Pierre-Yves Walder: “At the NIFFF, the fantastic is inclusive and protean”

The new artistic director of the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF), Pierre-Yves Walder, was the guest of La Matinale on Friday. Until July 9, the festival offers 128 works from five continents. American writer Joyce Carol Oates is the guest of honour.

To put together the festival’s 2022 programme, the NIFFF team screened no less than 800 films from around the world. Proof of the vitality of fantastic cinema, of which the Neuchâtel festival offers a fairly broad meaning.

“We are in an inclusive and protean definition of fantasy that welcomes all cinematography, thematic or aesthetic. With our definition of fantasy, films can be extremely different. , an event or an unexpected notion burst into reality”, the film meets the criteria of the festival, explains Friday in La Matinale Pierre-Yves Walder, the new general and artistic director.

Similarly, the criteria for selecting films are not set in stone. “We like the next generation, young directors, new perspectives. We are also interested in the aesthetics and the universe that directors can offer, there are also filmmakers whose work we follow. But there is also discoveries, favourites. The configuration is quite subtle and instinctive”, continues Pierre-Yves Walder.

Joyce Carol Oates as guest of honor

In an interdisciplinary dynamic, the NIFFF likes to explore the links between literature and cinema. This year, the American writer Joyce Carol Oates, multi-finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, is the festival’s guest of honor. The prolific author in genres such as horror, gothic and psychological thriller will also chair the international jury. She will give a conference on July 7 at 5:00 p.m.

>> To read also: American writer Joyce Carol Oates guest of honor at the NIFFF

Fully face-to-face

Due to 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 festival is back at full capacity for this edition.

With a new team, the NIFFF is in the revival and offers a new theme called Stream Queer. About twenty titles dedicated to the representations of LGBTIQ+ communities in fantasy cinema will be screened there.

The 21st edition opens on Friday with the international premiere of the mystical drama “The Five Devils” by Léa Mysius with Adèle Exarchopoulos and will end on July 9 with the Swiss premiere of the animated film “I Am What I Am” by Sun haipeng. The Narcisse HR Giger prize, endowed with 10,000 francs, will be awarded during this closing ceremony.

>> To see: the trailer for “The five devils”

More than forty Swiss premieres

The official selection presents eleven world premieres, ten international premieres, seven European premieres and 44 Swiss premieres. The next generation is in the spotlight with two international premieres: the psychotic story “Hypochondriac” by American Addison Heimann, which delves into the tortured unconscious of his character, as well as “Our ceremonies”, the first feature film by Frenchman Simon Rieth, as solar as funereal.

Two representatives of the new generation of Latin American filmmakers will be present on the occasion of the European premiere of the demonic “Huesera” by the Mexican Michelle Garza Cervera, alongside the ecological and melancholic Chilean fable “The Cow Who Sang A Song Into The Future” by Francisca Alegría.

The competition also finds the authors who marked the festival. The Franco-Lithuanian duo Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper will be present with the post-apocalyptic story “Vesper”, as will the Italian Gabriele Mainetti who approaches fascism through the journey of four creatures with supernatural powers with “Freaks Out” or the American duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead with “Something In The Dirt”, an offbeat sci-fi thriller with conspiracy overtones.

Productions presented at Cannes

Two world premieres will be screened in the Asian competition. The non-competitive section Third Kind will dedicate a central place to related genres of fantasy and this year is hosting the Swiss previews of productions that shone at Cannes, such as the twilight thriller about an Iranian society struggling with its demons with ” Holy Spider” by Ali Abbasi.

The favorite section of Ultra movies thrill seekers will once again summon the most extreme and radical proposals.

On July 4, the NIFFF will broadcast “La chambre”, a 1982 science fiction film co-produced by the TSR and the work of director Yvan Butler, 92, who will be present at the festival.

>> To read also: “La chambre”, anticipation telefilm from the TSR at the NIFFF

“La chambre”, a TV movie by director Yvan Butler co-produced by the TSR (1982) [RTS]

The free labels NIFFF Extended, dedicated to new technologies, and NIFFF Invasion, general public and multidisciplinary, complete the festival. The open air on the Place des Halles now has a capacity of 700 seats. The public will be able to discover or see restored classic masterpieces under the stars, such as “ET the Extraterrestrial” by Steven Spielberg, a film which celebrates its 40th anniversary, or “Psychosis” by Alfred Hitchcock.

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Pierre-Yves Walder: “At the NIFFF, the fantastic is inclusive and protean”