Being one of the Méliès d'Argent winners at select festivals on the international circuit is a pretty big deal for European filmmakers. All films who win the d'Argent at participating festivals compete at the 'end of the season cycle' in Sitges next month for the Méliès d'Or award. Run by the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation the year long competition, the Méliès d'Or award, means a lot for all filmmakers who films get chosen.
This year MOTELX in Lisbon, Portugal, will award one feature and one short film by European filmmakers the Méliès d'Argent. There are already some familiar names in the selection. Anna and the Apocalypse, Ghost Stories, Hagazussa: a Heathen's Curse and Luz have all made big impressions at festivals where they have played. There are two World Premieres in the mix at MOTELX this year: Paulo Leite's Inner Ghosts and Fernando Alle's Mutant Blast.
MOTELX runs from September 4th through the 9th. They will announce their full festival lineup next week.
1. Anna and the Apocalypse (UK, 2017) by John Mcphail - with the presence of the director
When a zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven during Christmas, Anna and her high school friends have to fight, sing and slash their way to survival with a fast-spreading undead horde in a relentless pursuit. Teaming up with her best friend John, Anna and her crew fight their way through zombified snowmen, a manic bachelor party and high school hormones to try and save family and faculty alike. But they soon discover that no one is truly safe in this new world and the only people they can truly rely on are each other.
2. Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil (Spain/France, 2017) by Paul Urkijo Alijo - with the presence of the director
A solitary blacksmith is being harassed by a devil, who is demanding his soul as payment for a deal they made years ago during the war. But the devil has not delivered on his part of the deal and the blacksmith refuses to hand over his soul, blaming the devil for his miserable life. These two characters, paralyzed by hate and guilt, will find themselves transformed by a little girl who appears in their lives by chance. She will show them that there is a way to escape their condition whatever the cost.
3. Four Hands (Germany, 2017) by Oliver Kienle - with the presence of the director
After Sophie and Jessica had witnessed a brutal crime when they were kids, Jessica promised her younger sister Sophie: “I will always protect you!” Growing older, this promise became an obsession. Now, Jessica is suffering from paranoia and sees threats to her and her sister everywhere. But Sophie wants to live a normal life without fear, without her sister. She wants to become a pianist and wants to fall in love. When the perpetrators are released of prison after 20 years, Jessica is shocked and wants to confront them. But an accident changes everything. Jessica’s promise to always protect her little sister turns into an existential nightmare.
4. Ghost Stories (UK, 2017) by Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman - with the presence of the directors
Professor Phillip Goodman, a skeptical psychologist by nature, has his rationality tested to the limit when he intersects with some missing files that contain details of three terrifying "haunts". Impressed by what he read, Goodman embarks on a mission to find logical explanations for these cases. As he dwells into these incidents, the rationalist world he built around him begins to crumble. Is it his mind playing tricks on him or are there hidden forces at work? Goodman is gradually drawn to the revelation of a long-guarded secret that will turn his world inside out.
5. Hagazussa: a Heathen's Curse (Germany/Austria, 2017) by Lukas Feigelfeld - with the presence of the director
The cold winter stretches over the Alps of the 15th century. A young goatherd and her mother are living in a remote hut, deep in the mountain woods. As her mother mysteriously falls ill and dies, Albrun is left scarred and traumatized. 20 years pass. Herself a mother now, she slowly begins to discover a dark presence lurking in the old woods. In her psychotic delusion, the borders between reality and nightmare begin to melt into each other, as she is again confronted with the death of her mother and the wicked evil within her own self.
6. Inner Ghosts (Portugal/Brasil, 2018) by Paulo Leite - with the presence of the director - World premiere
Helen is a brain researcher trying to develop a revolutionary therapy to treat degenerative brain diseases. To prove her theories, she runs cognitive tests on ghosts: beings who apparently can act without the need of a physical brain, suggesting that unresponsive patients can communicate through their living souls. After the loss of her daughter, Helen made a vow to never contact the other side again, but everything changes when Elsa, a young artist begs Helen for help. The return to the world of spiritual entities will bring Helen face to face with a demon she has known all her life.
7. Knife+Heart (France/Mexico/Switzerland, 2018) by Yann Gonzalez - with the presence of the director
Paris, Summer 1979. Anne produces third-rate gay porn. After her editor and lover Lois leaves her, she tries to win her back by shooting her most ambitious film yet with her trusted, flaming sidekick Archibald. But one of her actors is brutally murdered and Anne gets caught up in a strange investigation that turns her life upside-down. There are suspicions that a masked killer is chasing her team and trying to sabotage her most ambitious project ever.
8. Luz (Germany, 2018) by Tilman Singer - with the presence of the director
On a rainy night, a dazed and numb young cabdriver, Luz, drags herself into the brightly lit entrance of a rundown police station. Across town in a nightspot, Nora seductively engages police psychiatrist Dr. Rossini in a conversation. Nora is possessed by a demonic entity, longing for the woman it loves - Luz.
9. Mutant Blast (Portugal, 2018) by Fernando Alle - with the presence of the director - World premiere
Maria, a fearless soldier, and TS-347, a man with superhuman strength, are being pursued by a military cell responsible for scientific experiments that have resulted in a zombie apocalypse. On the way, they will meet Pedro, a man with few ambitions and a great hangover. Together, they will try to escape to a safe place, but complications will cross their paths in the form of a nuclear bomb. First feature film by Fernando Alle, whose short film "Papa Wrestling" received an special mention at MOTELX in 2009. Co-produced by Troma Entertainment.