Neuchâtel 2020: The Swiss Genre Fest Adapts With A Strong, Focused Online Program

Editor, U.S. ; Dallas, Texas (@HatefulJosh)
Neuchâtel 2020: The Swiss Genre Fest Adapts With A Strong, Focused Online Program

One of the most prestigious events on the genre film festival calendar is Switzerland's Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival each July. With the world still attempting to adjust to our new pandemic related reality, festivals have had to make some serious adaptations, and NIFFF is going with the flow to present a strong, focused online festival experience this year.

Rather than a big in-person event, NIFFF will make its selection of 20 featured titles available via Swiss VOD platform Cinefile. Each film will be available to a limited number of viewers, and only within Switzerland, but boy will they have a great selection to choose from. 

AV THE HUNT - Emre Akay, Turkey, 2020, 90’ - World Premiere
BLOOD MACHINES - Seth Ickerman, France, 2019, 50’ - Swiss Premiere
BREAKING SURFACE - Joachim Hedén, Norway/Sweden/Belgium, 2020, 82’ -
International Premiere
CHASING DREAM - Johnnie To, Hong-Kong/China, 2019, 118’ - Swiss Premiere
COMRADE DRACULICH - Márk Bodzsár, Hungary, 2019, 95’ - Swiss Premiere
DANCE WITH ME - Yaguchi Shinobu, Japan, 2019, 103’ - Swiss Premiere
DETENTION - John Hsu, Taiwan, 2019, 103’, Swiss Premiere
DINNER IN AMERICA - Adam Rehmeier, USA, 2020, 106’ - European Premiere
GUNDALA - Joko Anwar, Indonesia, 2019, 120’ - Swiss Premiere
HITMAN: AGENT JUN - Choi Won-sub, Korea, 2020, 110’ - European Premiere
JUMBO - Zoé Wittock, France/Belgium/Luxembourg, 2020, 93’ - Swiss Premiere
KHUN PHAEN BEGINS - Kongkiat Komesiri, Thailand, 2019, 138’ - European Premiere
POISSONSEXE - Olivier Babinet, France/Belgium, 2019, 98’ - International Premiere
SEA FEVER - Neasa Hardiman, Ireland/UK/Belgium, 2019, 91’ - Swiss Premiere
SCHLAF - Michael Venus, Germany, 2020, 102’ - Swiss Premiere
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY - Matthew Rankin, Canada, 2019, 90’ - Swiss Premiere
VFW - Joe Begos, USA, 2019, 92’ - Swiss Premiere
VHYES - Jack Henry Robbins, USA, 2019, 72’ - Swiss Premiere

Having seen a handful of the titles, I can strongly recommend Yaguchi Shinobu's Dance with Me, Zoe Whitlock's Jumbo, and Jack Henry Robbins' VHYes, and I'm excited to hopefully check out films like TIFF Midnight Madness vets, Joko Anwar's Gundala and Matthew Rankin's The Twentieth Century.

In addition to the films, NIFFF will also host discussions with many of the filmmakers, past and present, as well as curated DJ streams.

NIFFF will run from 3rd-11th July this year, if you're able to partake, I strongly recommend it. This lineup looks great! Find more details in the press release and at the link below.

The Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) unveils its online special event set to take place between July 3rd and 11th. This year, the festival is exploring new digital territories while continuing to promote cultural and audiovisual diversity, in a summer that resembles no other. Our eclectic programme of Swiss and International premieres will be streamed with the help of the Swiss VOD platform Cinefile. The 2020 selection includes about twenty films that explore the current state of the cinema of the imagination in spite of the big hit the industry has suffered as a result of the health crisis. Plunge into the depths of fear with SEA FEVER from Irish filmmaker Neasa Hardiman, witness the return of American director Joe Begos and his visceral exploitation flick VFW, submit to the waking nightmare of SCHLAF from German storyteller Michael Venus (with a terrifying Sandra Hüller and Swiss actor Max Hubacher), and embrace the quirkiness of romance in POISSONSEXE (in which Gustave Kervern and India Hair put on their best stoic faces). This diverse cinematographic overview will invite itself straight in the audience’s living room.

On top of these offbeat gems, the programme also includes the season’s major genre releases such as AV: THE HUNT, an anti-patriarchy survival from Turkish filmmaker Emre Akay (world premiere), CHASING DREAM, the latest gem from Hong Kong genius Johnnie To, or DINNER IN AMERICA, an anarcho-nihilistic romance (European premiere). Not to be outdone, Japanese cinema will be represented by the musical DANCE WITH ME from director Yaguchi Shinobu (ROBO-G, SURVIVAL FAMILY) – prepare to tap your feet! Designed as a springboard for the NIFFF’s 20th edition, this special event will also include three films from the Fantastique 20 20 20 retrospective, major works from important contemporary filmmakers.

The 2020 programme is not an attempt at summarising the usual NIFFF selection, but still works as a testament to the dynamism of the imaginary and the reckless desire of the team to promote it. In response to the health crisis and driven by the core values of the NIFFF, the festival’s organisers felt the need to experiment and innovate with the tools at their disposal. The longevity of the industry was one of the lines of thinking adopted by the artistic director. The selected films will thus be in Pay-per-view solely in Switzerland and limited to 1,000 views per title. All will be shown in original version, with French and German subtitles.

Every day of the event at 9 p.m., the NIFFF TV show will encourage discussions around this special programme, talk about what is going on in the audiovisual industry worldwide, and discuss the Fantastique 20 20 20 retrospective. Filmed in a temporary studio set up at the Théâtre du Passage, this show will work as a platform for highlighting the current trends with debates, interviews, and daily topics.

NIFFF TV will be hosted by the energetic and versatile actress Audrey Cavelius, the NIFFF team, several amazing contributors – Philippe Congiusti (RTS), Nicolas Dufour (Le Temps), French director Benoît Forgeard (YVES) – and guests who will be in attendance in the studio. This dream team will interact with the best of the best of the current fantastic film industry.

NIFFF TV will also be the opportunity for the audience to see extensive interviews with major figures of genre cinema: Nicolas Winding Refn (DRIVE, ONLY GOD FORGIVES), Luca Guadagnino (SUSPIRIA, A BIGGER SPLASH, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME), Eli Roth (HOSTEL, CABIN FEVER), Gareth Evans (THE RAID), Álex de la Iglesia (LAS BRUJAS DE ZUGARRAMURDI, EL BAR). Along with these renowned guests, incredible writers like Jean-Marc Ligny (ALLIANCES), ZEP (TITEUF), Antoinette Rychner (APRÈS LE MONDE) and Pierre Bordage (LES GUERRIERS DU SILENCE), as well as technicians and visual effects specialists, will also take part. The provisional guest list is already available. It will be completed with a few nice surprises as the July 3rd starting date nears.

True to our interdisciplinary vision, our diverse offering will include digital experimentations and explosive DJ sets. The music programme will involve livestream sessions, in-depth podcasts, as well as an immersive project.

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