The knock-on effects of the ongoing crisis have been particularly difficult for the creative sectors, but trying to organise a film festival in the current climate ranges from daunting to impossible. Undeterred, five US genre festivals have found a novel solution. Boston Underground, Brooklyn Horror, North Bend, Overlook, and Popcorn Frights have banded together to create the first Nightstream – an online festival which will take place (for US residents) between 8-11 October.
Combining their efforts have afforded them the ability to attract some of the most exciting and innovative voices in genre cinema. They’ve curated a mouth-watering selection of features, shorts, panels and conversations. We’ve sifted through the programme to highlight some of the celluloid highlights:
Bleed with Me
At an isolated winter cabin, a young woman begins to suspect that her best friend is stealing her blood.
Dinner in America
In a dreary Midwestern suburb, aggro punk rocker Simon finds himself on the run again after a bout of arson and a close call with the police. A chance encounter with the eccentric Patty provides him a place to hide, though she fails to realize that her new friend is the anonymous lead singer of her favourite band. As the two embark on a series of misadventures, they realize they have a lot more in common than they first expected.
Rory, an ambitious entrepreneur and former commodities broker, persuades his American wife, Allison and their children to leave the comforts of suburban America and return to his native England during the 1980s. Sensing opportunity, Rory rejoins his former firm and leases a centuries-old country manor, with grounds for Allison’s horses and plans to build a stable. But the family buckles beneath an unaffordable lifestyle and increasing isolation as they head toward a seemingly inevitable breakdown.
Rose Plays Julie
Rose is at university studying veterinary science. An only child, she has enjoyed a loving relationship with her adoptive parents. However, for as long as Rose can remember, she has wanted to know who her biological parents are and the facts of her true identity. After years trying to trace her birth mother, Rose now has a name and a number. All she has to do is pick up the phone and call. When she does, it quickly becomes clear that her birth mother has no wish to have any contact. Rose is shattered. A renewed and deepened sense of rejection compels her to keep going. Rose travels
from Dublin to London in an effort to confront her birth mother.
It’s been a rough night for Sam and Riley, a young couple taking a road trip through a stretch of backwoods roads. First, they’re kicked off a campsite; then, their car breaks down. Looking for help, they ring the doorbell of an isolated house owned by Karen (Barbara Kingsley), a peculiar older woman who lives with her even stranger son, Gunni. As Sam and Riley wait for someone to arrive to fix their ride, Karen offers to make them something to eat. That’s when their host starts revealing a bit about herself, which is also when Sam and Riley’s night shifts from annoying to something much, much worse.
In a parallel present, delivery man Ray is struggling to support himself and his ailing younger brother. After a series of two-bit hustles and unsuccessful swindles, Ray takes a job in a strange new realm of the gig economy: trekking deep into the forest, pulling cable over miles of terrain to connect large, metal cubes that link together the new quantum trading market. As he gets pulled deeper into the zone, he encounters growing hostility and the threat of robot cablers, and must choose to either help his fellow workers or to get rich and get out.
When simple-minded friends Jean-Gab and Manu find a giant fly trapped in the boot of a car, they decide to train it in the hope of making a ton of cash.
Jeanne, a shy young woman, works at night in an amusement park where she likes to stroll cleaning the paths. She lives with her mother, the exuberant and invasive Margarette, and struggles to find her place in the society and with men. His life lights up when the park acquires a new thrill ride, the extraordinary and majestic Jumbo. It’s love at first sight.
After a shocking incident upends her family life and marriage to a tempestuous choreographer, Ema, a reggaeton dancer, sets out on an odyssey of personal liberation, in this incendiary drama about art, desire, and the modern family from director Pablo Larraín.
Details of the full programme can be found here. Ticket bundles are on sale on the Nightstream website now and all profits will be shared with the filmmakers and artists involved, donated to charities and businesses locally owned and operated in each festival’s home city, and help the founding festivals recoup losses incurred by COVID-19.