The Ithaca Fantastik festival is a ten day film, art, and music festival that takes place in Ithaca, New York. The “fantastic” dwells in that unsettling terrain between the uncanny and the marvelous, a place where both supernatural and natural causes mix. Each year, the event programmers carefully curate and review submissions to bring the most exciting and intriguing, mind-bending, beautiful, and flat out weird films from domestic and international filmmakers to fans.
Initially founded as a three-day film festival in 2012, it has evolved, mutated, and grown a few new limbs… adding art shows with local and International creative minds, a concert series with Ithaca Underground, live Q&As with filmmakers and teams, and after parties where film talk and thoughtful debate go on late into the night.
This year’s festival, which kicks off today, Friday, October 26th, and runs through Sunday, November 4th, is packed with an incredible line of the best genre programming.
The festival looks for challenging new voices, inspiring visuals, thought-provoking subject matter, and—of course—films that are just fun as hell.
This year, Ithaca Fantastik brings dread and mayhem to upstate NY with the the East Coast Premieres of the new restoration of berserk wild ride WHITE FIRE and Olivier Afonso’s gruesome French insanity GIRLS WITH BALLS, with Victor Danell’s Swedish war drama THE UNTHINKABLE closing out the fest.
The 2018 program includes the highly acclaimed and award-winning MY NAME IS MYEISHA by Gus Krieger and Daniel Goldhaber’s electrifying CAM. Notable IF alum Perry Blackshear returns following his 2015 psychological horror hit They Look Like People with an eerie and out-of-this-world fable THE RUSALKA.
Forging ahead with their mission to bring audiences the best fantastic and vanguard movies from around the world, the IF team presents Quentin Dupieux’s newest work KEEP AN EYE OUT! (Au Poste!), an uproariously absurd piece of cinema as only the maker of the fondly remembered tire-on-a-rampage comedy RUBBER could deliver.
You should also keep an eye out (wink wink!) for the Cannes critics week winner DIAMANTINO, directed by Abrantes and Schmidt, with its layers of magical realism and social commentary seen through the eyes of the titular character—a star footballer who sees giant fluffy puppies surrounded by a pink mist… but only when he’s ready to score!
Aaron Schimberg’s NYC indie festival fav CHAINED FOR LIFE challenges the perception of the viewer by creating a cinematic meta-reality where the notion of image and personality is blurred against the backdrop of a horror movie set. Kalik Allah’s BLACK MOTHER will take you on an anthropological journey into Jamaica to reveal a tale that is truly larger than life.
Following their academy award winning film EMBRACE THE SERPENT, Gallego and Guerra are back with BIRDS OF PASSAGE (Pájaros de Verano), which depicts tribal life and the destruction of the social fabric of 1970s la Guaija, Colombia as the drug trade begins in South America.
A pitch perfect statement on our narcissistic Western society Alexandros Avranas’s LOVE ME NOT, on par with the best work from Lanthimos, but without the fluff, promises to punch you in the guts with its foreboding and uncompromising premise.
Incorporating similar visual language, Nicolas Pesce’s sophomore film PIERCING offers a colorful descent into the deranged mind that excites the senses while shocking the heart with its unflinching bleakness.
Yann Gonzales continues to awe and impress audiences with his formidable second feature KNIFE+HEART (shot on 35mm), the ultimate modern-day Giallo with the alluring setting of the 70s Paris pornography scene. Similarly, Japanese ‘geki-mation’ pioneer Ujicha delivers more of his unique animation blend of child-like innocence and ultra-violence in his own highly stylized second film, VIOLENCE VOYAGER!
Cinema Pur is back with one of the festival’s strongest vanguard-focused programs to date, adding Joel Potrykus’ latest niche nostalgia nerd-fest RELAXER and A.T. White’s spellbinding debut STARFISH.
Another big highlight of this year’s programming is the horror comedy and International festival midnighter darling, ONE CUT OF THE DEAD.
Ithaca Fantastik also features four massive blocks of shorts: GASP! The Horror!, WTFantastik!, Light+/-Dark Shorts, and the very special Eyeslicer Halloween Special—a curation of the weirdest, wackiest, spookiest American indie shorts from NYC producers Dan Schoenbrun and Vanessa McDonnell.
Although Halloween come to an end halfway through the fest, it doesn’t mean attendees won’t enjoy plenty of tricks and treats throughout. Our friends at Vinegar Syndrome will be showing a ravishing restoration of RAW FORCE followed by the heisteriffic chainsaw fight that is WHITE FIRE. Plus, don’t miss your chance to revel in exploitation with the popular event DRUNKEN CINEMA — a celebration of B-Movie filmmaking paired with a pint of beer.
Finally, festival goers will have the unique opportunity to dive into the world of AR/VR, entering six chilling experiences, such as the award-winning DINNER PARTY and Alexandre’s Aja’s CAMPFIRE CREEPERS.