Sundance FF 2024: Previewing Femme-Helmed Films, Part One – Leslie Combemale reports

January is generally known as the repository for the studios’ least promising releases. January is also the MONTH OF SUNDANCE, where promising film projects are introduced to the public for the first time and some go on to acclaim, winning multiple awards. The rising cost of attendance, the difficulty in getting films accepted (over 14,000 apply, about 100 get a premiere), and the ever-lowering percentage of films picked up for distribution are valid challenges for fest attendees, critics, and filmmakers. However, Sundance still one of the best games in town for female filmmakers and filmmakers of color. Of the first 82 narrative and documentary features announced by the fest, 47% were directed by filmmakers who identify as women, and 45% who identify as people of color.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 11, 2022: WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR

Eerie and melancholy, Jane Schoenbrun’s horror-tinged drama We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is both a coming-of-age story and an examination of teens’ use of media and technology. It’s not always easy to watch, but it’s also very hard to look away as main character Casey (Anna Cobb) gets caught up in a creepy online role-playing game whose boundaries and impact are problematic at best and extremely dangerous at worst.

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WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR – Review by Jennifer Merin

The horror-tinged minimalist psycho-drama. We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, is a first narrative feature from writer/director/editor Jane Schoenbrun, whose commitment to personal, art-driven cinema is evident in this slow burner — in some ways a teenage navel gaze — about a girl named Casey whose life is lived on and for the Internet via a disturbingly disconnecting (and self-destructive) Internet game/community — the name of which is the films title — with which she is obsessed and to which she is very vulnerable.

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WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

The Blair Witch Project meets Eighth Grade as writer, director, and editor Jane Schoenbrun’s We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is a sensitive though semi-creepy exploration of internet culture wrapped up in a coming-of-age tale that focuses on adolescent Casey (fab newcomer Anna Cobb), a shy girl in the boondocks who decides to take on the film’s titular on-line challenge in the middle of the night. When we first meet our young protagonist, she is alone save for her favorite stuffed monkey toy from her childhood during an eight-minute webcam shot as she faces her laptop screen on her desk amid her neon-lit attic bedroom. The movie relies on webcam perspective and smartphone shooting in many clever ways.

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WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR (Fantasia 2021) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Low-key, dark, and emphatically superb, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair flirts with the internet horror of films like the recent Zoom indie smash Host, but where that film stayed impressively loyal to its central formal conceit, Schoenbrun dazzles with this unrestrained foray well beyond the boundaries of any particular horror subgenre and into much more abstract terrain. Swirling around the plug hole of a digital abyss, we’re never sure what lies down the drain even after the film has ended, making it the rarest of gifts; a horror movie that becomes more disturbing the more you think about it, long after it has ended.

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WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR (Sundance2021) – Review by Pam Grady

A teenage girl living a troubled life in the real world seeks community and adventure in the titular online role-playing game in writer-director Jane Schoenbrun’s intriguing narrative feature debut. Ostensibly a horror movie in which a naïve kid immerses herself in a world that promises transformation, the real horror isn’t in the game but in the world the girl encounters whenever she leaves her bedroom.

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