What do weekend plans even look like in quarantine? If you're anything like me, they often involve mindlessly scrolling through different streaming services, trying to find good movies to watch from the bed and/or bathtub. This weekend, you can avoid the arduous decision-making process because the Final Girls Berlin Festival has a slate that you won't want to miss.
For those unfamiliar, FGBFF "showcases horror cinema that's directed, written, or produced by women and non-binary filmmakers." It's a smaller festival, so this year there are only five feature films and and five blocks of short films (thirty-four in total), all grouped by theme. One of the festival highlights for me is always the free talks given by horror specialists on topics that range this year from lesbian vampires to a history of women's horror filmmaking. I've connected with some of my all-time favorite film people — Orla Smith, Valeria Villegas Lindvall, and Elizabeth E. Schuch — thanks to this festival. For anyone who's into horror, it really is magic.
This year, the festival runs from February 4-7 and is completely virtual (obviously). Here are some other important details:
- All of the features and the "revenge horror" block of shorts are geo-locked to Germany (although that's nothing a VPN can't solve).
- International audiences can access the remaining blocks of shorts (aside from Canada, which doesn't have access to "comedy horror"), along with all of the lectures.
- Tickets are only available for twenty-four hours after the event start time. For example, tickets to the "isolation horror" shorts block can only be purchased from 10A ET today (February 5) to 10A ET tomorrow. Once you purchase a ticket, you'll have twenty-four hours to finish watching.
- Lectures happen via livestream and have a shorter viewing window. Pay attention to the details on the sign up page to make sure you don't miss anything.
- Q&As take place after each screening (the sign-up page will note the time) and are available until the block expires.
- While US audiences don't have access to it via the festival, they can watch Brea Grant's feature, "12-Hour Shift," on Hulu.
- You have the option to purchase an all-access pass (45€, geo-locked to Germany), international pass (20€), or Canada pass (15€). Tickets can also be purchased for individual blocks or films.
If you're able to, I definitely recommend watching everything and attending all of the talks. If you can only commit to a few, here are my top five recommendations:
- Annie Rose Malamet's talk (February 7) on the history of the lesbian vampire in film. I interviewed her last weekend and am still mulling over our conversation. She is super fucking smart and made me think about the rape revenge genre in a way I never have before.
- Kate Robertson's talk (February 7) on autonomy, sexuality and resistance in representations of young women in horror films. I also spoke with Kate last weekend and didn't want the conversation to end. She is a self-deprecating Aussie with a background in art history and a casual interest in female cannibals, so you can see why I would be interested!
- The "isolation horror" block of short films (available today). I swear I've had nightmares very similar to AJ Taylor & Maximilian Clark's film, "Lose It."
- Alexandra Heller-Nicholas's talk (February 6) on rethinking women's horror filmmaking. You might know Heller-Nicholas from her dope book, "1000 Women In Horror, 1895-2018." My copy sits on my nightstand and has been used as a reference manual more times than I can count.
- Emanuela Rosi's feature film, "Buio" (premieres today). In all fairness, I haven't watched this one yet, but I'm intrigued by the creepy trailer.
To view the entire slate, visit the FGBFF website. I will be posted reviews and interviews over the next few days, so keep an eye out for upcoming festival coverage. I will also be posting a full review of the festival on Seventh Row 🦇