1) Showcasing horror that’s directed, written or produced by women. 2) Carving out a space for female visions in horror. 3) Highlighting underrepresented voices: queer, non-binary, and POC filmmakers.
After success with the first outing in February, Final Girls is back after just four months! Cranking up the feminist fear factor at Kino Moviemento, June 9-11 is our very own Eli Lewy, indieBerliner and festival producer.
Berlin has its fair share of genre fests and, like most genre fests, they are dominated by male filmmakers.
It’s a pretty niche theme – how did you stumble across it?
All three of us co-directors, Sara Neidorf, Lara Mandelbrot, and myself, have been avid horror fans since early childhood. It’s quite embarrassing to say now, but I remember watching Candyman when I was 9 years old, far too young of course, and being too scared to fall asleep for 3 whole months. Instead of being turned off by horror for good, I was fascinated by how a film could affect me so deeply and this fascination has persisted to this day.
We were inspired to launch the festival by the Women in Horror Month initiative (http://www.womeninhorrormonth.com/) which is in its 8th year by now.
Why does Berlin need Final Girls film festival?
Berlin has its fair share of genre festivals and, like most genre fests, they are dominated by male filmmakers. Looking at many of their past programs, it would be easy to think that women barely make horror films, but that’s simply not the case!
Final Girls Berlin Film Festival June Trailer from Final Girls Berlin on Vimeo.
What are the most exciting things on the menu?
There are so many things! We are honored to be able to show 3 fantastic features. WOMEN WHO KILL, directed by Ingrid Jungermann, is a queer dark comedy that hasn’t been released in Germany yet, XX is a female-led anthology film that was all the rage at this year’s Sundance festival, and Marina de Van’s IN MY SKIN is a creepy gem from about 15 years ago and we look forward to exposing a new audience to it.
We also have a lot singular and genre-defying shorts that we’re very excited about – and some really interesting talks as well!
Can horror and feminism go together?
Of course! Even though horror has a long history of sexism, with women often relegated to the passive victim role, there are lots of exciting ways to subvert these tropes. Horror films are directly tied to the world we live in, it’s a manifestation of our everyday fears. I think making horror is a way to process these fears creatively and so it’s a genre filled with potential.
There are horror films that express feminist fantasies and fears in poignant, new ways like Jennifer Kent tackling the complexities of motherhood in The Babadook or Marina de Van showing how soul-deadening it can be to try and “have it all” in IN MY SKIN. Horror is fertile ground for feminist film-making.
What is your most ambitious dream for this festival?
We have just begun so it’s hard to say. We are happy that we got this off the ground, first of all! We would love Final Girls Berlin Film Festival to keep growing and perhaps tour around the world, like Fantasia Festival’s “Born of Woman” program (http://www.fantasiafestival.com/2016/en/films-schedule/304/born-of-woman). Another long-term plan would be to focus on supporting filmmakers and offering workshops and the like.
Distil the entire message of this festival into one sentence.
Women are making great horror films and they should be seen – and we want to encourage the audience to make films too!
You can follow the festival on its official facebook event or twitter page. But if you turn up at Kine Moviemento between 9-11 June, you can’t really go wrong.
Festival trailer: https://vimeo.com/212989587