The Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) opened its doors on Friday and has already resulted in an encouraging 11’000 entries (2018: 10,000). The 19th edition started off with the myriad young ones who attended KID’O’NIFFF before welcoming Oscar-winning actor Jean Dujardin (LE DAIM), who kickstarted this year’s festivities. National productions took centre stage at first, with the attendance of the talented Simon Jacquemet (DER UNSCHULDIGE) and the teams from the Swiss short films. For those who wanted something more exotic, there were invitations to travel to the sub-Saharan ideascape with producer Pierre-Alain Meier (HYENES). Columbian deflagration MONOS marked the Open Air audience for life under the gaze of its Swiss coproducers Dan Wechsler and Jamal Zeinal-Zade. The weekend concluded with the world premiere of creative madness JESUS SHOWS YOU THE WAY TO THE HIGHWAY from Miguel Llansó, in the presence of the film’s team. A magnetic start that works as an invitation to follow the rest of the festival with even more fervour.
LAUNCH OF NIFFF EXTENDED
Today is the start of NIFFF Extended, which will see a convergence of 60 international experts tasked with discussing the future of audiovisual productions. The Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology (Zürich University of the Arts) and the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences (University of Geneva) will get the ball rolling with the presentation of their ultra-technological invention, the IMMERSIVE LAB (08.07, 10:00). Weta Workshop, legendary studio known for designing entire universes, will present the new Greg Broadmore-led mixed reality game DR. GRORDBORT’S INVADERS (08.07, 14:00). The NIFFF Extended will go on throughout the week, notably through the eagerly anticipated conferences GLOBAL SCI-FIX VFX (09.07, 10:00) dedicated to the visual effects of Chinese blockbuster THE WANDERING EARTH, as well as the roundtable COMPUTER-GENERATED ACTORS (09.07, 11:45), which is self-explanatory.
COMPETITIONS ARE IN FULL SWING
More international guests will bless us with their presence beyond the first weekend. The New Cinema From Asia category will claim the lion’s share with the return of Miike Takashi (FIRST LOVE) and Korean director Lee Won-tae for his unstoppable actioner THE GANGSTER, THE COP, THE DEVIL. After Mike Ahern, Denis Côté and Lee Cronin, the International Competition will see more filmmakers coming to our shores, including Brazilian duo Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles with social satire BACURAU, visionary director Christian Volckman (THE ROOM) and New Zealander Ant Timpson (COME TO DADDY). The latter will present his directorial debut featuring an out-of-this-world Elijah Wood in an exhilarating cinematic experience.
SIGNING OF THE SWAN CHARTER FOR EQUALITY AND INCLUSION
The NIFFF is the first genre film festival to sign the SWAN charter for equality and inclusion in film festivals, which stemmed from the Swiss Women’s Audiovisual Network association. Those who will make history are Nathalie Randin (future NIFFF president), Anaïs Emery (General Director of the NIFFF), as well as Gabriel Baur, Laura Kaehr and Stéphane Mitchell (co-presidents of SWAN). Also in attendance will be Annick Mahnert, the event’s patron. The signing will take place in the evening. Mahnert, an acquisition consultant, programmer for various prestigious festivals, development specialist and former collaborator of the NIFFF, is a reference of the new generation of fantasy cinema.