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The 2023 edition of the sublime and subversive film fest Film Maudit 2.0 is coming, and it’s free to attend both in-person and virtually.

Film Maudit 2.0

The fourth edition of Film Maudit 2.0, a showcase and celebration of outré films, takes place in person at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, California, and online at The fest kicks off January 12th and will enjoy an extended run through February 11, 2023.

Inspired by French avant-garde filmmaker and writer Jean Cocteau who created the original Festival du Film Maudit (which translates literally to “cursed films”) in 1949, the festival aims to celebrate overlooked, shocking and experimental films.

Festival Artistic Director Patrick Kennelly had this to say about the important festival:

“There is a connecting spirit to all of the works in Film Maudit 2.0, each selected to engage a different facet of the cinematic imagination. These radical “cinema-sations” are guaranteed to entertain, challenge the mind, and shock the senses.”

This year, Film Maudit 2.0 will once again feature over 100 works of cinema from 25+ countries, including films rarely, if ever, seen in festivals.

The showcase includes works addressing socio-political issues and taboo subjects that challenge conventional artistic assumptions and sexual mores. 

The wide range of shorts, narrative, documentary, and experimental films selected are deliberately bold, extreme, confrontational, and unusual.

With its hybrid physical and virtual format, Film Maudit 2.0 is moving forward into the exciting future of the festival-going experience, breaking down an exclusivity that has previously marred the indie landscape and its films/filmmakers while at the same time allowing the participation and conversation of filmmakers across time-zones who wouldn’t have the ability to travel to festivals.

This dual power of both a theatrical experience and a streaming landscape for independent filmmakers allows local audiences to experience the richness of the live filmgoing experience with films that typically would not screen locally in such a context.

At the same time, it makes most of the films accessible to a wider national and international audience through an online portal.

Numerous films will be making their LA Premiere at the festival, including:

  • The surreal dystopian dream narrative out of the USA, AGATHA
  • The queer erotic thriller from Argentina, EL APEGO
  • The American horror absurdist/found footage/acid trip satire, ENDLESS CONTENT FOREVER
  • The American anthology film FAT FLESH FINGERS
  • The South Korean body horror film THE FIFTH THORACIC VERTEBRA
  • The Japanese action/gore film HOLY MOTHER
  • The surreal animated film from USA/Canada, INTERFACE
  • The puppet play JERK out of France
  • The darkly comic sci-fi-mystery LIFE OF MARKIKO IN KUBUKICHO  from Japan
  • The Belgium documentary about bizarro Belgium filmmaking, MAD IN BELGIUM
  • The surreal psychological drama from Germany, PIAFFE
  • The Austrian experimental horror/mockumentary RAZZENNEST
  • The Irish experimental fiction-documentary hybrid SURRENDER YOUR HORNS
  • The French documentary about noise music, TO WHOEVER WANTS TO LISTEN
  • The UK psychological thriller WILD BONES
  • The Belgium mixed-media dystopian sci-fi film ZERIA
  • The no-budget filmmaking documentary from USA, ZERO BUDGET HEROES: THE LEGEND OF CHRIS SEAVER & LOW BUDGET PICTURES

Short films from over 25 countries will be screened in 14 programs and shown before each feature film screening.


Additionally, a retrospective of writer/director Izzy Lees short film works will be featured on Saturday, January 14th, including her most recent wickedly funny short, Meat Friend. Lee — whose blend of genre, humor, and commentary in a strange, unique stew has led her to be named one of the A.V. Club’s 10 female filmmakers to hire (amongst other accolades) — will be in attendance.

On Wednesday, January 18th, festival attendees will be treated to a Jan Soldat Retrospective. Soldat is a German filmmaker whose over 100 mostly documentary works to date deal with the depiction of diverse sexual practices and preferences.

“Formally, my films have to do with closeness and distance. A scene from a distance has a certain dignity. It enables me to show the protagonists of my films as proud of themselves. My films are about authority, control, and power. It’s not just about dominance and submission, it’s also about being active and passive.” —Jan Soldat

In addition to the great film programming, attendees can also enjoy a wide range of featured artists performing live scores to accompany the screening of short films by the earliest pioneers of avant-garde cinema, including Man Ray, Han Richter, Paul Leni, Joris Ivens, Fernand Leger, Paul Strand & Charles Sheeler, and James Sibley Watson & Melville Webber.

Another standout part of the festival programming is the BEHOLD! Queer Film and Performance Series. Curated by Gina Young, Celeste Kamppila, Dino Dinco, and Juan Antonio Fernández, the series features performances and multiple feature and shorts programs that showcase works from and about the LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities spread over three curated categories.

Thanks to their very generous sponsors, the 2023 festival (both physical + virtual) will be Entirely FREE. So there’s no excuse to miss out on this provocative, diverse, and highly significant festival honoring bold, boundary-pushing, innovative artists and the rebellious spirit of indie/underground filmmaking. 

The full festival schedule and detailed descriptions can be found online at

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