NIFFF ends with attendance record

American writer Joyce Carol Oates met the audience of the Neuchâtel Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) at the Théâtre du Passage on Thursday. KEYSTONE/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT sda-ats

This content was published on July 09, 2022 – 19:00


The 21st edition of the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) ended on Saturday, exceeding the symbolic bar of 50,000 festival-goers for the first time. The Narcisse HR Giger prize, endowed with 10,000 francs, was awarded to the film “Our ceremonies”.

This feature film by Frenchman Simon Rieth is “brilliant and daring in its conception, beautifully directed and performed. It is a remarkably original exploration of an intimate bond between brothers that resists being translated into terms other than its own”. American writer Joyce Carol Oates said at the closing ceremony, quoted in a statement from the NIFFF.

She chaired the international jury where 14 films were in international competition. The multi-finalist for the Pulitzer Prize gave a very popular masterclass at the festival. “Here at the NIFFF, each of the films uses elements of the fantastic to illuminate the real world”, she notably launched in front of a conquered room.

The “Imagining the Future” prize, endowed with 5000 francs and rewarding the best “design production”, was awarded to the dreamlike drama “Blaze”, by the Australian Del Kathryn Barton.

New director

This 21st edition was the first for Pierre-Yves Walder, the new general and artistic director. This year, the festival offered a new theme, called Stream Queer, with around twenty titles dedicated to the representations of LGBTQIA+ communities in fantasy cinema. This type of film has enjoyed solid attendance by a plural audience, according to the press release.

Besides Joyce Carol Oates, many personalities have come to Neuchâtel. The Chilean director Francisca Alegría presented her ecological and melancholy fable “The cow who sang a song into the future” and the American Addison Heimann his psychotic story “Hypochondriac”.

During the nine days of the festival, 128 works, including 11 world premieres, were screened. This was the case of the French film “The Year of the Shark” which was unveiled for the first time in public on Monday in the presence of directors Ludovic and Zoran Boukherma.

virtual baby

The NIFFF has the particularity of attracting many young people, since two thirds of the spectators are under 35 years old. The new space, called the Villa, which offered digital and interactive explorations with 100% Swiss video games, was particularly dedicated to them. Festival-goers were also able to create their virtual baby there and play a pinball machine of the future.

With favorable weather, the new open air with more than 500 seats was a hit. The public was able to discover or see restored classic masterpieces under the stars, such as “ET the extraterrestrial” by Steven Spielberg or “Psychosis” by Alfred Hitchcock.

Because of the pandemic, the NIFFF had experienced an exclusively online edition in 2020 and a hybrid mix between theaters and streaming in 2021. Some 34,921 festival-goers had been counted last year. The next edition will be held from June 30 to July 8, 2023.

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NIFFF ends with attendance record