The FINAL GIRLS BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL is excited to present its 8th edition, with a full line-up including eight feature films, ten short blocks, and a series of horror-related events led by international genre specialists. The program sheds light on, among other things, the horrors and pleasures of youth, aging, gender, intimacy, and queerness. The festival will run from February 1-5, 2023 – a day longer than usual! – at City Kino Wedding and will include a virtual component.
Committed to showcasing work by women* and non-binary horror filmmakers, the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival has been listed as one of MovieMaker Magazine’s Top 50 Genre Festivals in the World and named among Dread Central’s The Best Horror Festivals in the World.
RAQUEL 1:1 – Berlin premiere
Written and directed by Mariana Bastos, Brazil, 2022
Starring: Priscilla Bittencourt, Emílio de Mello, Valentina Herszage
After losing her mother in tragic circumstances, Raquel, a religious teenager, moves with her father to a small town in the countryside of Brazil to start over. Quickly, she makes friends with a group of evangelical girls from a local church, deepening into her spirituality and the pain of her profound traumas. During her first days in the new town, she also experiences a mysterious spiritual awakening where she’s given an important and controversial mission involving rewriting the Bible. With support from some and resentment from others, Raquel tries hard to find balance within a disturbing spiral of faith, reason, and madness.
Written and directed by Hanna Bergholm, Finland, 2021
Starring: Siiri Solaninna, Sophia Heikkilä
In HATCHING, 12-year-old gymnast Tinja is desperate to please her image obsessed mother, whose popular blog ‘Lovely Everyday Life’ presents their family’s idyllic existence as manicured suburban perfection. One day, after finding a wounded bird in the woods, Tinja brings its strange egg home, nestles it in her bed, and nurtures it until it hatches. The creature that emerges becomes her closest friend and a living nightmare, plunging Tinja beneath the impeccable veneer into a twisted reality that her mother refuses to see.
POLARIS – German Premiere
Written and directed by Kirsten Carthew, Canada, 2022
Starring Viva Lee, Muriel Dutil, Charlene Abraham
Set in 2101, against the backdrop of a subarctic wasteland, Sumi, a human-child raised by a polar bear, narrowly escapes capture from a brutal “Morad” hunting party. When Sumi stumbles across “Frozen Girl,” an unlikely friendship is forged. Together they race ahead of the vindictive hunters towards the only guiding light Sumi knows, the Polaris star.
Directed by Michelle Garza Cervera, co-written by Michelle Garza Cervera & Abia Castillo, Mexico, 2022
Starring: Natalia Solián, Alfonso Dosal, Mayra Batalla
Valeria’s joy at becoming pregnant with her first child is quickly taken away when she’s cursed by a sinister entity. As danger closes in and relationships with her family become fractured, she’s forced deeper into a chilling world of dark magic that threatens to consume her. A group of witches emerge that could be her only hope for safety and salvation, but not without grave risk.
Co-directed and co-written by Hannah Barlow & Kane Senes, Australia, 2022
Starring: Aisha Dee, Hannah Barlow, Emily De Margheriti
Cecilia has perfected her online persona, doling out self-care advice with easy confidence to her many social media followers and seemingly having it all together. However, the truth is, her offline life is a mess. When she bumps into her childhood best friend Emma, Emma spontaneously invites her to her bachelorette party in a remote cabin. Cecilia reluctantly agrees to come in the hope of reconnecting and that’s where the trouble really begins…
Written and directed by Ann Turner, Australia, 1989
Starrig: Rebecca Smart, Nicholas Eadie, Victoria Longley
This is Melbourne, Australia, 1957 seen through the frighteningly clear window of a child’s eyes. When Celia’s next door neighbors are hounded out of town for their political beliefs and her beloved rabbit is taken by the government in a state-wide muster, her world is threatened and Celia learns that she must either give in or fight back. She fights back.
NIGHTMARE — German Premiere
Written and directed by Kjersti Helen Rasmussen, Norway, 2022
Starring: Eili Harboe, Herman Tømmeraas, Dennis Storhøi
Mona and Robby are a young couple in love.Robby has just landed his dream job, and they’ve scored an amazing deal on a spacious, if run-down, apartment. Never mind that it requires quite a bit of renovation. Never mind the neighbors’ constant fighting, and screaming baby…never mind that Mona is suddenly plagued by night terrors which grow more intense every time she falls asleep…Robby is eager to start a family, despite Mona’s hesitation. Eventually, Mona’s issues spiral dangerously out of control as she becomes convinced that she is being attacked by a mythical demon – the Mare – intent on possessing her unborn child.
Directed by Chloe Okuno, co-written by Chloe Okuna & Zach Ford, US/UAE/Romania 2022
Starring: Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman, Burn Gorman
A young American woman moves with her husband to Bucharest, and begins to suspect that a stranger who watches her from the apartment building across the street may be a local serial killer decapitating women.
SHORT FILM PROGRAMS
I. FEMALE PACTS
ALL GIRLS, Dir. Anastasia Bruce-Jones, UK, 2022 – German Premiere
BLOOD RITES, Dir. Helena Coan, UK 2022 – German Premiere
SABBATH, Dir. Alexandra Mignien, France, 2022 – German Premiere
SOUTERRAINES (ROOTED), Dir. Andrea Lejault, France, 2022
HUELLA, Dir. Gabriela Ortega, US, 2022 – German Premiere
NO MAN’S LAND, Dir. Kristen Buckels, US, 2022
II. BODY HORROR
SWALLOW, Dir. Mai Nakanishi, Japan, 2022, German Premiere
FIRST BLOOD, Dir. Olivia Loccisano, Canada, 2022, European Premiere
SHLOP, Dirs. Luna Déléani, Noee Zahavy & Camilla Hoffmeister, Switzerland, 2022
VIOLET DAZE, Dir. Marisa Martin, Australia, 2022, German Premiere
LEGS, Dir. Celine Cotran, UK, 2022, German Premiere
LOVE IS A FIRE, Dir. Sofie Somoroff, US, 2022, European Premiere
IN THE FLESH, Dir. Daphne Gardner, US, 2022, German Premiere
III. MENACING PRESENCES
L’APPEL (THE CALL), Dir. Camila Novais, Canada, 2022
MIDNIGHT VISITOR, Dir. Abby Brenker, US, 2022, German Premiere
SLEEP STUDY, Dir. Natalie Metzger, US, 2022
DESHABITADA, Dir. Camila Donoso, Chile, 2021
IT’S NOT REAL, Dir. Tina Carbone, US, 2022, European Premiere
GLITCH, Dir. Rebecca Berrih, US, 2022
NIGHT WORK, Dir. Savannah Hunter-Reeves, US, 2022
MUDMONSTER, Dir. O.B. de Alessi, Italy, 2021, German Premiere
KNIT ONE, STAB TWO, Written and directed by Alison Peirse, UK, 2022, European Premiere
IV. CLOSE TO HOME
EVERYBODY GOES TO THE HOSPITAL, Dir. Tiffany Kimmel, US, 2022, German Premiere
MERAH BAWANG PUTIH (SHALLOTS & GARLIC) — Dir. Andrea Nirmala Widjajanto, Indonesia/Canada, 2022, European Premiere
THE FORFEIT — Dir. Lily Donnelly, UK, 2022, German Premiere
ETHEL — Dir. Beatrice Jäggi, Switzerland, 2022, German Premiere
SEAFOAM — Dir. Izzy Stevens, US, 2022, European Premiere
SCOOTER — Dir. Chelsea Lupkin, US, 2022
WHITE DEVIL — Dir. Mariama Diallo & Benjamin Dickinson, US, 2021, German Premiere
HELL GIG, Dir. Ella Gale, US, 2022, German Premiere
SUCKER, Dir. Alix Austin, UK, 2022
YOU’RE MY BEST FRIEND, Dir. Chell Stephen, US, 2022, World Premiere
APPENDAGE, Written and directed by Anna Zlokovic, US, 2022, German Premiere
KID FREE WEEKEND, Written and directed by Rozalyn Mattocks, US, 2022, European Premiere
MANTRA, Dir. Stef Meyer & Pascal Bourelier, France, 2022, German Premiere
FISHWIFE, Dir. Beth Park, UK, 2022, German Premiere
VI. BODILY AUTONOMY
LA ANTESALA (THE ANTEROOM) — Dir. Elisa Puerto Aubel, Spain, 2022, German Premiere
YUMMY MUMMY — Dir. Gabriela Staniszewska, UK, 2022, German Premiere
MARKED— Dir. Catherine Bonny, Australia, 2022, German Premiere
SLEEP — Dir. Alexandra Pechman, US, 2022, German Premiere
LICHEMOTH, Dir. Carla Nichamin, US, 2022, German Premiere
SANGUE NERO, Written and directed by Ophélie Nève, Belgium, 2021, German Premiere
VII. QUEER HORROR
PLASTIC TOUCH, Dir. Aitana Ahrens, Spain, 2022, German Premiere
FOREVER & EVER, Dir. Xavier Hamel, Co-written by Esther Zeilig & Xavier Hamel, US, 2022, European Premiere
APOSTASY, Dir. Siobhan Paterson, Australia, 2022
RICOCHET, Co-directed and co-written by Daviel Shy & Valerie Whitehawk, US, 2022
IT TAKES A VILLAGE, Dir. Glam Hag, US, 2022, European Premiere
DON’T GO WHERE I CAN’T FIND YOU, Dir. Rioghnach Ni Ghrioghair, Ireland, 2021
VIOLET BUTTERFIELD: MAKEUP ARTIST FOR THE DEAD, Dir. Brooke Edler, US, 2022, European Premiere
HUNDEFREUND (DOGFRIEND), Dir. Maissa Lihedheb, Germany, 2022
CHICKS, Dir. Geena Hernandez, US, 2022, German Premiere
VAMPIRE STRAW, Dir. Marianne Chase and Emily Taylor, UK, 2022
MEAT FRIEND, Dir. Izzy Lee, US, 2022, German Premiere
SHE’S KILLING IT, Dir. Jamie Rice & Nicole Machon, US, 2022, European Premiere
BIG WEEKEND PLANS, Dir. Tesha Kondrat, US, 2022, German Premiere
MAYBE YOU SHOULD BE CAREFUL, Written and directed by Megan Robinson, US, 2022, European Premiere
WILD BITCH, Dirs. Kate Nash & Rebekka Johnson, US, 2022, German Premiere
INCH BY INCH, Dir. Karolina Esqueda, US, 2022
THE PROMOTION, Dir. Kate Espada, US, 2022
IX. YOUNG ‘N DEADLY
AMYGDALA, Written, directed, and produced by Maria Hatzakou, Greece, 2022
SPELL ON YOU, Dir. Sarah Lasry, France, 2022, German Premiere
LALANNA’S SONG, Dir. Megha Ramaswamy, India, 2022, European Premiere
THE CHRISTENING, Dir. Molly Scotti, US, 2022, European Premiere
HIAMA, Dir. Matasila Freshwater, Solomon Islands, 2021
X. HIGH TENSION
YOU WILL SEE, Dir. Kathleen Bu, Singapore, 2022, European Premiere
FACE NOT RECOGNIZED. TRY AGAIN., Dir. The Also Sisters, Spain, 2022
NEITHER SUN NOR SHADE, Dir. Talia Hernando, Spain, 2022
KICKSTART MY HEART, Dir. Kelsey Bollig, US, 2022, German Premiere
UNES (BOND), Dir. Kam Duv, France, 2022, World Premiere
PHANTASMAGORIA, Dir. Alejandro Mathe, co-written by Alejandro Mathe & Anna Weber, Produced by Anna Weber, Germany, 2022, German Premiere
Led by Isabella Koban
Just like the world of horror cinema, Tarot can inspire and reveal deeper meanings within us, and act as a powerful tool for unlocking subconscious desires. Part of this power comes from the art itself, and during this workshop you will be harnessing the symbolism of Tarot to design your very own card. Each attendee to this workshop will be given a specially designed Tarot card template to collage, draw, paint and embellish, with guidance on symbolism and style. All materials will be provided, and no experience is required – just bring a mind open to inspiration, and we will work with you to create your own unique Tarot card to take home. Each attendee will also receive a bonus hand-printed linocut card, featuring an original Tarot design inspired by some of the most killer women in horror.
A workshop led by Carrie MclLwain
This three-hour workshop focuses on the portrayal of the Witches Sabbath (or circle dance). It will involve delving into the historical context of the witches sabbath and offer various interpretations and analysis of what this fantasy could mean – reclaimed or otherwise. Looking to scenes from films depicting this trope – Häxan (1922), Lords of Salem (2012), Suspiria (2018), Black Sunday (1960), La Visione del Sabba (1988), and Akelarre (2020) – will serve as inspiration for a somatic journey – with an open-ended experiment to create a dance/group choreography for a “witches sabbath.”
TO DANCE IN THE FLAME: DISSIDENT SEXUALITY IN MEXICAN POSTMILLENNIAL HORROR
Talk by Dr. Valeria Villegas Lindvall
Excess, burdening motherhood, violence and desire have stood at the core of genre films in Mexican horror and sci-fi production post 2010. We will navigate the lustful landscapes of films like Amat Escalante’s The untamed (2016), apocalyptic scenarios like Emiliano Rocha’s We are the flesh (2016) and Alex Hernández Blood for the flesh (2018), and challenging motherhood tales like Michelle Garza’s Huesera (2022) to track the ways in which these portrayals reveal the desire to torch oppression by flirting with chaos.
PRETTY DEADLY Presents:
SELF DEFENSE AGAINST ZOMBIE HORDES
A workshop led by Nathalie Crivelli
We all know the classic horror movie trope: the zombies are coming! They are coming in masses! And they are coming from every side! But no panic: a Pretty Deadly fighter knows how to use their body as a weapon and their intuition to defend themselves!
During a 90-minute workshop, not only will we learn how to behave and escape in a zombie crowd, but also several ways to escape from grabs (arms and legs), smash the zombie’s head and how to identify who of our fellow humans got bitten and is lying to us.
Here’s your chance to quickly and effectively learn to defend yourself in a situation of mindless crowd behavior (useful also for real life BTW!) by having tons of fun and feeling empowered!
THE DAUGHTERS OF THE HAGS THEY COULDN’T KILL: “HAGSPLOITATION AND ITS EVOLUTION IN AMERICAN HORROR STORY
Talk by Dr. Katrin Seyler & Antonia Grousdanidou
Are aging women the one unsubvertible, true horror? And how has our favorite genre treated them over the years? Ask the mirror with us and find out how the fairest screen sirens of yesteryear turned into abominable hags. What is a hag anyway, and whatever happened to her? We will trace the hag from her heyday of the 60s through to her modern reincarnations in the American Horror Story universe. “Whatever happened to Baby Jane?” (1962) pitted two Hollywood titans against each other, sparking the “hagsploitation” phenomenon whose evolution we will examine for a glimpse into the inner and outer worlds of all manner of psychobiddies.
From the fairytale evil stepmother, to historical figures like Elizabeth Báthory, and modern day horror icons like Annie Wilkes (Misery) and Laurie Strode (Halloween), we will explore how these characters reinforce and reconfigure hagsploitation themes such as female aging, waning power and transgression. Above all, we will showcase how the grandes dames of American Horror Story (Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy and Kathy Bates) breathed a formidable, dignified new life-force into the hag that would have made their predecessors proud.
THE CURRENT REVOLUTION OF WOMEN-DIRECTED RAPE-REVENGE NARRATIVES
Talk by Bruna Foletto Lucas
Rape-revenge narratives have a long history in film and they have notoriously been used, primarily, by male filmmakers as a way to talk about broader issues while neglecting the particular experiences of sexual assault survivors. What this talk aims to investigate is the progression and revolution of rape-revenge narratives that have been either written and/or directed by women and that are doing the work of updating and reworking rape-revenge tropes. The talk will therefore present a comparative analysis of older films directed by men and newer films directed by women to investigate how recent films, mainly those released after the #MeToo movement, are updating and rewriting rape-revenge’s long-standing sexist tropes by prioritising the characters’ post-rape trauma and exposing the diegetic and extra- diegetic systemic sexism that allows for rape culture to manifest itself.