CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

For the second year running, Oklahoma’s Mickey Reece – the so-called “Soderbergh of the Sticks” – has blasted audiences at Austin’s Fantastic Fest well and truly out of their seats with his extraordinary and wholly unique tales of the sophisticated emotional lives of older women and the people (family, lovers) who surround them.

Read more

Sarah Jacobson: American Genre Film Archive Retrospective at Austin’s Fantastic Fest – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

Declaring herself as nothing less than “the queen of underground film” and having learnt the craft through revered underground filmmaker George Kuchar, Jacobson’s well-earned legacy as one of the most vital and original filmmakers of the late 20th century had until recently been hidden from view, This retrospective illuminates her work for cinephiles hungry genuine punk- feminist cinema.

Read more

Filmmaker Amanda Kramer talks LADYWORLD — Alexandra Heller-Nicholas interviews

American filmmaker Amanda Kramer’s feature-length directorial debut Ladyworld is a masterclass in how to do a lot with a little. Proudly lo-fi and not afraid of showing it, the premise of the film is at first deceptively simple. A group of eight teenage girls are unexpectedly trapped in a house after a sudden earthquake. Highly theatrical in nature, as the girls face the reality of their situation their psyches begin to fray in different ways, ultimately factionalizing into two groups defined by what they imagine (or do they?) is the presence of a man in the house, who embodies physical threat to many of them more than the reality of their situation.

Read more

TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID — Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

With her 2017 feature Tigers are Not Afraid, Mexican filmmaker Issa López became the first woman to ever win the Best Horror Director award at Austin’s Fantastic Fest where it premiered. López’s potent and deeply beautiful film tells the story of a group of children abandoned as a result of the brutal dominance of a powerful drug cartel in their urban Mexican neighbourhood. Centred around an extraordinary performance by young actor Paola Lara in her feature film debut, she plays eleven-year-old Estrella who – like many of the children with whom she unites in an attempt to survive a world of unimaginable violence and pain – while often fearless, must necessarily negotiate her experiences from her youthful perspective.

Read more