Australia’s Fantastic Planet Film Festival kicks of on March 22, 2012, for 11 days of horror, fantasy and science fiction films.
Opening night of the Festival will see the Australian premiere of the post-apocalyptic science fiction thriller and nominee for ‘Best New International Feature’ at the 2011 Edinburgh International Film Festival, THE DIVIDE; followed by the science fiction drama ANOTHER EARTH, winner of the prestigious Sloan Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
The Festival’s program also includes numerous award-winning films including ‘Best Horror Movie’ at the 2011 American International Film Festival BELOW ZERO; ‘Best Film’ at the 2011 Toronto After Dark Film Festival FATHER’S DAY; ‘Best Feature Film’ at the 2011 Sci-Fi London Film Festival PIG; and UNICORN CITY which received official selection at the 2011 San Diego Film Festival.
Fantastic Planet Film Festival 2012 Program
Thursday, March 22rd
Dir: Xavier Gans – 110 min / Germany/USA/Canada / 2011
When an atomic bomb devastates New York, eight strangers take refuge in the basement of their apartment building. The residents soon succumb to cabin fever as fear of radiation and dwindling food and water plays on their mind. However Julie, the only young woman, has her own worries as the men begin to regress into dangerous packs. She quickly learns to be ruthless if she wants to survive, aware that her sanctuary is becoming her hell.
Dir: Mike Cahill – 92 min / USA / 2011
Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling), a bright young woman accepted into MIT’S Astrophisics program, aspires to explore the cosmos. A brilliant composer, John Burroughs (William Mapother), has just reached the pinnacle of his profession and is about to have a second child. On the eve of the discovery of a duplicate planet Earth, tragedy strikes and the lives of these strangers become irrevocably intertwined.
Friday, March 23rd
Dir: Tak Sakaguchi and Yudi Yamaguchi – 105 min / 2011 / Japan
YAKUZA WEAPON is like taking a bite from a Hollywood actioner, another from a Yakuza crime flick, chewing em’ up, spitting em’ out and microwaving em’ on high. A yakuza in exile returns to Japan to exact revenge, with a machine gun arm, a rocket-launcher leg and a naked woman weapon who shoots from her um….well, use your imagination! YAKUZA WEAPON defies description, stunning, hilarious, razor sharp and totally original.
Dir: Adrián García Bogliano, Ramiro García Bogliano – 85 mins / 2011 / Argentina
Marga, a savvy young real estate agent discovers that some strange clients haven’t been exactly honest with her about their plans for an inner city apartment that they want to rent. Trapped in the building – on the day of a solar eclipse – Marga finds herself locked in a battle of wits against the tenets from hell.
Saturday, March 24th
Dir: Bruce Ornstein – 95 min / 2012 / USA
Carmen McCoy, is a flamboyant, twenty-something, sometime student at a small community college, who wants nothing more than to hang out with his best friend Tracy, be in a musical production at school, and maybe, one day, be a star. Instead, he discovers that for him, destiny has something else in store: he is the reincarnation of the 200 year old vampire king, Raven. Now, Carmen must choose between his friends and that destiny. The films is a mix of comedy and tenderness, drama and action, friendship and isolation, even a musical number… and blood… lots of blood…VAMPERIFICA is a campy horror comedy with bite: Overflowing with laughs, gore and scares.
SHORTS 1: SCI-FI
THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS
Dir: Sean Branney – 103 min / 2011 / USA
Celebrated author H.P. Lovecraft’s classic tale of alien horror bursts onto the screen in the style of the classic horror films of the 1930s. Folklore professor Albert Wilmarth investigates legends of strange creatures in the most remote hills of Vermont. His inquiry reveals a terrifying glimpse of the truth that lurks behind the legends. Filmed in the style of the classic 1930s films such as Frankenstein, Dracula and King Kong, The Whisperer in Darkness returns us to the golden age of movies for a thrilling adventure of supernatural horror. Filmed on location in New England in Mythoscope™ by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, The Whisperer in Darkness treats audiences to a cinematic thrill not felt since the Hoover administration.
Dir: Justin Thomas Ostensen – 94 min / 2012 / Canada/USA
Facing writer’s block and a crucial deadline, screenwriter Jack “The Hack” (Edward Furlong) decides to remove himself from all distractions by locking himself in the freezer of an abandoned slaughterhouse, where fiction and reality blur. Inspired by true events, method writer Signe Olynyk’s BELOW ZERO is a beautifully-shot and perfectly-cast feature film (also featuring Michael Berryman and Kristen Booth), that is a twisty story within a story, within a real-life story.
Dir: Shinji Imaoka – 87 min / 2011 / Japan
Announcing itself as a ‘pink musical’ UNDERWATER LOVE combines the talents of revered Aussie cinematographer Chris Doyle, French-German electro-pop due Stereo Total and Cult Pinku director Shinji Imaoka. Asuka is a 35-year-old fish factory worker who begins to question her recent engagement after she is visited by formerly deceased lover in the form of a half-man, half-turtle entity known as a Kappa. Alternating bizarre sex scenes with glorious musical numbers, this is a hilarious, stunningly photographed, one-of-a-kind oddity. Truly unlike any other film ever made.
Dir: Astron-6 – 99 min / 2011 / Canada/USA
The urban legend known as ‘The Father’s Day Killer’ began some years after the demise of serial rapist/murderer Chris Fuchman. Since the 1970s, the use of contraceptives has tripled in North America alone and a generation of fathers fell asleep with the covers pulled tight, buttocks clenched. The story has become a fire-side cautionary ritual on camping trips, often used by fathers to warn their sons of the dangers of unplanned pregnancy. That deep seeded fear of penetration, violation and eventually death waned as the murder and rape of fathers continued to decline all over the world. Unfortunately those numbers didn’t remain low, and it would seem that the legend is not yet complete…Ahab, a man obsessed with exacting a brutal, violent revenge on the man who murdered his dad, joins John, an eager priest and Twink, a hot-headed street hustler on an epic quest to find and defeat this mythical monster known as Chris Fuchman AKA The Father’s Day Killer.
Winner Best Film, Toronto After Dark
Sunday, March 25th
THE COLOUR (DIE FABRE)
Dir: Huan Vu – 87 min / 2010 / Germany
Arkham, 1975: Jonathan Davis’ father has disappeared. His tracks lead to Germany, to the Swabian-Franconian Forest where he was stationed after the Second World War. Jonathan sets out to find him and bring him home, but deep in the woods he discovers a dark mystery from the past. A visually haunting adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s short novel ‘The Colour Out of Space’.
SHORTS 2: A NIGHT OF HORROR: LOVECRAFT
Dir: Bryan Lefler – 101 min / 2012 / USA
Voss (Devin McGinn, THE LAST LOVECRAFT) is a gamer who is unemployed and looking for work. When a management position opens up at a gaming company, he interviews but lacks evidence of the leadership abilities necessary to land the job. Given a week to prove himself, Voss does the only thing any rational adult would do; he creates a Utopian society for gamers. Voss convinces his gaming guild to follow him into the mountains and has Marsha, his best friend, document his abilities. However things get complicated when Shadow Hawk (John Gries, NAPOLEAN DYNAMITE), his gaming nemesis, arrives to overthrow Voss’ kingdom. UNICORN CITY is a hilarious adventure into the world of gamer culture. Think MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL meets NAPOLEAN DYNAMITE!
Dir: Richard Weiss – 92 min / 2011 / USA
They come from another dimension. They have an agenda we are not aware of. They are already here and they look just like us. How would you react if you encountered your double and you knew that only one of you could remain? In the year 2284, best-selling author Alexis is confronted by look-alike aliens who want to take over his identity so they can use his name to publish THE BOOK, their means for “saving” humanity. Unpredictable, but often playful, these visitors engage Alexis and his family in a wild and provocative chase. The alien’s book, a potent instrument of alchemy, neutralizes all negative emotions in whoever reads it. No more greed. No more anger. No more fear. No more war. Harmony on the planet. A formula for Utopia? A secret group of dissidents determined to remain “unchanged” thinks otherwise.
Monday, March 26th
SHORTS 3: A NIGHT OF HORROR: ZOMBIES
THE ARRIVAL OF WANG (L’arrivo di Wang)
Dir: Antonio Manetti and Marco Manetti – 80 min / 2012 / Italy
Gaia, a Chinese language interpreter is called on an urgent and top-secret job. She meets Curti, a govt. agent devoid of scruples who needs to interrogate the mysterious Mr. Wang. But due to the need for secrecy, the interrogation takes place in the dark and unnerved, Gaia has trouble doing her job properly. When the light is finally switched on, Gaia discovers why the identity of Mr. Wang is being covered with so much secrecy. Facing her is a creature from another world. An encounter that will forever change her life. And that of the entire planet.
Tuesday, March 27
Dir: Yudi Yamaguchi – 99 mins / 2011 / Japan
Playing like some acid-tinged cross between ROLLERBALL & BATTLE ROYALE, this Sushi Typhoon production gleefully obliterates all notions of good taste. Centering its action on a kamikaze baseball game between a team of Nazi trained high-school girls and a bunch of death row inmates, DEADBALL redefines the term ‘over the top’. Be prepared for exploding baseballs, MSG-Infused vomit masquerading as food, and general depraved shenanigans you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
SHORTS 4: A NIGHT OF HORROR: AUSTRALIAN HORROR SHOWCASE
Wednesday, March 28th
Dir: John Geddes – 114 mins / 2011/ Canada
EXIT HUMANITY is a story told through the written and illustrated journal of Edward Young as he battles his way through an unexplainable outbreak of the walking dead. Set a decade after the American Civil War, Edward returns home from a hunting trip to find a horrific re-animation of his wife Julia, and that their son Adam has disappeared. Edward starts to record his experiences amongst the living dead that has torn his family apart, and threatens all of mankind. Throughout his harrowing journey Edward finds friendship, guidance and love amongst chaos and despair, when all else seems to be lost in a world robbed of its humanity.
SHORTS 5: AUSTRALIAN SCI-FI / FANTASY SHOWCASE
Thursday, March 29th
Dir: Henry Barrial – 90 min / 2011 / USA
MEMENTO meets P. K. Dick in this mind-trip of a psychological / sci-fi thriller.
A man wakes up alone in the middle of the desert with a black hood on his head and his hands tied behind his back. He has no idea who he is or how he got there. The only clue to his identity – a piece of paper in his pocket with the name “Manny Elder” written on it – sends him to Los Angeles where things are not what they seem and clues lead to something bigger and more unusual than he could have ever imagined.
SHORTS 6: A NIGHT OF HORROR: EXTREME
Friday, March 30th
THE DEVIL’S ROCK
PLUS: Q&A with international guest, the film’s co-writer/director Paul Campion
Dir: Paul Campion – 83 min / 2011 / New Zealand
On the eve of the D Day landings, allied commandos set out to raid enemy positions in the English Channel. Approaching a German bunker during a night-time raid they hear mysterious noises and are compelled to investigate. Inside they find dismembered corpses strewn across the floors and occult symbols covering every surface/ Only tow beings remain alive – a Gestapo officer tasked with raising the forces of Hell to fight for the Nazi cause and his demon slave, hungry for human flesh. What ensues will test the bravery and sanity of the men, pushing them to the very limits of fear, belief and life in a terrifying battle between the forces of good and evil.
THE YELLOW SEA
Dir: Hong-Jin Na – 140 min / 2010 / South Korea
Na Hong-Jin stunned us in 2009 with THE CHASER, he now returns with this tale of ambitious scope for which he has just received a nomination for ‘Best Director’ at the Asian Pacific Screen Awards. THE YELLOW SEA tells the story of Gu-Nam, a taxi driver in China with huge debts. He is offered a way of his problems – travel across the Yellow Sea to Korea and make a kill. He accepts and so begins a journey of violence, double-crosses and some intense hand-to-hand hatchet action you are likely to see!
Saturday, March 31st
Dir: Noboru Iguchi – 85 Mins / 2011 / Japan
This film is seriously weird, seriously creepy and seriously fantastic. Part Lynch, part J-horror, pure Iguchi. Gravure idol Miu Nakamura plays Tomie to perfection, creating a truly sinister schoolgirl character. Tomie is the embodiment of lust with the power to make anyone fall in love with her – don’t let her next victim be you! Based on Junji Ito’s famous manga, this fiendish tale drips with the darkness and dread.
SHORTS 7: FANTASY
PLUS: Q&A with film’s writer/director Seve Schelenz
Dir: Sevé Schelenz – 82 min / CAN / 2010
When Simon, Rich, and Eva head out on a road trip, they bring along a video camera to record their journey. The carefree adventure slowly becomes a descent into terror as unexplained events threaten to disrupt the balance between the three close friends. Each one of them must struggle with personal demons and paranoia as friendships are tested and gruesome realities are revealed…and recorded. This film is like PARANORMAL ACTIVITY on steroids. Genuinely terrifying.
Plus: Q&A with the films writer-director / producer team: The China Brothers (Paul and Benjamin)
Dir: Paul China – 80 min / Australia / 2011
Crawl is a character-driven thriller set in an unknown, rural town. A seedy bar-owner hires a mysterious Croatian to murder an acquaintance over an unpaid debt. The crime is carried out, but a planned double-crossing backfires and an innocent waitress suddenly becomes involved. Now a hostage in her own home, the young woman is driven to desperate measures for survival. A suspenseful, yet darkly humorous chain of events builds to a blood-curdling and unforgettable climax.
THE THEATRE BIZARRE
Dir: Douglas Buck. Buddy Giovinazzo, David Gregory, Karim Hussain, Jeremy Kasten, Tom Savini, Richard Stanley.
114 mins / 2011 / USA/FRANCE/CANADA
Down a seedy city street, a young woman is obsessed with what appears to be a long abandoned theatre. One night, she sees the front door slightly ajar and impulsively decides to sneak inside. But there in the vast, eerie auditorium, a show unlike any other unfolds before her eyes. Its host is an odd marionette-like man who will introduce her to six tales of the truly bizarre: A couple traveling in a remote part of the French Pyrenees crosses paths with a lustful witch; A paranoid lover faces the wrath of a partner who has been pushed to her limit; The Freudian dreams of an unfaithful husband blur the lines between fantasy and reality; The horrors of the real world are interpreted through the mind of a child; A woman addicted to other people’s memories gets her fix through the fluid of her victims’ eyeballs; And a perverse obsession with sweets turns sour for a couple in too deep. But as the stories unfold, something strange is happening to the woman. Something irreversible and horrific. Something that awaits its next audience in THE THEATRE BIZARRE.
Sunday, April 1st
SHORTS 8: ANIMATION
Dir: Evan Kelly – 98 min / 2011 / Canada
They’ve been the best of buddies for more than a decade, but now they’re changing – getting married, getting fired, going bald, going crazy. During a male-bonding weekend they will discover a spectral corridor through the woods, an impossible hallway where none should be. It will lead these five men into fear, into betrayal and into the biggest change of them all: by weekend’s finish… they’ll be dead.
LOVE (ANGELS & AIRWAVES)
Dir: William Eubank – 90 min / 2011 / USA
After losing contact with Earth, Astronaut Lee Miller becomes stranded in orbit alone aboard the International Space Station. As time passes and life support systems dwindle, Lee battles to maintain his sanity – and simply stay alive. His world is a claustrophobic and lonely existence, until he makes a strange discovery aboard the ship.
The film festival circuit hit LOVE is a hauntingly beautiful science fiction masterpiece, which brings to mind such classic films as 2001: A SPACE OPERA, SOLARIS and MOON. Produced and scored by Angels and Airwaves, this is the must see sci-fi film of the year.
Followed by award ceremony and closing night party.