For much than 2 decades, nan Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) has been a tie for genre filmmakers from crossed nan globe and a propulsion for Swiss youth. Heading into its 22nd edition, which runs June 30 – July 8, nan lakeside arena will erstwhile again showcase nan benignant outré and audacious fare that Neuchatel’s reliable and devoted young nationalist has travel to expect, while continuing to span outward, welcoming much unfamiliar faces into nan fold.
“By instinct, influence, and communal attraction, genre cinema will ever entreaty to nan young,” says NIFFF head Pierre-Yves Walder. “In fact, NIFFF attracts 1 of nan youngest publics of immoderate Swiss festival, but I’d for illustration to person different audiences of possibly different ages arsenic well. And not conscionable for commercialized reasons; I find it truthful absorbing and basal to operation things up.”
Showcasing 124 films, including 8 world premieres and 7 world launches, this year’s action should speak to Neuchatel’s progressively diversified base. Of nan 14 titles screening successful nan festival’s world competition, astir half are characteristic debuts, pinch projects for illustration Sofia Alaoui’s Sundance-acclaimed “Animalia,” Bishal Dutta’s SXSW-breakout “It Lives Inside” and Amanda Nell Eu’s Cannes Critics’ Week victor “Tiger Stripes” starring nan vanguard for a caller procreation of awesome auteurs.
Set successful a early imagination of Prague, nan reanimation whodunit “Restore Point,” from head Robert Hloz, has nan Neuchatel main peculiarly excited. “The movie is considered to beryllium nan first Czech subject fabrication movie successful 40 years,” Walder enthuses. “The movie is aesthetically striking, pinch a thriller, investigation plot, and very philosophical elements arsenic well. And it’s portion of our ngo to coming these different propositions, which are accessible, if not needfully easy to get out.”
Now going into his 2nd twelvemonth arsenic NIFFF director, Walder has besides made it his ngo to grow his festival’s scope. He group his intentions past twelvemonth by inviting Joyce Carol Oates to lead nan jury, and clarified his much expansive position by offering this year’s president slot to French character and head Josiane Balasko, a comedian champion known for cult comedies for illustration “French Twist” and nan “French Fried Vacation” series.
“I for illustration nan thought of reaching retired to different audiences,” Walder explains. “Josiane Balasko is evidently ultra-famous for her comedic work, but she’s besides a prolific writer and instrumentality of subject fabrication and imagination stories. [Celebrating Balasko] helps america show nan awesome from a much unexpected angle, spotlighting personification very overmuch connected to nan world, but pinch broader and much unexpected edge.”
Rounding retired nan Balasko-led assemblage are Austrian head Veronika Franz (“Goodnight Mommy”), French head Olivier Babinet (“Fishlove”), action auteur John McTiernan (“Die Hard”) and acclaimed schematic novelistic Charles Burns (“Black Hole”), a motely operation that underscores nan festival’s beardown cross-media and interdisciplinary interests. “We effort to showcase genre from each style and angle,” Walder says. “That intends making connections betwixt cinema, lit and modern art.”
This year’s version will big nan first-ever profession retrospective to Katsuhito Ishii, pinch nan cult Japanese filmmaker – who was tapped by Quentin Tarantino for nan animated sections of “Kill Bill Vol. 1” – on-hand to coming his live-action and animated work, and to world premiere 2 projects vanished decades agone and unscreened for arsenic galore years.
“He’s 1 of those unmissable guests we’re delighted to welcome,” says Walder. “He really represents thing a small edgier, and represents Neuchatel’s immense committedness to Asian cinema and representation.”
Though an yearly fixture and a summertime rendezvous for thousands of guests, nan imagination show is besides looking to build a much perennial outpost. NIFFF precocious collaborated pinch nan municipality and pinch section resident John Howe – nan acclaimed Tolkien illustrator and main conceptual designer for everything and thing “Lord of nan Rings” – to rehabilitate and repurpose a erstwhile situation turret, and to rename it nan Tower of nan Fantastic.
Aiming for a 2025 open, nan building will connection Howe a imperishable accumulation abstraction and springiness NIFFF a fixed administrative home. Moreover, nan task will besides service arsenic an creator incubator and embassy wherever screenwriters, authors, board and inter-disciplinary imagination fans tin proceed to find inspiration successful Neuchatel passim nan year.
“Fantasy is ever a spot of possibility,” says Walder. “Nothing is off-limits successful position of nan guests we person aliases nan themes we explore. We ever negociate to reinvent something; there’s changeless renewal, and I find that very exciting.”