Fantastic Fest 2015 Announces Final Wave of Programming

Fantastic Fest 2015 Announces Final Wave of Programming

Yesterday, Fantastic Fest–the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, action and just plain fantastic movies from all around the world–announced it’s third and final wave of programming. I now know I have a test of great endurance ahead of me this year. At my first Fantastic Fest, I viewed 12 films. Last year, I increased that to 16. This year, there’s so many I want to watch and write about. If I don’t manage to watch at least 25 films, I’ll be very disappointed in myself.

 

The official poster for the 2015 Fantastic Fest.

The official poster for the 2015 Fantastic Fest.

 

My top seven personal highlights are below, but the full list can be viewed here.

 

ANOMALISA

ANOMALISA

United States, 2015

Regional Premiere, 90 min

Directors – Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson

Charlie Kaufman’s newest story, a revolutionary and emotional stop-motion animation, follows an unhappy customer service guru looking for an escape from the monotony of his life.

 

Boy And The Beast

THE BOY AND THE BEAST

Japan, 2015

US Premiere, 119 min

Director – Mamoru Hosoda

In the latest breathtaking animation by Fantastic Fest veteran Mamoru Hosoda (SUMMER WARS, THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME), nine-year-old Ren becomes the apprentice to beast warrior Kumatetsu and finds himself on the adventure of a lifetime in the beast world Jutengal.

 

CAMINO

CAMINO

United States, 2015

World Premiere, 104 min

Director – Josh C. Waller

A photojournalist gets more than she bargained for when she snaps a photo of a shadowy religious figure in the jungles of Colombia, triggering a flight – and fight – for her life.

 

DOGLEGS

DOGLEGS

Japan/ USA, 2015

US Premiere, 89 min

Director – Heath Cozens

A look inside one of the world’s oddest wrestling leagues, where disabled fighters take on able-bodied opponents in brutal and bloody fights for their own dignity and self-respect. From where else but Japan?

 

SON OF SAUL

SON OF SAUL

Hungary, 2015

Texas Premiere, 107 min

Director – László Nemes

Saul Ausländer is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the dead body of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkommando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish and offer the boy a proper burial.

 

TALE OF TALES 1

TALE OF TALES

France, 2015

U.S. Premiere, 125 min

Director – Matteo Garrone

Monsters, magic and mayhem abound in the incredible stories of three royal families from nearby kingdoms in this ambitious fairy tale epic from acclaimed Italian auteur Matteo Garrone (GOMORRAH, REALITY).

 

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TIKKUN

Israel, 2015

Texas Premiere, 120 min

Director – Avishai Sivan

God’s plan for a Yeshiva student is disrupted when CPR saves his life. He is reborn into a surreal, sexual and disturbing new existence that tests his faith and his father’s mercy.

 

A new Charlie Kaufman movie–a stop motion one, no less–should be treated as a holiday. It’s been seven years since Synecdoche, New York, so the release of Anomalisa has a lot of excitement around it.   I’ve very much enjoyed seeing Zoë Bell’s transition from stunt performer to actress, so Camino is a can’t miss selection as well. Son of Saul sounds like a difficult but rewarding viewing experience, which I hope challenges me the way the The Tribe did last year. And hopefully Doglegs is one of those unforgettable documentaries that capture lightning in a bottle.

Counting down the days until Fantastic Fest begins…