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NIFFF 2021

The NIFFF unveils the programme for its 20th (hybrid) edition

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- The festival is celebrating its jubilee with fifty or so feature films, eight short film line-ups, eight immersive installations and two TV productions

The NIFFF unveils the programme for its 20th (hybrid) edition
Tides by Tim Fehlbaum

The young and daring Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) is celebrating its 20th edition, which will run from 2 to 10 July and will feature upwards of one hundred works. As explained by the festival’s interim artistic director Loïc Valceschini, the forced shutdown of film and audiovisual sets caused by the health crisis hasn’t actually had a huge impact on the number of films submitted for the International Competition: no fewer than six hundred were received this year. Whatsmore, two thirds of the works selected for the International Competition are first or second films, a strong presence of young men and women directors which highlights the growing interest new generations are showing for the fantasy genre and for hybrid genres more generally.

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Forced to devise several Plans Bs in order to adapt to the ever-changing sanitary context, the NIFFF has ultimately opted for a hybrid edition which will see it not only organising physical cinema screenings with reduced audience capacities, but also presenting some of its selected films online (geo-blocked to Switzerland), as well as all of the festival’s round tables (which aren’t geo-blocked). Meanwhile, the members of the International Competition jury – Swiss journalist and essayist Mona Chollet, French writers Sylvie Lainé and Fabien Mauro, the young French director and writer Mathieu Turi, and Polish director Daria Worszek –will be tasked with judging fourteen films hailing from all corners of the globe.

Jostling among the European titles is Tim Fehlbaum’s ambitious Swiss film Tides [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, which was presented in a world premiere at the 2021 Berlinale (Special Berlinale); the European premiere of Lee Haven Jones’ sombre work The Feast [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, which is filmed in Welsh (a rare occurrence, to say the least) and which offers up a high-society meal which tastes a lot like ecological vengeance; In the Earth [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Ben Wheatley (UK), which is the only work which dares to explore the matter of the pandemic directly; Son [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, a co-production between Ireland, the USA and the UK, by Ivan Kavanagh, which explores the deep bonds tying a mother to her son who suffers from an unknown illness; Chris Baugh’s vampire flick Boys from County Hell [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(Ireland/UK), and first films Censor [+see also:
film review
interview: Prano Bailey-Bond
film profile
]
by Prano Bailey-Bond (UK) and Knocking [+see also:
film review
interview: Frida Kempff
film profile
]
by Sweden’s Frida Kempff.

Besides the festival’s competitive sections, there’s also Film of the Third Kind which offers up a selection of movies flirting with the boundaries of the fantasy genre. Amongst these, we find Marygoround [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Daria Woszek
film profile
]
by Polish director Daria Woszek (who will be attending Neuchâtel in person for this reason), which paints an explosive portrait of a devout woman in her fifties whose life is turned upside down by an excess of hormones, and the European premiere of Thomas Daneskov’s Danish film Wild Men [+see also:
film review
interview: Thomas Daneskov
film profile
]
. In the Ultra Movies line-up, meanwhile, which is dedicated to modern productions of a more radical nature, we find French director Mathieu Turi’s second film Meander [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Mathieu Turi
film profile
]
, which is a huis clos definitely not recommended for the claustrophobes among us.

Asian cinema will once again be placed centre stage in the New Cinema from Asia section, which will be enhanced, this year, by the transversal focus entitled Formosa Fantastica, dedicated to Taiwanese imaginary worlds. Finally, the festival will be rounded off by a variety of conferences and meetings (NIFFF Extended) also dedicated to the fantasy genre and to the issues and challenges surrounding such works. Guests this year include Germany’s special effects expert Volker Engel (awarded an Oscar in 1997 for Independence Day) who will share his experience of working on Godzilla (1998).

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(Translated from French)

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