While Oscar watchers may be waiting for the programming announcements from festivals such as Telluride and Toronto, for a select group of movie fans the one to watch is Fantastic Fest. The Austin, Texas-based festival elevates genre filmmaking like few others with a mix of wild-eyed fandom and cultured appreciation.
The festival — which runs from Sept. 20-27 — released the first wave of this year’s titles on Tuesday. Among them is the world premiere of Julius Avery’s supernatural D-Day action thriller “Overlord,” produced by J.J. Abrams’ company Bad Robot. The Paramount Pictures release starring Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbaek and John Magaro was initially rumored to be part of the ongoing “Cloverfield” series, though Abrams has shot that down in recent interviews.
Fantastic Fest has long provided a spotlight to international genre filmmaking and this year makes no exception. Gareth Evans, best known for his two “The Raid” action pictures, will world-premiere the Netflix folk horror “Apostle,” starring Dan Stevens. Timo Tjahjanto’s “The Night Comes For Us” will star Joe Taslim and Iko Uwais in what promises to be a saga of no-holds-barred action mayhem in the streets of Jakarta, Indonesia.
A period of South Korean filmmaking described as “Korean Quota Quickies” will get a special tribute with two little-seen films from that period, Kim Ki-young’s 1981 “Ban Geum-ryeon” and Park Nou-sik’s 1971 “Quit Your Life.”
“To be able to highlight a period of Korean cinema that is largely unknown in North America is a brilliant opportunity to not only rediscover what shaped the modern Korean cinema we all know and love, but also a great way to tap into the sheer electric creative force running through the films as shaped by the strict authoritarian environment they were created in,” said Fantastic Fest creative director Evrim Ersoy in a statement.
Indicative of the breadth of programming that happens under the umbrella of Fantastic Fest, the festival will also show contemporary Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong’s “Burning,” among the most celebrated films from the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.
Female international genre filmmakers will get a spotlight as well with Marysia Nikitiuk’s “When The Tree Falls” from Ukraine, Sonia Escolano’s “House of Sweat and Tears” from Spain, Isabella Eklof’s “Holiday” from Denmark and Amanda Kramer’s “Ladyworld” from the U.S.
The festival will also showcase titles from the American Genre Film Archive with a series of world premiere restorations. Tim Boggs’ 1987 “Blood Lake” has been restored from original low-grade video master tapes. Feminist filmmaker Sarah Jacobson’s “I Was a Teenage Serial Killer” and “Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore” have both been preserved. And William Lustig’s 1980 “Maniac” has been restored to 4K from 16 mm negatives.
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