Thanks to the pandemic, this year’s instalment of the Fantasia International Film Festival will not be held in beautiful Montréal, but on the internet. Bad news for lovers of the world’s best bagels, but good news for cinephiles who have been unable to travel to the festival in past years!
As you scour the website, picking out your shortlist and sorting out your ticket selections, keep an eye out for some of the female-directed films featured in this year’s program. Here are our top picks:
12 Hour Shift (2020)
Written and directed by Brea Grant, this dark horror comedy boasts a killer cast including David Arquette, Angela Bettis, and Mick Foley. Set in Arkansas in the 1990s, 12 Hour Shift takes place over the double shift of a night nurse dealing with opioid addiction —and her reliance on the very unusual and grisly side gig that funds her addiction. Note: Brea Grant also wrote and stars in Lucky, another film on this year’s program.
A self-help author deals with a confusing, frightening, and possibly supernatural situation involving a persistent home invader in Natasha Kermani’s Lucky. A dismissive husband, lacklustre police force, and creeping dread are the major ingredients of this timely horror film, which deals with themes of male aggression, female resilience, and the challenges women face in having their experiences and fears taken seriously.
Time of Moulting (2020)
Sabrina Mertens’ sublime family drama is set in 1970s Germany. The debut film from this promising director follows the experiences of Stephanie, a lively child who grows into an increasingly isolated and disturbed young woman as her family life becomes ever more bizarre and traumatic.
Directed by John C. Lyons and Dorota Swies, Unearth promises a heavy dollop of ecological terror leavened by soupçon of economic uncertainty, in this tale about a man driven by financial need to make a very eco-unfriendly deal with the devil. Adrienne Barbeau plays a wise neighbour whose warnings are left unfortunately—albeit predictably—unheeded.