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Cannes’ Fantastic Pavilion Reveals Gala Screenings, Featuring ‘Scream’ for the Next Generation, Filipino Action and Ted Raimi in a Tight Spot (EXCLUSIVE)

The Fantastic Pavilion, a new hub for the genre community set to make its debut at this year’s Cannes’ Marché du Film, has revealed its seven Gala screenings.

Over May 16-21, industry professionals will get to “appreciate the diversity of genre offerings coming from all over the world,” tease the organizers. They will also be able to create new alliances and acquire titles from companies like Raven Banner, MPI Media, Screenbound and Mantícora.

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“The reason for the Pavilion is that we needed space to do better business and help newcomers integrate more easily, and faster, into this constantly growing industry,” says Fantastic Pavilion executive director Pablo Guisa Koestinger. “Genre needs to take the place it deserves and it’s Fantastic Pavilion’s mission to help to achieve this.”

British sci-fi comedy “The Bystanders,” directed by Gabriel Foster Prior and presented by Screenbound, will kickstart the event, followed by another take on vampire mythology: Spain’s “While the Masters Sleep.”

“I have always loved vampire films. This fight between good and evil, the vampire’s magic, its house or its cave – all this stuff wouldn’t allow me to divert my attention from the screen. I was dying to tell a story like this,” director Santiago Alvarado Ilarri told Variety.

Distribution and sales agency Mantícora, a joint venture between VCS Capital and Alebrije Cine, which has acquired international rights, will host the event alongside the helmer and producer Joaquim Vivas.

Spain will be also represented by “Boogeyman: The Origin of the Myth” about a mythical nightmarish character, bringing back the feeling of believing there is someone watching us from a dark corner of our room, teases director Ángel Gómez Hernández: “That unsettling and inescapable sensation of any child who, after having misbehaved, is certain that a terrifying monster will come to take them away.” Driving ever more into Spanish filmmaking, Guido Rud’s Buenos Aires-based FilmSharks Intl. is handling international sales.

Raven Banner will bring “Trigger” from Richard V. Somes, promising to “bring back the tradition of Filipino action films,” while Monica Lozano’s Alebrije Producciones will ask the audience to “Sign Here” in a sci-fi dramedy from Enrique Vázquez, introducing the kind of future where humans have figured out that love doesn’t last forever, so one corporation finds you a perfect match every four years.

“I couldn’t be happier that this film is a part of the Fantastic Pavilion Galas. I’m thrilled to share this sci-fi dramedy that shines a light on our obsessions with love and technology,” noted Vázquez.

“It’s definitely an exciting time for genre filmmakers in Latin America and the Fantastic Pavilion will be a great home to share with such exciting new voices in our cinema.”

Clare Cooney’s “Departing Seniors” – described as “Scream” for the next generation – will mix horror with coming-of-age pathos, all within the nightmare setting that is high school. Presented by MPI Media, it includes a diverse cast led by Ignacio Diaz-Silverio, soon to be seen in Freevee Original series “Primo.”

“When I first read it, I was struck by how a script that’s so undeniably fun can also contain such complexity. Part thriller, part dark comedy, part slasher, part whodunnit – it’s a fresh, unique mix of a lot of things, and that’s what made me so excited to work on it,” enthuses Cooney.

“With a cast and crew as diverse as the characters on the page, our team is bursting with young talent eager to join the chorus of innovative voices that have been energizing genre cinema in recent years.”

Finally, Ted Raimi will be given exactly one hour to choose between financial ruin or murder in “Failure,” a new single-take crime-comedy thriller by Alex Kahuam, who is also hoping for other directors to join the movement he co-created with Adrian Bodegas: Herman@s réalisateurs 23, inspired by Dogme 95.

“The main objective is to connect artists from around the world, to learn from each other and work together to create interesting films,” he says.

“We are immensely proud of the reception and enthusiastic response we’ve had from the community,” said Pablo Guisa Koestinger.

“We are on the cusp of something truly special and it’s only the beginning.”

The Fantastic Pavilion Galas:

“Boogeyman: The Origin of the Myth,” (“El Hombre del Saco”)

Spain

Director: Ángel Gómez Hernández

Producers: Alvaro Ariza Tirado, Ignacio García Cucucovich

Production Companies: AF Films, Bowfinger International Pictures, BTF Media

A new take on the established myth, starring Macarena Gómez and Javier Botet. “As a producer and fan of genre films, I dedicate myself to developing scary stories. The more universal they are, the better,” says Cucucovich. “We realized that ‘El Hombre del Saco’ or ‘El Viejo de la Bolsa’ – as it is known in Rio de la Plata, where I come from – is spread all over the world. [Which meant] we already had all the ingredients!”

Produced by Ariza Tirado (The House of Snails”) and García Cucucovich (“Lobo Feroz”) for a powerful combination of Frank Ariza’s AF Films,  María Luisa Gutierrez and Santiago Segura’s Bowfinger International Pictures (“Father There Is Only One”), and major Latin American film-TV company BTF Media (“Maradona Blessed Dream”).

“The Bystanders”

U.K.

Director: Gabriel Foster Prior

Producer: Gabriel Foster Prior, Alex Fidelski (co-producer)

Production Companies: Waggon & Horses Productions

The movie, featuring Sean Walsh and Scott Haran, portrays bystanders as immortal beings who were once human but now remain invisible. They are assigned the task of secretly guiding and improving the lives of their human subjects. However, their interference can lead to severe outcomes. Feature debut of Gabriel Foster Prior, who co-wrote the script with Jack Hughes.

“Departing Seniors”

U.S.

Director: Clare Cooney

Producers: Clare Cooney, Jose Nateras, Kelly Parker, Dashawna Wright

Production Companies: Divisionist Films, Queensbury Pictures

In this “darkly funny love letter to classic high school slashers,” Javier and Bianca are outsiders and proud of it. “Growing up as a far-too-tall gangly kid with a speech disorder caused me to feel different for much of my life,” admits the director, who wanted to relate to bullies as well. “It’s a mark of our hero’s strength that he is compassionate towards those who harm him. I wanted to be just as compassionate in our storytelling.”

Departing Seniors
Departing Seniors

“Failure!”

Mexico, US

Director: Alex Kahuam

Producers: Alex Kahuam, Marco De Molina, Kayli Fortun, Ted Raimi, Jose D. Rodriguez.

Production companies: Promotora NAE, SpaceBrain Entertainment

“Filming ‘Failure!’ was challenging because the tension in this thriller is built around 87 tight pages shot in one single take. No cuts, no tricks – one mistake at minute 86 and we would have to start all over again,” says star and producer Ted Raimi, cast as a man who finds himself between a rock and a hard place. Or, rather, between financial ruin and murder. “[Luckily] I had a talented production team and a great director behind me. They made it all possible.”

Failure!
Failure!

“Sign Here,” (“Firma aqui”)

Mexico

Director: Enrique Vázquez

Producer: Mónica Lozano; Eamon O’Farril, Maria Torres, Enrique Vázquez

Production Companies: Alebrije Cine y Video, Pasajero

Starring Regina Blandón and Leonardo Ortízgris, it sees a couple who attempt to “defeat the tyranny of the algorithm” and fight for their feelings. “It’s not only refreshing, but also exciting to present a film that intertwines science fiction with a story of love and heartbreak. As funny as it’s bittersweet, it will shake everyone’s mind and make them think about the present and the future of human relationships,” promises producer Mónica Lozano, behind “Amores Perros” and “Instructions Not Included.”

Sign Here
Sign Here

“Trigger” (“Topakk”)

Philippines

Director: Richard V. Somes

Producers: Ria Atayde, Wilfredo Manalang, Fernando Henna, Michaelangelo Masangkay, Sylvia Sanchez, Richard V. Somes

Production Companies: Fusee, Nathan Studios, Raven Banner Entertainment

A security guard, previously discharged from the military due to PTSD, finds himself embroiled in a different kind of war when a young woman seeks his protection against a corrupt police death squad. “It’s my dream to show the world what pure Pinoy action cinema is all about,” says the director, who will be joined in Cannes by his producers and stars Arjo Atayde and Enchong Dee.

“While the Masters Sleep,”

Spain

Director: Santiago Alvarado Ilarri

Producers: José Manuel Jara Nava, Rafael González Vallinas, Alejandro Sugich, Joaquim Vivas

Production Companies: Magno Entertainment, Media Solutions Partners

Married servants Samuel and Lourdes keep taking care of an ancient vampire. They are used to the routine, as well as the bloody mess, but the arrival of his relative upsets the entire household. “We have garlic, we have silver crosses, we have coffins. Master Víctor has vineyards, which is funny when you remember that famous Dracula’s quote: ‘I never drink…wine’,” says the director, delivering his own take on upstairs-downstairs dynamics.

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