem)
In a dystopian society, the population is threatened by a virus eating its way through the brain, erasing memories. After developing a treatment to store and classify memories, the State requires citizens to comply.
THE PEANUT BUTTER SOLUTION: Presented by AGFA + Severin Films – Canada, 1985
World Premiere 2K Restoration, 93 min
Director – Michael Rubbo
The Canadian children’s oddity takes youthful fantasy to strange new places in a brand new 2K restoration.
THE POOL – Thailand, 2018
Texas Premiere, 90 min
Director – Ping Lumprapleng
When a dog trainer and his pet finish their commercial gig, it’s time to head home and enjoy a lazy afternoon floating in the pool… until he wakes up to the pool being drained and no way out.
REFLECTIONS OF EVIL: Presented by AGFA – USA, 2002
World Premiere of Restoration, 137 min
Director – Damon Packard
The new ground zero for gonzo horror surrealism in the 21st century, newly preserved by AGFA.
ROCK, PAPER, AND SCISSORS – Argentina, 2019
North American Premiere, 83 min
Directors – Macarena García Lenzi & Martín Blousson
When Magdalena returns to Argentina to confront her half-siblings about her share of the inheritance, the stage is set for a family reunion both bloody and brilliant.
SHE MOB: Presented by AGFA + Something Weird – USA, 1968
World Premiere 2K Restoration, 82 min
Director – Harry Wuest
A gang of lesbian prison escapees kidnaps a gigolo in a 2K preservation of this sexploitation classic.
SOMETHING ELSE – USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 83 min
Directors – Jeremy Gardner & Christian Stella
In Attendance – Directors Jeremy Gardner & Christian Stella
When Hank’s longtime girlfriend Abby leaves him, he spirals into a cycle of drinking and depression. But it’s the monster that shows up every night that’s really driving him crazy.
SON OF THE WHITE MARE – Hungary, 1981
US Premiere 4K Restoration, 81 min
Director – Marcell Jankovics
A psychedelic animated cult classic is back on the big screen in this brand-new restoration. Three brothers join forces to restore order in their kingdom, encountering bizarre and mind-bending challenges along the way.
SWALLOW – USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 94 min
Directors – Carlo Mirabella-Davis
Beautiful newlywed Hunter has a perfect home, a perfect life, and a perfect husband. When the pressure to maintain that perfection builds after the announcement of her pregnancy, she develops an unusual craving: swallowing random household objects.
TAMMY AND THE T-REX: Presented by AGFA + Vinegar Syndrome – USA, 1994
World Premiere of Restoration, 91 min
Directors – Stewart Raffill
Fully restored and ready to tear your head off. Literally.
THE WAVE – United States, 2019
World Premiere, 87 min
Director – Gille Klabin
Frank (Justin Long), a bored corporate lawyer, decides to shake it up with a wild night out. In the process, he takes a mysterious drug that launches him into a mind-bending time travel adventure.
THE WHISTLERS – Romania, 2019
US Premiere, 97 min
Director – Corneliu Porumboiu
Corneliu Porumboiu mixes Romanian New Wave with Hollywood noir beats as he follows a corrupt detective who helps a wealthy criminal escape from jail by learning the ancient, secret language of silbo whistling.
WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE! – Russia, 2019
Texas Premiere, 100 min
Director – Kirill Sokolov – (In Attendance – Director Kirill Sokolov)
After agreeing to kill his girlfriend’s father, Matvei gets in way over his head when he arrives at her parents’ apartment to learn her dad’s a cop.
WRINKLES THE CLOWN – USA, 2019
World Premiere, 78 min
Director – Michael Beach Nichols – (In Attendance – Director Michael Beach Nichols)
Pennywise isn’t real. But Wrinkles is. This documentary explores the story of the infamous freaky clown from Naples, Florida who makes a living being hired by parents to terrorize their naughty children.
YOU DON’T NOMI – USA, 2019
Texas Premiere, 94 min
Director – Jeffrey McHale – (In Attendance – Director Jeffrey McHale)
Using cleverly edited clips of Paul Verhoeven’s genre-spanning filmography, Jeffrey McHale’s video essay explores the decidedly un-titillating and delightfully inexplicable SHOWGIRLS and its continued, ever-expanding legacy.
FAN Badges, 2ND HALF Badges, and MIDNIGHT Badges for Fantastic Fest 2019 are available for purchase here.
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