The Final Girls Berlin Film Festival Announces Program for Halloween 2021 Edition
What a difference a few months can make. Back in February our friends at Final Girls Berlin had to host a virtual edition of the first part of their program this year. Fast forward to October and they are returning to an in-person Halloween event at the end of October.
The event features a weekend long program featuring feature-length films like Relic, Saint Maud and the folk horror doc, Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched. The short film programs are not to be missed either. Everything you need to know follows.
After hosting part one of their 2021 festival virtually this past February, Final Girls Berlin Film Festival is thrilled to convene in the flesh once more in Berlin for a second part of our 6th edition to run from October 29th-31st, 2021. Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, Berlin’s premier showcase of horror films made by women* and non-binary filmmakers, will return to City Kino Wedding for their full program of feature films, short blocks, talks by international horror specialists, and a retro screening. In addition to the live line-up, FGBFF will also offer most of their short film programs online for worldwide on-demand access during the festival.“It’s invigorating to experience the community as we emerge from isolation, and to have such a wealth of harrowing and thrilling films to present,” says Festival Co-Director Sara Neidorf on looking forward to celebrating in-person once again over the upcoming Halloween weekend. “Given the sheer amount of excellent horror being made by women* and non-binary folks,” added Co-Director Eli Lewy, “it’s an exhilarating time to be organizing the festival, and we couldn’t be more excited to share an October program packed with horror gems.”FEATURESRELICDir. by Natalie Erika James, Australia, 2020When elderly matriarch Edna (Robyn Nevin) inexplicably vanishes, her daughter Kay (Emily Mortimer) and granddaughter Sam (Bella Heathcote) rush to their family’s decaying country home, finding clues of her increasing dementia scattered around the house in her absence. After Edna returns just as mysteriously as she disappeared, Kay’s concern that her mother seems unwilling or unable to say where she’s been clashes with Sam’s unabashed enthusiasm to have her grandma back. As Edna’s behavior turns increasingly volatile, both begin to sense that an insidious presence in the house might be taking control of her.SAINT MAUD — Berlin PremiereDir. Rose Glass, UK, 2020A bold and strikingly original psychological chiller, SAINT MAUD follows a young live-in nurse whose lonely life and religious fervour lead her towards an increasingly dangerous quest that is anything but holy. Heralding the arrival of a bold new voice in British cinema, first time feature director Rose Glass, and a breakout lead performance from Morfydd Clark, SAINT MAUD is a deeply unnerving must-see for film-lovers and adventurous horror fans alike.SHE DIES TOMORROWDir. Written and directed by Amy Seimetz, USA, 2020After waking up convinced that she is going to die tomorrow, Amy’s (Kate Lyn Sheil) carefully held together life begins to unravel. As her delusions of certain death become contagious to those around her, Amy and her friends’ lives spiral out of control in a tantalizing descent into madness.VIOLATIONDirs. Madeleine Sims-Fewer & Dusty Mancinelli, Canada, 2020VIOLATION casts a harrowing and unflinching gaze on the topics of psychological and physical assault in a manner which is unforgiving without straying into the exploitative or facile, as portrayals of its subject matter so often run the risk of being. It’s a decidedly feminist yet brutal take, revealing the true horrors of being gaslit by those you love and trust, and the insidious manner with which a woman’s reliability is so often thrown into doubt. Not for the faint of heart, this dissection of trauma comments on the futility of redemption narratives.WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED — German PremiereDir. Kier-La Janisse, USA, 2021WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED explores the folk horror phenomenon from its beginnings in a trilogy of films – Michael Reeves’ WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968), Piers Haggard’s BLOOD ON SATAN’S CLAW (1971), and Robin Hardy’s THE WICKER MAN (1973) – through its proliferation on British television in the 1970s and its culturally specific manifestations in American, Asian, Australian, and European horror, to the genre’s revival over the last decade. Touching on over 200 films and featuring over 50 interviewees, WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED investigates the many ways that we alternately celebrate, conceal, and manipulate our own histories in an attempt to find spiritual resonance in our surroundings.THE VELVET VAMPIREDir. Stephanie Rothman, USA, 1971A married couple accepts the invitation of mysterious vixen Diane LeFanu to visit her in her secluded desert estate. Tensions arise when the couple, unaware at first that Diane is, in reality, a centuries-old vampire, realize that they are both objects of the pale temptress’ seductions.SHORT FILM PROGRAMSI. THICKER THAN WATER: FAMILY HORRORDark Water — Dir. Erin Coates & Anna Nazzari, Australia, 2020La mejor mamá del mundo — Dir. Catalina Sandoval, Chile, 2020Honour Thy Mother — Dir. Yinghui Fu, USA, 2020Suddenly, The Night — Dirs. Cristina Bodelon & Ignacio de Vicente, Spain, 2018Sui Generis — Dir. Jenny Anastasoff, USA, 2015Kakatshat — Dir. Eve Ringuette, Canada, 2020II. SOCIAL ILLSThe Three Men You Meet At Night — Dir. Beck Kitsis, USA, 2020Don’t Let It In — Dir. Jessica Henric, USA, 2020Home Sweet Home — Dir. Agata Puszcz, Poland, 2019It’s Nothing — Dir. Anna Maguire, Canada, UK, 2019Boo — Dir. Rakefet Abergel, USA, 2019Hexatic Phase — Dir. Ariel McCleese, USA, 2020F for Freaks — Dir. Sabine Ehrl, Germany, 2020III. HORROR-ADJACENTHaute Cuisine — Dir. Merryl Roche, France, 2020100,000 Acres of Pine — Dir. Jennifer Alice Wright, Denmark, 2020So What if the Goats Die — Dir. Sofia Alaoui, Morocco/France, 2019They Salivate — Dir. Ariane Boukerche, Canada, 2020IV. QUEER HORRORMeta — Dir. Sydne Horton, USA, 2020Coming Out — Dir. Cressa Beer, USA, 2020Going Steady — Dir. Brydie O'Connor, USA, 2020Night Waking — Dir. Shoshana Rosenbaum, USA, 2020Penance — Dir. Kayden Phoenix, USA, 2020Swipe Up, Vivian! — Dir. Hannah Welever, USA, 2020Love You Forever — Dir. Sepand Mashiahof, Sepehr Mashiahof & Hana Harada, USA, 2020Atavico — Dirs. Ayi Turzi & Elan Aguilar, Chile, 2019Freza — Dir. Yulia Travnikova, Russia, 2020Nightcap — Dir. Nicole de Meneses, USA, 2020V. ALL OF THEM WITCHESDiabla — Dir. Ashley George, USA, 2020The Wick — Dir. Michelle Coverley, UK, 2020La bruja del fósforo paseante (The Wandering Witch) — Dir. Sofia Carrillo, Mexico, 2018My Witch Roommate — Dir. Cleo Spiro, Germany, 2020Dead Fish — Dir. Silva Kuusniemi, Finland, 2020VI. MIDNIGHT MAYHEMMy Brother, Jeffrey — Dir. Liz Schack, USA, 2020The Lovers — Dir. Avra Fox-Lerner, USA, 2020Pizzaman — Dirs. Rosalie Kicks & Katie McBrown, USA, 2020Keep Closed at All Times — Dir. Herman Kerner, produced by Kate Darion, USA, 2020All of You — Dir. Shahrzad Davani, USA, 2020#brunch — Dir. Natalie A. Evans, UK, 2020Strange Bird — Dir. Laura Lee Bahr, USA, 2020Fury — Written and directed by Paulette Lecaros, Chile 2020Plant Collector — Dir. Kathryn MacCorgarry Gray, UK, 2020The Girl in the Woods — Dir. Laura Kulik, USA, 2020Possibly in Michigan — Dir. Cecelia Condit, USA, 1983Unfinished Business — Dir. Mary Dauterman, USA, 2020TALKSVIVAS Y FURIOSAS: THE AWAKENING OF FEMALE* HORROR IN LATIN AMERICALecture by Valeria Villegas Lindvall (University of Gothenburg)The 2000s and 2010s pumped new blood into Latin American female* feature-length genre filmmaking, passing the torch onto the 2020s with the fire of stellar and innovative renditions that explore intimacy, sexuality, violence, and oppression from a previously occluded perspective. This talk will take a plunge into films throughout the continent, from Mexico (TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID, 2017), passing through Panama (DIABLO ROJO PTY, 2019) and all the way to the Southern Cone (SHE WOLF, 2013 and GOOD MANNERS,2018) and beyond in order to highlight the political and cultural configurations of these reimaginations of monsters that arouse fear and desire, dreaming of a liberation that roars: we are alive, and we are furious.GROWING PAINS: BREASTS, BLOOD, AND FANGSLecture by Patricia Pisters (University of Amsterdam)In her lecture, Patricia Pisters will talk about her latest book on female horror directors, focusing on new takes on vampires, werewolves, and other contrived souls, especially in relation to tortured coming-of-age stories that address social pressure and traumas. Commencing with a return to Stephanie Rothman’s psychedelic exploitation film THE VELVET VAMPIRE (1971), and additional early female-authored vampire stories, as well as more contemporary works like Mary Harron’s THE MOTH DIARIES (2011), Katharina Wyss’ SARAH, PLAYS A WEREWOLF (2017), and Octavia Butler’s last novel Fledgling from 2005. Pisters argues that a female-authored poetics of horror opens up to a wide spectrum of emotions with its fangs in important socio-political issues.