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The Final Girls Berlin Film Festival Announces Stacked Lineup of Features, Shorts, and Inspiring Programming — Feb. 3-6, 2022.

The Final Girls Berlin Film Festival (FGBFF) is thrilled to convene once again in the flesh in Berlin for their 7th edition, running  February 3 – 6th, 2022.

The festival is Berlin’s premier showcase of horror films made by women (female-identifying) and non-binary filmmakers. The fest returns to City Kino Wedding for their full program of feature films, short blocks, talks by international horror specialists, and a retro screening.

In addition to the live line-up, FGBFF will offer most of their short film programs online for worldwide on-demand access during the festival.

This year’s festival will feature the German Premieres of HELLBENDER, YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER, And GOOD MADAM — along with much more stellar content.

Though we sadly can’t make it to Berlin to attend this incredible festival in person, we are thrilled to be taking part virtually this year and can’t wait to bring you lots of great coverage. The lineup has us incredibly pumped, and there’s a great selection of must-see films and special events.

Watch the festival trailer below and read on for some of the festival highlights and what we’re most excited about. 

FEATURES

Good Madam

WE ARE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR – Berlin Premiere

Dir. Jane Schoenbrun, USA, 2021

“I want to go to the World’s Fair. I want to go to the World’s Fair. I want to go to the World’s Fair.” Say it three times into your computer camera. Prick your finger, draw some blood, and smear it on the screen. Now press play on the video. They say that once you’ve seen it, the changes begin… In a small town, a shy and isolated teenage girl (Anna Cobb in a stunning feature debut) becomes immersed in an online role-playing game, wherein she begins to document the changes that may or may not be happening to her.

HELLBENDER – German Premiere

Dirs. Toby Poser, Zelda Adams & John Adams, USA 2021

A mother and daughter live in the middle of nowhere, relying only on each other. Teenager Izzy spends most of her time in nature and her home studio rocking out with her mom. Her mother doesn‘t want Izzy to go near anyone else – for fear of disaster. Is this maternal overprotectiveness, or is there something supernatural at play? This witchy coming-of-age film directed by the Adams family (mother Toby Poser, daughter Zelda Adams, and husband/father John Adams) is a thrilling and emotional ride exploring family dynamics, the changeability of identity, and notions of power.

HERE BEFORE – Berlin Premiere

Dir. Stacey Gregg, UK, 2021

When a new family moves in next door, their young daughter, Megan, quickly captivates Laura (played to paranoid perfection by Andrea Riseborough), stirring up painful memories of her own daughter who died several years previously. Before long, Laura’s memories turn to obsession as Megan’s unsettling behavior begins to convince her of something supernatural. As Laura’s determination to get to the bottom of it becomes all-consuming, her family begins to fracture and the line between the extraordinary and the real becomes ever more obscured in this haunting story about a mother’s love.

You Are Not My Mother

YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER – German Premiere

Dir. Kate Dolan, Ireland, 2021

It’s the week before Halloween and Char’s mother, Angela, has inexplicably disappeared. All that remains is her abandoned car. When she returns home without explanation the following evening, it becomes clear to Char and her grandmother, Rita, that something is amiss. She might look and sound the same but Angela’s behavior has become increasingly frightening as if she has been replaced by a malevolent force. When Halloween arrives, a night steeped in ancient myth and legend, Char realizes that she is the only one who can save her, even if it means potentially losing her forever.

KNOCKING

Dir. Frida Kempff, Sweden, 2021

Molly, a woman who has just experienced a traumatic incident, is unnerved by a haunting knocking sound from upstairs in her new apartment building. As the noises become more desperate and increasingly sound like cries for help, she confronts her neighbors but seems to be the only one that can hear them. In an unsettling quest for truth, Molly soon realizes that no one believes her and begins to question if she even believes herself – a realization that is perhaps even more chilling.

GOOD MADAM – German Premiere

Dir. Jenna Cato Bass, South Africa, 2021

Tsidi, a single mother, is forced to move in with her estranged mother Mavis, a live-in domestic worker caring obsessively for her catatonic white ‘Madam’. As Tsidi tries to heal her family however, a sinister specter begins to stir.

KISSED

Dir. Lynne Stopkewich, Canada, 1996

Sandra is attracted to primary post-mortem. Death is something she wants to get close to. In her quest, Sandra lands a job at the local funeral parlor. So begins her initiation into the funeral industry and the hidden world of undertaking. While studying embalming, she meets Matt (Peter Outerbridge), a lonely intense medical student.  Faced with Matt’s mounting obsession and conventional notions of love, sex, and death, Sara finds that sometimes there is a way of crossing over.

SHORT FILM PROGRAMS

1. SOCIAL ILLS

The Goldfish

  • The Goldfish — Dir. Ashley Paige Brim, USA, 2021
  • She Whistles — Dir.  Thirza Cuthand, Canada, 2021
  • Smile — Dir. Joanna Tsanis, Canada, 2021
  • Dedication — Dir. Selina Sondermann, Germany, 2021
  • The Expected — Dir. Carolina Sandvik, Sweden, 2021
  • Beta Male — Dir.  Marianne Chase, UK, 2021

2. WRATH

Massacre

  • Dana — Dir. Lucia Forner Segarra, Spain, 2021
  • Menarca — Dir. Lillah Halla, Brazil, 2020
  • Fire Season — Dir. Jacqueline Kramer, USA, 2021
  • Watcher — Dir. Meg Swertlow, USA, 2021
  • Massacre — Dir. Maïté Sonnet, France, 2019

3. MEDICAL HORROR

Freya

  • Our First Priority — Dir.  Ariel Baska, USA, 2021
  • Occupational Hazard — Dir. Ursula Ellis, USA, 2021
  • Freya — Dir. Camille Hollett-French, Canada, 2020
  • They Called Me David — Dir. Lindsay Hallam, UK, 2021
  • Hysteria — Dir. Jenna Payne, USA, 2021
  • The Living — Dir.  Cleo Handler, USA, 2021
  • Updated — Dir.  Nivi Pedersen, Greenland, 2021

4. ENVY

Sister

  • Red is the Color of Beauty — Dir. Beck Kitsis, USA, 2021
  • Inch Thick Knee Deep — Dir. Anatasha Blakely, USA, 2021
  • Hannya — Dir. Eva Muñoz, France, 2021
  • Sister — Dir. Mikaela Bruce, Spain, 2020
  • Girls Night In — Dir. Alison Roberto, USA, 2021
  • Murderers Prefer Blondes — Dirs. Mika Bar On Nesher & Mary Neely, USA, 2021

5. QUEER HORROR

Gay Teen Werewolf

  • Gay Teen Werewolf — Dir. Andy Rose Fidoten, USA, 2020
  • Itch — Dir. Susannah Farrugia, UK/Malta, 2021
  • Protection Spell — Dir. Maren Moreno, USA, 2021
  • Sundown Town — Dir. Mylo Butler, Produced by Tamia Bailey & Yajarrah Paul, USA, 2021
  • The Cost of Living — Dir. Alice Trueman, UK, 2021
  • Bitten, A Tragedy — Dir. Monika Estrella Negra, USA, 2021
  • New Flesh for the Old Ceremony — Dir. Elizabeth Rakhilkina, USA, 2020
  • MonsterDykë — Dir. Kaye Adelaide & Mariel Scammel, Canada, 2021

6. MIDNIGHT

Crafty Witch

  • Verified — Dir. Ali Chappell, Canada, 2021
  • ARM — Dir. Jill Worsely, UK 2021
  • It Came From the Kitchen! — Dir. Jessica Salgado, USA, 2021
  • Young Forever — Dir. Stevie Szerlip, USA, 2021
  • Victim No.6 — Dir. Nancy Menagh, USA, 2021
  • Posted No Hunting — Dir. Alisa Stern, USA, 2021
  • Crafty Witch — Dir. Laura-Beth Cowley, UK, 2021
  • Death Valley — Dir. Grace Sloan, USA, 2021
  • Visitors — Dir. Kenichi Ugana, Produced by WATANABE, Japan, 2021

7. GLUTTONY

Demon Juice

  • Ghoul Log — Dir. Christine Pfister, USA, 2019
  • Three Ways to Dine Well — Dir. Alison Peirse, UK, 2021
  • Demon Juice — Dir. Shannon Brown, USA, 2021
  • Binge and Purgatory — Dir. Rebecca Kozak, USA, 2021
  • Misophonia — Dir. Julianna Robinson, USA, 2021
  • Such Small Hands — Dir. Maria Martínez Bayona, UK, 2020

8. MENACING PRESENCES

Piece by Piece

  • Sleep Without A Dream — Dirs. Prudence Njeri & Benji Irwin, Canada, 2021
  • Inheritance — Dir. Annalise Lockhart, USA, 2021
  • Brackish — Dir. Christa Boarini, USA, 2021
  • Housekreeping — Dir. Kyle Dunbar, Written and Produced by Rebecca Callender, Canada, 2021
  • Piece by Piece — Dir.Chloé Sirois, Canada, 2021
  • Sudden Light — Dir. Sophie Littman, UK, 2021
  • Cloud — Dir. Joséphine Darcy Hopkins, France, 2020

TALKS & WORKSHOPS

May Santiago

QUEER AUTHORSHIP, SPECTATORSHIP, GAZE, AND SENSIBILITY

Lecture by May Santiago, adjunct professor at George Mason University

In “Queer Authorship, Spectatorship, Gaze, & Sensibility in Horror,” May Santiago examines the use of queer bodies in horror films, specifically in how horror films differ in context when the author (director and/or writer) is queer or non-queer. She will also track how the use of queer bodies and queerness has been used in horror films — from The Old Dark House (1932) to Knife+Heart (2017). Finally, she will propose the idea of a queer sensibility, where queer authors in the horror genre infuse their films that star non-queer leads with a certain brand of queerness.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN HORROR FANZINE

Workshop by artists Nessa Finnegan and Eloise Leigh

In this 90-minute workshop, we will use the DIY format of zines to explore the alternative subcultures and obsessions of the horror community through “Top 5” horror-related prompts. There will be a brief history of zines and how historically they’ve been used to communicate alternative perspectives in horror and feminism. You will make your own 8-page zine using paper and collage-making techniques. All materials will be provided, and everyone is welcome. Witches too.

FREAKS, MONSTERS & VILLAINS – WHO’S AFRAID OF THE UGLY?

Lecture by writer and filmmaker Ervehea Ceji 

Originating from the Old Norse ‘ugglig’, meaning ‘to be feared or dreaded’, the term ‘ugly’ is now mostly used as an antonym for ‘beautiful’. Imagining the horror genre without elements of ‘the ugly’ seems almost impossible, as ugliness, often perceived as something disgusting and repulsive, forms the aesthetical basis for the horrors of the genre. In this talk, we are going to explore how ‘the ugly’ is represented in the horror genre by applying an intersectional feminist perspective. We will examine how sexism, racism, ableism, and classism still provide continuities within the idea of the ugly and, thus, in the horror genre itself.

BLOODY WOMEN! BOOK LAUNCH

Q&A with author Victoria McCollum, senior lecturer at Ulster University and filmmaker Aislinn Clarke

Join us for the European launch of Bloody Women! Women Directors of Horror, a new book dedicated to women who have played an integral part of horror cinema, as creators, consumers, and critics, from the very start – shaping and supporting what horror cinema is. This launch will include a discussion about the original and timely content of the new book; a screening of an award-winning short horror film written and directed by one of the authors; and a Q&A with McCollum and Clarke on the subject of ‘Bloody Women’.

BLACK WOMEN IN HORROR PANEL — BITCHES, BABES, AND BADASSES: EXPLORING BLACK FINAL GIRLS IN HORROR HISTORY

Lecture by archivist and historian Adia Cullors

In this lecture, Adia Cullors will discuss the unique and overlooked role of Black final girls in horror history. With their origins in 1970’s Blaxploitation, Black final girls are often depicted as being highly sexual, strong, matriarchial, and altruistic. Over the past fifty years, these women have evolved to become mainstays of high-profile Black horror films. So long as Black women have been survivors in horror they have also been targets for biting critique and controversy surrounding who should control the role of Black womanhood on screen. Using archival film reviews and opinions pieces this talk will discuss not only how Black women have evolved on the horror screen but also how, over the past fifty years, that evolution has been shaped, challenged, and embraced by Black audiences and critics.

MOTHERS, LOVERS, AND OTHERS: AN EXAMINATION OF BLACK FEMALE CHARACTERS IN HORROR FILMS

Lecture by Stoker Award™ nominated writer Rhonda Jackson Joseph

This lecture is an interdisciplinary examination of varying depictions of Black women in horror films through the lenses of gender, film, and cultural studies. The analysis is rooted in the oppositional gaze as introduced by Bell Hooks and the male gaze coined by Laura Mulvey and will explore how many experiences of Black women in film are horrific and nuanced.

VAMPIRE WITCH SISTAHS

Lecture by Tira Adams, host of the Mistress of the Imaginarium show

This talk will take us on tour through history, from the blues lyrics where The Conjure Woman first shows up to films like SCREAM, BLACULA, SCREAM (1974), THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW (1988), EVE’S BAYOU (1997), and LEMONADE (2016), ending with television shows like TRUE BLOOD (2008 – 2014), and AMERICAN GODS in order to highlight how these women evolved from only occupying the space of the feared communal outcast to being embraced for their feminist ideals, all the while taking viewers on an emotional journey that often ends in self-fulfillment.

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