NIFFF 2021: A PROMISING FIRST WEEKEND
The Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) just went through a positive opening weekend with a total of 7,007 tickets sold over the first three days (10,000 in 2019), including 6’129 physical and 878 online. These attendance levels are stable and expected given the health measures currently in place (two thirds of max. venue capacity). If anything, they highlight, once again, the amazing loyalty of our audience. The celebrations for our 20th edition, launched by Federal Councillor Alain Berset, marked the return of the festival in a hybrid format which combines our traditional venues with an innovative online section. This never-seen-before format offers many opportunities to get into a rich programme. The Fantastic Quiz on the NIFFF app, conceived in collaboration with the RTS, is an audience favourite with 3,000 daily participants. The festival will keep going until its closing ceremony, Saturday 10th July, when TEDDY will have its Swiss premiere on our screens.
The first highlights of the international competition took place this weekend with the remote intervention of Filipino director Dodo Dayao who introduced the international premiere of the dark MIDNIGHT IN A PERFECT WORLD, as well as that of Brazilian director Renata Pinheiro and writer Sérgio Oliveira, who explained the political dimension of their dystopia KING CAR. The President of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Martin Vetterli, generously introduced the films from his carte blanche, thus creating fertile connections between science and fiction. Many of the filmmakers from the Swiss shorts competition were also present in Neuchâtel to celebrate the premiere of their work. The weekend culminated with the celebrations of the NIFFF 20th EDITION through two roundtables and a series of cartes blanches that explored the inception and the strong artistic identity of the festival, ending with the presentation at the Open Air of the anniversary book NIFFF 2000 – 2020 : RÉPERTOIRE D’IMAGINAIRES (which can be purchased at the festival until July 10th).
Presentation of the anniversary book © Miguel Bueno, NIFFF 2021
THE INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION INVADES THE SCREENS
The members of the international jury – President Sylvie Lainé, Mona Chollet, Fabien Mauro, Daria Woszek, and Mathieu Turi – have embarked on their quest for the next H.R. Giger Narcisse recipient (CHF 10,000 from the City Neuchâtel). Some of the screenings come with an intervention from our guests. Swedish director Frida Kempff will call in from Stockholm to chat with the audience after the screening of KNOCKING (06.07, 9 p.m.), while Hungarian filmmaker Péter Bergendy will introduce POST MORTEM in person (07.07, 6:30 p.m.). Swiss filmmaker Tim Fehlbaum will present the international premiere of his event sci-fi film TIDES (09.07, 7 p.m. & 10.07, 3:30 p.m.). Films from the international competition compete for the Silver Méliès for best European fantastic feature film, and for the RTS Audience award, the winner of which is elected by festival-goers on the NIFFF app.
International jury © Miguel Bueno, NIFFF 2021
THE NIFFF EXTENDED HAS STARTED MAKING THE CITY BUZZ
Our series of conferences and discussions that explore the stakes of the fantasy genre and the audiovisual formats, NIFFF EXTENDED, started on Monday with two roundtables dedicated to major poles of digital creation: Taiwan and Québec. All our conferences can be watched on our website. Today, SFX expert Volker Engel, who won an Oscar in 1997 for INDEPENDENCE DAY, will share his memories of working on 1998 GODZILLA (06.07, 10:30 a.m.). Two representatives from Polish studio Juice will present the benefits of the Trioscope, an innovative animation technology that combines live-action shots with digital effects (06.07, 2 p.m.). Another upcoming highlight is the discussion between pioneer Jean-Jacques Lagrange (TEMPS MORT) and archivist Didier Bufflier (Restorer and manager, ArchiveLab, RTS, CH). Together they will talk about the incursions of Télévision Suisse Romande into science fiction from the 1960s to the 1980s.
Talk HOW FANTASTIC FILMS CONQUERED THE WORLD © Etienne Grandjean, NIFFF 2021