After hosting part one of their 2021 festival virtually this past February, Final Girls Berlin Film Festival convenes in the flesh once more in Berlin for a second part of the 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.”
Dir. by Natalie Erika James, Australia, 2020
When 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 Premiere
Dir. Rose Glass, UK, 2020
A 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 TOMORROW
Dir. Written and directed by Amy Seimetz, USA, 2020
After 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.
Dirs. Madeleine Sims-Fewer & Dusty Mancinelli, Canada, 2020
VIOLATION 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 Premiere
Dir. Kier-La Janisse, USA, 2021
WOODLANDS 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 VAMPIRE
Dir. Stephanie Rothman, USA, 1971
A 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 PROGRAMS
I. THICKER THAN WATER: FAMILY HORROR
Dark Water — Dir. Erin Coates & Anna Nazzari, Australia, 2020
La mejor mamá del mundo — Dir. Catalina Sandoval, Chile, 2020
Honour Thy Mother — Dir. Yinghui Fu, USA, 2020
Suddenly, The Night — Dirs. Cristina Bodelon & Ignacio de Vicente, Spain, 2018
Sui Generis — Dir. Jenny Anastasoff, USA, 2015
Kakatshat — Dir. Eve Ringuette, Canada, 2020
II. SOCIAL ILLS
The Three Men You Meet At Night — Dir. Beck Kitsis, USA, 2020
Don’t Let It In — Dir. Jessica Henric, USA, 2020
Home Sweet Home — Dir. Agata Puszcz, Poland, 2019
It’s Nothing — Dir. Anna Maguire, Canada, UK, 2019
Boo — Dir. Rakefet Abergel, USA, 2019
Hexatic Phase — Dir. Ariel McCleese, USA, 2020
F for Freaks — Dir. Sabine Ehrl, Germany, 2020
Haute Cuisine — Dir. Merryl Roche, France, 2020
100,000 Acres of Pine — Dir. Jennifer Alice Wright, Denmark, 2020
So What if the Goats Die — Dir. Sofia Alaoui, Morocco/France, 2019
They Salivate — Dir. Ariane Boukerche, Canada, 2020
IV. QUEER HORROR
Meta — Dir. Sydne Horton, USA, 2020
Coming Out — Dir. Cressa Beer, USA, 2020
Going Steady — Dir. Brydie O’Connor, USA, 2020
Night Waking — Dir. Shoshana Rosenbaum, USA, 2020
Penance — Dir. Kayden Phoenix, USA, 2020
Swipe Up, Vivian! — Dir. Hannah Welever, USA, 2020
Love You Forever — Dir. Sepand Mashiahof, Sepehr Mashiahof & Hana Harada, USA, 2020
Atavico — Dirs. Ayi Turzi & Elan Aguilar, Chile, 2019
Freza — Dir. Yulia Travnikova, Russia, 2020
Nightcap — Dir. Nicole de Meneses, USA, 2020
V. ALL OF THEM WITCHES
Diabla — Dir. Ashley George, USA, 2020
The Wick — Dir. Michelle Coverley, UK, 2020
La bruja del fósforo paseante (The Wandering Witch) — Dir. Sofia Carrillo, Mexico, 2018
My Witch Roommate — Dir. Cleo Spiro, Germany, 2020
Dead Fish — Dir. Silva Kuusniemi, Finland, 2020
VI. MIDNIGHT MAYHEM
My Brother, Jeffrey — Dir. Liz Schack, USA, 2020
The Lovers — Dir. Avra Fox-Lerner, USA, 2020
Pizzaman — Dirs. Rosalie Kicks & Katie McBrown, USA, 2020
Keep Closed at All Times — Dir. Herman Kerner, produced by Kate Darion, USA, 2020
All of You — Dir. Shahrzad Davani, USA, 2020
#brunch — Dir. Natalie A. Evans, UK, 2020
Strange Bird — Dir. Laura Lee Bahr, USA, 2020
Fury — Written and directed by Paulette Lecaros, Chile 2020
Plant Collector — Dir. Kathryn MacCorgarry Gray, UK, 2020
The Girl in the Woods — Dir. Laura Kulik, USA, 2020
Possibly in Michigan — Dir. Cecelia Condit, USA, 1983
Unfinished Business — Dir. Mary Dauterman, USA, 2020
VIVAS Y FURIOSAS: THE AWAKENING OF FEMALE* HORROR IN LATIN AMERICA
Lecture 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 FANGS
Lecture 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.