Fantasia Festival 2019 Boasts a Line-up of Female Voices

Every year, Fantasia International Film Festival showcases some of the best and most unique genre films out there. Horror, thrillers, sci-fi, Fantasia has it all, and this year is no different. In anticipation of the festival, which lasts from July 11 to August 1 in Montreal, we’ve rounded up some of the films directed by women that will be shown throughout Fantasia. 

Brazilian director’s Gabriela Amaral Almeida second film, My Father’s Shadow, will have its North American premiere at Fantasia 2019. The film follows Dalva, a young girl who is trying to summon her mother’s spirit to help quell her father’s depression. She’s inspired by George A. Romero and given a little encouragement by her aunt. Almeida mixes traditional horror with contemporary Brazilian issues to create a poignant story that reflects the horrific nature of our contemporary moment. 

Perhaps one of my anticipated films of Fantasia is The Deeper You Dig, a film directed by John Adams, Toby Poser, and their daughter Zelda Adams. It is a DIY supernatural film that was directed, written, and scored by this family unit. They are also the film’s stars. It revolves around a daughter, a mother, and a stranger after a roadside accident. I’m excited to see the work of these three people and what art they created with their limited resources.

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In A World of Pure Animation: 8 Best Animated LGBT+ Films and Shows

Animation opens up universes of possibilities. In worlds drawn from the imaginations of its creators, anything can happen. So then why is there so little queer representation in Western animation? There are a few examples out there, such as Steven Universe, that provide beautiful stories that speak to adults and children alike. But these examples are few and far between, which can lead one to believe that there’s something about non-heterosexuality that is shied away from in animation, despite stories that take place in space with plethoras of alien races. There is much more queer representation in anime, though it isn’t always for the best. Yet they still include these characters and themes more often than seen in the animated films of Disney and Pixar.

This list contains eight are examples of queer stories and characters created in the world of animation. Most of them are television shows, with a few short and feature films sprinkled throughout. The length of this list is a testament to the need for more gay animation, especially in the mainstream.

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Pride Month is a Scream: 10 of Horror’s Best Queer Movies

Horror has a rocky track record with queer representation, particularly in terms of portraying “deviant” identities as monstrous. Films such as Dracula’s Daughter (1936), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), and High Tension (2002) portray gay characters as predatory figures who seek to kidnap and kill; in these films, their sexuality is what drives them to such violence. The horror films of the 1980s and 1990s try to deal with the fear of AIDS with films about the body in pain. And then of course there is the rampant amount of queer subtext that fills the genre, either written in by filmmakers or found with the horror community. Horror films are often seen as a genre for deviants, a place to find comfort and power within monstrous identity. This is a queer genre, through and through.

With all of that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of horror’s best LGBTQIA+ films with more explicit, and mostly positive, representation. 

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Cinepocalypse Review: Pollyanna McIntosh’s ‘Darlin’ Is A Daring Directorial Debut

In 2011, Lucky McKee made a little film called The Woman about a feral woman captured by a white man. In his attempts to tame her and make her ‘civilized,’ a disturbing and disgusting story unfolds about power. In her directorial debut, Pollyanna McIntosh continues to address issues of power in the sequel to The Woman, Darlin’

McIntosh previously starred as the titular Woman in McKee’s 2011 film, so needless to say she’s familiar with the story of a feral cannibal living in the woods. While The Woman was about the Woman, Darlin’ is about, you guessed it, Darlin’ (Lauryn Canny). She is a young girl who was raised by the Woman (McIntosh reprises her role as the cannibal), so she is also a feral cannibal. However, she is deposited at a hospital for a soon-to-be-revealed reason (she’s pregnant) so she can get the care she needs to deliver a healthy baby. Despite her lifestyle, the Woman isn’t completely devoid of common sense.

But, the hospital doesn’t discover her pregnancy. They don’t know what to do with a girl with no records, so they ship her off to a Catholic boarding school for orphan girls. Here, the bishop (Bryan Batt) wishes to tame Darlin’ to show the healing power of Jesus Christ so his parish won’t be shut down. Jesus loves profiting off the lives of others. Here, Darlin’ is taught how to read, write, speak, and exist as what society deems as normal. But while Darlin’ is brainwashed by Catholicism, the Woman is searching the countryside for her and her unborn baby. The film switches between these two plot lines until their strange intersection. 

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Grab Your Flower Crown and Call Your Therapist, It’s Time for ‘Midsommar’

The hottest name in horror right now is Ari Aster. He’s got it all: family trauma, gore, cults, piano wire, and, now, flower crowns. When Hereditary hit theatres last summer, Aster was lauded as one of the best up-and-coming horror filmmakers with his story about trauma, grief, and covens. Well he’s back at it again with trauma and grief, but this time he’s tackling those themes within a Swedish pagan commune. His newest film, Midsommar, pulls even more aggressive emotional punches and splatters the screens with shocking moments of gore.

Midsommar addresses similar themes of grief, trauma, isolation, and relationships seen in Hereditary, but this time it is through the lens of young couple Dani (Florence Pugh) and Christian (Jack Reynor). Dani and Christian have been together for four years but those four years haven’t necessarily been happy. Each of their conversations is so full of passive aggressive comments and halfhearted apologies that you’re just ready for someone to snap. But then, Dani suffers a horrific family tragedy. She loses her entire family and, understandably, sinks into a deep depression. Christian feels obligated to stay with Dani, even if he has the emotional intelligence of a potato sack and has no clue how to comfort his grieving girlfriend. 

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Cinepocalypse Review: ‘The Swerve’ Is a Harrowing Look at the Horrors of A Mental Breakdown

I am dead inside.

The Swerve is horrifying. It is not because of a bloodthirsty serial killer, massive monster, or enraged spirit. It is because of its portrayal of desperation, mental health, and despair. It is a film that digs into the deepest fears that live within the subconscious and put them on screen, which is more terrifying than any paranormal entity.

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Cinepocalypse Review: ‘The Mute’ is Pagan Horror with a Heavy Dose of Atmosphere

We’re all familiar with the white savior narrative, especially in stories about colonialism. These stories usually center on a white man traveling to a strange land to somehow save its natives. In the case of The Mute, its Christian knights who wish to save the pagans from their god-less religion. While it is a film with a rather predictable and common story, and frankly not much new to say about colonialism or forced religious conversion, The Mute utilizes gorgeous cinematography and set pieces to make it stand out in a crowd.

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